Feelings: a sense, a touch, a consciousness. Wow! Doesn’t that all sound grand and out there. Well, we all have feelings like it or not and I’m discovering that I’ve been hiding some of the most important ones from myself for quite some time. Yip, hidden deep in my hips actually, I’ve noticed my right hip talking to me for about two years now. I blamed a boot camp class at a local gym but on reflection I realize that I’ve been more of the culprit. Not intentionally of course, but during my life I have shut down a lot of my feelings and buried them in a deep pool close to my hips. The pelvis area in yoga is the first chakra, which grounds you to the earth and makes you feel balanced. So bundling up this mound of unexpressed needs and feelings that go way back to my childhood, combined with an overflowing supply of hormones, I’ve felt topsy-turvy pretty much every month of my life.
Well, the good news is I’ve been doing something about it. A fellow writer in my writing group and I realized that we weren’t great at expressing how our main characters feel. So we bonded in our feelings of inadequacy. Well it turns out that his ex-wife is a therapist and the most loving and beautiful creature to have ever set foot on this earth. Yip I mean it. We’ve I’ve been talking about self-love with her.
I know I’ve been discussing loving yourself forever, but I still don’t get it. Recently I told her that I was doing great with the kids and hubby, then she asked me “How are you getting on with yourself?” The answer wasn’t immediately available to me, which proved that I hadn’t been really focused on it, yet again I’d forgotten me. It just seems very self-serving and needy I guess.
However, instead of beating myself up, which is my normal habit. I’ve decided to think about increments of change. I’ve been in a pattern of closed-off self-criticism for forty odd years, so it might take a little time to change the direction of my mindset. I can’t transform from a pumpkin to a glorious coach in a mere moment of magic.
Change takes refocus and time. Boo, I hear you all say. Well yes, I sucks, but not really. Not if you honor the small shifts and new understandings. Yes truly acknowledge them. Stamp and sing around the room type stuff.
It’s also great to get a little support on your journey.
Now ladies, hubbies shrivel up and die when we start talking feelings with them, but they’re practical creatures and they understand shopping lists to a degree. So let’s give them a short list to work on:
Darling I need:
Some peace and quiet to feed my spirit/faith
Time to restore my energy
Opportunities to strengthen my body on a regular basis
A turn with the remote control (I’m joking but you get my meaning)
Take care not to overwhelm them with more than three or four items on the list at once, or you’ll get kidney beans when you need black beans. But hey, if they’re taking the time to help with the list, we can be flexible with our life recipes.
Your hubby’s on a mission and kept busy, so now it’s time to get support from an even more powerful source. Start talking to SELF. Yes, this looks and feels weird but produces amazing results.
First of all put pen to paper, or make a dream board, or draw, sing, recite or dance a list of who you really are and or want to be. Here’s part of my list:
I need to understand I have boundaries and can’t always say yes
I am interested in learning about the psychology of happiness
I love orgasms!
I love snuggling in a warm bed
I enjoy watching indie, sentimental and thoughtful movies that have little or no bloodshed
If you want to move on to the advanced stage, then think about achievable goals that you want to reach in the future.
Some of my Goals:
List some of my boundaries. E.g. I need to let people know when their words hurt and say OUCH loudly!
BE ON TIME
Play with my kids more
Listen with gusto to everyone
Stop wearing my feelings on my sleeve, sit with them QUIETLY for a few days, they are very likely to change. Yes this is confusing, some feelings I bury and others I declare without thinking much about the consequences. They tend to be critical thoughts oops!
Get a flatter stomach.
A Transformational Moment – These are Awesome
During my yoga training this past weekend, I was teaching a basic seated twist to my fellow yogi students and asked them to release their arms and hug their lower abdomens, (remember the hip area) our main area of support and grounding.
To be honest I cried as I spoke the next pose to the group, and I’m going to share it with you because it’s important to me and hopefully will make sense. I asked my yogis to hug the three year old in us that pulled on their mother’s apron when she was trying to cook dinner and didn’t have time to deal with our needs. So we were plopped into a caged area to play alone. Then I asked them to hug the ten year old who wanted to tell their family about the girl in school who annoyed them and no one listened to her. I asked them to embrace the confused and frustrated preteen in us, who was scared of her need for growing independence.
Here’s the important part: I asked them to reassure their younger selves that you are mature now and can listen and protect their well-being. My strong reaction, i.e. crying until I couldn’t speak anymore was a great message to self. It was saying put self-love at the top of my list of goals.
Now of course not everyone had issues growing up, but remember our parents came from a post world war period and the normal state of being was hardship, loss and scarcity. So attending to their children’s needs wasn’t a priority, getting food on the table and clean clothes on our backs was.
Learning and loving ourselves is a life-long process, in fact it might to stretched out over many life times, but my ideas to help smooth out wizened scars are pretty simple.
A tight and loving hug for self and a few lists is the key. Add in a few kind words (maybe into the mirror when you brush your hair everyday) and reassurance of safety and love and is a recipe that works.
It can change a fixed mindset of “I’m not enough” to “I ROCK”. This doesn’t mean my three-year-old self doesn’t tantrum sometimes when my expectations aren’t met. Ask my hubby. She can strop impressively. I’ve been known to rip shower doors off their hinges. Recently I’ve moved to flinging bed pillows as a safety precaution.
Getting to know my needs a little better, I know I need to give myself space to calm down and let the anger dissipate, with lots of reassurance from my older self. Hubby hides under the nearest black hole until the all-clear siren.
I’m not perfect but I’m a work in progress and hugs sure feel good. So I’m going home to visit family this holiday time and I will have no expectations of a spectacular event. I will go with an open heart and my new personal boundaries. When I feel someone encroaching on my feelings I will back away and take a time out. It’s as simple as that.
Of course I’ll try and grab as many hugs and glasses of bubbly as my liver will allow. All this work on changing patterns needs regular rewards for effort – don’t forget that!
So love yourself ladies and gents, find whatever makes you smile and DO IT as often as is humanly possible. When you fill up your heart with love then you can share that love with others- it’s a simple equation.