Finding Space for Self

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“Press ‘pause’ and reflect if you are living your best life” – Sommer Seitz, MA, LMHC

Each day it’s important to press “pause” and reflect if you are living your best life.  Most of us are living from a place of fear or auto-pilot that simply reacts to life from the information and patterns we gathered from past-experience, especially the painful ones as fear is 5x more likely to record in our brain for survival purposes. So how can you break this cycle of fearful, reactionary living? This is where mindful connection to self becomes essential.  Self as I am defining it here is that part of you that is curious, calm, confident, compassionate, courageous, creative, connected, and filled with clarity.  You can also identify with self by taking an inventory of to what degree you are living in a pain-free body.  Our bodies do indeed keep score with the painful experiences and mindsets we get stuck in, and my goal today is to give you a starting place to gather needed information to unlock this pain-body and move further into self.

There are more pathways to healing than I can count.  Honestly, healing is a personal journey for each of us, but there are some over-arching principles that I see applying to all in the healing process. Today I will address just two: acceptance and safety.

Acceptance is the first step in the healing process of finding and living in “self.” We cannot leave a place until we arrive at it. The pause I mentioned above allows you to simply gather information, or arrive at where you are in this moment. I challenge you to go inside and be internally focused in this practice, removing external distraction, and just notice with nonjudgmental compassion what sensations, feelings, and thoughts are coming up. This is a great time to just breathe and this allows the body to move into safety which we will discuss more in a moment. You will notice that there are common themes to your thoughts, maybe even like they take on a personality. I like to call these “parts” from the Internal Family Systems trauma model I use in therapy. These parts have a role to protect the wounds you hold from further injury, your body from further pain, and are usually operating out of fear and sense of overwhelm. Notice how tight you get in your body and the nature of the fears your mind is presenting. It’s like you are currently in danger, even if you look around and there is no immediate threat. These parts do things like shame us into always checking and performing, shut us down when feeling overwhelmed, and even help us avoid seeing and acknowledging what is going on inside us. They have great intentions, but this only keeps the wound they are protecting stuck and online, and most importantly these parts keep self from doing its most important job, to heal brokenness from past experience and connect us to our sources of strength.

That bring us to Safety. Once we have accepted where we are and what is going on in our mind and bodies you are ready to establish safety. You better believe that your protective parts will not take a step back from their roles unless they feel heard, understood, that you, self, will take the reins of meeting the need to feel safe.  This can be done in a variety of ways, but some of my favorites are journaling, art expression, maybe finding a song that speaks this your truth, and prayer/mediation. The important thing is that the medium you choose feels safe and nonjudgmental. When you are ready for unpacking this new understanding with an attachment-safe validating person who can stay neutral such as therapist or good friend can lead to even further healing. Some of your partners have this capacity and others get their own parts triggered when you explore with them so be aware of their current capacity. Some questions to ask your parts using the above mediums include: How are your trying to protect me (usually from overwhelm and further wounding), What are your protecting? (Can be a past hurtful experience or negative belief), What are you afraid of? As you create a safe space to explore these answers with compassion, you open the door for self to step forward and offer solutions to your mind, heart, and even directly to these parts that can unlock new ways of addressing your painful experience.

Believe it or not, you live in a self-healing body, and when you can accept and fully witness your painful story, desire to let it go, and then seek the necessary safety and healing source to unpack and unburden yourself, the miracle of healing occurs. I add my witness that this process works, and I have been fortunate enough to be the recipient, instrument, and witness of it many times. I look forward to sharing more ways you can personalize your healing process and tools to do so in coming posts this year!

Peaceful Surrender

Honestly, sharing the episode of Peaceful Surrender was such a privilege to experience. Being able to witness what surrender is from God was transformative. So often we are battling with ourselves…we are creating the war within.
What I have learned about surrendering to God’s will and timing is that when we are in alignment with that, we are also in alignment with ourselves…with our truth, purpose and passion.

This concept was new for me because I started to realize that I was truly in partnership with the great Creator. I think before I just assumed that God would take over and I’d be like a puppet on a string. That just didn’t feel good to me. As I learned about peaceful surrender, I truly saw how my true self and God’s will for me are actually one in the same. So yes, I was surrendering to God but in return He was extending the invitation for me to align with the highest divine version of myself.

I became so excited to follow God’s invitation as an active participant (co-creator) rather than feeling like a puppet on a string.

