Health & Fitness, Yoga

On Meeting Your Future Self

Who are you?  What’s your motivation??

Well, I just spent 25% of the time I had allocated for writing this post on searching for a segment from Community where they are trying to capitalize off of Ben Chang’s momentary stardom by creating an absolutely terrible sci-fi movie wherein they use previously filmed clips of Chang, and in those clips, he keeps repeating, “Who am I?  What’s my motivation??” 

Wow.  That was a really impressive run-on sentence.

What’s the point, you’re wondering??

Two points.

  1. If you are hankering for some brilliant TV, and you haven’t watched Community.  Stop reading this right now and go watch Community.  SO GOOD.
  2. That question of “Who Am I?” is kind of an important one.

As I mentioned in a previous email, I recently finished the book Healing Ourselves. This week I also finished Healers On Healing and started on Helping People Change.  Guess what common theme is present in all 3 of these books, written by a whole slew of PhDs and doctors and scientists?

We have tremendous power to heal ourselves.

But, just because we have the power doesn’t mean we know how to use it.  We are not conditioned to look inside ourselves for answers. We’re taught that answers are to be found in Parents, in Teachers, in Books, in The Science, in The Government, in People Smarter Than Us.

But what spiritual teachers and philosophers have taught for decades (and what current research on consciousness and meditation is proving out) is that the answers we seek are found by turning inwards and realizing that we are whole, and while we are One, we are also connected to Many, and that connection to Many (call it God, Oneness, the Universe, Zero Point Field, Universal Consciousness, Spirit, etc.), gives us access to all the answers, support, and guidance that we need – ALL INSIDE OF US.

But HOW?  How do we start to find answers within ourselves??

All of these books, in addition to more secular books like Atomic Habits, and Working With Emotional Intelligence, emphasize the importance of tuning in to the Higher Self/Future Self/Best Self as a way of getting guidance and motivation for lasting behavior change.

But, again. HOW! 

This is where I struggle.  I understand the theory behind “the answers are within” but sometimes The Within is deathly silent and uncommunicative!

This is where I think “different strokes for different folks” can be very helpful.

When I’ve been guided by therapists to “ask your heart” when faced with a question, I’m often met with anxiety.  “Shit.  My heart’s not saying anything.  I must be doing this wrong.  How long will she wait before she gets impatient for an answer??  Why am I paying someone to make me do this?  Ooh!  There’s a thought.  But is it coming from my mind or from my heart?  Am I just projecting what I want my heart to say, or is it really saying it??” 

And sometimes I do get an answer that way, even despite the Ego going into panicked overthinking.

But what I have found more helpful are writing exercises and guided meditations.

Several years ago I took a workshop from Ariel Kiley called Business of Yoga Success.  One of the exercises she did was “Dream Lifestyle – Describe what your most fantastical ideal lifestyle would look like.  What is your schedule?  What’s your home like?  Travel?  Trainings?  Family and friends?  Have fun creating a fantastically comfortable and vibrant life that reflects your highest values.”

And I DID have fun with that.  And the Future Heather I created in that writing exercise has come back to visit me often. 

She came back to me when I did this Future Self meditation, where you meet 5 different versions of yourself and spend time connecting to the one who resonates most thoroughly.  Path 4 Heather is, Man!  SO COOL.

Meeting and tuning it to the energy of your Future Self can provide inspiration, motivation, and guidance.  WWMFSD?? What Would My Future Self Do!  James Clear recommends asking this question when you are trying to shift your behavior.  How can I make a 1% better choice in this situation, aligned with my Future Self?

Your Future Self is a pretty handy mentor, guide, and healer.  If you are interested in seeing what help you can give yourself, you could try out the Dream Lifestyle writing exercise or listen to the Future Self meditation (10 mins), or if you have a chatty heart, you could sit down, spend a few moments watching your breath, put your hand on your heart and ask for help.  We are all unique snowflakes, so try out a few things and see what works for the N=1 experiment that is you!

Space to be Human Updates

  • I’m hosting an Introduction to Mindset class on 1/24/22 from 1PM-2PM Central.  If you feel tortured by your monkey mind (any fellow High Functioning Anxiety peeps out there??), you will find some relief in this class.
    • Please register in advance for this meeting:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrd-ChpjMoEtYpcCkbuZuBn2JXR5S4dDE1
    • After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

That’s all for today, my friends!  Please respond to this email if you have any questions or comments.  I really do love to hear from you; otherwise, I’m all like.. “Bueller…..Bueller….?”

