Emotional Balance

Emotional balance has been unfolding in my life for 50 years.  One of the biggest hurdles has been letting go of the belief that my emotions define me; that I am what I am currently feeling.  I now define emotion as: e-motion = energy in motion.  When I am experiencing a specific emotion, I realize that it is energy moving through my entire being.  It is energy that has been given a name such as happiness, sorrow, anger, etc.  Remembering this helps me release judgement about the nature of that energy.  Energy is energy; it is neither good nor bad; it just is.

As practices for the body and mind (yoga, meditation, healthy eating, exercise, fresh air, loving friends, etc.) have become consistent in my life, my emotions have become more consistent as well.  For the most part, my emotions fit what I am experiencing in the moment.  When each of my parents died, I was deeply sad and grieved.  I was also profoundly grateful that I was with them in their transitions. I was proud to be their daughter. I was also grateful for everything they had given me over the years.  So many emotions flowed during those times and I felt them all. Intense and fulfilling all at once.

In releasing judgement, I view these experiences in terms of intensity.  Seldom is overwhelming happiness described as bad, yet it is every bit as intense as sorrow and can be just as exhausting.  My granddaughter’s birth was so intensely joyful that there were times I didn’t sleep very well.  There were times when I quietly cried for happy.  Intense.

On the other end of the spectrum, I choose not to take in news about things like child abuse because the depth of anger I feel on behalf of these innocents is almost frightening to me.  But is anger always “bad?”  Not in my opinion, because there are many people who have been inspired to acts of bravery because of the anger that arises within them.  Anger and frustration with things I had allowed or created in my life have given me the courage to make very difficult changes.  Intense.

Intensity is seldom comfortable, which is why these energies are judged as bad or unhealthy.  The key, is – guess what? – balance!  It makes more sense to realize that imbalance in the emotional body creates confusion and can be destructive than to set the goal of never feeling these things.  When I feel angry, can I allow myself to be in it in a way that leads me to action, forgiveness or compassion?  If so, I will quickly return to peace and tranquility.  My actions will be appropriate to the situation and to my desire and intention to live lovingly and compassionately.  It is when I avoid and stuff or hide my feelings that my behavior becomes inappropriate and possibly destructive.

Balance is the key. Here are a few reasonable goals:  Feel without being thrown against the wall by the intensity of emotions. Be willing to sit with the discomfort in order to remember that energy in motion does not define me; it is something you are experiencing in the moment.  It will diminish, shift, transform because that is the nature of energy.  Embrace the experience for what it is:  a human experience that does not change or define your True Self, a spiritual being. Be patient and remember that it takes time and maturity to come into this awareness in every aspect of your being: physical, mental, emotional.  You don’t have to change everything at once.  You don’t have to fight yourself and judge yourself.  You do not have to be perfect.  You can be in this moment, experience it, and be all that you are.  You can unfold into True Self as naturally as a healthy tree matures and produces perfect fruit.

One of my favorite responses to myself when I explode into emotional intensity and catch myself in the midst of it is:    Well, Catherine Ann, welcome to the human race!

 

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Control or Release?

This is so often the question, isn’t it? Which is more powerful – to be in control of a situation or to release control of that situation? It seems obvious that the “right” answer is to release control. Most of us have or are dealing with our control issues. It is easier than it used to be as it is such a common thing to discuss now.

In the path of enlightened awareness, the motivation comes from a deep place within. Intellectually, I am very clear that control simply doesn’t work even though it may appear to in the short term. Self-control is most useful in creating a healthier flow of life, especially until I grow up in some specific area of my life. Once my awareness level catches up with the heart desire to change a behavior, there is little or need to exercise self-control because I am able to flow with that desire in a very natural way.

As with many healing insights, I begin to have a breakthrough when I recognize that the nature of what I am looking at is yet another one of the paradoxes of this human life experience. Power appears to come through the ability to be in the position of control which often manifests in arrogance. In spite of this, I find the most powerful leaders are those who come from a place of humility and deep respect for themselves and others. They know they have the final say but they are willing to listen and learn. In return, those who interact with them trust their right to lead and their ultimate decisions.

How does this manifest in one’s personal life? I don’t have time to write a book this morning so I’ll simply offer a few thoughts. Control manifests in so many ways it boggles the mind. It can be outright, arrogant, and demanding or it can be subtle, deceptive, and manipulative. None of these things lead to true and lasting relationships. None of these things nurture a person’s soul or result in a loving and compassionate expression of self. These things can create a false sense of security in this wild and wooly world. I get it. However, I do not resonate with it.  It took me a long while but I have come to see that trying to control myself or other people or circumstances stops the flow of creative energy in my life. For me, release has proved to be more powerful than any other approach.

