Love Your Defenses!

Love Your Defenses - HSP Health Blog
Love Your Defenses - HSP Health Blog

Source: Morguefiles

So many defenses. I feel like my life is often about bumping into defenses of one kind or another. Dealing with defenses feels like walking through a field of hay.  With each step you meet  a new stalk(defense) that obscures your vision and parts as you walk only to reveal a new defense.

Often the defenses I bump into are the defenses of other people. I dislike bumping into them because in doing so the relationships changes – often not for the better.

When defenses show themselves, the relationship door usually closes even if only for a moment and we realize we are not welcome. That happens to highly sensitive people a lot.

Of course, sometime defenses are our own because we get hurt and our healing is not easy.

What Are Defense Mechanisms?

According to Dictionary, a defense mechanism is:

an unconscious process, as denial, that protects an individual from unacceptable or painful ideas or impulses.

Defenses are a way for us to:

  • like ourselves in painful circumstances
  • make sense of something that does not work for us
  •  taking care of ourselves.

Defenses can sometime be a kind of denial. Denial has a bad reputation because it is interpreted to mean that there is something wrong with you, that your are too weak to face the truth about something. Denial like all defenses are often meant to protect us from a shock to our systems, and sense of loss that we are unable to process and handle.

Defenses Can Create A Healing Space

I respect defenses even if I consider them to be toxic sometimes; I understand that they have a purpose.

In the case of people who have suffered a serious trauma they can be life saving by creating a space for the healing process. I don’t think anyone should be denied their healing space. We highly sensitive people are often harmed, sometimes seriously. Our ranks have many who have suffered serious child abuse. We can have defenses as a way of protecting ourselves from further harm.

Often however, we know that our healing takes a lot of time and the world has little patience with our healing needs. So our defenses can protect us from intolerance that only makes our pain greater. At least that has been my experience.

Sometimes Defenses Do Not Help

Sometimes our defenses may create a healing space for us but not necessarily help us heal.

It could be that in spite of ourselves we are reinjuring. It could be that we have been and are subjected to the wound of prejudice and it does not heal. It could be that our injuries are so serious and grave that we need a lot of time for healing. Then we need to be kind to ourselves.

It could be that we are in a situation that causes us ongoing pain. Perhaps for some reason we are unable to make a change that will make the situation better. Sometimes we have to accept the world as it is – with all its faults, let go of it, and make the life we deserve.

What Our Defenses Are Missing

Sometimes our defenses miss a lot.

They can miss our deservingness. They can miss the generosity we receive. They can miss our creative gifts. Sometimes our defenses want something that is not there and will not be. As long as we seek what we are missing we will not have a better life that we can create.

I admit it is hard to let go.

Handling Your Defenses

Defenses deserve to be taken seriously.

We can use them as clues that we are missing something and often not what we think. We can use them to be good detectives for our well being and the well being of those around us.

We can get that denial out on the table and ask it to help us see what needs to be seen. We can appreciate ourselves for caring about ourselves and each other. We can let our defenses lead us to something better, kinder, and more rewarding.

 But first we have to open the door and go wading in the field of our pain to hear what it is telling us. When we do we will be greeted by a breeze of relief, and healing.

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Embrace Your Wildish Nature

Source: cogdogblog - Flickr

The wild feminine is on the rise and that is good news for highly sensitive people.

The wild feminine is about embracing our wildish natures, the ones that are at home in the energy that embraces us all.

The wild feminine is the part of us that has been demoted by left brained culture and ideas that act as yokes for the aliveness of the universe.

What Is Wildish Nature?

Wildish nature is the nature we have abandoned on our quest to conquer nature.

Wildish nature is. It is what we come from, it is ancient wisdom.

Wildish nature is what ancient tribes connected with as their true homes.

Wildish nature is safe, it is on our side. It is all of natural intelligence ready to help us live in our authenticity.

Wildish nature has all in it, so it can be what it needs to be:

  • quiet and still to listen 
  • curious about anything that doesn’t make sense
  • open to all forms in information that is relevant in an situation
  • strategic as called for
  • aggressive when necessary

Wildish is our wholeness interacting with and supported by the universal life force.

Wildish nature is our creativity, our innocence and resourcefulness.

It is our spirits made manifest.

It’s our intuition at work.

Wildish Nature Cannot Be Controlled

One of the things I love about wildish nature is that it cannot be controlled.

In fact the minute you try to control it you have lost it.

As Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes in her fabulous book, Women Who Run With Wolves, wildish nature is like a river. It is subject to itself and not any man made laws. It is life itself. It just is.

Wildness isn’t tame but it isn’t pseudo wildness either. It isn’t a pose we put on for others or dressing in a wild way as a defense. There is no one to please, no orders to take. There is only what is and seeing it.

Wildness is honest.

As Dr. Estes writes, wildish nature lives in the life/death/life cycle. Not the product cycle, not the marketing cycle, not the election cycle.

Wildish nature is not organized or compartmentalized. It is receptive and responsive to what is.

Your Wildish Nature Is Your Empowerment

Your wildish nature embraces all aspects of yourself in engaging with life. There is no society to belong to, so class structure, no gold stars and perfect grades, no competitions, and no beauty contests.

Your wildness uses all of your senses, not in the service of self indulgence or consumerism, but as sources of intelligence and information.

There are no targets to hit. There is no growth for growth’s sake. There are no mansions needed.

Your wildish nature embraces the unfolding of all life. It only needs to be with it rather than over or under it.

The left-brained world buts you off from what does not suit it. whatever it deems ugly. So do not grunt or growl. Too ugly!

The left-brained world wants you chasing approval and prizes, while your life’s energy becomes sicker and sicker with the striving.

The left brained world  has its order, and the full river of life is not welcome.

So leave your real Self at the door if you must and sacrifice it for the ordeals of empty achievement.

Or try letting go of it so that you can allow your whole self to breathe again free of the corsets of cultural customs and requirements.

Your Wildish Nature Is Your Friend

Our wildness is a friend. It is a friend to us and lets us be a friend to the other wild things we live with.

Your wildness is all of you including the parts you do not like generally because you have been taught that those parts are ugly: like softness and leaning and relaxing.

Wildish nature is  our natural curiosity at home in the real world.

Wildish nature is our intelligence st play.

We really don’t need anything else.

Self Sacrifice Can Make You Sick

Self sacrifice is very hard to escape.

It is so conditioned into us that whether you are an HSP or non-HSP doesn’t matter. You are subject to the expectation.

Self sacrifice carried to an extreme will make you sick, emotionally and physically.

Why is self-sacrifice such a problem?

Self Sacrifice Solves A Lot Of Problems

Self sacrifice solves so may problems:

  • if there are scarce resources, self sacrifice ensures that there is “enough”
  • if someone is abusive, expecting self sacrifice from victims “erases” a problem and injustice
  • if life is unfair, it is because self sacrifice is your “lot” in life
  • if the system does not work, self sacrifice enables us to avoid dealing with the problem
  • expectations of self sacrifice ensure that social inequities remain in place by allocating support only to some
  • expectations of self sacrifice maintain unequal relationships and relationships that are one way streets. They maintain power imbalances and the status quo.

How Self Sacrifice Affects An Individual

Self sacrifice feels devastating to the individual who experiences it. It is more than feeling like you are less than others. It is a way of appropriating the life force of one individual for the benefit of others.

For highly sensitive people for whom emotional vampires are a danger, a life of self sacrifice can be even more cruel since you are being both emotionally and usually physically exploited without any hope for reciprocity and care.

People stuck in self denying situations often feel angry depleted and robbed of their lives.

They are right!

Self Sacrifice Destroys Relationships

Self sacrifice is culturally conditioned. That means it is expeted and is often the basis of social and familial approval.

When such an arrangement is socially supported, change becomes more difficult, because the social support for change is not there. Generally some people benefit from the arrangement and therefore will not want to end it.

A sacrificing arrangement takes away the power from the person who is sacrificing, because it is in the nature of the relationships to deny the validity of any claims from the individual who is being used. That is why many people who have been in self sacrificing situations will feel rage and powerlessness at the same time: wo uncomfortable emotions and even more hurtful together.

An unequal self sacrificing relationship is set by expectation and social custom, therefore, it is not always possible to negotiate a beter arrangement, and if improvements are possible they are often hard won and hard maintained.

Without appearing too gloomy, it is important to be honest about the deep difficulties faced by those individuals and groups whose lives have been damaged by individual, group and systemic exploitation. When you grasp and feel the intractability of racism and sexism, you can have some compassion for those recovering from those forms of discrimination.

Self sacrifice may be physically and emotionally devartating to the victim, but it is also spiritually damaging, even more so for the perpetrator than the victim, although both are harmed, nonetheless.

