"Transformation is through the body, not away from it. This is why no true master has ever advocating fighting or leaving the body, although their mind-based followers often have." -Eckhart Tolle
Previously I have written about the difference between knowledge and knowing. I shared my experience with Eckhart Tolle and how the only true way to "know" something, is to experience it.
What are you noticing...knowing?
This week I encourage you to become curious about what and how your physical body is trying to communicate with you.
I often say our physical body is a portal to what is really happening deep within. By deep within I mean beyond the mind and it's thoughts/story/narrative.
For example, ever notice how physical pain causes us to "do" something when it no longer becomes tolerable?
It's the moment when we feel "we have had enough of feeling tired/achy/lonely" (i.e.: suffering) and decide it's time to make a change. Time for transformation!!!
Perhaps we decide to become conscious of our food habits and choose to eat better.
Or, maybe it's time to lace up those sneakers and exercise.
And for some it's time to ease up on the physical body and get a massage or finally try yoga, etc.
And still for others perhaps there's a sense of the inner body that feels "off". Anxious, afraid, alone...endless cycle of emotional up and down.
Why does connecting with the body matter?
From a practical sense, we need it in order to live so why not take care of it the best we can?
On a deeper level, the physical body is a powerful doorway for us to access wisdom and therefore transformation. Can't change what you don't know/want to know :)
And while some wisdom traditions may teach denying the body and/or ignoring the body, in my experience, it is the exact opposite. We must pay attention and learn. Then apply those lessons in the form of action.
How do we access the physical body, in a deeper sense?
Yet one thread runs through all of it and that is the practice of presence...awareness. A.K.A - paying attention.
Some of us pay attention quite naturally and either choose to take action or not. Doing nothing is also a choice :)
Others of us engage in movement practices - yoga/running/walking outside/dance... to help us get in touch/feel the inner body.
And still others rely on meditation, massage, or other forms of energy healing to assist in bring us into deeper awareness.
There's no right or wrong way.
And the "way" may change over time as you change. Nothing is permanent in this world of form. Ha!
As I say-- the only "wrong" way to meditate is simply to not do it all.
And so it is with life and dealing with change. We will either consciously choose to listen to our body or not. Regardless, life / transformation happens anyway. We can embrace it (peaceful path) or fight it (suffering path).
I don't know about you. I rather the peaceful path.
Buddha didn’t teach us how to be enlightened.
Buddha taught us how to deal with human suffering.
Yes, at one point or another all of us encounter some form of suffering.
Why do we suffer?
What’s the difference between suffering outside our control and suffering that’s self inflicted?
We are human! Suffering is one of our greatest teachers. Much of our suffering comes from living in fear / wanting to control (self-inflicted). More suffering happens as we continue to resist what is.
This topic is broad. So, let's consider 2 questions:
1. Is this suffering I am experiencing self made?
2. Is this suffering I am experiencing part of life?
How will you know?
For question #1, self made suffering is a result of our thoughts and emotions and the inner narrative/story we replay over and over. Thoughts feeds emotion and emotion feeds thought and before we know it, this cycle of suffering becomes a way of life. This inner narrative, often a part of our dysfunctional mental conditioning over years, keeps us regretting the past and worried about the future.
The result? We remain stuck in the present, which is in direct opposition to "how life works" and quite frankly why we were born. Life only takes place in the present. Life itself requires us to keep moving. We can choose to move, or life will move us on its own terms.
Please note: I am not saying to discard the lessons of the past. Nor am I saying to leave the future open to some woo woo practice of intention setting without action.
What I am saying...is what I always say...take responsibility for your life. Your choices. Where you are. Where you want to go. And by all means, take small daily actions to move you along.
For question #2, part of life's inevitable suffering is the pain we feel from loss of a loved one, an illness, tragedy, etc.
If this writing resonates, perhaps you will listen to this week's Mind the Gap podcast episode on suffering. I speak about the different kinds of suffering and in particular the suffering that’s of our own creation- mental and emotional. Maybe you will also decide to keep a journal and spend a few minutes each day reflecting the 2 questions.
Living life is a practice and can be the most powerful portal for spiritual awakening, growth ...and freedom.
I am with you my friends.
Presence Practice by Stephanie
In times we feel emotionally unbalanced, stressed, lacking focus, energy etc.....having a presence practice helps return us to balance.
As I talk about in Chapter Two of my book Reclaiming JOY, the emotional roller coaster is not sustainable and keeps us stuck. We react and often cause more turmoil.
