If it were not for resistance we would all go free very quickly.
Lester Levenson, whose "awakening" and subsequent teachings inspired The Sedona Method and The Release Technique, said this about our emotions. He knew that the nature of energy is movement, which meant that energy, all energy, whether in the form of emotions, beliefs, or thought patterns, wants to move. It wants to transform. It wants to go home. The only thing that's stopping energy from flowing through and out of us, is us - our resistance to it.
When we can learn how to get out of the way, our emotions will do what emotions are meant to do. They're like thunderstorms. They're meant to roll in and then just roll right on out.
Now before you start giving yourself a hard time for having resistance in the first place, understand that it's mostly unconscious. Therefore, you can't correct it by thinking about it or with willpower. Secondly, please know that, in its own way, your resistance is probably trying to help you. It's trying to keep you safe. It most likely got set in motion when you were very young and perceived that having feelings or expressing feelings meant disapproval, the threat of abandonment, rejection, punishment, or any such thing that would be terrifying to your young child's system.
The way to work with resistance is the same way you would work with any other feeling. (We often don't think of resistance as a feeling, but it is). With practice, you can get a felt sense of it - a sense of the energetic tone or quality of it. And when you can get a sense of it, you can acknowledge it, welcome it, and breathe with it, until it softens and releases. And you'll find that the feeling you're resisting will release right along with it.
If you'd like some help with this, please let me know. In the meantime, just do your best to bring your non-judging awareness to whatever's happening inside. You're the only one who can.
I saw myself on a white horse, in full battle armor, lance in hand, walking on a long dusty road, presumably between battles. We were both tired. It seemed to be our lot in life - going from one battle to the next. We didn't know anything else. We didn't question it. And then, without warning, without any thought or analysis, we stopped. I dropped my lance, turned my horse around, and headed home. I was done.
Many of you who have worked with me have experienced images or visions that emerged spontaneously, as symbolic out-picturings of the energy that's being released. Several years ago, during one of my own releasing sessions, I had this one and haven't been the same since.
Before I met this warrior within, met him where he lived, as energy stored in the bodymind, I couldn't have known how much I was seeing and operating in the world through his eyes. Chronic tension, scanning my outer life for potential problems, and bracing against my own feelings were so familiar, such an integral part of my inner experience, that I didn't realize how much he was running things and at what cost, until I felt the difference.
Resistance is a tricky thing. Whether we're resisting our own internal experience, our own feelings, or something or someone outside of us, resistance is so second nature that it's mostly unconscious. We believe on some level that our bracing warrior stance is protecting us from feelings we don't want to feel, experiences we don't want to have, and truths we don't want to face. It helps us maintain an illusion of strength and of feeling safe and in control and separate. It can masquerade as "just the way I am" or as self-righteous, defense-worthy spiritual truths.
Our current political climate, to me, is a powerful example. The popular slogan "Resist," which I assume is in response to our current political leadership, is not one that I'll ever get on board with and here's why: resistance to the other, any other, only makes things worse. It creates tension in your own bodymind, making you less effective and less open to creative solutions and possibilities. It also gives the "other" more to push against, thereby amplifying your respective you're-the-enemy-and-I-must-fight-you positions. Whether we're talking about politics or your relationship with yourself and your own feelings, resistance just creates more resistance. Pushing-against just creates more push-back.
Does this mean you shouldn't have or feel your feelings? No. Feel your feelings. Acknowledge and welcome your feelings. Allow them to flow through your body. And when you learn how to acknowledge and welcome the resistance to your feelings that's also inevitably present, your feelings will release, along with the resistance.
Does this also mean you shouldn't take action? Does this mean you'll be complacent? Of course not. Releasing resistance doesn't make you passive or complacent. Write letters to your representatives, sign petitions, vote, and take any other action that you feel led to take. But if you can, whenever you can, release the resistance first.
Take it from an old warrior who has seen way too many battles. Fighting doesn't change a fucking thing. It doesn't change the other. It only makes you tired. The only fight worth fighting, the only battle you can ultimately win, is the one inside yourself - the one between you and your feelings, you and your beliefs about who you are, who the other is, and the way it should be. And one day, if you're really lucky, you'll get tired enough to stop, see the feelings and beliefs - the fight, for what it is, and you'll take a breath, turn your horse, and head toward home.
From one tired warrior to another with love,
“I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.” Mother Theresa
This blog post is my response to the following article in Healthy Holistic Living, by Jenna Barrington. Published on August 21, 2018. (Click below to read original article).
The feminine, in its bigger sense of the word, is in desperate need of “re-wilding” – reconnecting with the natural cycles, rhythms, and moods of the earth. The feminine soul is nurtured by feeling its feet on the ground and remembering, via bodily felt-experience, its oneness with nature. Our bodies are, and have always been, wired this way.