Changing Your Life

Changing your life to one of healthy living and wellbeing is very challenging. It is important to treat oneself with respect during the difficult process of change.

People who seek more equal and more respectful relationships are often considered troublemakers, and misanthropes by those who gain from the inequity.

We see this resistance to change all over as our world gradually evolves to one where individuals share the world more fully. As desirable as equality is, it takes time to make a transition to an equality based life and can take a long time depending on the support that you have and receive.

As individuals recovering from racism can attest, the road to full acceptance can be a long one.

There are steps you can take to make the process easier:

  1. assess your skills and resources
  2. develop skills so that you can survive in the world
  3. determine shat your basic necessities are and get them met s that you need as little as possible during the process of creating a self respecting life for yourself.
  4. find support among people who share your desire and vision for a better way of life
  5. expect the process of change to take time
  6. honor yourself for making the journey

Developing a self respecting life is a hero’s journey. Those who undertake it deserve compassion and respect.

HSP Toolbox: Mindful Walking

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HSP Toolbox: Mindful Walking - HSP Health Blog (file1761263062467)

Source: Morguefiles

As highly sensitive people, it’s easy for us to get stuck in our heads. Sometimes we’re unable to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations, which influence us to replay situations over and over in our heads. “Did I say the wrong thing?” “Is she angry with me?” These and other familiar scripts rob us of time and energy. How do we break the cycle and rejuvenate?

Mindful Walking

Mindful walking is taking a stroll in nature and gently coaching your mind to stay focused on the present moment and your current surroundings. If possible, make this a part of your daily ritual or self-care routine.

  1. Choose your path. Whether it’s the local park, the beach, or just a few blocks in your neighborhood, choose a path that’s accessible. You can also practice mindful walking in a mall or store, but nothing beats fresh air and sunshine.
  2. Wear comfortable clothing. Avoid flip flops or shoes with little support. Walking shoes are ideal, and barefoot in the sand can be soothing. Dress appropriately for the weather.
  3. Give yourself time. You can set aside any amount of time to practice this exercise, but thirty minutes allows you to really enjoy the experience. Wander for fifteen minutes and use the last fifteen to get yourself back.
  4. Unplug. If you can, put your phone on silent or leave it behind. Sending text messages or checking your social media takes away from the mindfulness practice!
  5. Go for it! Just start walking. Every time you notice your mind wandering to something that doesn’t involve your immediate surroundings, gently redirect your awareness.
  6. Let your senses be your guide. Breathe in fresh air. Notice the colors of the leaves, the sky, the grass, and the flowers. Listen to the sound of your feet hitting the ground. Feel the breeze brush against your cheeks. Tie your mind to your senses so you can stay present.
  7. Don’t give up. Sometimes you’ll notice that you’ve been worrying about something or replaying a conversation in your head. That’s okay! Be compassionate with yourself and kindly bring your mind back to the present moment.

According to the American Heart Association, making a brisk 30-minute walk part of your daily routine can improve blood pressure, reduce risk for conditions such as heart disease, and enhance mental well-being. As for mindfulness practice, the American Psychological Association indicates that it  can reduce rumination, emotional reactivity, and stress while improving memory, focus, and cognitive flexibility. You can combine this practice with the Breathing Meditation and Daily Journaling to create a self-care ritual to start or end your day.

The Paths We Travel Working With Our Sensitivity

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The Paths We Travel - HSP Health Blog

Source: Morguefiles

“All of life is a circle” my meditation teacher tells me during a discussion on  the lessons life often presents; “Regardless of the starting point, at one time or another life’s circumstances will always steer you back to similar circumstances; if for no other reason than to allow awareness of the progress of one’s own journey.”

In my memory of that conversation, the point he made lingers.While time has shown me that it is all too easy for the Highly Sensitive to  fall prey to any negative emotions generated during these experiences, over time  I have realized that it is actually our sensitivity which plays a key role in also allowing us to recognize the lessons in growth contained within the experience. Similar to a double edged sword, our sensitivity can hinder or benefit us; it all depends on how we work with our sensitivity.

Working With Our Sensitivity

Working with our sensitivity may seem like a strange concept. Similar to how we work with our sleep dreams, we can be passive or proactive with the experience. The key here is in recognizing that being a Highly Sensitive Person is not an identity as our ego’s would have us believe. Instead, it is simply an aspect of our energetic makeup which in itself has different aspects; one of which is intuition. Sensitivity and intuition often go hand in hand. A favorite teacher of mine put it succinctly when she  commented” It’s all about energy” when I had asked her where intuition comes from.

