Intelligence of the Body in Boston

I am honoured to be invited to Down Under Yoga in Boston to present The Intelligence of the Body on September 25th and 26th.  We will be learning why it is so important to pay attention to little signals in the body that are our unique telephone call inviting us to grow.  We will have some experiences of what our phone call feels like and practice bringing warm interest and non-judgment to what we find inside.

I will follow up after the workshops to share our experiences of  listening to our phone call, answering the body’s question “Am I safe?” and being moved by the truth of our emotions…  All with the aim of letting ourselves matter, so we can grow.

The essence of resilience

Resilience is the holy grail of mental health.  It is the ability to bounce back from life’s inevitable setbacks.  It is the foundation for success and the basis for “I can”.

But what if the essence of resilience lies in the experience of “I can’t’?

What??  “I can” emerges from “I can’t”?  What kind of voodoo is that? you ask.

It is the wonderful magic of the body as it works its wisdom on us, growing us into  larger and more powerful manifestations of who we are most deeply meant to be.

You see, when we are reaching for our biggest life, when we are brave enough to long for something and strive for it, we are always going to bump up against limits to our singlehanded control over the outcome.  Forces other than our will and our effort and our talent and our intelligence and our visualizing will contribute to whether and when and how our dream comes true.

And when that happens, when we are up against those limits to control over outcomes that matter to us, we find ourselves in the place of “I can’t”.  It is the feeling of futility.  This is a very tough place.  We have naturally arising defenses against experiencing the pain of this place.  We are pulled away from the feeling of futility and find ourselves distracted by clever diversions of hyper-control (“of course I can, I just need to make that person do this and the government do that and the weather do the other thing”…  ) or self blame (“I should have been able to make that person do this and the government do that and the weather do the other thing”… ).

But reality being what it is, you can dance the defense dance all you like, but what is, still is.

When you take in the failure of your own efforts to make the thing happen in the way or the timing you want, there is a natural physical experience.  It is a bodily sequence designed to move you to where you need to be.  The first experience is protest.  Protest feels like anger, like a pushing away with your arms, a clenching of fists, a resistance.  It is so important to let yourself feel that all the way through.  Because at the end of that wave of feeling is the next piece of wisdom from the body, and this one is surrender.  Surrender feels like sadness. It is the place of letting go.

Yanbin curved shorelineProtest and surrender need to be fully felt, and that takes more time than you think and more time than you want to spend there.  Spend it there anyway.  Because at the end of the sadness there is a moment where we settle into the truth of what is.  We accept.  There is a stillpoint and as we rest there our hands want to turn upward slightly, as if to say “thy will be done”.

And in this still place an energy gathers, little swirling tendrils at first, then circling stronger like a column up my spine.  I start to sense a forward pull in my chest and I lean into my life again.  In deeply experiencing my “I can’t” I open myself to the empowerment of what I can do.  Sometimes I can do a great deal to tilt the odds in my favour.  And sometimes the best I can do is stay  on my side and not judge or reject myself in my human limitation, and perhaps ask for help, or re-orient myself to a new goal.

The essence of resilience is in the experience of “I can’t”.  Your intelligent body has a way to bring you to the truth so you can come to terms.  You are built to adapt, and your body will take you there.  It is a simple process, but it is not easy.  It is a process of feelings and feelings are vulnerable and we are wired to avoid vulnerability.

Feel your body when you bump into your limits.  Feel the wisdom there.  Stay with you even though it does not feel good.  There is a bigger you about to emerge.  Powerful and resilient.  You are worth it.  And you are wanted.

Photo Credit: YB

Being in the now

Valerie Harper, the actress who played Rhoda Morgenstern on the Mary Tyler Moore Show was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and given three months to live.  “I don’t think of dying, I think of being here now.  If I’m not here now, where am I?”

Yes, where are we when we are not in the now?  Valerie Harper’s example is dramatic and inspiring, yet we all are faced with this question, with each breath we take.

We are not in the now when we are in a future story of what if’s and worry.  We are not in the now when we are in a past story, ruminating and reviewing and regretting.  We are not in the now when we are in the story about what is happening, even if it is happening now.  Our stories are useful and valuable to help us make sense of our lives, but our stories are not our lives.

Our experience is our life.
being-in-the-now-055-webWhat being in the now means is we feel each moment in the body.  Our felt sense of our hands and neck and shoulders and feet, the rhythm of the breath, the flow of aliveness in the nervous system, the sense of expansion or constriction in the chest, the hum of your energy right this moment…  The way you feel lifted up or pushed back or still or swirling inside…  Can you feel it?  Can you feel you?

