Vulnerability: A Wise Guide Through Tight Spaces & 4 Ways To Cultivate It

In a world of loud, quiet really wakes up the soul.

In a world of fast, slow magnifies power.

In a world of hard hitting, of slamming it, banging it, crushing it, the soft touch can slide through the tight spot with insuperable strength.

Vulnerability can be seen as the synergy of opposites such as rigid and flaccid, tight and loose, hard and soft.

Synergy is the blending of things such that the sum of effects of those blended things is greater than all effects of any one thing going about its business alone.

Vulnerability can be felt in body, heart, and mind. It’s felt as the outcome of blending opposites like rigid and flaccid, tight and loose, tough and weak in good measure such that each half of the pair of opposites tempers the mix with its finest quality.

Part body sensation, part feeling, part mental awareness, vulnerability can present from within as a scary openness at first. If you’re not comfortable with it, even the suggestion to open to your vulnerability can agitate.

Like cracks in a wall that leave you open to frigid blasts and malignant insect attacks, like cracks in communication that leak top secret intelligence, like cracks in an emotional armour that leave you open to getting hurt, vulnerability feels too undefended, too permeable.

Vulnerability might be scary because we’re not used to the soft-hard art of allowing.

In many martial arts, in the yogas, in the training of hunters and gatherers, in the long apprenticeship of a magician or medicine person, in the cultivating of a master artist, the intimate practice of vulnerability keeps the initiate open in a tight spot, ready to flow in any direction, poised for a leap or a roll, positioned for opportunity.

Vulnerability might be scary because deep in the ancestral language centres of our collective awareness we hauntingly remember that vulnerable comes from words that mean to wound, to maim, to injure, to pluck, to tear, to strike. That’s scary!

But today, vulnerability means an intimacy with body, heart, head, and soul in such a manner that you could no longer hurt yourself or others intentionally.

In The Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes this power of yoga: When you are steadfast in your abstention of thoughts of harm towards others or yourself, all living creatures will cease to feel fear in your presence. (sutra 2:35)

That might be called vulnerability in extremis and vulnerability in extasis.

Vulnerability, then, might be described as the taming of the fear reflex and the absence of a blame and shame conditioning.

Vulnerability could be called the necessary angel, to borrow Wallace Stevens’s phrase, of empathy. Now, that’s a beautiful thing.

Invite your vulnerability to guide you and hold you. It has beauty, courage, and magic in it.

4 Actions To Invite Vulnerability:

  1. Tune in to your senses and sensations. Walk in a safe place in nature. Sit quietly, close your eyes, breathe, and practice developing eyes in the back of your head. Walk gently, sense the earth beneath your feet, and practice developing ears in the soles of your feet. Smell as if every pore of skin were a nose. Taste with your fingertips. Open to the subtlety of sensation.
  2. Acknowledge reactivity. You can develop a practice of tuning in to the tight place in the body that’s attached to a reactive trigger; then identify an emotion that goes with the trigger; then observe any meanings, ie, conclusions, perceptions, thoughts attached to that trigger.
  3. Simply sit and allow yourself to embody sensation, emotion, thought, without reaction. Just let it flow through. No judgement. No blame.
  4. Daily, track triggers, emotions, feelings, thoughts, behaviours through tight spots and tender spots. If any of those are uncomfortable, if they hurt you or someone else even in thought, write yourself into a next best perception or meaning. Write about the beautiful, helpful, good, blessed boons in your life even when going through trial. Stretch yourself. Notice something that has a deep and encouraging beauty to it in spite of any anguish or confusion. Focus there.

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Massive Manifesting Mojo: Training The Ungoverned Mind


The Buddha once said that the most dangerous thing is the ungoverned mind.

The ungoverned mind is like an unskilled archer. Thoughts are its arrows.

With an unskilled archer, you never know where an arrow might go. Unfocussed aim, wobbly balance, distracted attention can send arrows willynilly in kneejerk directions.

