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As the end of June approaches, I am coming upon a shift in my professional life. I am making space, and moving from full time work in the schools to part time work. I have been doing this for almost 10 years, and it's hard for me to imagine not being with kids in the school setting day in and day out.
I will still be at my current school part time, but I am feeling myself impatient, itching, and wanting to grow and expand, yet feeling confined by the relics of what is to change.
Transitions that are impending are difficult as you are mentally, and emotionally on to wanting to create new things, events, structures, and being-ness in the new reality. But the current reality is still needing to be addressed in real time.
I literally feel like a tree, stuck in an acorn. All of this desire, this push, this wanting to stretch in all directions and see how much I can expand, all of this feeling inside of me building. But I can't see past the shell.
I feel like it insulates me from things coming in and from me allowing myself to let things out.
I am letting go, letting go of structures that no longer are who I am. I feel like this has been late in coming and I am finally letting myself be who I wanted to be.....although I don't know what that all looks like yet.
I think you can look at this place which causes me some frustration positively, and say that having this structure in place helps to meet the basic needs while the new structure is being created. And to a certain extent, that is true, however each structure needs presence and energy, and at this time I feel like I am living two lives.
I am looking forward to the time when I can make the final transition and feel the space that I can play with.
Discipline vs. Faith
I think true change takes discipline and focus, yet I am also open to miracles that show you that you are worthy and deserving of all that you want, exactly as you are.
It seems confusing to hold both beliefs, yet they both seem necessary to balance each other. The former to keep our wishes grounded in reality and the latter to keep us from losing faith.
Oftentimes in the realm of the "Law of Attraction" and metaphysical studies, there is an inordinant amount of emphasis placed on "positive thinking/visualization".
In my own life and process, positive thinking and visualization alone has taken me only so far, most of the time showing up in the form of a "sort of cool coincidence which seems significant but doesn't make or break my desire".
The meaningful synchronicities that lead to an actual breakthough comes from becoming very clear about what it is that I want, and then chipping away at the blocks which exist to having it.
There are times when your desire and intention is strong enough that you have what Abraham Hicks calls, "A Quantum Leap". But when they happen that way, there is no space for it and it either causes more stress than relief or you lose it because you didn't gain the skills/awareness to keep it.
This is not to say that I never fall into the positive thinking trap.
My personality certainly lends itself to the Pollyanna-ish outlook, which on the whole is not necessarily detrimental, but requires a fair amount of reality checks to keep it grounded in reality.
I have an impending career shift in the coming months. And I am working on visualizing what it is that this new career path will look like. I am putting together the kind of hours, rates, and lifestyle that I would like to have.
What is coming up these days is the reality of what having that life is really going to be like, and I am getting tastes of the kinds of clients and situations that may arise. While finishing a session today, I was startles to all of a sudden realize that I was feeling the same feeling I have at my current job which I am planning on leaving---mostly because of this feeling. I felt on a deeper level, that the job is not the focus here but rather this recurring issue around worth and effectiveness. What I felt was my sense of worth and giving away of my time that I have been used to doing for so long, and it actually made me angry.
Anger is not a feeling I feel often, so I am very uncomfortable when I feel it, and so I found myself immediately going into rationalization and finding fault in the way I was doing something. Much like the new-age dogma of denying anger and finding the silver lining and changing yourself more so that this doesn't bother you. But this anger was different. It was not directed at the client, but rather at the situation and in a protective way over myself. It's like I was getting angry the way a parent would get angry if their child were being harmed somehow.
It was an anger full of energy and strength, and "enough is enough".
This anger, when harnessed, can aid so much in transformation and I feel that deeply. So I am seeing in what way I can sit with my anger and use it as energy to propel me forward.
To access this anger, to sublimate it, to make it a force to work and gain finesse with, or for that matter, with any emotion that is not deemed "Positive", is in my mind, one of the essential parts of coming into more wholeness and alignment to which is essential to be a balanced person in the life that you are creating.
What you deny finds a way to come out against yourself and/or other people anyway.
In what way do you find yourself blinded by anger/sadness/anxiety/etc?
"It is a time when you are ready to let go of any expectations you have had about yourself or other people, and to take responsibility for any illusions you might have been carrying. There is no need to do anything but rest in the fullness of who you are right now. If desires and hopes and dreams are fading away, so much the better. Their disappearance is making space for a new quality of stillness and acceptance of what is, and you are able to welcome this development in a way you have never been able to before. Savor this quality of slowing down, of coming to rest and recognizing that you are already at home."
Osho -Slowing down
This quote came into my awareness today.
Transformation often brings to mind hard work and sacrifice.
Much like the butterfly struggling its way out of the chrysalis, the struggle is necessary to emerge changed for the better. What is often not emphasized, is the internal work that must be done to prepare for the struggle.