It is not easy to be in the moment, even though it is the very simplest of concepts.  The mind gets the idea in a second.  “Oh yeah, be here now.”  But there is wiring in us to avoid the moment, to not feel ourselves in the messy complexity of who we are.  Being in the moment in the body means we open to a flow of ourselves that we do not consciously create or control.  We come face to face with the vulnerable truth of ourselves: we have limits to control over outcomes that matter to us.  And the little quivers of anxiety in the body that arise when we are in touch with that truth send us away from ourselves in the moment.

Yet all the things you want in your life hinge on being here now.  Your presence is the best medicine for anxiety, depression, loneliness, procrastination, disconnection, compulsive behaviours, and even for physical pain.  You want help with anxiety, or help with depression, or help with intimacy, or help with coping better…  You want help feeling more joy or more power or more authenticity.  And the help is in you, in your ability to be with you, in the moment in the body.

What being in the now means is really feeling yourself.  Each step you take has a presence, your presence.  Sense your energy in each step, in each action, in each breath, in each word you speak.  Say to yourself: “There is no hurry, there is nothing more important than really being here, now.  This is where I am.”

No matter how often people suggest you ground yourself and be here, no matter how many yoga classes you take, no matter how many books you read, you need to know it is hard to do this simple little thing.  You need compassion and more patience than you can imagine.  A link needs to happen inside, a sense of actually feeling yourself physically.  As you tune in and feel there will be a bit of anxiety, you will sense a little (or big) urge to move away from this moment, a part of you will say something else is more important than you in the now…

See if you can stay with you in the now nonetheless.

There is nowhere else to be, and nothing more important than your real self right here and now.  Being you.  Can you feel it?

Photo Credit: Sparker

It’s your choice

Right this moment you are having an experience.  Your feet are in socks and shoes or they are bare.  That feels like something in the bones and soles of your feet.  You are sitting on something soft or hard, or you are standing.  That feels like something in your butt and legs and back…  The day has just started or is in mid-swing or is winding down, and that feels like something.  Things seem to be going your way or they do not.  And that too feels like something in the flesh and muscle and breath of your body.

Right now I am at my desk with Bella on my lap.  Her Yorkie-Pekingese mission is at the moment to get me to stop typing so she can rest her little head on my arm.  It is a glorious sunny spring morning and I am itching to get out and play.  My heart is racing a bit (that second very stiff cup of organic Assam has kicked in) and my diaphragm is a little tight.  I can feel my shoulders up as I sit forward.  My body is bracing as though against a slight wind.  It is the familiar feeling of anticipation before I write.  It is not entirely comfortable and I have a choice.

One option is to leave the discomfort and go into an old movie in my head, the “story” about what is happening.  I could tell myself “poor me” that I am not in my kayak or on my bicycle or in the garden or hiking the North Shore mountains right now.  I could leave the physical discomfort and fret about what I will write and whether it will it be helpful or any good at all.  I could decide right at this uncomfortable moment that I need (I mean really need) to tidy my desk or fill the birdfeeders or (I know I know!!) turn over my wardrobe from fall/winter to spring summer clothes.  I could tell myself I am lazy for trying to shirk my work, or that I am weak for feeling discomfort, or in danger because what if I never get it together and get focused and then I stop being able to do what I do and then I won’t be able to work and then I will be on skid row and then…

All these stories do the same thing.  They take me out of the moment in my body.  That is their purpose in fact.  Because somewhere inside me and inside you and inside all of us is an impulse to avoid the discomfort of being.  To avoid the discomfort of the vulnerable truth of our human experience.  To avoid what it feels like to have limits to control over outcomes that matter to us.

You see, what we feel just is.  We are not the boss of the body.  The body is registering incoming stimuli (both from the outside world and from our inner thoughts) and then reacting with its very own unique patterns.  That is vulnerable.  Maybe I wish I could just sit down and write with no tension, no slightly held breath.  But that is just me.  That is my authentic self.  Whether I wish it to be or not!

So the other option is to be with me in what is.  To stay with my experience in the moment in the body and feel.  With warm interest and non-judgment.  To feel with precision what is actually happening rather than escaping into a story.  Even though what I feel is uncomfortable, perhaps not what I wish to feel or perhaps not what I was allowed or encouraged or supported to feel when I was little…
It's your choiceIt is my choice.  It is your choice.  It is the only choice ever, really.  To approach or to avoid.  To love or to fear.  To live a life that grows bigger with each breath, with each brave felt experience as we approach ourselves in what we feel in the moment in the body, or to live a life that is stuck and small as we go away from ourselves with the story.