With the ungoverned, undisciplined mind, you never know where thoughts might go nor what intention might be propelling them. The ungoverned mind can’t hold an aim. It can’t hold a thought. It can’t focus and hold its course. It’s a feral thing. It can’t assist in bringing forth the crazy sexy greatness you may yearn for.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. If you want to get closer to the bull’s eye, you’ve got to learn better aim and you’ve got to master the nuances of propulsion. If thoughts are like arrows, they need a bow to propel them and an aim to guide them so they land where directed.

In this archery analogy, the bow is feeling and the aim is the arrow; or the bow is intention, coming from the heart, and the aim is attention, coming from the head. Without bow and aim, arrows are useless. Without intention and attention, thoughts are random, indecisive, lopsided, and lacking a propulsion agent. They’re not energetically coherent.

COHERENCE

Coherence means things that hang together perfectly and make sense.

In physics, coherent waves are described as two or more waves whose troughs and crests meet and align perfectly, synchronizing trough to trough, crest to crest; and increasing the overall amplitude.

The HeartMath Institute defines coherence as a measure in the heart’s rhythms that reflects harmony and synchrony among body systems. Coherent rhythms between heart and brain are a measure of feeling good or feeling bad, and these coherent rhythms are guided by the heart.

Coherence comes through feeling and intention on the one hand and mental focus or attention on the other.

Quieting the mind is key to slowing racing thoughts, focussing distracted attention, brightening gloomy thoughts; and bringing coherent flow to thinking and feeling, to attention and intention. But we don’t work with the brain initially to build coherence. Quieting the mind begins with softening the breath and soothing the heart.

MEDITATION

Meditation practices of all kinds with their focus on breath and one point attention encourage coherence between heart and brain. Meditation quiets, clears, cleanses the bodyheartmind totality. A consistent meditation practice of soft breath, open heart, attentive head trains both our deep driving desire’s propulsion system, feeling; and our desire’s steering system, thinking, to focus on the desired outcome.

Dropping good intention into quiet mind is key to loosening old memory habits that appear as all those distracting or dismantling thoughts. Consistent practice of good intention in quiet mind refashions the neural grooves on which memory habits habitually travel, thereby cultivating health and wellbeing and assisting the fruition of your deep driving desire.

Good feeling supports good thinking. Good thinking guides good intention. A master archer of massive manifesting mojo brings coherence to heart and head. The governed mind is heart and head in sweet and savvy affinity. When feeling and thinking align, when attention and intention align, all your crazy sexy super powers come into coherence.

So breathe. Focus on one good thought. Hold the feeling. Take aim. You’re about to hit your bull’s-eye.

Relaxed~Yoga’s Middle Way Between Limp & Rigid

In yoga, relaxed and rigid are not opposites. Limp and rigid are opposites. Relaxed is the middle way.

Relaxedness arises as the breath eases, the head clears, and the heart opens. Relaxedness is a result of discipline. Discipline is the way to liberation.

Dancers know that the dedicated practice of technique frees the body to leap as if gravity didn’t exist. A great pianist practices daily scales, knowing that years of repeating scales is the ground from which flights of improv soar.

If your body is limp or rigid, check your mental stance, check your feeling stance. The body is a reflection of thinking and feeling.

A rigid body reflects rigid thinking and rigid feeling, a stiffening of the authentic, fluid vitality of being into a very narrow artery of clog.

A limp body reflects limp thinking and limp feeling, a puddling of your authentic, vital, alive, and magnificently wild self into shapeless, shallow pools of blah.

The spacious silent abode of yoga mind liberates us from a rigid resistance or limp resignation to the frustrating finitudes of life. Relaxed is the transcendent third, the middle way, the balancing agent, the springboard into radiant possibility.

Relaxed synergizes the good fortitude of the rigid stance and the good softness of the limp stance into an energetic powerhouse of magnetized potential. Rigid becomes flexible with softness loosening it. Limp becomes resilience with fortitude strengthening it.

A daily practice in yoga mind enhances our energetic radiance and liberates us into the infinite potentialities of the relaxed, non-attached awareness.

The relaxed, non-attached awareness frees our wild potentialities into useable energy and useful attraction action that helps dreams come true.

 

A Wild And Singular Life

Whatever the universe may do in some distant future—spin, shrink, disappear, start over—the universe, right now, is vibrantly expanding. Expansion seems to be its driving urge.

