From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise Part 4

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

hummingbird

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

1. Draw the pain:

Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.
– German Proverb

I recall an exercise I made up in August 2012 as I journaled:

“Waking up with the cannonball weight of anxiety and fear in your chest?  Racing thoughts about all the usual?  Worried that you won’t be able to deliver all you have promised?  That you don’t have enough resources?  Financially, physically, spiritually?  Forgetting to live in the moment and over-thinking the future?  Scattered and feeling disorganized?  You know…  All that typical familiar stuff that builds a wall of fear around you. Well, that’s me this AM.  So I tried this.  I drew an outline.”

Drew in where the fear sits the strongest.

Then gently erased.

Easy.  Breathed through.  Decreased the tension.  Softened.

2. Capture chapter highlights:

Watch the shadows gather in the aching body.  Hear them mutter in complaint and self-pity.

Pity arises from meeting pain with fear.  Compassion comes when you meet it with love…

When we begin to respond to discomfort instead of reacting to it, an enormous change occurs.  We begin to experience it not as just “our” pain but as “the” pain… When it’s “my” unworthiness I feel unworthy to explore it.  But when it’s “the” unworthiness– the pain so many struggle with– compassion flows naturally towards it…

When it’s “the” pain, it has the whole universe to float in, when it’s “my” pain, I’m standing alone in it.

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 10.44.45 PM

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

From:

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 10.37.44 PM

By learning about anxiety, spending time with it and finally holding in your hand, you can enjoy the next step: You can relax your grip, and let it fall away. It will have served its purpose. You will have loved that part of yourself and it won’t need to get your attention with such a difficult message again.

You will be connected. That’s the first gift.

The second gift is that feeling connected and with realizing that you’re enough can lead you to a cycle of inner fullness. It can give you an easy-to-remember awareness that you’re up for this, whatever the next exciting challenge or painful event may be.

The third gift of anxiety is that it gets you to recognize your own power with, instead of power over, yourself and your life.

All you had to do was listen… – Ariella Baston

4. Today’s angel card:

18161572_181062095750047_7309479664240558080_n
Robin’s egg bowl by Alison Donnelly

Sacred Contracts Journaling Exercise Part 4a of 8: what is your true nature?

20140617-164946-60586836.jpg

SACRED CONTRACTS JOURNALING EXERCISE SERIES

PART 4a OF 8

WHAT IS YOUR TRUE NATURE?

We are tapping into our calling, our purpose, our joy in this SACRED CONTRACTS journal series.  It is inspired by Caroline Myss.  The journal series is  an experiment on my part, and I welcome you to join along.

Recall Part 1: Future and Present where we took time to look at where we would like to be, and where we are in this moment.

In Part 2: Where are your energy leaks? we focused on our body signals and biography makes biology. 

In Part 3: What Masks Do We Wear? we examined the masks we wear to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.

Today we examine our true nature.  What is it?

What does true nature really mean?

Is it tapping in to the inner child‘s endless appetite for curious exploration?

20140617-165042-60642508.jpg

Is it the strength that resides deep within our heart, that resonates with our authentic voice?

20140617-165429-60869293.jpg

Is it the idyllic peace of enlightenment as we connect fully with the world around us?

20140617-165458-60898063.jpg

What does TRUE NATURE mean to you?

Write for a few minutes or draw it out.

For me, my true nature is the scared, overwhelmed teenager within that wanders around in the hallways of my brain.  She’s torn and worn, and used and bruised.  And she’s always there wandering.

20140618-194134-70894104.jpg

But I accept that.  I accept her.  I love her.  She’s what makes me me.  She keeps me on my toes.  She’s in my laughter and in my heartache.  She’s in my tears and in my soul’s eye.  She’s sensitive and creative.

Even if you never consciously grapple with these questions about your true nature, certain circumstances will require you to pay attention. Life delivers you a series of challenges in the form of small and large good fortune, as well as petty and great misfortune. In the struggle to learn how to respond to the resulting joy, pain, and confusion, you are repeatedly challenged to seek and to act from your essence.

Dharma Wisdom

 

Sacred Contracts Journaling Exercise Part 3 of 8: what masks do we wear?

SACRED CONTRACTS JOURNALING EXERCISE SERIES

PART 3 OF 8

WHAT MASKS DO WE WEAR?

20140613-074725-28045185.jpg

We are tapping into our calling, our purpose, our joy in this SACRED CONTRACTS journal series.  It is inspired by Caroline Myss.  The journal series is  an experiment on my part, and I welcome you to join along.

Recall Part 1: Future and Present where we took time to look at where we would like to be, and where we are in this moment.

In Part 2: Where are your energy leaks? we focused on our body signals and biography makes biology.  

20140613-075001-28201962.jpg

In this exercise, we look at how we make ourselves visible in the world.  As we address our passion, our calling- we must also address the roles we take on by wearing masks.

20140613-074809-28089077.jpg

We Wear the Mask
Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872 – 1906

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile
And mouth with myriad subtleties,

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile,
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

20140613-074738-28058077.jpg

Mask- a covering, a disguise, to prevent, to protect, to conceal, to filter, a pretence, a reflection, a performance, a transformation…

Journal as you contemplate the following questions:

What masks do we wear?

Why do we wear them?

When?

What appearance do we portray to others?

To ourselves?

Do we wear masks to hide what’s actually going on underneath?

Do we wear masks of persona to protect ourselves from judgement?

To maintain a semblance of control in the chaos of life?

Do we wear one mask, or many different masks or many layers of masks?

When do we fully remove our masks?

When are we safe to do so?

Do we create our own masks or are we born with a pre-determined set?

Or does someone else help us make them?

Are masks an avoidance of showing who we really are?

Do masks allow us to approach?

To hide?

Or are they armour?

An adornment?

20140613-074229-27749665.jpg

20140613-074247-27767115.jpgIt’s interesting that despite the masks- the eyes are exposed. Can we truly ever fully hide who we are? Fully deny that we want to be seen?

The crudest curriculum vitae crows and flaps its wings in a style peculiar to the undersigner. I doubt whether you can even give your telephone number without giving something of yourself. —Nabokov, Nikolai Gogol

20140613-082448-30288682.jpg