But I thought I was being true to myself (Stage 4 or is it?)

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For many people who are on the self-development/ awakening path, the situation I’m about to describe is all too familiar and can be very painful.

Here’s the scenario. We observe a pattern that we don’t like, that has been doing us harm. A common one is to always try and please the people we love by compromising what we actually want and do. And we make a decision. Enough of this, I take my power back, I’m going to do what serves me.

And then we take this new way of being into our life, with the same people we’ve always been giving all our power away to. And we wonder why they get angry and aggressive towards us. Because we’ve been allowing them to walk all over us for such a long time, that when we say no - however gently (and it rarely is gently believe me), they will react.

So there are several things that could be goin on and I’m going to discuss a few of them.

The most common one is that we still have a lot of unresolved patterns going on, beliefs, emotions that we have not yet seen or dealt with. Let me give you an example.

Andrea is a succesful business woman, she owns her own company, is well thought of profressionally yet her in her personal relationship she does everything she can to keep the peace and make her husband feel good. He lacks self-belief and has a habit of putting her down, often subtley but regularly. She starts to realize he is doing this and it’s both knocking her confidence and buidling his up. She has had enough. So next time he tells her that she’s “doing it wrong”, even though her way is working she get’s angry with him and tells him not to speak to her like that. And even though the thing she was “doing wrong” was a small thing, they end up having a huge row because all her resentment from years of being put down, told she is not enough and not given the respect she believes she deserves comes out of her in that moment. Do you recognize this situation?

By the time they have stormed off and cooled down, neither of them really know what the argument was about, they just know they love each other and WTF was this about?

So Andrea has some work to do on herself. The first step to stepping into your power is deciding to do it, but often there is a need following this to go back and revisit the parts of you that still expect to be put down, still feel they should be looking after everyone else even when it’s painful to do so, and the parts of you that don’t have a voice and have little idea how to communicate their needs in a way that don’t sound angry and resentful.

If something like this is happening to you, it’s a great time to revisit stage 2. Find the place on your body that you feel powerful and ready to step forward and put one hand there. Then find the place that is angry/resentful/emotional (there may be more than one so you may need to repeat this a few times) and put your other hand there. Pay attention to each position in turn and say out loud how you feel in each area. See what emotions, thoughts, physical sensations are coming up when you really focus on your body. When you’ve really felt what is happening in both positions, imagine that they are now going to speak to each other and share how each one is feeling. I do this my connection to one position and as I breathe out I imagine all the information going down into my spine and along my spine to the other position, and then back and forth. And there comes a point when there is nothing left to say and a feeling of peace or release or even laughter will be achieved.

It’s always important to remember, if you are triggered, even if the other person has done things wrong and you know it, if you’re reacting the only person you can work on is yours truly, and owning that is the real path to improving your relationship and communication with the other person.

Assuming we have connected to the parts of us that were fueling the argument, it is also very useful to try and look at the bigger picture. When Andrea looked at this, she could see that she’d had the same dynamic with her previous partner. So the common factor was her. She was repeating a pattern over and over with all the men she became intimate with. Just being able to see this is a valuable step, so do step back and see if you can see patterns.

The Stage I would visit at this point would be Stage 3 - Stuck in a Pattern. The primary emotion is often frustration - frustration that this is happening again and again and again, despite your efforts to change. Where in your body do you feel stuck? Put your hands there, find the stuck feeling and breathe into this area to amplify the connection to it. When you truly feel how stuck you are declare it out loud and really feel it.

To explore the embodied patterns that rule our lives, attend a live SRI workshop, details can be found on the Events Page. Make sure if you have no experience that you attend a Discover workshop first. Alternatively Rachael offers a limited number of private sessions, either in person or over skype. Ask for details.

When is Honesty not appropriate?

This seems to have been a theme for me recently, so it feels good to share. Because innately we all want to speak the truth, yet when the truth might hurt someone else? What do we do, how do we handle it?

So what does this have to do with body awakening anyway?

Does it hurt me if I don’t tell the truth?

When it comes down to it, I want to be the best version of me possible. If I’m not true to me, there is always going to be a cost.

So one situation I’ve been in for a while now is about 2 years ago I made the decision to stop eating gluten. There is a growing body of research that shows that gluten is inflammatory, and different people respond to a differing degree to it. Well I’m not coeliac, but I seem to be pretty sensitive. I swell slightly when I eat gluten, my joints feel still and sometimes painful and it affects my energy and my mood. So pretty good reasons not to eat it.

How does that make me feel? Well on one level it makes me feel ashamed, ashamed that I’m different, ashamed that my body is letting me down and some fear comes up around being ill if I eat it and being outcast if I don’t. I have a need to fit in. So I play it down, don’t make a fuss, go pretty British - I’m fine.

But my body pays for that. I know I’m not being true to myself, I don’t like that in myself. I lose a bit of respect for myself, for being weak, for not being strong enough to say what I need. And I find my posture collapses when I do that. I feel smaller than I want to. I feel bad. My body contracts a bit. I don’t like these feelings.

So it’s always a good question to ask - when I’m not totally true to myself, what happens in my body? How do I feel? Or even more important - how do I check out and dissociate from these feelings (often we eat sugar or we drink alcohol as a distraction….).