As I exited the building where our meditation class was held, I saw the lone figure of a friend, Kira, sitting on a bench by the Koi pond.  A tall, thin blond in her sixties, Kira held herself with a quiet dignity that I often admired. As I walked up behind her, intuitively I could feel that dignity was not foremost on her mind as she looked across the pond seemingly mesmerized by the occasional flash of gold and white as the Koi fed in the early morning stillness. One of the gifts of being a  Highly Sensitive Person is that we can easily feel the energy generated by emotions of others especially if we are within an arms reach of them. For me,  it is a quick feeling in my midsection followed by that quiet, unassuming voice in my head speaking of emotional patterns and images.  Sitting next to her after a brief hello, I could feel that someone had said something emotionally painful to her. Questions of her worthiness lingered in her thoughts; a cloud of negative emotions obscuring the warmth of morning sunshine which surrounded us.

How Do You Work With Energetic Experiences?

In these situations , there is often a choice which presents itself ; we can be passive and simply acknowledge the emotional pain felt by ourselves or others as we journey through the experiences life presents.  Or, we can be proactive and use the energy of our sensitivity to tap into our intuition and search for the lesson behind the experience. Being proactive won’t make the lesson any less painful, but it will move us from a victim stance to one of power; instead of going for a ride and observing the scenery we are now driving the bus.

 I knew Kira was a Highly Sensitive Person from the moment I met her.  Often quiet in groups,  she preferred to sit towards the back of the room during our class. In an earlier conversation, she had told me she was divorcing her husband and being that this was her second marriage there was something reflected in her eyes which spoke of the emotional toll being paid. Now sitting with her, I wondered how I could follow the philosophy our meditation teacher often spoke of; that there is a lesson in growth in each and every moment of our lives.

When working with intuition, I always start by checking in with my gut; that is, I concentrate on the area just behind my belly button to see how my sensitivity is reacting to the energy of the person I’m working with. In this case, I experienced a strong feeling of blame and in my mind I saw a all too familiar pattern to which we all fall prey; faced with the negativity of the situation she was blaming herself for everything that had happened. As I searched my intuition for an  answer, suddenly I knew I needed to share one of Aesop’s fables with her; the story of the Scorpion and the Frog.

Turning to her, I asked her if she knew of the story of the Scorpion and the Frog. As she shook her head no, I began to recite the fable.

“A scorpion and frog meet on the bank of a river and the scorpion asks the frog to carry it across the river since the scorpion was unable to swim across. Ever mindful, the frog asks ” What assurance do I have that you won’t sting me as I carry you?”

The scorpion replies; “If I were to sting you, I too would drown”. Satisfied, the frog allows the scorpion to climb on its back as they set across the river, however midstream the frog feels the sting of the scorpion.

“Why are you doing this to me?’ the frog gasps as it grows weaker, knowing that their drowning is imminent.

“Because it is my nature.” the scorpion replies.

Finding Grace When Working With Our Sensitivity

Kira studied my face as I finished speaking. Because intuition can be  accessed through a persons eyes, I watched  her eyes as I presented the lesson I had  observed through the fable;

” Perhaps your divorce centers around that fact that like the scorpion, your husbands true nature is to sting causing you both to drown. In every situation there are two sides to the equation; take responsibility for that which is yours but also recognize the true nature of the person you are dealing with.”

As I spoke, I could see awareness register in her her eyes. She understood the lesson and I could feel that over time she would the see how the metaphors contained within the fable could  help her understand the experience of her divorce. It wasn’t up to me to teach her those connections within the lesson; instead my role was to lead her to awareness of the lesson itself. To fully understand it, she would need time for contemplation. Only then, would healing begin. Giving her time to do just  that, I  leaned over and gave her a brief hug before walking back to my car.

The following week, Kira came up to me after meditation class. I could feel the question in her eyes before she asked it; “How did you know to share that particular story with me?” It was obvious from her expression that the lesson had hit home with her.

“It’s all about energy or using our sensitivity to perceive the environment around us ” I replied. “We are taught in class that we are all droplets in the same ocean of humanity; perhaps intuition allows us to see beyond the waves.”