This evening, one of the circle participants relayed to me information about the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly that I didn't know. She said that the caterpillar creates the chrysalis, and once inside, everything basically disintegrates and it loses all features that once distinguished it as a caterpillar, and then from that, the butterfly is slowly formed. This piqued my interest, and when I further read about the process this evening, I also found out that the caterpillar develops inside the egg, breaks out of it, and then eats the egg shell.
The perfect logic of natural processes really amaze me. Our nurturing experiences(being protected while developing in the egg) become the food on which we have the strength to begin our lives. Then at some point in our lives, we go through a metamorphosis, where we shed everything that we knew to be ourselves, whether it be a first love, loss of parents/loved ones, new job, whatever the cause, we change and transform.
I feel myself at this juncture. Somewhere between being a caterpillar and butterfly. My efforts have mainly been out out out. But there is a part of me that resists being seen and feels scared about it. But it is necessary and I feel a shift coming where I am going to be more out and about and be more visible. But in order to meet that challenge I am feeling the need to go into a cocoon to regroup. To understand where the fear comes from and give it the attention that it needs. Not to ignore it, override it, think my way out of it and push or force myself to do something that is not comfortable.
Believe it or not, it's actually more difficult to slow down than speed up and do more. But it is time to try something different.
Inner vs. Outer work
Inner work has been my focus for many past years. I did not shop for clothes, I didn't really go to movies, I didn't really do a lot in terms of entertainment. I had my basic needs covered, food, clothing, shelter, and then the rest of my time and resources were spent doing inner work. Even my vacations, usually had a class going on at the destination.
The tide is shifting and my desire is shifting to want the outer world to look as beautiful and be as pleasurable to the senses as it is in my inner world.
Only when I shifted my gaze outward did I realize my fear of putting myself out there as having things I want to say. I realized that I've been playing safe, in a way, by only doing inner work. Growth happens when you're working alone, but it goes into warp speed when other people, other perspectives, and other energies are involved. The funny thing about it is that the other party doesn't even have to be necessarily positive. Of course it is great to have team players who support you and root you on, and bolster you to the next level..... but the interesting thing is that those who challenge you, put you down, test your committment to what it is that you're saying or doing, those parties/experiences often provide more opportunities for growth if you let yourself face them.
That's the scary part.
Admittedly, my first impulse is to want to run away from the experience. Run away and lick my minor scratches and surround myself with people who support and nurture me. But I leave those experiences feeling like I let myself down.
That somehow, I didn't let myself have an experience, and that to me, is worse than the fear of someone disagreeing with you.
This is one of my favorite TED talks with Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who witnessed a stroke going on within her own head, and rehabilitated herself and talks about it.
Watch it Here.
Good vs. Bad Emotions
From my years working as a therapist with children, as well as through my own self-inquiry and healing exploration, it is very clear to me how much emotional development is modeled through the parents. What may be surprising for some to know, is that the modeling of emotions begins before one is even born.
We forget that on a cellular level, emotions are cascades of hormones, ones that feel good(such as serotonin) and ones that cause us to move into action(such as adrenaline, which is necessary in short spurts in times of danger, but detrimental when chronically experienced on a long term basis).
The mother and child share the same circulatory system when the child is in utero. Therefore, if the mother is experiencing elation, joy and comfort, then the child will also experience these emotions, and their perception of the world will be one where the world feels safe and welcoming. If the mother is experiencing chronic stress, the child's brain is perceiving these same stresses and having the same stress reactions as the mother. The perception of these children is more likely to be that the world is an unsafe and scary place. Even low grade stress can have the same effect.
When a child is born, they have all of the parts of the brain they will need for life. What happens is that the different parts go through sequential steps of elaboration(a process by which a specific part of the brain goes through a "growth spurt"). A study was done on expectant mothers and it was found that the children born to mothers who experienced more stress during their pregnancy, tended to have a more well developed backbrain(the area of the brain concerned with survival and taking action, such as running, away from the source of danger) and a less developed forebrain(the part of the brain concerned with rational thinking, personality, etc.).
In my work, I often work with both the children as well as the adults because a lot of the blocks that the children have, have an origin in one or more of the parents. So it is possible to clear an emotional/physical/psychological block from a child, but if the block is on and active in the parent, then it can very easily be activated again. Imagine the child like the oil in a car, and the parent the filter. You can take your car in to have the oil changed, but if you don't have your filter also changed, then the clean oil goes through the dirty filter and impacts the performance of the whole car as a system. This is not to say that a shift in the child will not produce a change in the family dynamics. That is not the case at all, but it's more holistic and the changes "hold" better when there are more aspects of a block that are addressed.
I see it over and over again in my sessions, where a parent clears a block and then the child makes a shift. I have seen this effect in my own family, where my own blocks being cleared begins to make a shift in the machinery of my family. I had one of those very clear experiences today with a new client.