From the Big Bang, right down to the explosion of binary cell division that resolves into a complexly evolving fetus, The Universe seems intent on expanding more and more life, complexity, beauty, abundance into its vast body.

From the exquisitely patterned developmental stages of a healthy disposition, into the full throttle thrown into wish fulfillment, we are coded with an expansive desire for growth.

From crystalline structures in snowflakes, frost patterns on windows, and sparkling symmetries in rare gems buried in layers of rock, fractal iterations throughout Nature insist on unfolding and expanding our wonderment.

You are one of those unfoldingments. You are the desire of the evolutionary impetus to further itself. You are the smouldering ember of desire’s next big bang.

“Tell me,” writes Mary Oliver, “what is it you plan to do with your one, wild and precious life?”[i]

That’s a crazy sexy inspiring question. That question can set the heart on fire. It can set the mind to scanning the psychic landscape for those embers of potentiality that, when tended, burst into destiny’s living fire.

If you don’t feel any spark in you, try this exercise: take Mary Oliver’s question with you as you walk through your days and weeks.

What is it I plan to do with my one, wild and precious life?

Repeat it like a mantra, a prayer, a favourite song lyric.

Write it on binder covers, notebook margins, journal headers, doodle scraps.

Post it on cupboards and mirrors and fridge doors.

Post it on Facebook and Twitter statuses.

Let it seep in, remind you, become you. Just let it in, over and over. Then let go.

Let go of outcome agendas.

Let that question expand your mind, fill your heart, and inspire your whole being to transcend current limitations.

What you impress upon your subconscious mind over and over begins to arrange itself in patterns beyond the conscious mind’s imagining.

Let that question in. What do you plan to do with your one wild and singular life?

Let the answers flow. Become what you most singularly must become in your one wildish soul.

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[i] Oliver, Mary (1992). New and Selected Poems, ‘A Summer Day.’ Boston: Beacon Press, p. 94.

Imagination~The Hinge Between Something & Nothing

Imagination is power, creative power, co-creative power with the original and originating All Stuff. We mirror that power. We partake of that power.

And the etymology of the word imagination itself carries that power right from its roots into our vision, our language, our hearts.

The word imagination derives from the Persian magush, the Greek magos, and the Latin magi, becoming magian and magic in English. The Proto-Indo-European (PIE) ancient language word magh- is at its root. Magh-means to be able, to have power.

The image in our imagination has immense magical power. Poets, yogis, teachers, sages of all times and cultures have celebrated this tool of incarnational power that each of us has so ready to our creative vision.

Imagination partakes of magic, enabling us to create what never was before.

Imagination gives access to the worlds of which it dreams—or frets. What we imagine we become. Imagination brings forth worlds.

And true imagination partakes of beauty. In many ancient systems describing what I call our crazy sexy super powers, imagination is seated in the heart.

You are a magnificent imagining maven.

Imagination is the hinge between nothing and something. It gives form to the formless, substance to spirit, matter to musings. Bold, loving, playful imagination is the crazy sexy super power that helps incarnate your deep driving desire.

 

 

The Body Temple

An old adage says your body is a temple.

Like a temple, the body is filled with spirit.

Like a temple, the body is filled with temple bells.

Organs and glands, neurons and cells, molecules and atoms, photons and gluons; thoughts and feelings, ideas and imaginings, desires and disenchantments—these are all like big and little bells, all playing off one another.

These bells are chiming and ringing, resounding and humming, fading and rising, radiating wave upon wave of resonant harmonies or disharmonies according to your feeling tone.

Something moves you, your temple bells chime. You move, the world bells chime.

The world, the solar system, the galaxy, the universe move and the resonant bells of the whole vibrate. You are part of that whole bell choir.

In yoga teachings, spanda is the primordial vibration of all things, a version of a Big Bang. Spanda was there before anything was there. Spanda gives rise to all things.

Spanda is the soundful silence yogis hear, the moving stillness they feel in the resonant core of being. Spanda is the sacred tremor of the unstruck heart.

In the body temple all your being bells are part of the universal vibratory chorus attuned to the sacred tremor of life. Your whole being  desires to feel and express its joy in the unstruck song of the heart.

