5 Simple Ways To Feel More Resonance In Your Life Right Now
I attended a yoga retreat at the Salt Spring Yoga Center this past weekend where Patricia Galaczy spoke on Mindfulness. Patricia gave us all raisins to hold between our fingers. My senses were guided to tune into the raisin’s crinkly exterior and soft interior. I noticed its size and its surprising depth of color.
We then had to roll the raisin in our ears! (I know, the thought of a room full of intelligent people turning a raisin in their ears may make you laugh right now.. but you may be surprised if you give it a try!)
What I found was that this small raisin is a feat of nature in the level of noise it can make. We then had to hold the raisin between our lips, and then in our mouth. This little experimental raisin turned into a burst flavor.
I began to realize that this discovery is a metaphor for greater saliency, which can apply to all of life.
Try this raisin experiment yourself. If you do, you will begin to really get how a practice of mindfulness positively impacts just about everything you do. When you slow your actions down through the day, all of life shows up as a burst of flavor.
Relationships start to have a raisin’ance that you can savor. You may discover an ease, greater creativity and loving capacity within you that you never previously thought possible.
How often do you really feel fully emotionally engaged in your conversations through a typical day?
Could you allow yourself more time to be more present?
What would you need to do differently?
What makes you rush?
Do you listen deeply while others speak? What do you notice when you do?
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom”, Victor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.
I was sitting with a client this morning that grieves the loss of her husband. She gave me permission to share some of her experience with you today in the hopes that her journey may deepen and enrich your own. When her husband, the love of her life, passed last year she lost her self in all the do’ing details of caring for her children’s grief, planning the celebration of her late husband’s life, navigating through all the financial details. She was heroically present for everyone’s feelings but her own.
She told me “I feel like I have been floating for the past six months”. This emotional numbing is common for many people. In response to her overwhelming primary feelings of sadness and loss, she numbed out and over-functioned keeping herself busy and then engaged in complicated secondary feelings of shame (fed by a long standing belief that ‘good mothers tough things out’). It was a trigger six months later when someone tried to offer emotional support to her and she reacted in anger. When she realized she needed help to process her feelings, she now sees that moment with a deep gratitude of coming alive since her husband’s death.
You may find yourself over functioning and pushing your own primary feelings underground. The trouble with doing this is that then old negative stories about yourself get rehearsed – stories that you are on your own, don’t deserve, can’t trust, aren’t desirable, loveable, or good enough. These scripts close in the walls to your creativity, vibrancy, and ease in life. You then naturally start to emotionally shrink.
Emotional shrinkage then engages your secondary feelings of ‘shame’, which then takes you farther, and farther away from living your best, most authentic life. If you have experienced a loss of relationship (a death or a break-up), without letting go and processing your feelings, you may find yourself having complicated future relationships. You may need to relearn trust to develop a secure attachments bond with your future mate.
Emotional avoidance can be a style of living. Are you the human doing, doing, doing? Do you push yourself beyond the boundaries of a healthy workweek more often than not? This addictive pattern may be your road to anxiety, depression, addiction, and social isolation.
We all experience loss at some time in our lives: loss of job, loss of parents, loss of partners, loss of physical capacity, loss of time…Sharing the feelings associated to life’s challenges, is what builds the meaningful life your heart desires.
What happens when you slow yourself down in any one experience?
As you are reading my blog right now, notice whatever object is in front of you with all of your senses. What do you observe about the way the light engages it? And what just changed in you as you focused on it? How is your breathing right now? What do you notice about your shoulders as you are doing this?
These types of questions will help you be more mindfully engaged. It gives your nervous system a break and allows you to settle into this moment with ease.
As you build a practice of mindfulness you may also notice how much easier it is to be attuned to others. Attunement is a term used in attachment theory and it is your ability to intimately connect to another. Susan Johnson in her book “Hold Me Tight” describes how couples can develop more emotional intimacy and secure attachments with a practice of emotional holding and empathic unconditional regard.
Become witness to yourself. When you wholeheartedly engage your own feelings, noticing them with curiosity, and take the risk to share (without judgment) you build connection and therefore cultivate love.
We all know it is challenging sometimes when someone is very emotionally charged in front of you, to not let the limbic (stress centers) brain take over in a fight or flight habit.
Defend your stand or define what you feel? Your choice.
You may hold old beliefs that being emotional is being weak. The story of weakness may be farthest from the truth. The truth is, becoming friends with your feelings may take practice.
If you get tripped up by an emotion (your own or someone else’s) try focusing on your body. Just tune into sensations in one particular part of your body. It could be your hands or your feet.
How do your hands feel right now? What sensations do you notice when you tune in?
What temperature is your skin? This simple focus exercise helps you to self regulate so you can train yourself into being with your feelings without a practice of avoiding or numbing.
Here are five ways you can start to become more resonant in your life:
- Meditate for 10 minutes every day. Research shows meditators have greater capacity to cope with stress than non-meditators.
- Spend some time in natural spaces so you can give your five senses a workout: see, smell, touch, taste, hear. This is a great way to calm your nervous system down and a healthy context for difficult conversations.
- Turn off all your electronics for part of your day.
- Eat your food mindfully with all five senses engaged.
- Notice what you are feeling in your body right now. Breathe.
So what’s the benefit to you to practice this? I’d love to hear what you discover. Put these five practices to the test and let me know what you think.