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.

When You’re Feeling Yanked Around…

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Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

There are some days (let’s be honest, some seasons) where I just feel yanked to the next thing from the moment I arise ‘til the time I hit the hay. Do you know that feeling? During these days, we may even get our mindfulness practice in still, but it feels like we’re robbed of the day-long calmness we were told we’d have. I must admit though, during those days my practice is more on the rushed side than the truly mindful.

Because I’ve been going through a season of these pulled, yanked, and rushed episodes, I decided to take some inspired advice I’d read on Sunday—to retire early and arise early “that body and mind may be invigorated” (Doctrine and Covenants 88: 124).

Have you ever thought to yourself during your yanked-days, “I think earliness is the answer”? Well, the promise of an invigorated body and mind was too sweet to pass up so I went for it. If this feels impossible, I actually found that it wasn’t as hard as I thought to get in an extra 15 minutes of earliness going to bed and getting up. It’s worth trying.

What I got today during those extra 15 minutes of mindfulness and prayer this morning was an unexpected lesson on my limited concept of time. It became a re-training of my mind in regards to the scarcity of time, and actually to the concept of scarcity at large. Here are some things I learned that I thought you may enjoy as well:

  • There is not a scarcity of time, energy, health, wealth or ability. There is only a learning curb that blocks us from understanding how to have plenty.
  • Rather than straining to get more of these items or that there’s just not enough of them to go around, we can have a sense of peace towards them as we shift our intent to use them as tools rather than as our pursuit.

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    Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash
  • It’s easier to see how this is the case if we think of them in the context of a game, like Mario for example. Time, wealth, and health are tools in the game, but not the end pursuit. We collect stars to speed us up in time, coins to unlock opportunities, and mushrooms to give us health. All the while, we’re moving forward not with the intent to just collect the tools, but to use those tools to accomplish our pursuit—reconnecting with our loved one, Princess Peach in this case.
  • When we live to collect the tools of time, energy, health, wealth, or ability, we’re not living out our purpose and thus we’ll always be met with scarcity and that yanked feeling. If instead we seek them as tools and live life using them as tools to fulfill our purpose, then we’re able to live more freely. Our attitudes can shift, for example, from thinking our family members drain our time, energy, or finances, to appreciating the connection we have with them and the unique perspectives family adds to life.

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    Photo by Ana Tavares on Unsplash

 

If you’ve been going through a yanked season lately, I hope this shift in perspective of using the tools of time, health, and wealth frees you from the constricted feeling scarcity can create. Use the 15 minutes of earliness to allow you space so you can have more creative energy to think of opportunities to collect more tools if you’d like, and reconnect with your purpose.

Chaos and Crumbs

For the past few weeks, I’ve watched how the feeling of things being out-of-control can suddenly switch us from able to disabled. The “out-of-control thing” can be a feeling of trying to set a routine and it keeps slipping away. A partial opinion someone has of us that we just can’t help them see our full picture. Trying to support a sick loved one. Or the clutter that has crawled into our closet, kitchen, or computer from loved ones or ourselves as we’re trying to manage life’s demands. Whatever that out-of-control thing is for you, know that you’re not the only one who gets incapacitated by it every now and then. We’re not weak for feeling that way. We’re growing.

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Photo by Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash

When chaos comes, we may feel all we have left are crumbs of ideas, energy, support, or solutions.

But at least we have crumbs.

I’ve been thinking about this when random moments of chaos have affected me or those around me lately. For some reason, the idea of crumbs brought me solace. In the midst of pain and pressure from chaos’ crumbliness, I think we can learn from our little leftover remains.

  1. Its ok to have days of hearty harvests and days of scraping from the bottom. Just like the seasons, our days will vary in abundance. Some days we’re functioning at a Spring state with bounteous energy and flowing ideas. Other days we’re more in a huddled, frigid Winter state. Both seasons, we have something to give and receive. When I have those free flowing days with buckets full to share, I find myself still needing to receive my husband’s counterbalancing thoughts to prune and hedge my decisions. During the winter freeze and crumby days when I have little to give, I can still offer warmth to huddle next to. What this looks like may be extra delegating, voicing my needs more, or drawing loving boundaries for activities or people to better care for myself.
  2. Every crumb counts. Imagine your favorite meal or desert. Every last drizzle and morsel of that deliciousness is savored and celebrated. That means that when we’re depleted, every little bit that we do have to give to ourselves, our families, or our work is enough. Even if they say otherwise, let it be a truth we can anchor in knowing that our best is enough (1). Because our seasons can change, that means our best also changes. We can give ourselves some space in productivity, in helpfulness, in nurturing, and wherever we tend to excel in or be leaned on, knowing that it’s ok for our status and abilities to fluctuate. But what we do give, if given with our best, will be for good.
  3. Be determined to move forward. Crumbs can only support us for so long. I’ve used these crumby moments to be a flag and indicator to myself that things have got to change. And the things I can change are 1) my attitude and 2) my actions. For my attitude, there’s nothing like listening to a favorite song that anchors me to remember truths or to be grateful. A few of my favorites are “Blessed” by Martina McBride, “Baba Hanuman” by Shantala, or any song by JJ Heller. As for actions, you know the list: exercise, sleep, talking/counseling, nutrition, praying, serving, exploring nature, acupuncture, or reading.
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Photo by Abele Gigante on Unsplash

This has been a topic I’ve been thinking about for a while and so writing it was actually a challenge because it’s been a learning by observing process rather than anything measured or clinical. I hope through this conversation we can each be more patient with ourselves through the chaos and crumbs. We’d love to hear what you’ve found helpful when you’ve felt out-of-control or crumbly. Who knows, if we as women link our crumbs together, maybe we’ll end up with a loaf to share.

(1) Ruiz, Miguel. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. San Rafael, Calif: Amber-Allen Pub, 1997. Print.