It is your choice.  Will you go into the scary story that keeps you busy and distracted and away from you?  Or will you stay with the sensations of yourself, even though they are uncomfortable?  I know.. it’s two crappy choices.  But one has the keys to your growth.  When you approach and stay with what it feels like to be you, you access your authentic self.  You discover that your feelings are not danger.  You soothe the body because your presence is the evidence there is no danger.  And you emerge as more you.

It is not easy.  I have taken a moment and dropped into my chest and hung out there, allowing my intercostal muscles between my ribs to feel my warm interest.  And after a little while a gentle exhale let itself go.  I didn’t make that happen.  My body felt my presence and understood, in the way a body does, that everything is okay, that whatever we are facing right now, it is not for the body to have to deal with by bracing and clenching and staying on alert.

And I am in the flow, and my writing flows, and I feel more me.

It is my choice, and it is your choice.  Will you choose approach?  Will you choose love?  You are so worth it.

Photo Credit: Bella in the moment by DBPhotos

Reaching for your biggest life

The riot of new life pushes up from below ground, reaching hungrily for the light.  Spring is here.  Brave and vulnerable, tender green shoots emerge out of the darkness and risk living.  All life is vulnerable.  All life can be hurt, will die.  Yet life longs for itself and this force animates all of us.

We humans have the ability to know we are vulnerable, can realize we have limits to control over outcomes that matter to us.  And our nervous systems are wired to activate when we are faced with that most basic truth.  Our body telephones us with an uncomfortable message, a question really.  It asks us “Are we safe?”  And unless we are faced with immediate threat to our physical safety, we owe our body the reassurance of an answer.  We owe our loyal body a moment of attention as we feel the sensations of tension and agitation, being present with the discomfort long enough and lovingly enough so the body recognizes our awareness and settles.
Reaching for your biggest lifeThat is how we live an approach based life.  We focus on our desire for our biggest life, and we allow ourselves to feel the discomfort of the longing and the reaching and the not yet having.  And we stay connected to the force within us that wants us to become all we are most deeply meant to be.  This is what freedom and power and love look like.

The other way of living is avoidant.  We live an avoidance based life when we ignore discomfort, when we neglect the body’s question, or when we catastrophize it, making the sensations themselves into the problem… as though our body’s question is a sign of weakness or impending loss of control or a source of potential humiliation…   And then we move away from ourselves and whatever else we perceive to be the trigger for the uncomfortable feelings of muscle tension and butterflies and racing heart.  And we stay stuck and small.

Sometimes we are more able than others to take the brave step of approaching life.  It is not an easy thing to do, since we are neurologically wired to avoid discomfort, and to move away from experiences of anxiety and pain.  It is our job to become conscious that we have a choice.  We will not always notice our body’s call, but when we do we have an opportunity to grow into more of ourselves.

This is not a race nor a competition nor something any of us will do perfectly.  It is a journey for our whole lives – waking up, noticing, responding with love to ourselves and approaching life.

Today I invite you to consciously be aware of yourself in this moment.  Will you let the new shoots of yourself emerge?  Will you allow yourself to be in touch with the vulnerable experience of reaching for all your heart longs for?

It is not easy.  Yet you are so very worth it.

Photo Credit: Sparker

Will you love your body back?

Let’s say you are aware you are holding your breath or tapping your feet or biting your lip or rolling your forefinger across your thumb or tightening muscles in your abs or neck or back or butt…  Congratulations!!!  Your awareness is success.  An observing mind is the very first important tool we have in our journey to our most authentic and powerful lives.  So please take a moment to give yourself credit.

The very next thing you need to do is assess: are you in immediate danger?  If there is a threat to life and limb, run away.  If not, love yourself.

Let me say that again: If there is an immediate threat to life and limb, run away.  If not, love yourself.  Simple, right?  Right, but so hard to do…

Our bodies are intelligent and they are constantly scanning our world to determine if we are safe.  Our bodies pay attention to the outer and inner worlds, and ask us many, many times a day to assure them that we are safe.  They send us the question “Are we safe?” via sensations of muscle tension and agitation.  If we are in physical danger the body is ready to run and jump and fight to save our lives.  If I am about to make a left hand turn and suddenly a speeding motorist races through the yellow light my sympathetic nervous system orchestrates a rush of adrenaline, raises my heart rate, increases my respiration, focuses my vision on the target and the escape path, increases power to my limbs and allows me to rapidly swerve out of the way without even knowing how I did that.  Amazing, brilliantly intelligent body!

