Awakening, Health & Fitness, Yoga

On The Hardness of Going Soft

Tim and I took a perfectly timed trip to Florida over Christmas break. We left at 5AM on Christmas day and just positively SAILED down to Destin, FL.  We were there in 15 hours, even with pee and fuel breaks.  There was NO traffic, and the time passed swiftly due to some fascinating podcasts and the audio version of Wheel of Time: Eye of the World.  We returned home on Thursday, right before Davenport got buried in about 6 inches of fluffy white stuff that was most definitely not sand.  On our way back north, we saw so many instances of cars at a standstill going south.  Sometimes it really pays to go against the grain!  😛

We had 4 full days down in Florida.  Our hotel was right on the beach, so our days consisted of waking up (without an alarm), partaking of the free hotel breakfast (the Fairfield Inn hot breakfast is really not bad!  They actually had protein options instead of just bagels, oatmeal and sugary yogurts), grabbing our gear, and heading to the beach.  We sat on the beach, read, watched the waves, actually got into the water a VERY little bit, headed to town for lunch, came back to the beach for more reading, watching, wading, then walked or drove to supper, and then tried to watch TV in the hotel (SO MANY COMMERCIALS), and then went to sleep.

It was so eye-opening how HARD it was to actually let ourselves relax though. 

Should we “make the most” of being there and DO more stuff – go stand-up paddle boarding, go hiking, check out museums, visit Seaside (the town where Truman Show was filmed), find all the best restaurants?? 

We decided that outside the door of our hotel was a gorgeous ocean with soft white, squeaky sand dissolved from quartz ages ago.  That was enough to appreciate for 4 days.

Ft. Walton Beach, Florida

While at the beach I read a really amazing book, Healing Ourselves – Biofield Science and the Future of Health.  The whole book is about our ability to heal ourselves and others via energy practices.  At face value that may sound very woo woo, but there are dozens of studies that show the healing power of our thoughts, attention, and intention (what do you think causes the placebo effect!).  Two things are very clear from the research the author relays in the book:

  1. We are all interconnected.
  2. We have so much more power to heal ourselves that when have been taught. 

I plan to dive in to the practices outlined in the book and will share with you the ones that I love.  In the meantime, to explore the concept of self-healing for yourself, you could start simply by taking a moment to notice your feet on the ground, soften up those soles, think about plugging your feet into the earth like you would plug your charger into a wall socket.  Notice the energy in your feet, calves, and upper legs.  Take a moment and ask yourself, “Who do I want to be today?”  Set that intention for the day (I prefer to write it down to make it more concrete and visible), revisit it often, and see what changes in your experience of your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual self/layer/body.

Space to be Human Updates

  • If you were unable to make it to my Introduction to Meditation class, but you are interested in the topic, you’re in luck!  I recorded the class, and you can watch it here at your leisure.  Feedback and suggestions are much appreciated!  If this class piques your interest, and you would like help in developing a meditation practice, you can book a session with me here.
  • Did you know that the Quad Cities is hosting its very own yoga festival?? The QC YogaCon will be held March 4-6, and guess who is teaching!  Me!  I am teaching a Yoga Tune Up® class (Total Tension Tunedown) on 4/5 at 4PM.  You can find more details here.

That’s all for today, my friends!  Happy 2nd day of 2022!  Please reach out to me at heather@spaceotbehuman.life or book a session with me here if you would like to feel better in your body.

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Awakening, Health & Fitness, Yoga

On #Winning & Secret Desires

We are at the start of new year, which means it’s time to run a Lessons Learned to close out this project that is Life in 2021.  What went well?  What could we do better next time? 

What Went Well

Why should we review “What Went Well?” Oh for SO many reasons!