Happy Sunday, My Lovely Readers!!

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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, 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

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

On Spirals

Think about where you see spirals in nature – in the tendrils of a vine, in a seashell, in a tree trunk spinning its branches out as it climbs up towards the sun. Spirals are EVERYWHERE in nature.

And guess what.

Spirals are everywhere in YOU. You/we are nature. We often feel separate – Other Than – nature, but the patterns and rhythms we experience in the natural world around us are reflected in humans, from the tips of our hair, to the formation of our bones, to our very heart.

This is a beautiful video that shows how the heart itself is a spiral – a fleshy, living, beating, spinning conch shell – spiraling blood throughout the body.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbOyozg_GTs

I’ve noticed that when I get stressed and tense, I feel my insides torquing – they get wound up, tighter and tighter, compressing all the space in my body, making me smaller and twisted.

If we compress in spirals, we must decompress in spirals too – via breath or movement or expansion of thought.

Have you found a way to unclench, spiral out, spin out your energy as you reach towards the sun?

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

On The Power of the Pause

Life is moving fast. Even in COVID times. I hear many people say that this has been a year to reflect, to slow down, to Be instead of Do. I have no doubt that was/is true for a lot of people, but I think that peoples’ experiences of 2020 are as varied as the shells on a beach. Tim and I were blessed in that neither of us lost our jobs; we actually have had the opposite experience – we have been super busy with work and multiple jobs. Busy to the extent that we have felt as if we have no time to slow down!

But, as I continue my dive into learning about what makes a Human Being thrive (not just survive), it’s become abundantly clear how important it is to Pause.

To Pause between the exhale and the inhale.

To Pause after moving your body in a new way to see what has shifted.

To Pause to appreciate THIS moment – this moment that will never Be again.

To Pause to notice the progress we have made and to appreciate the process and not get fixated by the destination.

To Pause and let your feet actually sink into the ground beneath your feet instead of skimming across the surface.

To Pause and notice before responding.

To Pause and notice that what you are thinking might not be true.

To Pause and widen your gaze, hear the leaves rustle, feel the breeze play with your hair, smell the wet earth.

To Pause and see what it’s really like to live from within a Human Body, not above it it or in front of it, but from within it.

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

On The Importance of Opposites

I recently started a 5-month certification program, called Yoga for The Mind. I’m doing the course with my teacher, Dr. Betsy Rippentrop (Heartland Yoga Studio in Iowa City, Iowa), so I can learn how to use yoga to improve mental health.

The class is ALL about the importance of the mind/body connection. And the more I learn about this topic, the more frustrated I am by the term “mind/body connection” because THERE IS NO SEPARATION BETWEEN THE MIND AND BODY. They are the SAME thing. It’s like talking about the “connection” of the front and back side of a coin.

But, while they are ONE, they are also DUAL. Much like how we as humans are Me but also We.

And so this concept of balance, tension of opposites, grounding down and lengthening up keeps coming up.

In Thursday’s class we talked about the Masculine and Feminine sides of the body. Energetically, the right side of the body is more masculine – more focused on doing, being disciplined, achieving, other-soothing (so interesting!!). The left side of the body is more feminine – more receptive, nurturing, trusting, self-soothing.

It’s interesting to note, “What side of the body do I have more issues?”

In neurosomatic therapy, we often observe that people have more injuries, more pain, more tension on one side versus the other. One explanation could be that one side of the body is longer than the other (a lower limb length inequality), resulting in a sacrum that’s tilted, which can cause imbalances in muscles, fascia, nerves. Another explanation could be the existence of a pelvic obliquity, where one ilium (hip bone) is flared in while the other is flared out – again causing imbalances in the form of a spiral that travels all throughout the body, often leading to one-sided pain.

But (or maybe AND), could another explanation be, that there is an imbalance in energies in the body – one side is more dominant, and we need to focus awareness on developing qualities of the opposite side?

Whether we are talking about structure (bones/tissue/fluids) or subtle energies, the solution seems to be the same – WORK WITH THE OPPOSITES.

If one side of your torso is compressed – stretch it! If you always turn your head to the left to look at your left monitor, put your email on your right monitor, so you start looking to the right more! If you are always going, going, doing, doing, thinking, thinking. TAKE A BREAK. Get out of your Head and into your Body. Spend some time doing restorative yoga. Use the urge to grab your phone and look at Facebook as a reminder to settle your energy into your pelvis and take some smooth, slow, breaths.