Riding or simply being in regular contact with horses speaks to something primal in us and awakens our remembrance of a time when our survival depended on our sensitivity to weather and climate changes and our interdependence and collaboration with other species. It requires us to, consciously or not, get out of our heads and back in our bodies and awaken these primal feelings of connection.
Horses, unlike dogs and cats, are prey animals. As such, they are highly attuned to the emotions and intentions of predators – humans – because their survival has depended on it. So despite their domestication, they remain acutely aware of their environment, which requires them to be grounded and in the present moment at all times. In my experience, and in that of my clients, simply being around them reawakens our innate, but perhaps temporarily forgotten, inclination toward groundedness and a focus on the here and now.
In my mostly women-based practice, and in my own life, I see how incessant talking, social-media-ing, shopping, and emotional eating are often a reflection of an emptiness, an attempt to fill this deeper hunger for a more real and lasting connection.
So lie in the grass, go barefoot, bathe yourself in moonlight, get your hands dirty, and if you can, whenever you can, hug a horse!
We buried my niece last Monday. And yes, there was grief - heart wrenching grief – and hugs, food and flowers, and an outpouring of love for my sister and our family. But what struck me the most, looking out from the back seat of our chauffeur-driven car, was how normal everything looked – but how different it all felt.
We seemed to be suspended in some sort of bright, other worldly cocoon of something that I can only describe as peace or grace. I don’t know whether it was the spirit of my niece, the energy of prayers coming from all different directions, or special comforting angels, specially assigned to funeral processions. In any case, it was real and palpable and like nothing I’ve ever felt before.
And I understand now what is meant when they say, “There is no birth without death.” Amidst the tombstones and still bare trees, tiny spring wildflowers were blooming, fruit trees were budding, and my family and I let go of past hurts. Petty misunderstandings and grudges all fell away as we sat before my niece’s flower-laden casket. We didn’t have to talk about it. We didn’t have to try. It just happened.
For many people, Easter represents death and rebirth. For others, the arrival of spring does the same thing. In either case, surrender is key.
Whether it requires an illness, death, or financial crisis, there comes a time when you know you’ve done all that you can – a time when all the clenching and posturing, efforting and pretending, becomes so exhausting that you finally let go. And when that happens, the peace and grace, love and compassion, that’s always been present, is born again . . . in you.
Rhyne Smith Andrews Callens
September 23, 1988 - March 14, 2019
"The moment of surrender is not when life is over. It's when it begins." Marianne Williamson
Valentines Day is a day that we celebrate love, specifically the romantic, Hallmark-fantasy kind of love. And while romantic love is a fine expression, it typically falls short of what the human heart is capable of. Fortunately, life has a way of reminding us, prompting us, to open more deeply to the truth and power of the human heart. If only we will let it.
My 30-year-old niece is dying of cancer. Since her diagnosis 8 years ago I have bounced around in my own little world of this-isn’t-real disbelief, feeling useless and helpless, feeling triggered by unresolved issues between her Mom (my sister) and me, feeling ashamed of not doing more, and trying (unconsciously mostly) to protect myself from feeling and taking on the feelings of our entire family.
As a highly sensitive and empathic person, I have a lifetime of practice in trying to protect myself from feeling overwhelmed by the feelings of others and the pain of this world. The built-in structure of my work, as well as the tools I’ve learned, helps me stay balanced with clients, but my personal life is another story.
Last week I received a text from my sister describing a rushed visit and consult with MD Anderson and a horrible procedure my niece would have to undergo. Not long after, I felt a heavy constriction and ache in my heart that at times left me breathless. My niece and I are not particularly close and her mother and I have had our differences, so my mind dismissed my physical discomfort as having anything to do with them.
It seems however, that my heart had ideas of its own. Thanks to a shared DNA, shared molecules, and perhaps a shared history, no amount of trying to rationalize away or talk sense to it could ease the heavy-weighted drag on my heart. It was only when I took the time to feel into it and say, “I’m here for you,” did it finally break open, with deep wracking sobs, to tell me its story. It told me the story of suffering – mine, yours, my niece’s, everybody’s. It told me that growing up means accepting this world as it is - with betrayals and losses, illness and death, and so many things that we can’t control, and that trying to avoid these things is not the point.
When I finally reached what felt like the bottom of a deep deep well there was peace, but not just the kind of peace that follows emotional purging. This peace came from a power much bigger than me, that extended out from and beyond me, embracing the whole world in tenderness and compassion.