I also want to bring up the corrupt pattern of surrender on the earth. The world shows that when you finally are forced to surrender, you lose!  That’s a LIE! When you surrender in the way it was originally intended by God, surrender means you WIN!

I ask myself these three important questions when I am seeking to align my will (using agency) with God’s will:

  • What am I afraid of (fear being the root of pride, ego, doubt, judgement, etc.)?
  • What is out of balance within myself, within the relationship, or within the experience?
  • What did my soul want to learn from what is being created?

These questions end the war or battle going on and I’m free to open up with the power of knowledge and the understanding that there is a reason for my experiences. Once the war is over within me…I’m also ready to act on the promptings and instruction I receive.

Peaceful surrender is real and it’s the essence of who we really are. So, the final question always is…are you ready to step into your true divine self?

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/dangrant/episodes/2018-07-29T15_35_19-07_00

rachel

Author Biography: Rachael Grant Dixon is from San Diego, CA. She has her Master’s degree from San Diego State University in Sport and Performance Psychology. She is a corporate trainer, podcaster, and seeker of truth. Rachael loves to connect with people from all walks of life and discover the unique attributes that bring people together.

Uncovering Anxiety

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When we’re talking about anxiety, it’s important to uncover the various shades of what creates those wide-eyed, tight chest, cat-got-your-tongue feelings. When we learn to identify the specific feelings more, we can be more proactive in addressing some of these all-consuming sensations. The way we’re going to do this is by looking at some old Eastern perspectives on emotions and their associated channels in our bodies called meridians.

  • Lost or vulnerable. These are the emotions associated with the Small Intestines meridian. If you can think of different times when you’ve felt the interruption of those anxious feelings, have you ever noticed a correlation with them in situations when you’re doing something totally new or performing?

I often feel this leading up to a presentation I’m about to give. By knowing my pattern, I work on this meridian by gently breathing in and out this feeling of vulnerability. Then I shift my focus to breath in and out the feeling of accepting my best. I do so while massaging the Small Intestines 3 point. When you make a fist, it is located by the knuckle of the pinky where the skin pouches out.

  • Frightfully overjoyed. This is an unfamiliar term in our Western society, so the way I describe it to patients is that it’s when we look happy and just fine, but don’t feel that way inside. It’s like the feeling when also we laugh nervously. This is the emotion of the Heart meridian. I see this most often appearing in more of our close-knit relationships. For example, when a loved one may have hurt our feelings or misunderstood us, and we’re not sure how to address it, so we just try and play it off.

With this “frightfully overjoyed” feeling, its best to first breath in awareness for the hurt or anticipation of being hurt. Then, when you feel ready, you can shift to breath in the feeling of being safe and authentic. You can do so while massaging over the Heart 7 point. With the palm up, this is located on the inside of the wrist, on the pinky side, in the crease where the hand connects to the wrist.

  • Food for thought: in Eastern medicine we also focus on nourishing the mind and body through specific foods. Here are some good foods to add:

Cinnamon
Honey (in moderation, teaspoon-amount)
Berries
Leafy greens
Olives/olive oil
Cucumbers
Papaya
Garlic/onion

If you want to really enjoy diminished feelings of anxiety, also avoid processed and sugary foods. (Hint: foods that have come out of a drive-through window or box.)

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By practicing these breathing and acupressure points daily, you’ll be able to train your reflexes to breathe and expand when you start sensing those anxious feelings of constriction. Add some fresh air into your practice, either by going outdoors or opening the window to continue to flush out those congested sensations further. The food suggestions will also help calm and tone your nervous system. If you’re looking for more info on creating safe places for yourself, check out our Boundaries blog series from last fall.

Hope you enjoy some of these Eastern options! Post if you have any thoughts or questions, and share the health with your friends 🙂

More info on locating those acupressure points :

https://theory.yinyanghouse.com/acupuncturepoints/si3

https://theory.yinyanghouse.com/acupuncturepoints/ht7

Anxiety: Join the Discussion

This month we will be discussing anxiety.  Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the Unites States, and we hope to provide some helpful tips and tools.  Please join the conversation.  Comments on how you have addressed anxiety in your life or questions about anxiety are welcome in the comments.  We are excited to link with you!

Interview with “The Happiness Dude” and Sommer Seitz… The Power of Mindfulness