  • Our brains are wired for negativity, which is a helpful yet annoying survival mechanism.  We downplay our successes, and we latch on to our failures.  Does any of the following sound familiar?
    • We get our annual review.  The boss says, “You did an amazing job this year.  We love you.  You’re awesome.  Next year we would like you to show more leadership on your projects.”  What runs through your brain?  “Shit.  I’m a loser.  I should have been more assertive.  I should have worked more.  I better start looking for a different job…”  So much good feedback, yet we glom on to that little bit of feedback and use it as proof that we are a failure.
    • Here’s a personal example.  A few weeks ago, I co-presented on the topic of Emotional Intelligence for Lead(h)er.  Public speaking is a big trigger of panic for me, but by using some calming techniques and mindset work, I was able to keep my voice from shaking, I logically went through the material, and my face did not freeze into any weird contortions.  But.  Then came the Q&A.  A question popped up that did not compute in my brain.  I stumbled through some answer that I’m not sure made any sense or that even remotely addressed the question.  So – great little presentation where I actually exhibited some poise and overcame something very scary for me  – but the rest of the night I had a pit in my stomach, and my mind kept recycling the core belief, “I suck.”  Fun times!
  • We need about a 3:1 ratio of positivity to negativity to offset the negativity bias.
  • Life moves fast, and we are usually focused ever on the future.  “What do I have to do tomorrow, next week, next month to move towards my goals?”  But, Baby, look at how far you’ve come!!  You’ve grown SO much, accomplished so many of your goals, Past You would look at Current You and be like, “Daaaaammmnnn – that’s me?!”  Take some time to relish this.

What are your Wins, your Successes, your Peaks for 2021?  Don’t be shy!  Write them out.  Send them to me or share them with a friend.  Get them down on paper and DOCUMENT THEM.  Brag!  Don’t let self-judgement hold you back you in this exercise.  When it pops up, say, “Thank you, Sir, for trying to keep me safe and small, but I don’t need you right now.”  And Write.

Here are a few of the things I accomplished in 2021 that make me proud:

  • My therapy practice almost tripled.
  • I worked with a psychologist and a life coach and did a lot of work on learning how to feel what I am feeling (instead of stuffing it down to deal with “later”) and how to question the stories on constant, speedy, reflexive repeat in my head.
  • I asked and was granted a decrease in my hours at the bank, enabling me to put more time into my therapy practice.  And I was able to deal with the, “Oh God, Oh God, how am I going to have enough money?!?!” fairly well.
  • I co-presented 2 Emotional Intelligence presentations, which made me super duper DUPER nervous.  One of the worst case scenarios actually did happen during the first presentation – the network at the presentation location was down, so none of the A/V equipment worked.  We printed out the slides as a fail-safe, only to scramble madly when the network came up minutes before the presentation was scheduled to begin.  But, BIG BREATH, it all ended up totally fine.
  • I put my money where my mouth was and hired a personal trainer, and I’m getting stronger. I overcame one of my most favorite thoughts, “I’ll do it later, when I feel like it.”

What could we do better next year?

I propose a new take on this.  Instead of thinking about things that went sideways and how we could keep them on track next time.  Let’s think about what we want for next year.  What do you desire for next year?  Better yet (and thanks to my coach, Kate Reuter for this question), what do you SECRETLY desire? No one else has to know besides you and your pen and your paper.  If anything was possible, what would you desire?   

Don’t be alarmed if you try this exercise only to find out you don’t know what you want.  You might know what you DON’T want (that one is a lot easier).   Ask yourself, if you DID know what you want, what would that be?  If you are an intuitive, empathic person, chances are you are used to having your feelers attuned to what everyone around you wants.  So when you ask yourself this question, you may just get a blank stare.  But trust me.  You do know what you want.  You just need to practice asking and listening.  Again, bring self-compassion, non-judgement, and a sense of massive curiosity to this.  THERE ARE NO WRONG ANSWERS!  If you do it wrong, you’re doing it perfectly.  😛

To give credit where credit is due, I’m borrowing, mixing, and integrating the work of so many people in this post.  Here are links to my main teachers, should you care to dive into this stuff more:

The Life Coach School Podcast – How To Be Proud of Yourself

Kate Reuter Coaching

Dr. Yoga Momma – Yoga for the Mind program

Lashaun Dale

I hope you can find some time to reflect on the year and appreciate how far you’ve come!

And that is it for today.  As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me.  And if you need help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here

Have a fabulous day!

Awakening

Pay Attention to what you Pay Attention to.

Have you ever noticed that you when you’re shopping for a new car, suddenly you see your object of interest everywhere?  Overnight, everyone started driving Hyundai Konas somehow (to use a personal example).  You know why that is?  You see what you look for.

And WOW is that powerful.

One of my favorite movies is The Matrix.  Just the original one.  The sequels are horrible.  HORRIBLE!  But the original Matrix is a piece of art.  It shows you how constrained we are by our thoughts.  They literally, every day, every minute, create the world around us.