So for me the first thing I need to do is check back in with my body (stage 1 is a great starting point or just some simple deep breathing if you don’t know the exercise). And I own it. I own the fact I’m not being true to myself. Because hurting me is not great.

But how do I avoid hurting the other person?

Well firstly, if it’s someone who loves me, they are potentially going to be more angry if I don’t tell them what I need, than if I just try and fit in. Because they care about me - yes?

And if it’s someone I don’t know so well, well maybe I just need to get over myself. Being honest about something like this is no big deal. Gluten free is so easy nowadays - for example potatoes, meat and vegetables are all gluten free naturally, as is rice. It’s not a hard diet to follow, so why get so worried about it?

So I’ve come to the conclusion that if I’m hurting myself, honesty is the only option. And as a Brit, I am trained to be nice, to be polite, to not rock the boat, yet not doing costs me.

You may say - but this is about you, but there must be situations when you should stay quiet?

You know, I’m sure there are. Only you can evaluate what happens in your own body when you either withhold information or truth, or when you consciously tell and untruth? It’s your choice.

I recently felt compelled to tell a fellow therapist why I didn’t want to be treated by her. For me that was quite a big thing to do, because I hold so much respect for anyone who is committed to a healing profession and helping others. But frankly her ego was way bigger than her ability. She assured me that there was no one local good enough to treat her, and then proceded to deliver what I would describe as a beginner level treatment. So what did I do? Well initially I was set to do nothing, just never book another appointment with her and leave her to it. But after conversation with a colleague I thought - you know, if everyone votes with their feet, she will never grow, she wont reach her potential - because her potential was great - so i very gently explained why I wasn’t going to return because my needs were not being met by her expertise at this point in time. Sadly she didn’t take it well, was very cold and shut down emotionally. Whilst I’m sad about that, I also know that standing in my truth served both me and her. No one likes to be told that they are not giving the service they think they are. If I sound arrogant here, it’s not my intention. My intention is to say that we all need feedback, and I know professionally getting feedback can be really hard because most therapists are doing everything they can to be the best they can.

So how do you feel when you don’t speak your truth?

I find I can explore this through so many different stages of SRI.

Stage 1 when I disconnect

Stage 2 when I’m more concerned about how people perceive me and how they will respond me

Stage 3 when I’m stuck in the pattern of being nice, of not saying what I need

Stage 4 when I don’t stand in my power

Stage 5 when I let the voices around me tell me what to do, when I don’t own parts of me that are playing small

Stage 11 when I need to share my gifts

Stage 12 when I need to be in community, in line with what serves the collective….

We all have choices, what serves you?



Christmas is a time for Forgiveness

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I was struck by post that talked about apologizing and what it really meant. Because it’s easy to say I’m sorry, but to go deep and ask “why did I hurt that person” is a different question.

The first thing to do is check your own body. Is there somewhere that feels tight, or you want to avoid? Or do you feel numb? That’s not uncommon and it that’s the case, I suggest you check in with the three positions of Stage One (Upper Chest, Mid Chest and Navel).

What happens when you check in with your body? How can you become more embodied, so that your body can help you solve why you have to hurt others, rather than connect to your own pain. People don’t do hurtful things to the people they love because they want to hurt them. We often operate from a place of shame and hurt, and we are only trying to protect ourselves from feeling more pain and hurt.

I’m not saying Stage 1 is the solution, I’m saying it’s a starting point. You can explore your body from so many different perspectives. If you are more experienced at bodywork and SRI, I’d checkout Stages 2 and 3, and maybe ask the bigger questions - What did I get from doing that? How come I thought it was OK? Did you feel helpless (stage 1) or did you feel angry (maybe stage 2 or 3)? What triggered you?

Enjoy the exploration. You may be surprised by what you find out about yourself.

Happy Christmas, and may your journey towards deeper connection and authenticity be a rewarding one.



Stage 3 - Stuck in a Pattern

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Have ever been at the point when you feel like you’ve tried EVERYTHING and you still haven’t got the results you wanted?

You feel like you’ve been working away at a problem or challenge, yet nothing is coming together. You may have changed your diet, increased your exercise, consulted numerous experts, yet you are still not where you want to be?

You feel stuck and it sucks. It’s just so frustrating and you don’t know what to do about it.

Your Choices

Most people at this point dissolve back into a state of helplessness (Stage 1) or go deeper into Stage 2 (polarity) and keep searching for the answer somewhere out there.

However there comes a moment when you know that both the problem and the solution lie within you. And that’s the recognition point to stage 3. You know that you are stuck and you start to own it. Because “stuck” shows up in the body, just like polarity (Stage 2) and helplessness (Stage 1) do.

Usually it’s the mind that is contributing to the stuck. It can limit how we approach a problem and our beliefs can keep us in a holding pattern that goes around and around. The over riding emotion is frustration, though some people express it more as “yeuch”!

When you can truly connect to the embodied experience of Stage 3 and feel how your body is also stuck in a pattern, you get to the point where you are ready to reclaim your power, reclaim the part of you that knows the answer and knows how to move forwards.

Experiment with the Stage 3 exercise. How many areas of your body feel stuck? Where do you feel stuck? How does it feel to connect into it.

You may need to revisit Stages 1 and 2 again before you are ready to resolve Stage 3.