I just finished leading the Shake Your Soul: YogaDance Teacher Training at Kripalu. A fantastic week with 43 new graduates! They may be coming to a town near you so check out my website's teacher listing to see about Shaking Your Soul in your community!
In this enews I will be focusing on our body and the soul's capacity to guide us. I think of Sting's wonderful song, Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot as a soulful musical reminder for this important theme.
We want our bpdy & soul, our inner visceral knowing and soulful depths to awaken and guide us in our lives!
Before I talk about tapping your inner guidance and the challenge in following it, I want to mention it is much easier to tap into our inner fears and follow those.
Think about it, most of us don't have to work hard at all to feel the stirrings of fear in our bodies and minds. And then to follow the suggestions that fear offers like, "don't do that" or "quit this job or relationship" where we avoid and pull away from the situations and people we fear. The other options many of us experience is to freeze, feeling paralyzed or we fog over and move into confusion.
I had that experience this morning. After this incredible 7-day training I had a triggering event that sent me far away from the sense of satisfaction, pride and joy to an old "friend" called fear. So, what I'm sharing with you below is borrowed from my practice.
So the key question is, what if our guidance system could actually utilize our fear or any difficult emotion as an ally or resource?
Also a BIG warning here! When we experience our anxieties or fears and make immediate conclusions or decisions, reacting from our gut reactions--this is not the same as following our inner guidance. It is having an important gut reaction but as you read below there are some additional steps that are necessary to take this raw information and engage our guidance system.
We engage our guidance systems as we cultivate our capacity be with and work with our visceral reactions including our fears or any difficult emotion, before we take ANY action or form solid conclusions!
So here are the steps to utilizing any uncomfortable feeling like fear, worry, frustration, dislike, hatred and conflict as a stepping stone towards inner guidance.
1. Make sure you are doing something daily that is relaxing, energizing or joyful in life as a "practice". What works for me is teaching Shake Your Soul as well as my yoga/meditation practice.
These types of healing practices help re-fuel our tanks as we enhance our energy reserves, giving us the resources for deeper inner work.
2. Make sure you regularly REST with your difficult emotions which means you do these 4 activities.
a. Recognize the sensations underneath the emotions
b. Embody those inner sensations--you can actually use your body, especially your hands to sculpt in space what is happening inside your emotional body. This helps you to move onto the next step. As you do your movement, mine this morning was clenching my hands and then the statement from the fear in my guts joined in and my guts spoke, "I'm scared"
c. Support your emotional body. Actually say to your body's movement, "I see you and I hear you". This level of heartfelt acknowledgement and support to your body feelings is key in taking you to the next step...
d. Transform--there are 3 steps to transformation and healing here.
First, a natural transformation occurs once we have recognized, embodied and supported our inner feelings. For instance the tightness of fear can transform and soften into the tenderness of tears.
The second step of transformation is more active--once you have softened or opened a bit, ask into your soulful body "what does my being need?" This question is the basis for awakening your intuition. The response you hear or sense from within can address our core emotional needs like "I need love" or "I need acceptance" or something on the more practical side like "I need to cancel this trip" or "I need time with friends" etc.
The third step is to envision your need being met NOW! This is such a crucial healing step as we empower ourselves around our needs, as we bring support and not judgment to our needs.
This strengthens the potency of our needs so that when we interact with the world from this place of supported need, we can negotiate and hold our ground in deeply satisfying, self-nurturing ways. Supporting our needs is just the opposite of feeling "needy".
I know for some of you who have been reading my enews, RESTing is old news, but I find that core practices just need to be reiterated in slightly different ways to help us come back to what is central and keep it alive.
It's like mantras or prayers--you don't need to change the mantra or prayer to keep it alive or relevant. You just have to bring the aliveness of your intention to your practice!
May your practice of self-love bring you towards a genuine love for others in all of who they are.