Rise and Thrive




Photo by Sylvie Lam

Photo by Sylvie Lam

"When we see we have nothing to prove or fix, we are left with quiet space we don't have to fill, we can just be." Emily Madill

Why have we decided that the best use of our time is to accomplish as much as possible? For some of us, this looks like a killer career, possessions, rank, physical beauty, etc...for most of you who are reading this, I'm guessing we measure ourselves similarly, subconsciously, with different criteria.

We may not even realize we are doing it- subtly self-aggressing on ourselves with shoulds and have to's....I should be more flexible. I should get all my errands done efficiently, I should work out more, meditate more, sleep more, eat cleaner, do less, do more, read these books, listen to these podcasts, keep my house sparkling clean, heal my wounds, let go of this hang-up, heal this relationship, fix my posture, call my Congress members (never mind, you should do that) etc....

I find I'm telling myself all the things I need to do all the time, without even realizing I'm doing it! It's an old record that plays in the background of my mind when I'm not being mindful or present. And it's painful. It's self-harm. This constant running to-do list I need to accomplish in order to be worthy. Worthy of what? I don't know, it changes, love, appreciation, rest- what's yours? No really- take a moment, take a deep breath- if only you were....what would you be worthy of? Well, guess what?! You already are. 

That being said, the way I stop this broken record from taking over my life and hijacking my wellbeing is to feel. To be. To cut the voices on the spot and feel myself. I feel my inner landscape, what are the sensations in my body-being? What's the tone of my thoughts? What are the emotions that are asking to be recognized and felt? I feel the outer-landscape around me, what is the environment I'm in? What's the feel of it? And then I simply be. But I can't drop into being, without feeling- otherwise, it's some weird bypass where I try to drop into perfect Zen while my body-being is desperately trying to get my attention. First feel, then be. It goes much better that way. 

Here's the cool thing, the more we offer this to ourselves, the more we create space for other people in our lives to have to. Notice how when we stop constantly trying to prove ourselves to ourselves, by checking off our life to-do/be/accomplish list, we stop trying to prove ourselves to others. Which in turn, gives our loved one's space to feel and be themselves. Wow, talk about a feedback loop. Pure pleasure.

In dance this week, we let ourselves be danced, we let ourselves surrender to our bodies- we stopped efforting, creating, performing, whatevering....we felt our bodies, we were our bodies, and we were danced. a truly satisfying and juicy way to feel and be who we are, as we are.

Here's what the dancers had to say: 
"I am noticing the thoughts of I should have...and all the shoulds....I've been worrying a lot and I've been really hard on myself and letting other people be hard on me and on themselves and on each other. What reminds me to be kind and gentle and generous and patient is being just in my body and remembering that the body knows. And then I have spaciousness and ease. And that's why I come here. It's what I need."

"I had a really difficult time with family, and I'm seeing what love is. I have a choice."

"I don't have any words, which is a REALLY GOOD THING." 

"I've been really working consciously with not trying to fix things, with my family in particular. I'm aware that there is subtle gripping, so I'm working with fear and letting go."

"I also don't really have words today, I'm just really dropped in." 

"I have many words and no words and I'm just pretty much amazed. I so appreciate being here, in the dance, with you all."

Dance Invitation: We have devoted so much of our lives to doing, accomplishing, or being hard on ourselves for not being such and such, looking like blah blah blah...this week, try something different. Give yourself moments of dropping the project and coming back to being. Feel the sensations in your body. Feel what the environment around you is like. Notice your emotional landscape. And then just be in it. You don't have to do a formal meditation practice or anything like that, just don't do anything. Notice what happens if you do it consistently, does your week change?