I could tell she wasn’t entirely satisfied with that answer. She wanted something concrete to explain how I knew of her husbands nature which she had never spoken of. However, it has always been hard for me to explain the mystery of Grace; the experience of being in the right place at just the right time in order to bring someone healing through awareness of the bigger picture. Reduced to its purest form,  Grace  is the gift our sensitivity gives others in the face of life’s lessons. As we become proactive in working with the energy of our sensitivity, Grace is the foot print left behind for others to follow, as we continue our journey on the paths we travel.

Embracing The Primal Yumminess

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Embracing The Primal Yumminess - HSP Health Blog

Source: Morguefiles

I have been thinking about how we often get in our own way and why it is so difficult to change that.

How do we get so bogged down in minutia, problems, relationships, work, money problems?

Learning From Animals

Every morning my cat , Kelly, marches me outdoors. It does not matter what the temperature – winter or sumer, out we go. (She does give me a break during a hurricane!)

I have enjoyed her sense of necessity as we go outside and sit in the emerging light of morning. We usually just sit and listen and notice. Sometimes the feral cats come to greet us and the birds line up in the trees waiting for me to put out the morning food.

We sit for awhile until we are fully immersed in our experience of nature and the emerging day. When we have filled up with it we are ready to come inside and have some breakfast.

The Safety Of Primal Yumminess

It is pretty obvious  that animals have a better attitude about life than most humans. I often have wondered why that is and where we humans have missed the boat. Animals do not seem to carry the baggage that we do or the neurotic agendas.

Watch any animal and it is obvious that they recognize the dangers of life. Yet they have a fairly relaxed attitude about their daily experience.

Is it because they lack egos like humans?

Is it because they are not as smart or perhaps because they are smarter than us?

Perhaps they lack our industry?

Or perhaps they know that they are not here just to work.

I have a different theory: animals are connected to the primal universe. It is their home and how they are able to feel safe in a challenging world.

Entering The Thereness That Never Goes Away

When I go outside with my cat, we share the experience of bonding with our outdoor home. I have noticed that her attitude is different than mine. I often think of myself as being in nature. I get the sense that she sees herself and nature as one and the same. Nature is her greatest and most important connection. It is also her anchor. It is what is real to her so she does not get wrapped around the axle about the little things in life.

She has a sense of and connection with Source that most of us can only dream of because we are all stuck in issues with the everyday details of life. I have always been impressed by her natural sense of priority. It is interesting how animals grow into their maturity much more easily than we humans do.

Some might call me crazy, but I am grateful to my cat. Thanks to her I get to experience a deeper connection with the universe every day. I can enter the thereness that never goes away and that’s before I have done my morning meditation.

There is something wonderful about the experience of the thereness of the universe. I feel that when I enter the alive thereness, I am entering my own alive thereness and that is when all feels right with the world.

Embracing The Primal Yumminess

In finding the thereness that does not go away, I am also experiencing the primal yumminess of the arising of everything and the possibility of anything.  I get to experience the eternal glue of creative energy that supports each breath. I also get to experience the benevolence of that energy and so I am able to find a source of hope separate from human cultural systems which are often disappointing.

Connection, safety, possibility, creativity and hope. Did I leave anything out?

Each morning I feel that I am getting a gift and it feels good. If you have a cat (or dog), I recommend going outside in the morning and taking it all in. Drink in the primal yumminess. Embrace the comforting presence and see if your days feels better as a result.

Mine does.

The Secret Of Life

The Secret Of Life - HSP Health Blog

What is the secret of life?

Is there a secret to life?

Why Do So Many Things Go Wrong?

I wondered when I was a child why so many things seemed to go wrong and why so many people were unhappy. It did not make sense to me. I assumed that most people want to be happy so why weren’t they?

One of the things that has always struck me is how many times people turn something into a problem. Whether it is someone else’s behavior, clothes, interests etc. Although it can be justified, not everything deserves to be turned into a problem.

People who turn most things into a problem often find them where they do not exist – they create them. Their perceptual lens is a problem lens.

Having a problem focus changes how we operate as individuals and as groups. It causes us to hold back, hide and fear. In a problem oriented culture, we may do the same in our interactions with different individuals and social groups.

When we see “problems”, we are not seeing reality. We are not open to the larger context of all of life around us. In essence we are getting only a small part of the picture.

The Danger Of Problem Focused Thinking

Problem focused thinking can be dangerous.