Long ago, a Japanese poet named Basho wrote this exquisite haiku:

The temple bell

Stops; but the sound

Keeps coming out of the flowers.[i]

Maya Angelou writes it like this:

People will forget what you said;

People will forget what you did;

But people will not forget how you made them feel.[ii]

Let your One Chime ring. Let your unique and singular song sing out. Let your heart be the central bell of your self-temple. Begin now ringing this bell in little and big ways.

Set a practice of quieting your mind. Bring your attention to the breath. Set your intention on one good thing and repeat that intention over and over. Notice and appreciate beauty. Walk in Nature and cultivate biophilia—the love of hanging out with other forms of life. Dance. Sing. Bless.

Every cell in your body will swell like flowers unfolding. The song in your heart will keep coming out of your marvelous cellular structure, your most ennobled thoughts, your magnanimous actions, your singular sparkle long after the ringing stops.

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[i] Basho, trans. Robert Bly (1972). Basho. San Francisco: Mudra.

[ii] Angelou, Maya in Bob Kelly (2003). Worth Repeating: More Than 5,000 Classic And Contemporary Quotes. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications. p. 263.

Goals Help You Get Your Flow On

flow rapid rock

Going With The Flow

Where your attention goes, there your energy flows. Where your intention goes, there your energy grows. Goals provide fuel for your intention and direction for your attention.

But if your goal isn’t supported by a core belief that feeds that goal, you’re most likely rocking your own boat.

Instead of rocking your own boat, you need to get rowing your own boat. To do that, you need to investigate your core beliefs, identify those that swamp your good intention, and do the practices that change hampering core beliefs to helpful core beliefs. Doing so is a process and the process itself can get your boat floating on flowing waters toward your desired goal.

A conscious goal helps you get your flow on. When you get more conscious about what’s rocking your boat—i.e. those core beliefs against the fulfillment of your flow—then you can get more intentional about changing those beliefs into ones that support your goals, fuelling your intention and guiding your attention with flow fulfilling actions.

Blocks Against Flow

When you’ve got your flow on, feeling focussed and inspired to put energy toward goal fulfillment, you’ll still run into blocks along the way. Storms at sea are part of the journey. A good captain makes sure his crew of core beliefs don’t cause a mutiny.

sinking-canoen

You need to get your crew of core beliefs cleaned up so that your conscious intention and focussed attention don’t block your flow and can ride whatever the wind and waves toss up on your journey toward your goal.

Cleaning up the core beliefs and clearing out those that don’t serve your conscious intention prevents mutiny. Practices that clean up and clear out what doesn’t serve your conscious intention toward your goal include therapies like meditation, hypnosis, and creative visualization. These practices are simple and easy to learn. The rub is that core belief that says: why bother. That core belief—smacking of hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness—can be a very stuck place, the wave that always broadsides you, the rock that rips your hull, the deadhead that stumps your canoe into a full halt in the middle of the river and leaves you stranded.

Just Begin And Flow Follows

The encouragement to just begin comes from the smallest place. It’s that little voice that says: just begin. Listen to that little voice. Let its intention guide your attention.

Keep your goal simple right now. Let it be this: just begin. Take that step. Reach out. Intend to help yourself and put your attention on just this: begin.

If you’re already dreaming big, keep the flow alive with daily goal renewal practices like meditation, hypnosis, or creative visualization. Working with an intention coach can be a valuable partnership that inspires you when your flow flounders, when you find your attention fragmenting or your intention fizzling.

Remember, a goal gets your flow on. A goal provides fuel for your intention and direction for your attention. Big or small, setting a goal gets your flow moving you on the most amazing journey—your fulfilled and fulfilling life.

Paddling at sunrise. Perfect flow.
Paddling at sunrise. Perfect flow.

Contact me for information on my services or to be notified of new posts.

Blessings on your journey, sweet one!