  • Do you believe that people are always out to get what they can out of you?  That will be your experience in the world. 
  • Think you don’t have the skills necessary to excel in that job you really, really want?  That’s right you don’t.
  • Think you’ve had this pain for years, so no matter what,  you will always have it.  Yes, that will also come true.

Research actually supports the concept of the power of our thoughts – placebos work because we think they work.  Our body processes food differently, depending if we think it’s good for us or not.  A combination of intention and attention can heal.  More details on the the power of of our thoughts can be found in an article I wrote here and in a podcast about psychoneuroimmunology here.

We have more power than we realize over the results we get in life.  Our thoughts create our feelings, our feelings create our actions, and our actions create our results (and confirm our thoughts to be true).  And our thoughts ARE changeable.  Once we start to take the immense super power of Attention and focus it on the utter craziness our ego is spewing out non-stop, we can start to shift our Matrix.  Little by little, we can watch that voice, question its veracity, and try on some new thoughts that might create better feelings > actions > results.

Here are some fun questions to play with, when you encounter an exceptionally annoying thought such as, “I suck and will never be good at this.  Life is unfair.  This shouldn’t have happened.  He is so successful because he came from money.  I don’t have enough money/power/formal education to be “successful.”  She shouldn’t be so talkative/bold/lazy.” 

  • Is that true?  How do you know it’s true?  What if the opposite is true?
  • What are you making that mean?
  • Why?  Ask this one at least 5 times to get down through some layers.
  • Who would you be without that thought?
  • What feelings is that thought creating in your body?  Where do you feel those feelings?  What sensations are associated with that feeling.
  • How could I rewrite this story I am telling myself?

Once we start to glimpse a different reality, outside of the matrix we have created for ourselves, we start to realize how empowered we truly are to go after what is meaningful to us.

This is HARD and exhausting and uncomfortable work.  And it’s slow.  Decades of patterns of thought take time, loving and compassionate attention, and present moment awareness to start to unwind.  But, man, isn’t it worth it to be able to rewrite your story of what’s possible for you?

If this piques your interest, there are about a zillion resources I could share with you, but here are two that have really helped me on my journey:

The Life Coach School Podcast – search for podcasts on the Self Coaching Model

Loving What Is

As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me.  And if you need some help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here

And that’s my quick note for today!  Hope you are having a fabulous day! 

Awakening, Health & Fitness, massage therapy, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners, Yoga

On Feeling those Feelings

My Emotions!

Happy Sunday!  It’s grey and windy here in Iowa today, but I’m digging it.  I’m tucked in at the kitchen table, watching the gusts blow the flame-colored leaves from our bushes, and appreciating that I now have time to write.  If it was nice outside, I would just HAVE to go for a walk or a bike ride or a car-ride to Crawford Brewery. 🙂

So, the big question is, what to write about??

Well, the thing that’s been on my mind most often lately, is Feelings.  I dig how the Universe will continually tap you on the shoulder with something that you just REALLY need to know or figure out. Like over and over and over again, in many different ways, via many different sources, until you finally listen.  The current in the Ether in my world is revolving around Feelings, and more specifically, the need to actually Feel those pesky things.

Why?  Why is it important to feel your feelings?

Oh, for SO many reasons!!  But here are 3 good ones: 
1.  When I don’t take time to notice what I am feeling, I miss vital information.  Emotions provide guidance on what you need more of and what you need less of. 
2. When I don’t take time to process my feelings, when I ignore them and push them away to be dealt with “later,” I add yet another layer of tension, another layer of armor.  Emotions are energy, and if that energy is not transmuted, it will get stuck and take up space in the body.
3. Finally, if I don’t learn to how process emotions, they scare me, and I avoid doing things that could cause me to feel that emotion.  The desire to not feel certain things creates false bumper rails, making my life and experience more and more narrow.  Life gets smaller, less colorful, less interesting.

Does that happen to you as well?  

What can we do about it?  How does one start to “feel” feelings, when one has never been taught how to do that?

Here is a practice that might help.  When you notice the impulse to grab your phone, grab something to eat, grab something to drink, take a breath and pause. Ask yourself, what am I feeling?  If you have the time and space to do so, set the timer on your phone for 2 minutes and sit and watch what that emotion looks like on the inside – Where do you feel it? Is it heavy or light? Does it have a color? How would you describe the texture?  Does it stay in the same place or does it move around?  Notice what happens when you turn towards the sensation with curiosity instead of turning your back on it with resistance.