Many of us were raised in a culture that values Action, Achievement, Hard Work (it’s the American Way!), so we really need to work on instilling the more feminine qualities of intuition, cooperation, sensuality. Interesting side note – it is WAY more common with my clients to have more pain on the right side of their bodies!

One of my favorite yoga poses to offset the Drive of Daily Life is Constructive Rest. I guide you through the practice here. Please remember to Check In with your heart, mind, body before and after the practice, so you can prove to your Ego that it was time well spent. 🙂

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

Why do YOU need Space to Be Human?

I created Space to Be Human to provide people with bodywork, meditation, and mindful movement tools as a pathway to rediscover space for positive change.

Why would I need this form of therapy?

  • You want to feel better in your body.
  • You have nagging pain that won’t go away no matter what you do.
  • You want to learn self-care tools to address “issues in the tissues.”

What should I expect in a session?

  • We will chat about about your story, symptoms, and patterns.
  • Heather will do a postural assessment to identify areas of the body that may be constricted and use that info + your story + your symptoms to design a treatment plan that will help you reach your goals.
  • The treatment plan will address disregulation in your nervous system, muscles, and organs via manual therapy, breathwork, and movement.

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

On Just Doing It

I’ve had a real bad case of “I don’t feeeeeel like it” lately. It’s often served with a side of, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” It’s a potent recipe for not getting *&#! done!

But, each day I am reminded that, I too, am getting old. I thought it wouldn’t happen to me. Somehow, with healthy eating and moderate exercise, I could forestall this fate.

But the grey hairs are glinting through the brown, catching the light with their steely, wayward shafts.

My body is getting all weird and mysterious and unpredictable – pretty sure it’s perimenopause.

I totally HATE driving after dark.

At some point, thousand of years of human history indicate that the tomorrows will run out.

I’ve deduced that my best option is to DO the thing, even if I don’t feel like it. Even if it’s not perfect. Even if it might not work. Even if I get embarrassed. Even if I’m inconsistent and don’t DO the thing EVERY day. I just need to do it.

So here is my gift of imperfection to you!

I hosted a Gratitude Workshop last week, and here are two goodies I would like to share with you:

  1. A worksheet you can use to review 2020, pulling out 3 good memories from each month. Warning – it’s hard!! In the workshop, we started with December and worked backwards. I only made it to September, truth be told. But just reviewing those few months gave us some good insights. At the end of the worksheet are 2 exercises that you can use to set yourself up for a positive 2021.
  2. A guided gratitude meditation (courtesy of ChangeToChill.org) to get your mind and heart in a good space to complete the worksheet.

Oh! And why Gratitude? It helps us focus on the positive, improve wellbeing, improves symptoms of illness and depression, results in more optimism and happiness, stronger relationships, more generous behavior, etc. Science says!! I probably should have led with that…

Let me know what you think of the worksheet and/or the meditation. If you have any burning questions on manual therapy, meditation, thought-work, send me a note!! I live to serve (and write).

Love, Hlo.

Health & Fitness, massage therapy, Uncategorized, Yoga

Space to be Human

Hello My Friends!

As you may have noticed, I finally completed my name change. Heather Longoria Bodywork & Yoga is now Space to be Human LLC.

When I work with you, my main intention is to help you discover more space – more space between the muscles and fascia of your body, more space between stimulus and automatic response, more space in your bodymind to see new ways of being, thinking, and doing in the world.

I also love the sentiment of grace that come with that phrase, “space to be human.” None of us has the Right Answer. The only way to find an answer that works for you or me or him or her specifically, is to approach life with a sense of discovery, curiosity, and humor – to have the grace and self-compassion to try new things and be OK with them not working out sometimes, and to celebrate when you find The Difference That Makes a Difference.

We all need that space to be human – to do our best, keep trying, and keep learning with and for each other. As a thank you for being part of my tribe and for getting to Month 11 of 2020 together, I am offering $25 off all sessions for rest of November 2020. Use code THANKYOU25 when booking here.

And if your spine has been feeling compressed and locked up from the weight of the world (or too much computer-time), here is a short movement practice you can do that will help you start to invite more space into your spine.

If you want more tips and videos like this, check out this article on posture that I wrote for Tune Up Fitness. So many good nuggets in there!

And with that, I’ll leave you be!

With love, Hlo

P.S. If any of your friends or family are struggling with pain or tension, I would so appreciate it if you would pass on my info to them. THANK YOU!