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Life in the Trenches: On Coming Back to Life, and My Life’s Work

Posted Jan 31 2013 2:00am

It’s official! Maternity leave is now over.  It’s time to reconnect with you all! This is a long one, folks, but I felt the need to share in-depth this week.

Since my last blog post , a lot has happened for me. This might sound like an exciting statement. However, those of you who have embarked on mind-body journeys of your own know that “a lot happening” often means “a lot of discomfort.” Blech.  I am embroiled in discomfort at the moment. Which, oddly enough, is a good sign…

Why? Because I’m going through a massive rebirth in all areas of my life. I’ll share with you in more detail over the next few weeks/months. In some ways, my pre-baby life wasn’t me living as authentically as I could have been. Now, I am getting deeply reconnected with myself, and yet meeting myself anew.

I have a feeling that many of you are also experiencing discomfort and or major rebirths, so I thought I’d continue in the same vein as my last post and share my current experiences with you. (I swear, I’ll make the next post shorter!) Maybe you’ll find some insight, and maybe you’ll send me some. I know this: together, we’ll be stronger than on our own. Also, this journey we’re on is more fun if we do it together. I cannot tell you how touched I was by the messages you all sent me after I wrote that last post. I received so much love and so much kindness, and it made my current journey feel easier. Thank you all SO MUCH!

I’ve been writing and teaching about the mind-body connection for the last five years, but in those years, I’ve felt pretty great, overall, in my body.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had strong body pain. There have been occasions when my body has spoken to me via physical pain, but it’s been pretty mild. Now, though, I have entered what I’m calling my Mind-Body Ph.D Program. It’s personally designed to awaken me to a deeper awareness of my mind-body connection, my soul, my authentic self, and my life’s work.

My current physical pain is in a totally new location and different from my original mind-body syndrome (vulvodynia and interstitial cystitis), which is how I know this is a big new learning cycle for me. (In fact, the old mind-body syndromes did not even crop up after childbirth, despite their location!) I’m feeling it physically in my sacrum/tailbone area. Nothing is wrong. My body is fine. Structurally, I’m great. My body and soul are just helping me go deeper. This often happens when we choose new paths, such as motherhood, which I’ll talk about in a bit.

In case you think I sound really ok with this and totally aligned with myself, accepting, and full of wisdom, let me reassure you. I am not. I have resisted this experience with all my might. I have raged at it. I have wept. I have generally been a hot mess. I have felt like an idiot. I have berated myself. I have felt crazy. I have felt all kinds of things. I have avoided myself. I have avoided my tools. I have avoided deep truths and emotions. I have felt like my life is in every possible form of upheaval, what with being a new mom and all the inherent transition. I have felt alone.

Yep, that’s the truth. But here’s the thing. None of that matters. If you’re currently reading or have read my “ Hear Your Soul, Heal Yourself ” free eBook , then you know I’m just experiencing resistance. Which is normal. Which is part of the process itself. Whatever your experience is, be it physical pain, emotional pain, extra weight, or other struggles, I’d like to invite you to come along with me as I use the mind-body tools in my current daily Ph.D experience.  I know just how tough and crazy-making this journey can be, and I sure don’t want to go it alone this time. 

Want to join me? 

Here’s the plan:

I’ll be sharing various things about what I’m doing in my blog posts (they may not be weekly, depending on how much rest my body is asking for each week – so, I’m leaving it open). I’ll post on the Anamsong Facebook page . You then join in and comment/share on the blogs or the page, as you so desire! My whole intention with the Facebook page was to create a space for community around mind-body connection processes. Let’s go for it!

There’s just ONE RULE for this community. We don’t talk about our actual physical pain, weight, or anxiety/life issue. You’ll notice I didn’t dwell much on it above. And henceforth, I will not write about it anymore.

Why not?

Because it’s not the real issue. It’s just a wake-up call. An alarm clock. A fire alarm. Focusing on it is like smacking the fire alarm over and over while the fire sneaks up behind you. What’s really going on is deeper, and the only way to connect with it is to move beyond focusing on the experience we are resisting. So we talk about EVERYTHING ELSE in our lives, and feel the emotions around those issues. Truths emerge! Insights happen! Tension is released. Slowly, gently, our experiences begin to reflect our new alignment with ourselves.

Yeah, I know. Here’s this really frustrating thing, and we’re not going to talk about it? Gack!

Notice I didn’t say “never talk about it.” I just mean within our community here. It’s too easy to fall into the above-mentioned fire-alarm trap. I do have a few close friends with whom I talk about the physical pain. This helps, because they know I’m trying to release the attention around that and move deeper.

How do we navigate this? Well, here’s what I’ve been doing.

1)     First, I notice when I’m really obsessed with the experience I don’t want. (This is a form of Mind-Whispering – creating this mental awareness.)

2)     Second, I notice when I’m fighting against it. I allow myself to resist and simply notice that I am.

3)     Third, I allow myself to grieve about it if needed. This usually lasts around 5-10 minutes. (I’ve been known to yell, cry, swear at the universe, phone a friend and wail).

4)     Next, I nudge myself to GO DEEPER by paying attention to my body and emotions. I use my emotion about my current physical pain to open the door to emotions underneath, about other areas of my life that are calling for my attention. I use whatever tool I need in that moment to bring body and emotion awareness to the forefront. (It might be Dropping Contractions, Fight or Flight Release, or just breathing.)

