Is there anything you do now that swallows your sense of time, allowing you to simply experience the present?– Martha Beck, Finding Your Own North Star
I know I have always lived too much inside my own head and it’s not a good thing. It’s not for no reason that the Tarot represents thoughts as swords. We all know the stabbing sensation of awful thoughts and mental rumination. My mind is always busy, storytelling, imagining the worst, my mind is always creating.
For me, there are two ways of using the verb creating: 1) The dictionary meaning, e.g., causing something to come into being, and, 2) The Geordie meaning: when someone is fussing or making drama, e.g., he’s been creating all morning.
The second definition is a great description of the resistance we’ve all felt and sometimes the way we may respond in a situation or project where we can’t quite get into the flow of it. And when we are creating in the Geordie way, it’s hard for other people to want to connect to us, since it’s just super noisy. In the past, I have turned to my computer. I love technology.
Technology can augment humans either with social media or by manipulating design solution spaces when we are working. At play, it can change our brain chemistry by immersing us in virtual worlds or shared experiences so that we transcend ourselves and become inspired to get through our resistance and start creating in a nice way. I know I love that when it happens.
The flip side of this seems to be when we do business online or are connected to people we would rather not be using the same devices where we get our kicks we often feel invaded and distracted. The Internet compresses time and space so that we are often presented with inboxes overflowing with email and DM requests which can come at us all times of the day and night and that we feel under pressure to reply and sometimes feel obliged to do things we’d really rather not. Then, we have the opposite – when we are waiting for certain texts and emails which never come and we feel lonely and despondent because we were hoping for connection in the form of attention, appreciation and even affection.
One answer is to disconnect from the social media channels which don’t fill us up but this is hard as our brains view social media messages as rewards – likes and hearts actually light up our nucleus accumbens – so without them, we feel the same way we do without our special peeps – we feel deprived and existentially lonely. Trauma therapist, Alan Roberge advises sitting with the pain until it passes, but some days we just cannot, and not even technology can help us when we are all there up in our own heads thinking and triggering feelings which may involve all that longing and yearning for more connection. I know I often picked up my phone hoping to escape my reality and be virtually elsewhere but it doesn’t always work. So, what else can we do?
Life coach Martha Beck recommends the Four Ds – dancing, drumming, dreaming and drugs. For when we are longing and yearning for connection or feeling invaded with unpleasant requests, we are closed in, but when we dance or drum or dream, (I don’t have any experience with drugs to get excited about) we dissolve the boundaries between us and the world making us feel at one with life, which feels just like falling in love. In this way we can feel connected and rewarded all by ourselves, anytime we desire. We can light our own fires.
Lately, I have been making time each day to do Ecstatic Breathwork, which is basically meditation with heavy breathing and resulting tingling sensations. It really does what it says on the tin, and afterwards, I feel deeply embodied in such a present way without any stories going on in my head.
All yoga traditions talk about breathing as the most important part of yoga because the practice of pranayam means managing our energy, our life force, chi, or prana. Not only that but we can tap into the universal life force known as shakti and raise the kundalini. I have known this theoretically and done various breathing practices but never had the experiences yogis talk about, until I took Scott Schwenk’s class (online – see enriching technology). Now I know how much creating and connecting I can do, just by breathing. It is electrifying and I love it.
The nicest thing about breathwork is that the goal is not to create anything or try to relax or release, it is purely about experiencing the present moment as it happens and being present in the body. Schwenk says that as we do this practice – and my goodness, he walks his talk, he literally sparkles with fresh energy – we can gradually release all that does not serve us, leaving us to be present in the moment and unfettered, as ultimately that’s how we all want to feel. And, we feel all stirred up again when life gets us down, we can return to the practice, return to our breath, anytime we like.
We all want to feel alive, delighted and excited. We want to feel good, like all those times when we’ve fallen in love, been in flow, in the gap, where there’s no where else to be, nothing else to do, and no compromise to be made. It’s just so easy and wonderful. We don’t give two hoots about anything, we have so much energy, and life feels like magic and we are creating effortlessly. That is what we all want.
A fellow yogi in my yin class today recommended that I try naked dancing. Apparently, you begin fully clothed wearing seven layers or seven items of clothing which represent the seven chakras which put me in mind of the Salome’s dance of the seven veils. So much of our energy is tied up with the chakras and so much has been lost in the Bible and rewritten to edit women out altogether or turn them into sex objects, so perhaps it wasn’t a sexual dance she was doing at all.
I recently read Meggan Watterson’s Gospel of Mary Magadelene which made me feel all sorts of tingling and connection and truth and freedom around the Bible which I will blog about at some point. However, I do like the sound of naked dancing, just to feel free, to stop thinking and to dissolve the boundaries between me and something bigger than myself.
It is interesting that we talked about naked dancing before our yin class started, as then in one of those lovely flow synchronous moments the teacher began the class by saying that yin yoga is perfect for this time of year and the changing seasons. It may seem that the leaves are falling and dying as nature is going into hibernation and nothing new is happening. However, there are seeds deep down in the earth which will germinate when the time is right. There is vast potential, there is pure possibility, just waiting for the right time, already full of itself, not needing anyone else’s validation or say so.
I’ve said before that our society worships youth, because young people seem to be full of that potential and possibility, they are still unfettered by life’s admin and life experiences. But, we too can be like that too, we can remember how we loved and laughed and everything seemed possible until we learn how to feel like that once more. To do this, we need to be brave enough to step back from our constant activity, our constant creating and to allow ourselves the time to go deep. We need to stop forcing ourselves to push through and answer our inboxes and DMs and deadlines, we need to breath deeper, love ourselves longer, dance, dream, drum, and trust that we can create and be in all the ways which nourish us.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing– Rumi
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.
[ part 10 ]