Those situations of actual physical danger however are relatively rare in our modern lives.  Most of the time when our nervous system is activated it is due to the human truth of vulnerability.  We are faced with the fact of our limits to control over outcomes that matter to us.  We want something to happen and we cannot guarantee it.  And that is our moment of choice.  Choice is power.  It is not control that is power, because there are always limits to our control.  It is our choice that empowers us, and our choice that frees us.

What choice??

Will you love your body back?The big choice: approach or avoid.  Otherwise known as “love or fear”…

Will you approach and love yourself in the moment, paying tender attention to the sensations in the body to let it know you are vulnerable in this moment, but there is no immediate physical danger?  Or will you avoid yourself in the physical discomfort of your sympathetic nervous system arousal, ignoring yourself and shutting down your awareness of what you feel, or neglecting yourself with a frightening story that falsely validates the sensations?  Will you worry as a trick to make you think you really can control everything?  Will you shame and blame yourself when you do not succeed in controlling everything?  Will you numb out with busy-ness and food and alcohol and television and work and shopping and exercise and…

Or will you love yourself?  Will you lean toward yourself?  Will you be a spring sun illuminating and warming the earth of your body?  Will you offer warmth, interest, and non-judgment from your observing mind to your fretful body?  Your loyal, intelligent body that loves you so much?  Will you love your body back?  Will you give it the assurance it needs?

If there is nothing to run from right now, love yourself.  That is everything, and you are so worth it.

Photo Credit: Sparker

The urge to fix

“Helplessness makes me feel anxious” Charlene said as she twisted the Kleenex between her fingers.  “I just need to be able to fix this.”  By “this”, Charlene referred to her boyfriend’s drinking that had worsened a lot over the past few months, and his denial of the problem.  “I totally understand” I said.  “It’s just that unfortunately there’s nothing to fix….”

“But if only he would see what he’s doing to himself, to me, to us!!?  If only he would just stop drinking and face his feelings!”

The urge to fixI know exactly what Charlene means about the driving push to get in there and solve things that don’t feel good.  I am a world class fixer myself, or at least I used to be.  Many years ago I would say I was a compulsive helper.  It came (I thought) from a kind and loving place inside me, where I would put my needs aside and focus my energy on getting the other person to do what they needed to have a better life.  Only after time, reflection, and some serious head injuries as I banged my skull up agains the brick wall of other people’s free will did it sink in to me how my helpfulness arose out of my own intolerance of my anxiety.

I was fixing them so I could feel better.

And sometimes I did actually manage to make a difference in others’ lives, but never without significant cost to the management.  I would be drained, distracted and delayed on my own journey.  And a lot of the time I wasn’t really able to fix anything at all.  But nor was I able to be fully present in my skin to bear witness to the pain of whatever immovable object was blocking the desired outcome.

I am not saying we shouldn’t do what we can do to make change or help ourselves and others.  Sometimes things can be fixed and of course we ought to do what we can to solve the problems in our lives!  Nor should we feel bad if it is our first urge to jump in there with two hands and a machete to cut down the underbrush, build a road, and drive a big truck toward the goal we want…  It’s just that often, and more often than I would wish, there isn’t a fix in my two hands.

The really important things in life often require more than my effort and will and skill.  Many forces to converge to make things happen, some big, some subtle – time, the weather, the economy, gravity, physics, the physical limits in our own bodies, and the free will of other people all may contribute to whether or not we get what we want.  And that is vulnerable.  That is the most powerful truth about being human.  And when we are in touch with that truth it feels uncomfortable.  Our bodies tense and tighten, our energy revs up and we feel agitated.  As Charlene says, it makes us feel anxious.

The most natural thing in the world is to do something to stop the discomfort of vulnerability.  And so we fix, or at least try to.  And when we fail, we can worry and blame ourselves and try harder and get controlling and critical and stay very very busy, all so we don’t feel that tension and agitation.

What do you want to fix right now?  If there is something to be done that would help, have you done what you can?  If you have not, then by all means do that, whatever it is…  But if you have done what you can, if there is not something in your two hands to be done, then you have a very important thing to do.