5)     I ask for help if the pain decoy seems all consuming, (I’ve called my Endorsed Coaches or other mind-body savvy friends) and I get reminded to Flip my Focus and go deeper, beyond the pain and therefore out of the tailspin.

6)     Usually, after I feel through the emotion, I come out a bit wiser and much more relaxed. Truths emerge. I reconnect to myself. I start the rebuild process just that much more.

(All processes mentioned above are in the eBook!)

So, if you want to join me, please do! Just follow the one rule. Things that are ok to post include things like: (remember, I’m holding myself to this, too!)

1)     Wow, I notice I’m really resisting today.

2)     Grieving about my issue today.

3)     I could use some help – I keep thinking about my pain/weight/issue (anxiety is treated like a pain symptom, by the way).

4)     Anything about feeling body awareness or emotions or insights gained – aka The Real Stuff.

These statements create awareness, which helps us yank ourselves up out of the quicksand of freaking out about the pain/issue and back into our lives. What happens when we get back into our lives? Well, we FEEL STUFF.

Recently, in my own experience, I have felt a lot of stuff. I’ve been up to my nose in it. I’ve had all sorts of emotions. I’ve had plenty of emotional and physical discomfort. I’ve also had what comes with this: growth and insight, and a sense of returning home to myself, bit by bit.

The thing is, I’ve been suppressing a lot of emotion over the last year and a half, without even realizing it. Also, every so often, the mind-body-soul as a whole wakes me up to the need to release really old stuff, too, on a deeper level. On top of that, I set a clear intention when I decided to become a mom. I said to the universe: I intend to be a very present mom.

Well, it’s hard to be present without being real with myself about my emotions, my past, my deep inner truths, and such. So the universe took me up on my intention and grabbed my attention very, very, effectively. Crap.

I’m entering this current experience with a kindergarten mind. I’ve decided to let myself relearn everything I thought I knew. As soon as I made that decision, I felt much more at peace with my current experience (but, please note – not completely. Perfection is not necessary.).  I know from my past mind-body journeys that this adventure is only happening because I really need it. I know, for example, that when I kick off the Mind-Body Coach Training in April, I will be a much better teacher, a much more receptive student, (I always learn so much from everyone in the training!) and will have a much deeper understanding of the mind-body connection than before. That is my path.

It’s not about feeling better (whether that means mentally, physically, or emotionally). Instead, it’s about FEELING. Feeling body awareness. Feeling emotions. Feeling into the moment to know what my soul is saying right now. DAMMIT, THAT IS SO HARD!

Yes, I want to feel better. Of course I do! And yet, I know that’s a Catch-22. So every day, I try not to for a while. Then I remember to just accept that I want to feel better. And then I focus on feeling my body awareness and my emotions. I breathe.

A lot of the time, I feel somewhat like I do in those naked dreams we all have. You know, the ones where you show up to math class with your boobs hanging out. (If you don’t have those dreams, well, I don’t want to know. I’ll just pretend they’re normal.)

I use my grief blanket a lot.

I resist.

I breathe.

I pay attention to all the elements of my life that are asking for attention and awareness. My baby. My body (oh wow, was I ever escaping my body!). My marriage. My business. My self.

I find out something new about these elements of my life every day. I find something I’ve been avoiding or suppressing every day. I feel lots of emotional discomfort and still feel body pain. Everything is there in my awareness – whammo! This, I know, is the hardest part of the journey. So, I breathe and feel. And resist. And breathe and feel. And grieve random stuff. And breathe. And resist some more.

Sometimes, joy pops in for a visit. Sometimes, I feel the underlying peace of being on this journey and not trying so hard. Sometimes, I feel AWFUL. That’s how I know it’s “working.” There’s emotional movement, and I’m not feeling stuck. I’m awakening to a new sense of self. I’m moving through a huge transition. There is flow. There is me, feeling stuff. That’s the evidence that I’m on the path, putting one foot in front of the other.

Let’s get one thing straight: I do none of this perfectly. I’ve decided to focus on just one thing, and it’s not perfection. It’s consistency. Persistence.

Sometimes, I think I should do it perfectly. Ah, that sneaky mind. It’s a trap!

There is no perfect. And yet, I am doing it perfectly, no matter what.

In this moment, right now, I feel gratitude. Gratitude that I’m learning so much more now. Gratitude that I’m falling in love again with the mind-body journey – so much more in love! Gratitude that I’m discovering truths in my life and my life’s work. Gratitude that I have you all to share with and to grow with, because you are all amazing and have so much to share, too. Gratitude that I have a daughter and a husband who are part of this journey, too. Gratitude that I have family and friends who support me in such amazing ways. Gratitude that I am doing my life’s work, and that I’m opening up to new levels of authenticity and honesty, with myself and, as a result, with you.

Don’t worry if you’re not feeling gratitude right now. There’s nothing to strive for. Feel what you’re feeling. I will likely wake up tomorrow pissed off and resistant yet again.

And that’s okay.

This is the journey. It’s just a path to authenticity. It’s just my desire to be real with myself and what’s happening, right now. Onward we go, Authentic Warriors! It’s not easy, but still, we do it.

And that’s pretty cool.

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