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The Old Bugaboo Doesn’t Have To Bug You Forever (or Believe It To Achieve It)

girl dandelion

Have you ever wondered: why people who actively desire to make good changes in their thoughts, feelings, habits, and actions don’t succeed in the long run? why people don’t believe in themselves or in their innate capacity for deep change? why counselling doesn’t always stick? why intention or affirmation practice alone doesn’t seem to fulfill its promise of big change? why we stay stuck in the mud, caught in the fence, treading the same old pattern pathways over and over?

The answer comes down to subconscious belief and the locus of deep change. Our subconscious beliefs guide our choices and actions. The locus of change is the subconscious beliefs. A deep change practice has to reach through the mind clutter and touch the subconscious.

Thinking Isn’t Enough

Thought alone doesn’t reach deeply enough to shift an old defunct pattern. Thinking alone doesn’t cavern into the place where the old patterns live inside you.

Therapy helps. Counselling helps. Positive self-talk helps. But talk therapy and positive affirmation don’t touch the neural grooves in the brain that represent the hidden beliefs in the subconscious.

It’s those hidden beliefs in the subconscious that need to be targeted and bull’s eyed.

So what is this subconscious? And why is it so important in the process of deep transformational change?

The Subconscious

The subconscious is the whole body and all its functions and gifts, instincts and intuitions, illuminations and limitations. It’s the nervous system and neural grooves; it’s the gut, the heart, the head; it’s the deepest operating system and the lifelong companion; it’s the warehouse of daily events and storehouse of memories and memorized patterns. Our learned beliefs and habits live here. The subconscious comprises about 80-90% of us; our conscious self is pretty small in comparison.

Imagine the subconscious to be a magnificent, powerful animal of transport, like a horse. A well-trained horse who trusts its rider and its instincts blends with the movements and guiding directions of a rider who respects its horse and trusts its horse’s power.

Imagine the subconscious to be like a work ox of old, attached to the arm that turns the grinding wheel, walking round and round all day doing its work faithfully, entirely limited by harness and ingrained habit. An oxen who has always moved like this will always move like this, harnessed or not.

The subconscious is a magnificent evolutionary survival mechanism, filled with all the inherited codes of our DNA and imprinted with the learned behaviours of our lives. The deepest learned behaviours, and often the ones that hold us back the most, are the earliest ones learned. Our deep patterning, housed in our subconscious and reflected in neural pathways, unconscious beliefs, repeated thoughts and emotions and behaviours, governs most of what we do and how we behave. We like to think that our conscious waking mind is in charge. It’s usually not. The subconscious deep patterning is in charge, making our choices from learned patterns that became entrenched over the years and through repetition.

The subconscious isn’t trying to be the boss. The subconscious isn’t trying to be subversive. The subconscious isn’t trying to trip you up. It’s a loyal companion, a faithful friend, doing what it was told to do over and over and through many repetitions.

For example, most of us were taught to look both ways before crossing a road. It’s automatic. The behaviour was taught, we do it without thinking. It’s a very good pattern to have had set into us from the earliest years of our lives.

Conversely, some of us were taught that another way of thinking or believing is wrong. That teaching gets in deep, too. And we react to that foreign way as if it were actually wrong and not just a different way.

Learned Belief

Three core beliefs—deeply entrenched neural patterns that represent deeply held convictions—are: hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. And most of us got stuck with some dose of at least one of these, and some of us got dosed more heavily in one or more of those self-beliefs. We subsequently live without believing in our abilities, dreams, selves.

We learn to believe what we were taught. The belief gets set into the neural structure which means that our entire psycho-social-physical-spiritual self is governed by beliefs we may not even know we have. You can’t see a belief. But you can experience its results.

How often have you looked at your reactions and behaviours and choices that trip you up; acknowledge they’re not healthy or helpful; but feel powerless to change them? No amount of thinking about them helps. Positive thinking helps a bit. Talk therapy helps a bit. But mostly, the old bugaboo keeps bugging you.

The Way Out

But the old bugaboo doesn’t have to keep bugging you.

The old sacred wisdom and the new scientific understanding about the subconscious, the neural patternings, the power of core belief, and the way out of the cul de sac of I-Can’t-Change now align. There is a way out of the dark psychological alley. The old psychologies provided tools and techniques to get free. The new scientific psychologies have found that these old sacred psychologies work.