The problem oriented mind identifies problems according to its own likes and dislikes and biases of various sorts. So if I have a problem oriented mind and I liked snakes, I might not identify the snake slithering toward me as a threat. Or if I met someone who looked a lot like a dear friend, I might not notice the coldness in their eyes and wonder about them. Or if I like a particular ice cream I might not notice that the product now includes a lot of additives that can promote ill health.

Our likes and dislikes often become filters that we use to make decisions in life that can actually do us harm.

Another way that problem focused thinking trips us up is that it causes us to notice events as potential problems which means that we are often noticing what I call “symptoms.” If you sneeze you hav a symptom of something not quite right with your nose. It could be allergies, a virus which is becoming a cold or flu, or something more serious. When we are problem oriented we try to get rid of the symptom usually before we know what the problem is. When we do that, we may create temporary relief while letting the real problem fester and become worse.

Problem focused thinking can cause us to make relationship mistakes also. It can cause us to make choices based on the feelings of others rather than our real needs. We can then sacrifice our time and energy to please others and neglect our own important needs.

The Secret Of Life: It’s Not Problems

When we are problem oriented most of us create problems for ourselves because we are trying to escape our problems which we have created!

When we are trying to escape we are disengaging from the present so we are actually disempowering ourselves from finding a positive path forward. Problem identification and escape can become a dynamic that governs our daily lives and our relationships.

One of the reasons that wise people encourage meditation and the practice of detachment is to keep us engaged in the present but to let go of the problem/escape dynamic that makes it hard for us to live in an enthusiastic and unconflicted way.

The minute we turn something into a problem we create aversion. I am not trying to be naive and suggest that we do not have any problems. If a tiger is running toward you and your mind starts thinking about a problem and how to escape it, you are not using all of your energy to actually deal with the situation; you mind is actually diverting your attention so that you have less of your attention to bring to bear. It is interesting that in our mind focused world, we have not really noticed how much our mind may be causing our problems.

The Secret Of Life

The secret of life is to embrace it in each moment without reservation. The reason that it is important is that then you bring your whole self to each moment. You are fully engaged and not holding back. When you do that you gain more from the experience of each moment. You lose that distraction that compromises your efforts.

When you embrace each moment, you are loving each moment of your life. You may not necessarily love everything going on, but you are loving each moment of your life and so make the most of each moment whatever is in it. Over time you will focus more and more on those things that bring more to your life and where you bring more to life, which makes each moment a gift for everyone.

So the secret of life is to love each moment of it and when you do you will find that life loves you back.

Are You A Pink Tutu Person?

pink tutu

A funny thing happened one day – I fell in love with a pink tutu.

Actually I really fell in love with a couple, their story and the healing effects of a pink tutu.

I hope you will too.

Who Knew, Pink Tutu?

In 2003 Bob Carey put on a pink tutu and took pictures. His images became a blessing to him and to others. Why? Because his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer and he was seeking to support her healing.

Cancer is tough as is any serious illness. His wife, Linda, was diagnosed  with cancer in the early 2000s and recovered only to be rediagnosed in 2006. Obviously her journey is a difficult one. Bob donned the tutus to cheer her up and help her heal. She would share her tutu photos with other cancer patients and they would all have a lightening laugh. Lightness can be very difficult to achieve when you have a serious illness but is also very healing. It brings fresh energy into the body which can release stuckness and stagnant energy. That release can facilitate healing.

Bob and Linda and their pink tutu story are beautifully documented in this video. The images are a hoot!

Bob’s work has been published and is the foundation for the Carey Foundation and the Pink Tutu Project for Cancer awareness. You can visit here.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

In Search Of A Real Conversation

I like a real conversation.

I do not like a faux conversation.

I do not like pretend conversations.

I do not like manipulative conversations.

It can be quiet around me.

What Is A Real Conversation, Anyway?

It probably sounds silly and perhaps a little whiney – but what is a real conversation?

It may be easier to talk about what it is not.

I have no trouble with people being pleasant with each other except when it becomes so rigid that real issues and problems cannot be discussed.

A real conversation talks about what is and needs to be.

When I see conversations that are stiffly pleasant, I often think people are talking to what they want life to be like rather than what is.

I don’t want conversations that feel like some sort of weird dream. I prefer a conversation that feels robust and timely. It should be present.

A real conversation is present.

A real conversation doesn’t nee to manipulate.

I have enough going on, I don’t really have the time.

A real conversation does not demand a big acting job on the part of others. There is nothing to gain or lose. There is just the getting on with it.