Be a safe person for yourself.  Say hello to the discomfort in your body, really feel the muscles that are clenching or constricted.  Breathe your loving awareness into the cramped clamped places inside.  Ask for nothing, demand nothing, and listen with warm interest and non-judgment.  Let your body feel your care, and stay there long enough that your presence allows the body to let go its death grip.  In this moment you are with you and that is what matters.

You are the fix.

Photo Credit: Sparker

A basic truth

What you feel is a basic truth.  It is what it is.  Right here and now in your body the sensations and flow of your inner experience is simply a fact.  You did not make it so, it just is.  Your feelings are your living response to incoming stimuli…  they arise out of a source deep within you, influenced by your history and your biology.

There may be complexity to your feeling, or it may be very simple.  It may be fresh and new and only about what is in front of you right in this moment.  Or it may be loaded with old unfinished business.  It may be obvious where it comes from or it may be a mystery to you.  It may be something you feel just fine about, or it may be something you really wish you weren’t feeling.

Whatever the case, what you feel is a basic truth.  And the only way to uncover the gift for you in that truth is to approach the feeling itself and be with it.  The feelings we have are communications from a deep part of us, letting us know who we are and what matters to us, orienting us to what is important, informing us, energizing us to take action, and integrating our physical, emotional and mental experience.

Your feelings matter.

But they may not matter to you…

A basic truth

You do not have a choice about having feelings… the flow is the flow is the flow.  Your feelings are just going on inside you.  But you do have a choice as to what you will do with what is going on inside of you.  You can resolve to tune in and listen and care about and take care of what you feel, or you can ignore and neglect yourself.  You can tune out.  You can avoid your inner world and stay out of touch with yourself.  You can do that by being too busy or too tired or too strong or too scared to feel… but if you make that choice you do not stop the feeling, you only block your access to it.

Our feelings just are what they are.  They are not good or bad.  They have the potential to enrich our understanding and energize our actions and grow our potential, if we will approach them.

Here is the key: my relationship to my feelings is where my health is (or is not).  My capacity to stay with the vulnerability of feeling and soothe my nervous system as I face the waves of feeling are the evidence of my health.  And these are the accelerators of my growth.

It has been said that the source of all suffering lies in not accepting what is.  The basic truth of your feelings just is.  I invite you to come home and be with you right there in what you feel.  Will you?  You are so worth it.

Photo Credit: Dynamic DB

The biggest freedom you can have

When you think of anxiety you don’t usually think of freedom.  But I’m going to share a secret: the biggest freedom you can have is the ability tofeel anxiety.

I know, it sounds crazy, right?  But I promise you that’s true.

Some people believe the biggest freedom would be to never ever feel anxiety.  If that were true and you never felt sympathetic nervous system arousal you would not be a truly alive and sensing human.  As a matter of fact psychopaths (those folks who have no conscience and no empathy) have remarkably low levels of anxiety, and that is not a good thing…  When people say to me they are waiting for the day they will feel no anxiety, I tell them (unless they are novocained from the neck down) they will experience the sensations of vulnerability in their bodies until the day they die…

The bodily experience of vulnerability is normal, human and healthy.  It is actually the most powerful tool we have to promote our personal growth, as long as we know what to do with it.

The key is we need to be able to notice, tolerate and really feel what our body feels like when we are anxious.  We need to stay out of the “story” we make up, all the future “what if’s” and imagined scenarios, and all the backward looking stories of “woulda shoulda coulda”.  Importantly, we need to bring a precise and slow awareness to our inner experience of muscle tension and arousal.  We need to carefully (with care in our hearts) stay with ourselves and sense the quality and intensity and parameters of the tension, being willing to really feel what it feels like in this moment of uncertainty, this moment of “I can’t”, this moment of limits to control over an outcome that matters to me.

The biggest freedom you can haveThis is such a simple thing, yet it is so very hard to do.  We are primed to move away from this experience of tightness and agitation.  There is an urge to disconnect from what we feel at that moment.  At a level that is below our conscious awareness it just seems like the right thing to do and we typically simply obey the impulse.  Like sleepwalkers we avoid our inner experience and tune out of ourselves.  We avoid in a myriad of ways: eating, drinking, shopping, busying, controlling, worrying, and distracting ourselves, slaves to an impulse we didn’t even recognize.