As the weight on my heart was replaced with a soft deep fullness, I came to understand the inherent gift in suffering and the alchemical power of the human heart. It seems that the bigger and broader and more deeply it opens to your suffering and mine, the more it exposes the truth - we are all connected by a holy thread, spun with an unlimited supply of love and compassion that ultimately we can't escape, even when we try.
Happy Love Day Everybody.
This article was originally published in 2018 for Natural Awakenings Magazine.
If you’ve tried to make changes in your life or in your behavior at the start of the New Year – or any other time for that matter – and find that you start out gung ho, but lose momentum, you’re not alone.
What I most want you to know is that this doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy, lacking in self-control, determination, discipline, or willpower.
In my experience, it simply means that the rational “thinking” part of you wants to make certain changes but other parts of you do not. These other parts of you do not live in the frontal cortex where rational thinking and problem solving take place, but live in the bodymind or unconscious mind. They consist of energy in the form of conflicting beliefs, programs, or suppressed emotions and were often set in place when you were much younger.
Let’s use losing weight as an example. I trust that you are informed enough to know what foods and exercise habits will support you in losing weight and which will not. So this rational informed part of you tries to eat right and exercise, but another part of you, which you may or may not be conscious of says, "Yeah? Make me. I want to eat whatever I want to eat when I want to eat it. Thank you very much.” There may be another part of you that already feels deprived and unloved and feels that you are taking away the only way she knows how to treat herself or comfort herself.
Any place in you that is hurting and feels unheard, may stay quiet and “behave” for awhile, but if you continue to ignore these parts of you, push them away, or try to control them, they will eventually act out with a vengeance. This is why people sometimes engage in secretive splurging and eventually sabotage their good intentions. This is how these unheard parts finally have their say.
(Sometimes people try to “program” their unconscious minds with positive affirmations. If this strategy works for you, then by all means, please continue. But I see so many people who have been unable to make their desired changes this way, and feel bad about themselves as a result. There are a couple of reasons this strategy often does not work. First of all, the unconscious mind is about a million times more powerful than the conscious mind. Secondly, this technique is often done with an energy of control versus love).
The way to escape this cycle is not through more self-control or beating yourself up, but by learning how to listen to these hurt parts of yourself versus trying to control them. Like all hurt children, they just want to be heard and understood. When you can learn how to do this with genuine compassion, they will release their grip and their demands will quiet.
Beyond goals and intentions, even beyond self-improvement, lie your heart's deepest desires. Driving every desire for more friends, more money, and greater health is the longing for the feeling state that you believe achieving or having these things will provide.
While it's perfectly natural for you to follow your dreams and desires, after all you were created by a creator and will always tend to ask, "Next?," it might be worthwhile to explore what's driving them. Doing so is not meant to bring judgment to your desires, but to loosen any angst around them, to release any sense of, "When ___ happens, I'll feel better/be happier" etc., and to essentially open up to the feeling state you're trying to achieve and its presence as it might be available right here, right now.
Have a pen and paper handy. Take time to make yourself comfortable, get grounded, and breathe. Scan your body and see if you can get a sense of anything you might be holding, either in the form of body sensations or feelings, and allow yourself to simply be present with them as you breathe. Take time to do this until you feel that you're in a relatively quiet, relaxed state. Then feel into your chest, in the area around your heart, and ask yourself, "What is my heart's deepest desire?" See if you can wait and simply allow whatever comes to come. Remember you're asking your heart, not your head. Whatever comes, whether it makes sense or not, jot it down briefly. If nothing comes, just breathe and ask again.
Ask as many times as you'd like, pausing to write down, sit with, be with, and breathe with each answer. You might notice that your answers change or they may stay the same. It really doesn't matter.
Select one of your most consistent answers or the one that feels strongest to you and ask yourself, "What feeling state will I have when I have this, that I don't have now?" Breathe and notice the first thing that pops in your mind. Then ask yourself, "If I could, would I be willing to let myself have that feeling now, in this moment, for just this moment?" Or, "Would I be open to the possibility of having that feeling now?"
You don't have to know how. You don't have to get into a debate with yourself about how you can't possibly feel what you're wanting to feel until __ happens. Just see if you'd be willing or be open, just a little bit, to having the feeling now.
Just do your best. If you'd like help with this, please let me know. If you've worked with me before, we can do this over the phone.
If you get nothing else out of this exercise, you will at least have some insight into what deeper desire might be driving the more conscious desire. And sometimes when you can validate the deeper desires of your heart, some of the angst about when and where and how you'll get them, will relax.
