Imagine no resistance. Every emotion, every feeling is welcome. YOU, your Whole You is welcome.
I talk a lot about being truthful to oneself and to act upon any truth that reveals. Also about courage, to not let fear rule and determine actions. I am also aware that this is not always easy, to be truthful to ourselves, and to act. And reality often is; we don’t even know what our truth is. All we know is an unhappy feeling, or that something is not right, or we might know exactly but it’s too overwhelming – and we’re stuck. And we just carry on.
I was pondering on what has changed for me. What made me go from living in stuckness, in suffering to living in truth and feeling alive?
And during this reflection one word surfaced loud and clear. Self love. I developed a positive, loving and deep relationship with myself, and it made me want to take care of myself. I started to see and feel that I am worth it. It works like a key to unlock ourselves. And it’s something I wish for everyone.
Therefor, at the heart of today’s post is taking care of ourselves. It’s about kindness, care, gentleness, nurturing – about love really. To give ourselves the right quality of attention, space to allow every thought, emotion and feeling to exist, so we can see what is really going on – and take care of that.
So today is not a day for action. No changes, despite the feeling of needing to change something. Sometimes the thought of having to take action, stops us from even going there – the ‘topic’. The topic that makes us feel uncomfortable, scared, nervous, angry, and so on; anything that causes an intense emotional response.
We can be so focused on feeling better, mostly by diminishing our problems, or getting distracted – filling our time with ‘(fun) stuff’ so we can tell ourselves that our lives are just wonderful. This has nothing to do with taking care of ourselves, this is pure survival – hoping not to crash.
Recently in a podcast interview the interviewee said: sometimes the best way to take care of ourselves is saying yes to saying no. I thought that was beautiful, and powerful. It speaks selfcare and honesty. And it is very suitable for what I want to talk about today.
Saying Yes, to saying No
Saying No to action, No to solving something, No to making things better, No to changing something. Sometimes we are simply not ready for change. We need to hear ourselves first. Just like we wouldn’t immediately put a plaster on a screaming child’s hurt knee, first we give the child a hug, we attend to the emotion. When that has calmed down, it’s plaster time. First things first, right?
Not changing anything means we are just going to let things be. And I can hear you think ‘why would we do that?!’ It doesn’t make sense to let situations that carry the ‘negative/not so good’ label to just be. I agree wholeheartedly. But here it is: to let them be, they will shift. There is only one thing you gotta do: give it the right attention. Be with it. Look at it. See it. Feel it. Basically welcome it – give it permission to be. And why not, it’s how we are really doing, it needs us.
Letting it be is very different from ignoring it. Ignoring is pushing it away, shutting it up or opt for distraction. When we let it be, we give it attention. Since it triggers an emotional response, it wants to be heard, not ignored. Letting it be is seeing it, hearing it, And do nothing about it. Feel the difference?
By saying No to change, we say Yes to our heart.
The wise heart
Our heart is worth listening to. It is where the true story sits. No fiction or novels, just the true story of who we are. It can guide us to what we truly want and need in our lives. And once we connect with that, things become clear. Like a blue sky. We can see again.
For us to really listen to our heart, we need to create a safe place for it to speak. Thoughts of changes can spoil that safe place as uncomfortable/scary feelings that may go hand in hand with the change don’t belong in a safe haven. The heart likes freedom to speak, to say what it wants to say, and fully express what it feels. Our mind (the thought producer) has a need to immediately answer to it by coming up with actions > which scare us > which spoils the safe haven > which shuts the heart > back to intense emotions on the topic, unchanged. Back to zero, stuck in the cycle, going around in circles.
Let’s break that cycle.
A safe place
So first things first. Create the safe place for the heart to speak. Which means we gotta quiet the mind. That often goes something like this: Shut up, stop thinking!! And the mind just carries on chattering. A more effective way, I find, is to approach the mind with absolute kindness, which goes something like this: “Hello mind, I understand you want to fix and solve things for me and keep me safe and make me happy, but I don’t need you right now. When you chatter, you talk over the heart, and it doesn’t get a chance to say anything, not fair don’t you think? Right now I need to listen to the heart, and your chatter is very interruptive. I’ll call in when I need you again, as you can be very helpful at times. For now, it’s just me and the heart, you’ve had your turn, just wait thanks, talk soon.”
Aww, how does that feel? We quiet the chatter for a while. So we can just hear ourselves. Isn’t that a relieve? The mind is not the enemy, it wants to protect us, it has the best intentions, but unfortunately it’s wrong very often. So thank it for the best intentions, but it’s not needed right now.
When we sit with ourselves like that, the mind will still try. Let that be too. Notice the thought come up, greet it, and let it go. A few things that help me in my quiet time are: focus on the breath; have some gentle music on (I’ve got a ‘feel-playlist’); always be kind to thoughts – let them exist too (‘hello thought’); put the hand on the heart and belly. It can also be quite nice to use a guided meditation. And one that is very powerful is to stand in front of the mirror, and just look yourself deeply in the eyes, with kindness and care at the heart.
Let’s talk love. Imagine everything we feel, want and think is okay. It’s all allowed to exist. Anger, sadness, loneliness, disappointment and so on. Let’s not resist or reject it, but welcome it. Not judge it, but see and look at it. Not have an argument with it, but just sit and listen to what it has to say. Let it have a voice, a presence. Allow it to be there, in its full form.
Don’t be the suffering, be the one that hears and sees the suffering. Be the listening ear, the shoulder to cry on, just like we would be for a child, or our friend. We can be it for ourselves. The warm embrace.
And then what? I actually wanted to end here. But then I thought ‘well, then they got all these feelings and realisations, and then what…?’ Personally that’s where I stop. As long as I am always aware and present with myself like that, I trust that things will shift. I don’t have to come up with ideas for action and change. It will present itself at some stage, and I will see and know. We just gotta stay honest, true and present with ourselves. My other blogs are full of inspiration for this.
That’s the start of self love. To really connect with the (hurt) heart, to allow everything in, to see and believe that our suffering is real. Then we can take it seriously, and take care of it. Take care of our heart.