This simple presence practice, called BRFWA, (we love and use often at the Sanctuary) brings us back to a relaxed state where our emotions are in balance.
From this place of emotional balance or equanimity, we are able to ride the emotional wave without drowning in it / losing ourselves for too long. In equanimity we find our way back to peace and clarity and perhaps even a chuckle. Once clear, we are able to take clear, focused action that keeps us on the path of peace as we move toward our goals. Let's go!
BRFWA Explained (Give yourself at least 5 minutes to experience this).
Breathe: As a wave of emotion comes over you, slow down your breath.
Allow your breath to flow freely in and out.
Relax: As you slow down your breath, your mind and body will begin to relax.
Soften your muscles, let go of mental and physical tension.
Feel: As you relax, you are able to soften into what you are feeling.
Stay open to the sensations and emotions moving through you in this moment.
Watch: While feeling, you watch your experience closely, neither grasping what is pleasant nor pushing away what is painful.
Allow: As you watch, you allow the process to unfold.
You accept yourself and your experience exactly as it is, dropping the need to change it in any way.
BRWFA is the practice of being present.
Being present is what we learn during meditation.
Summer Self Care by Stephanie
“What you do for yourself-any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture of honesty and clear seeing toward yourself-will affect how you experience your world.” -Pema Chodron
Nourish Body, Mind & Spirit
Summer is the perfect time to slow down and notice where you need to be "fed", aka, practice self care. Nobody can do this for us. And if we don't do this for ourselves, we risk becoming resentful, contracted, and unhappy! We must feed ourselves in order to feed others.
As I spoke about last week, we are in charge of our own happiness and this includes on going self care. Give yourself permission to do what makes you feel good. You're worth it.
Top 5 Picks to Nourish Body, Mind & Spirit:
Massage - From therapeutic and deep tissue massage to relaxing massage, it's one of the oldest healing modalities. Massage can relax muscles, soothe aches and pains, release energy blockages, rejuvenate body, mind and spirit.
Yoga - Yoga promotes inner and outer health & well-being. In addition to improving physical health: flexibility, strength, balance, pain management, yoga is a powerful tool in personal transformation. Yoga has been shown to decrease stress, helping with anxiety and PTSD, while improving our mood and outlook on life.
Meditation- We get 2 choices: medicate or meditate. From managing stress, anxiety, and PTSD to cultivating a deeper sense of inner peace and well-being, meditation can help.
Energy Healing - Chakra Balancing is an energetic healing technique that works holistically on the body, mind and spirit from the inside out. Major systems of the body are restored with life-force energy to promote body's natural ability to heal. Chakras will be cleared and re-balanced so you feel lighter and empowered.
Reading List - Self-enrichment is one of the keys to growth.
Our top 5:
-Untethered Soul by Michael Singer -- We are all trying to be okay. Guess what? You already are!
-Reclaiming Joy by Stephanie Filardi -- 4 Steps, when applied, to live happy, healthy, free.
-A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle -- Awakening to your life's purpose and then some!
-A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson -- Love is a potent force and the key to peace...in relationships, work, life...
-Women, Food & God by Geneen Roth -- How we eat teaches us volumes about our life. Time to stop the battle with food and deeply listen.
SeeAwakening to You - Embodying Shamanic Wisdom with Stephanie
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Wainwright House in Rye, NY
A dear friend recently asked,"Stephanie, what is your life purpose"? Without skipping a beat, I said, "to help people awaken".
No small task in a noisy world that appears to keep us asleep...or at times wake us up with unbearable suffering.
And so, as many of you know, I am dedicated to passing along what I have learned and lived so that perhaps your journey is slightly "easier". You are not alone.
Is it time to reclaim your power and purpose by embracing fearless? It's fun. It's scary. It's freeing.
If this resonates, check out this workshop designed purposefully to help you awaken. See video below.
We will use the physical body as a portal to gain access to the deeper wisdom within.
We will explore the shamanic principles of jaguar medicine: fearlessness, non-doing, certainty and non-engagement to help you overcome inertia in your life.
Using gentle yoga poses, guided shamanic journeying, and reflection exercises learn ways to move beyond the conditioned mind, overcome fears, and awaken to your authentic self.
Move from stuck to unstuck and gain wisdom on action steps required to live your most authentic life.
Cultivate and deepen the relationship with jaguar medicine to help protect your energy.
Move beyond fear and anger paving the way to step fully and confidently into the life you were meant to live.
Come away with greater awareness, an energetic re-boot, and simple tools to use in your daily life. No yoga experience necessary.
Questions? Ask Stephanie Here.