Yoga and meditation are my primary tools to develop the ability to release into the flow of my life. How do you respond when you have shared a struggle you are having with someone and they say, “You just have to let that go.” Really? Like I can do that when the pain is up and my emotions are screaming to be heard. Yeah, I’ll just let that go and move on. Isn’t that called stuffing your emotions? When I tried that behavior on, it affected my physical health on a frightening level. In yoga I have learned to release into my body by feeling it resist, breathing into those muscles or joints and inviting them to release into my breath. It works. Then I learned the same techniques work with emotions and mental gymnastics…..as long as I am willing to experience those things as I have learned to experience physical resistance. I must make a space for those emotions and those meandering thoughts. I must be with them long enough to breathe into them and then invite them to release into my breath. In allowing them to exist with awareness, I allow them to fulfill their purpose and dissipate.

This is not always a comfortable process but my yoga practice isn’t always comfortable either. I still do it because I have learned that the end result is well worth the discomfort. My emotional practice isn’t always comfortable but the end result is so freeing, so comforting and self-nurturing that I embrace it fully. As with hatha yoga, the more faithful I am with this practice, the more quickly and easily I move through to its rewards.

Release brings me into the natural flow of life which is much more fun and relaxing.

Aum shanti. Namaste.

The Wonder of You

I sat and listened to the birds outside my window this morning. It is a symphony. Such a vibrant, happy sound. It is available every morning. Wonderful.

This is how I feel each of you in this symphony of life. You are a wonder of creation. There is no one on the planet just like you. Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself! Everyone else is already taken.” Throughout my teen years, my father invited me time and again to just be myself. The challenge was that I had no idea who I was! So I kept trying on different personalities, behaviors, and personas. None of them fit because, of course, those were already taken. It was several decades before I began to discover True Self. Teachers came into my life to guide me into the unfolding of my True Self. Learning that, like you, I am a wonder of creation and that there is no one on the planet just like me, continues to be a wonder-filled experience.

You are love manifesting in human form. You are infinitely and unconditionally loved. You are a symphony. You are Wonderful.

It can be a challenge to embrace your own wonderfulness. On a recent day, when fatigue overtook me, feeling wonderful was not my experience. I felt spent and flat and didn’t have the energy to do anything about it. It slowly dawned on me how differently I was responding to everything I was feeling. There was a time when I would have cried most of the day, feeling depressed and judging myself for my lack of gratitude and happiness. This was different. The fatigue was appropriate and the “depression” was physical. Hard work on every level had depressed the energy available for me to continue. Mentally and emotionally I was quiet and peaceful, knowing my body just sat down and refused to do one more thing without a full day of rest. The next day I felt like me! And that was wonderful!

Think. Feel. Know. The Wonder of You simply is. Find it. Believe it. Let that shine.

You aren’t there yet? Wonderful! Trust the process because you are unfolding. You don’t have teachers to guide you? Ask them to come to you. As you wait, get yourself ready. Do what you know to do now. Do it simply and consistently. You are unfolding. Explore the internet. I have never met the teachers who most powerfully influenced me early in my conscious experience. I learned through books and tapes. The internet did not yet exist. Truth is coming to you in many forms. Let it come. You are unfolding and, once begun, the unfolding happens, Period.

I love you. You are loved. You are love manifesting in human form. You are wonderful.

Wholeness & Oneness

The practice of yoga has brought me to understand that body, mind and emotions are not separate things. They are all one manifestation of the soul or the life essence that is currently in human form. Ancient religions and philosophies, including yoga, teach us to overcome the flesh, to control the mind and to subdue the emotions. None of that ever worked for me. It created so much conflict within myself that it resulted in depression and a sense of hopelessness because I was never going to be good enough, never going to get it right.

Now, through the love, compassion and guidance of my teachers and mentors over the years, I have begun to understand the truth of non-separation, non-duality, oneness and wholeness. Last night I watched a show I had taped on the OWN network. Jane Fonda spoke of her life journey to wholeness. Several times she said, “We are not here to become perfect. We are here to become whole.”