He is an adorable little guy who came with mom, and when we began working, he immediately became tired(kids are very sensitive to any changes in their parents' energy shifts). When kids who come to me say they are tired, I see it as their systems relaxing and because they are not used to functioning at that place, it feels like tiredness, when in fact it is relaxation. He laid on the couch as I worked with mom, and at different points he would come and lay on mom while she was working. When the body feels relaxed and safe enough, it is common that the emotions that the child(or the parent) has tucked away because it's is "inappropriate" or "not nice" come out. This can only happen when the child feels safe enough, so I feel honored when this happens. This particular child today laid on the couch and crossed his arms and legs and out of the blue said very loudly, "I am so angry that I am not doing anything that you ask me to do!" and I told him, "Okay. You're allowed to feel angry. We all have times when we feel angry and that is normal. It's just no fun when you feel angry ALL THE TIME." and went back to working with mom. Kids sometimes are unbalanced by this response because they are so used to being told to "be happy " or "get over it because it's not nice to be angry". He looked at me but I was focused on mom. I was doing an emotional release technique with her to "help him" and told her, "you may feel some emotions come up for you too. This is just what needs to come up to be cleared" and she stated, "I feel like what's coming up for me was all the times he had to go to therapy/sports/events where his body really didn't feel like it because it was too hard, and he still had to go." There was some emotion around this for mom as well. And I reassured her that even if it's after the fact, it's great if it can be released to make space. After mom had the realization and emotional clearing, he sat up and smiled and started talking about other things.
Sometimes a large cathartic release is not necessary. If there is an acknowledgment of the block or sadness or anger, it is cleared and then the pathways are opened up. The air is clearer.
The mom noticed this shift too. It's amazing.
I think the future of health is to embrace all of the emotions as necessary and not hide or repress them in an effort to......what? I don't know. Not cause discomfort for others? Not appear like a "bad boy/girl"?
I am constantly amazed and awed by the power of acknowledgment and honoring of all emotions and the healing power of that.
I had the pleasure and honor of speaking to an amazing group of parents and therapists, organized by Lisa Rudley, about my work, including Brain Gym and reflex integration. I felt so blessed to share what I've learned to these open minded and very caring parents. I also had the pleasure of presenting with a veteran practitioner of the Tomatis Method, Valerie DeJean, owner of the Spectrum Center in Tuxedo, NY.
It's funny how lives converge and diverge in unexpected ways. It turned out that I had met Valerie years ago, when I was an OT in Maryland and she had a Spectrum Center in Bethesda, Maryland. She presented on the Tomatis Method and how it impacts the development of the sense of self, and what was interesting was that I feel very strongly that the reflex integration work as well as the brain gym all works to enhance a better sense of self and greater independence in the kids.
What is my motivation?
I have been thinking to myself what drives me in my work these past few days. I love working with the kids. They are potential energy, little acorns fattening up and gathering energy before they split open their shell and bring their inner world out into reality. I felt this very strongly when I was working with the really young ones, and now that I work with slightly older ones, I feel this energy still, but there's a little more weight in their psychic backpack. A backpack packed, lovingly by society, well-meaning but fear inducing parents/caregivers and teachers and in some cases, by themselves.
In my own journey, of picking weighted objects out of my own backpack, I have been faced with choices, to let it go or to transform it.
It's an interesting process, and one that takes a lot of my attention and energy in life. Some experiences are easy to purge, like a yucky, moldy, smooshed up peanut butter and jelly sandwich that is causing quite a mess in the bag, while others are like trophies of a game played long ago.
I see the beginnings of the tendency to hold on to any and everything, the tendency to not let anything in, to be confused, to be one type of personality(one week and then another the next), to be rebellious, to be obedient, to want to please, to want to be completely independent.
These things are new to them. They are working it out. Stretching and testing their roots and wings. Lately I have been feeling like I have unearthed some large unknown objects out of these kids' backpacks. Working together, we've connected the dots to some inner kinks affecting their outer world. Connecting these dots leaves me with a sense of satisfaction. Like there's more that makes sense in the world and that somehow brings me comfort.
Paul Dennison, the creator of Brain Gym, once said in a class, under his breath, barely audible, perhaps in his mind, as an aside, "we are teaching kids to live lives they haven't lived yet." I remember this statement made me cry.
It's not possible to avert these kids from anything and everything that will be difficult in life. It's not my intention and I would not be helping them if I was to try to make everything better for them. Perhaps it's my own wish that I had someone show me the way, and it's that little girl that I am actually trying to heal. Being around these kids reminds me that it's never too late, and the body and brain are amazing. And once you give it a taste of possibility, it must, IT MUST move towards it.
Ponderings along this path of searching for greater ease and joy in life.