That’s where freedom comes in.  When we can notice the signal from the body that tells us we are vulnerable, if we can become expert at knowing our own unique phone call (tight shoulders, fidgety fingers, held breath, clenched butt, tapping feet) as the body asks for our attention, we have a choice.  The big choice that leads to freedom.  The choice to approach ourselves right then and there in that precise moment and be with ourselves in the discomfort.  It is the choice of love.  Or we can avoid ourselves in that moment, which is the choice of fear.  And if we chose fear and avoidance we are not free.  We are busy and numb and fretful and distracted and sometimes very productive… but we are not free.

Freedom is the ability to be with ourselves in the discomfort of what is.  Rather than fight with what is, rather than trying to fix it or change it or shut it down or shame it or run away from it, freedom is saying hello to what is actually happening in your skin. Freedom is being able to feel what we are feeling and not catastrophize it with a story, and not escape from it with a behavior, and not avoid it in all the many ways we have to leave ourselves.

At the end of the day, the only thing that stops us from living our biggest life is our prediction that we cannot manage what taking that step would feel like.  It is our fear of the feeling of it.  In practicing feeling your feelings in your body you liberate yourself to take brave steps forward into all that is uncertain, new, desired and not yet yours.

Take a breath right now and feel your inner experience of you.  Open yourself to really feel what does not feel good and let yourself make the choice to stay with you.  It is only a feeling and your body needs to know you are there with it.  Your attention is the medicine, letting your body know you are safe.

And then, as your body recognizes you and settles, you are free.

Photo Credit: D Beder Photography

Double Black Diamond Growth

I just skied my first double black diamond run!!!  Yahoo!!  Now, as double blacks go it was probably a gentle one, in that it had no moguls and had been groomed, but it was steep and long and I did it.  Twice!!

Three years ago this month I put on skis for the first time and took the magic carpet up the bunny hill.  Excited and nervous I took my first fall almost immediately. after which Henrik (the handsome Danish ski instructor) kindly demonstrated skiing uphill to slow down.  After that hour lesson Kelly took me on Grandad’s run, a long meandering route with steep little pitches.  I didn’t yet have the concept of turning, and thought skiing was a matter of pointing myself downhill and just going, leading to a lot of gut wrenching moments for Kelly as I tumbled and crashed and he held his breath and prayed.

In the three years since that first exhilarating nerve wracking day I have been blessed with Kelly’s patient and precise instruction.  And lots of praise.  I got praised for getting my boots on, for carrying my poles properly, for getting up on my edges, for getting on and off the lift, for turning, for controlling my speed, for falling gracefully, for falling in control, for falling rather than losing control, and for just being there on the mountain and giving my best effort…  After a day on the hill Kelly would review the experience with me, gently giving pointers and correction, and always highlighting any percent of success.

Image-1I have had many moments of frustration and several garage sales (that’s when you fall so spectacularly that your gear flies out from you in a splayed tangle of gloves and skis and poles…).  I’ve cursed and cried and given up.  But mainly I have tried and focused and kept at it, fuelled by determination and desire.

As I have practiced and just kept doing and doing and doing what Kelly instructed, I have had magical moments of floating and flying.  Forces of gravity and speed and momentum become real as I feel the wind and sense the trees and terrain around me.  I am filled with mountain energy, crisp air, the cry of the raven, and the sparkling reflection of sun on snow crystals.  These rewards are inherent in the experience of being there and being present.  And then there is the wonderful reward of “I did that”.  The feeling of competence, of “I can do it”, the wonderful takeaway when we apply ourselves and have faith and keep at it.

Often in the office as I am inviting people to grow their inner awareness it seems like a daunting and obscure thing.  It is repetitive and there are uncertainties and there are falls.  Yet, like all things to do with the body, we get better with practice.  The brain changes with experience and reflection, so we keep experiencing and reflecting.  And a big part of what I do is make it safe for folks to fall down.  There is no growth without vulnerability.  I direct our attention to any little turn in the direction of health and life.  I make space for the mixture of feelings, the frustration and impatience and hope and delight and shyness and of course, the feeling in the body of vulnerability.  I look for evidence of determination and desire and draw our attention to it.  And I make space for celebrating every single success.

We are all meant to grow.  We are wired to want to become our biggest selves.  We all deserve to give ourselves safety and encouragement by being warm, interested and nonjudgmental toward ourselves.  You deserve to risk doing what it takes to live your most authentic, resilient and connected life.  You deserve to fly down life’s mountain with the wind in your hair feeling a part of everything.

You are entitled to double black diamond growth.  You are so worth it.

Photo Credit: Dr. David Bayley