Every particle of my being resonates with that truth. The journey is one of wholeness, remembering that I am one with the Source of all life. One of the word studies I did as a bible teacher was focused on this word “perfect.”  Jesus is quoted as having said, “Be ye perfect as my Father in heaven is perfect.” Those who came after him convinced me I was far from perfect and probably would never meet that standard. Everywhere I looked was paradox. Then I discovered a beautiful truth in the original language of the bible. The word perfect had an entirely different meaning than I had ever heard or understood. It means to come into maturity, to fulfill one’s purpose.

Stop and think about that. A fruit tree cannot bear fruit until it matures. Once it matures, it fulfills its purpose, which is to produce a specific fruit. An apple tree is perfect when it produces apples. When a human being matures, that being’s purpose is fulfilled as he or she remembers true self and lives in the oneness that has always been.

There is no separation between body, mind and emotions. We do, however, experience these parts of ourselves on different levels of awareness and resonance. Each has a different vibration on the energy level due to density. Obviously the body is the most dense substance and it has the lowest pattern of vibration. We experience human life through our physical body. Mind and emotions respond to the physical experience of the moment just as the body responds to the mental and emotional experiences we have.

Practicing hatha yoga (postures, breath, mindfulness) balances and calms the body, mind and emotions. The immediate purpose of our mat practice is to prepare us to turn within during our meditation practice. Meditation then deepens our balance and wholeness on all levels. It brings us into Oneness with All That Is. We remember who we are and why we are having this human experience.

For me, the discovery of oneness released me from the judgement and hopelessness that my belief in separation had created. Walter Littlemoon reminded me years ago that our names for God, in any language, are only to meet the need of our minds and our desire to share experience. In truth, the experience of Great Spirit, the Creator, God, Christ, Buddha, etc. is beyond language, thought, definition. It is our oneness with All That Is and how can words ever define or communicate that?

It is found and experienced in the silence within. The journey is into that sweet space where everything is quiet and as it is meant to be. Peace. Oneness. Wholeness. This is the essence of life, the essence of True Self or Soul. This is who I am, who you are, who we are as one.

In the oneness of All That Is, I am whole. In the wholeness of All That Is I am one.

Take Me As I Am

The title of this entry is an invitation rather than a challenge.

It is a gift beyond measure to have someone in your life who loves you just as you are. Free of disapproval or the fear of being a disappointment, you are free to unfold into the uniquely divine human being you came here to be.

As a child, my father was stationed at Walker AFB, New Mexico (Roswell). And before you wonder, it was well after the UFO’s landed so that was not the way I arrived on the planet (though it has come up more than once in my lifetime)!

I remember that my mother and her friends wore dresses or skirts most of the time. My mother was a beautiful red head – dark red, thick hair. One day I stood near her in our front yard as she chatted with a neighbor. The attention of the woman turned to me and I felt very uncomfortable. I was an extremely shy and quiet child. My mother never shamed me for that; she simply accepted me. That day, I moved closer to her and stood almost behind her. She silently took the side of her full skirt and wrapped it around me, letting me hide in the folds of her dress. I felt safe.

Over time I learned to come out of my shell, to be social in spite of my innate shyness. I loved meeting people and going new places but it took effort to relax into those situations. As a young military wife, I could “work the room” with the best of them keeping the shy girl safely inside.

To this day, I am internally awkward and anxious in new places and situations. People are shocked when they here me say, “By nature, I am very shy.” Many have laughed and refused my truth, insisting that I am joking.

It is not a joke; it is my truth. I still stop before going into a new place, especially if I am alone. I take a slow breath and remember being sheltered in the folds of my mother’s dress, safe until I felt ready to emerge. My parents taught me how to move through the world with confidence and to look to the gift of knowing people and caring for them. What choice did I have? I have been, to some degree, a public figure most of my life. I was the daughter of a high level military officer. I was the wife of a military unit commander. I became a relatively well-known bible teacher, conference leader and worked with high risk youth in summer programs. I now have been teaching yoga and presenting workshops for 22 years. I just keep ending up in the front of the room!

This must be my lifetime to balance the dichotomy of innate shyness and the gift of communicating with those on conscious healing journeys…and it is a wild and crazy ride. My personal zip line! I love my life.

The gift of someone who likes and loves me makes that balance so much easier to maintain. It opens a space for it all to be fun and for the freedom to be fearlessly me. Such a gift.

The title of this entry is an invitation rather than a challenge. I invite you to be that gift to others, even just one person. I invite you to attract and nurture those who bring this gift to you, even just one person.

Take me as I am and I will give you the same. Namaste.