When I practice this, sometimes the emotion stays with me, and sometimes I watch it move around and then leave.  And when that happens – wow – I feel more space inside.  One layer of the onion has dissolved!

This podcast really made me think even more deeply about the need to feel and process our emotions.  Here are some questions you can ask yourself:  What am I avoiding because I don’t want to experience emotional pain?  What emotions am I afraid of experiencing and who would I be/what would I do if I wasn’t afraid of experiencing these emotions?

As always, thank you for reading.  I hope you have a fabulous week.  Have some fun.  Find a safe space and feel some feelings.  Get outside.  Connect with someone for realsies – talk about Life, The Universe, and Everything.

And remember, if you want guidance with finding more space in your body and mind, I’m here for you.

Take care,

Heather

Awakening, Health & Fitness, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners, Movies, Quest

On Running With Wolves

“Women Who Run With the Wolves.” The title grabs you, does it not?

What does it invoke in you?

To my mind it brings the image of the wild child from Princess Mononoke, a beautiful film about Industry and Progress killing the Spirit of the Forest.

Princess Mononoke LITERALLY runs with the wolves.  She was raised by them.  She loves them, and she loves the Forest and hates the Industry that is stripping the mountains of their resources and beauty.

Ugh.  Just such a beautiful movie. 

But, I digress.

Women Who Run With the Wolves is about ancient stories full of symbolism and signs, almost un-interpretable to the modern woman, disconnected as she is (we are, I am) from the Earth, the body, the cycles, the rhythms.

Fortunately, author Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a Jungian psychoanalyst/poet/scholar who collected these stories and breaks them down for those of us who want to learn their lessons.

I am 1/3 of the way through it, and it’s helping me find my heart, my teacher, again. 

Despite 10 years of investigation into the mindbody realm, I still remained “separate than” – an analytical observer of things, dispassionate, unfeeling (except for when it comes to annoyance, frustration, and anxiety – those I experienced in spades).  Oh, I had glimpses and shimmers of connection with Self, but they were so fleeting – a flash of connection, and then the mind retreated upstairs, and the body went back to being an overlooked, shy, beautiful (but with glasses, frizzy hair and hand-me-down clothes) girl sitting in the shadows surrounding the dance floor – just hoping to be noticed and escorted back into the limelight. 

This book is helping me reintroduce my heart to my head.  It reminds me that as a Woman, I am meant to be Wild, attuned to nature, full of darkness and light and mysticism.  That is my birthright. 

Really, if this topic at all intrigues you, you just have to read this book!!  But here, to get you started and to pique your interest, are some symptoms of a disrupted relationship with wildness force in the psyche (I’m paraphrasing below):

  • Feeling dry, depressed, without inspiration, without meaning, stuck, uncreative, compressed, powerless, chronically doubtful, unable to follow through, inert, uncertain, overprotective of self, self-conscious, drawn far into domesticity or intellectualism or inertia because THAT IS THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE for one who has LOST HER INSTINCTS.
  • To fear to venture by oneself or reveal oneself, fear to set out one’s imperfect work, cringing before authority, numbness, anxiety. 
  • Afraid to try the new, to stand up/speak up, becoming conciliatory or nice too easily.
  • Afraid to stop, afraid to act, ambivalent yet fully capable.

Does any of that resonate?

This reads like an autobiography of my life.

But things are shifting – maybe like a 10% shift.  Not super seismic, just enough to notice, just enough to put me on a new course. 

When I feel myself rushing.  I slow down.

When I feel my insides getting pulled upwards by the storm in my head, I pull myself back in to my feet, my pelvis, and my heart center.

When I need to make a decision, I pause.  I check in and see what the answer is.  And I try to listen to whatever message comes up (and often nothing comes up, and that’s OK).  I express gratitude and respect to my inner teacher – my heart.

As a result, I NOTICE things.  I see the person in front of me, I notice the bark of the tree by the side of the path, I watch the urge to pick up my phone to kill time and I DON’T PICK UP MY PHONE

It’s a nice shift.  I feel more real.  I also feel scared that I will lose this.  But now I know that life is full of rhythms and cycles.  If I lose this.  I will find it again.