Real Conversation Is Slow

Real conversation is slow. It starts but does not necessarily end at the same time. I like the kind of conversations that feel like a kind of weaving of information, thoughts and feelings.

The results are not the primary concern, the exchange is.

It makes the conversation less about an agenda or result and more about groundedness.

Conversation can be a way to ground.

A real conversation does not have winners or losers.

A real conversation doesn’t have rules or authority. What is is the authority.

A Real Conversation Is Lighter

A real conversation is lighter because it doesn’t need rules, roles, poses, and agendas.

It is grounded in the present and stays there. There is no place to go. Just a place to be.

It’s also a place here anyone can be. There is no exclusion because we are all here in this present.

So a real conversation can make life easier and more enjoyable.

I also think it makes life more companionable, since there is no competition.

A real conversation is a place for friends.

Being Present: All You Really Need

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file1991274909628

Source: Morguefie

Being present is often treated as something to strive for. It is a kind of Holy Grail of spirituality and well being.

Being present is where you live when your head is out of the way.

Why is it so elusive?

How Our Heads Get In The Way

It never ceases to amaze me how much our heads get in the way of living well and enjoying life. It happens so innocently, too.

Our heads which are in the business of helping us and trying to make sure we survive, grapple with our environments and questions about our lives and ourselves in an attempt to make our lives worthwhile. Our brains start at a very young age with the business of making meaning. Our immature brains do not know that when we are young we are unable to fully make meaning. However, our young brains are undaunted by what we do not know and plunge into the complex waters of meaning.

Our meaning makers bump up against the meaning makers of our parents and families as well as our cultures. A lot of mistakes get made in the area of meaning, resulting in prejudice and stereotypes that we then have to work awfully hard to eradicate.

Once we have made meaning, then we continually work with that meaning as we make a life in the world. So we are often drawn back to the past as we try to come to terms with mistaken conclusions we have formed about ourselves and others. So naturally being present is out of the question.

How we made meaning can affect our view of the future and whether or not we over focus on the future. If we learned to dread our environment as a child we may have a recurring and habitual dread and project that on to the future. If we experience a lot of chaos as a child we may come to expect that out future will be the same.

Childhood Costs Us Our Ability To Be Present

Inevitably we experience the holes in development of our families and out cultures as a child. These experiences, whether mild or severe, cause us to develop defenses around our selves and our relationships with others. We learn to fear, which takes us out of our natural loving natures. Fear and being present are antithetical to one another. Fear may be rational or irrational; when it arises it generally puts us into our heads and not in the present. Unless, of course we are being chased by a tiger, then we cannot not be present.

We lose our ability to be present in childhood for several reasons:

  • we have to survive and are dependent on others so we become attuned to our families as a survival mechanism
  • we learn the rules, roles and expectations of our culture which cause us to want to do what is expected
  • cultures create rewards for our conformity and we learn to seek those rewards as validation of our goodness and worthiness.

Belonging is nice but it is often achieved by giving up our true selves. Being popular can feel good and it can also become something that we come to depend on as a part of our identity. We may have gained many skills and experiences from childhood to adulthood. Often, however, we enter adulthood having bonded with our culture but having lost our ability to be present to the awesomeness of the living world.

Why It Is Hard To Be Present

Being present is difficult for a number of reasons:

  • being present reminds us of our aloneness. When being present, you are more aware of yourself as a contributor to the world with full responsibility for your actions and decisions. You are also more aware of the fact that no one can make your decisions or take your actions but yourself.
  • being present reminds of our anonymity or invisibility. Being present can make us aware of our actions wile at the same time reminding us that we are only one person in a multi-billion person tribe in a world with even larger numbers of other species. It can be humbling.
  • being present can remind us of how temporary everything is – so it can remind us of our own death.

Being present can raise fears that make it hard to take that leap of faith into the abundance that it offers us.

The Gifts Of Being Present

Being present means that you are awake to:

  • what is and also what is not
  • the limitlessness of time and space
  • the unknown and the treasures that you may find
  • the creative potential of each moment to manifest healing, and new ways of living
  • the freshness and innocence of each new moment
  • the gift of being alive which you share with all other beings
  • the courage of being present
  • the necessity of being present
  • the joy of being present.

All roads in life lead to the present. It is our shared home with all other living beings. It is where we decide to let go and heal. It is where we take a chance on ourself, someone else, and where we offer something new.

Being present is where the hope is.

See you there!