Hypnosis, deep meditation, visualization toward a specific target goal, or behaviour, or change all work to change the deeply entrenched faulty beliefs that hold us back. In the yoga psychologies, these old neural grooves are called samskaras. In neuroscience: neural patterns. In psychology: subconscious core beliefs. Whatever the language or tradition, hypnosis, deep meditation, and visualization targeted toward a specific goal work to manifest that change in your deep neural structures and therefore in your beliefs, thoughts, emotions, choices, actions.

An old adage says: You must believe it to achieve it.

Old beliefs that hold you back can be changed. The old bugaboos don’t have to bug you forever. Try these therapeutic techniques: hypnosis, meditation, visualization. Target an old belief and become a new you.

Contact me for information on a 6 session engagement to repattern the old stuck neural grooves and install that new, shining belief. Believe It To Achieve It

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Will Serves Balance, Balance Is Power

stones balanced

Will serves balance. Balance is power.

Any significant change in the good direction needs the support of your will. Does that sound scary? How many times have you said you have no willpower? How often do you hear others bemoan their lack of that big ingredient in the optimal change recipes: willpower? Well, let me tell you: you have all the will power you need. You just have to engage it and exercise it. And ahhh ha. There’s the rub, right?

What I mean by will or will power is not the common notion of a gruelling grit that hunkers down, muscles up, locks the jaw, girds the loins, secures the perimeters, and sets to with a stiff upper lip.

I don’t mean lashing yourself to the mast of masochism to quit smoking, do the housework, do the homework, do the yardwork, scoop the poop, get up, get fit, get off X-Box, get off Facebook, get off Netflix, get off binge watching, get off binge eating, get off oxy, get off meth, get off drunk fighting, get off mean texting, get off complaining, even though these actions are beneficial and involve self-control and self-discipline.

Will power isn’t the act of yanking yourself to do any or all of the things that are good for you that you’d rather not be doing but which you feel compelled to do by some outward force like The Laws Of Society. And will power isn’t the act of fighting the inward impression left by The Laws, the impressions which have become The Long Learned Laws Of Self-Limiting Mind—those locked-in subconscious belief paradigms that stake us to compulsive repetitions of self loathing or self effacement or self aggrandizement, mystifying in their autonomy and stupefying in their self-sabotaging economy.

I don’t mean a whip master will, like a military mandate in the mind, the coercive, the ironshod, the pushy, the punitive; nor the shackling of any good and healthy faculty of creativity or wellbeing to a shaming or blaming or gaming directive. I don’t mean force. In fact, studies are discovering that willpower decreases as force increases. And force only consolidates the The Long Learned Laws Of Self-Limiting Mind.

By will power I mean an ability to direct the attention where you want it to go, to notice when it wanders, and to bring the attention back to your focus of choice.

By willing your attention to go where you want it to go and in willing your attention to return to your chosen focus when you notice your attention has wandered, you’re learning the illimitable skill of awareness, you’re strengthening your innate faculty of choice, you’re honing perception, you’re fine tuning equanimity, you’re giving yourself the golden scales of right balance. You’re exercising your Amazing Super Power of Will. Will is one of the significant skills in effecting positive transformation. Will grows strong through exercising it, through creating a willingness to exercise it, and through sane and sensible practices of reflection and restoration, attention and intention, motivation and inspiration, that support you in your desired direction toward destiny.

At LivingFlow Integrative Essentials, I use and teach therapeutic interventions, partnered with a cognitive behavioural and appreciative enquiry approach of what’s holding you back, that support positive transformation: hypnotherapeutics, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, or aromatherapy. Doing a practice consisitently will get you unstuck, will get you out from under the thumb of The Long Learned Laws Of Limiting Mind. Do the practices—and you will grow into a greater being than you ever dreamed yourself to be.

Meditation

Meditation cleanses the mind and opens the heart. Meditating daily enhances the immune system, emotional balance, mental clarity, sleep rhythms, hopefulness. Meditating teaches us to detach from negative thought flows. Meditation enhances so much. Meditation connects us with The Infinite. Contact me for information on how meditating and building meditation into your counselling process can work, especially possibly with your benefits.