As I emerged from sleep last Saturday morning, my mind drifted forward to the day ahead - the plans I'd made, the things I wanted to do, needed to do, felt I should do. And I became aware of a familiar feeling - a low-grade dissatisfaction or boredom, and a sense of wanting more. I tend to blame this feeling on living alone or not having a greater sense of community around me.
So I started revisiting some thoughts I've had before about how to fix this. Should I move? Should I try to find and make more friends? Would I be happier being married? But as I imagined myself spending my day with my new imaginary friends and doing the things I think I would enjoy, I became aware of how temporary it all felt. At the end of the day, I would still come home and do my evening chores and deal with what was mine to deal with, alone. And if I was married, we would go to bed and start over the next day and one day, one of us would die.
If you're not yet 50 this might sound morbid. You might not think about death as much as I do. But there comes a time when death becomes more of a reality and less of something that's going to happen "one day," off in some sort of vague, distant future. And with this awareness comes a stronger desire to not only look to what's really important, but to reflect back on your life and question if getting your outer life just like you wanted it has ever really been the key to lasting happiness.
It was with this felt-awareness of the fleeting quality of situational happiness that I made a subtle but important shift. I turned my attention from the solutions, images, and strategies that my mind had conjured up, like a movie in my head, and came back to my body and my breath. When I did, I realized that what I really wanted was not more, but deeper. And so I sank into my own beingness and found all that I was looking for - belonging, connection, fullness, and peace.
From this depth, this felt-experience of oneness with Self, I feel I can accomplish most anything, and do so with a sense of freedom and fullness. There's nothing left to get, nothing left to fix, and no future state of being or feeling to achieve. It's all here now.
My New Year's wish for you dear friend, is that as you set your goals and intentions and reflect on your hopes and dreams for the coming year, that you're able to take the time to experience within yourself this deeper truth . . . all that you are seeking, you already have, and already are.
Best and Deepest New Year to you and yours.
Sometimes, when it comes to family or certain family members, we have a tendency to unconsciously resist or push against "the way they are." This can be exacerbated this time of year with feelings about "the way it should be." We also have a tendency during this time of year to unconsciously compare "the way it is" and/or "the way they are" with the way we wish it was or the way we wish they were.
It's a core human need, and therefore perfectly understandable, to want to feel respected, loved, appreciated, seen, and safe with your "tribe" or family of origin. Unfortunately, even fairly healthy family members can have their own "stuff" and fall short in this regard.
But here's a release that might help . . .
Take a moment to picture a family member. Check inside your body to notice and allow whatever feelings that arise to simply come up. Then ask yourself, "Could I allow myself to resist the way this person is (or the way it is) as much as I do?" And then take a moment to allow those feelings to be there. Then ask yourself, "Could I allow myself to accept the way this person is (or the way it is) as best I can?" and simply allow whatever comes up to be there as well. Go back and forth between each statement as many times as you'd like, keeping in mind that you're not trying to force yourself into acceptance or "affirm" your way into the acceptance that you want. Instead, you are patiently allowing for the possibility of the presence of both states.
The Sedona Method calls this process Holistic Releasing. Somatic Experiencing calls it "pendulation." In either case the process is the same. By welcoming the existence of seemingly opposite states (even if one is much stronger than the other) and resting your non-judging attention on each, they will neutralize, giving way to a more natural state of acceptance. Be patient with this process. Make sure you're taking time to be open to the feeling of each and simply watch what happens inside as you go back and forth.
Lester Levenson, whose teachings inspired the Sedona Method, said that if you can feel free in relation to your family you have achieved a high level of freedom. By free he meant imperturbable - free of negative feelings, free of expectations, and free to be with them or not be with them and feel at peace.
Lester understood that our basic core programming takes root in our families of origin and much of this programming is unconscious. So when we relate to our family members we are often relating through the filter of that programming instead of who they are and who we are now.
Feeling stressed around the holidays and being "triggered" by your family offers a great opportunity to release and untangle core programming. Any releasing you do with regards to your family will net you big gains and will carry over to other aspects of your life.
Here's how to stay grounded and in the present:
First of all, please try not to beat yourself up or give yourself a hard time if you get triggered by family members. It's very common. I still do.
Secondly, see if you can do your best to stay grounded, breathe consciously, and stay present - in your own body and with yourself when you're with family. If you can, during your interactions with them, take a moment to make sure you can feel your feet and the different parts of your feet. Also see if you can feel the muscles in your chest and/or belly as you breathe. Feel them expanding and relaxing. I will sometimes sort of pinch myself (literally), as a way to remind myself to feel and be in my body. You can also repeat the word "now" softly and silently to yourself as you breathe.
Simply practice this when you think of it and approach this exercise with openness and curiosity - as best you can:).
Heaven On Earth Farm
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P.O. Box 1233
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