Hello Beautiful Souls- I want to use today’s blog as a metaphor for spring, more specifically to symbolize the importance of cultivating our spiritual soil for this season’s fertile ground. Spring in its essence is symbolic of renewal and hope. I want you to think about the first three physical energy centers of your body, they are often referred to as the lower energy centers. They are concerned with the physical and emotional survival of the body and ego self, and its growth and reproduction. It is also helpful for you to embrace the fact that your body is energy and that energy has a season just as nature and mother earth has a season. We are connected to that energy. We are one in the same. Spring is indicative of the planting season. Each planting season we turn over the soil. Why? Farmers and gardeners cultivate the soil to break up the weeds and mix in the dried out top soil together with the rich, dark, nutrient-packed stuff buried beneath the surface. Guess what? That is exactly what we need to do with our mind, body and spirit. Cultivate and bring up the stuff beneath the surface. I call it good stuff because it is packed full of information, the nutrients if you will, to help grow our souls. Now if we really want to boost the impact of our growth, we add fertilizer. Yep, that’s the shit! The shit, the experiences we buried down so long ago, so deeply submerged, we don’t even know it’s there and it is the foundation of our beliefs. The act of cultivating helps us to loosen the old beliefs and expose them, belly up towards the sun, illuminating our truths. I want you to start the digging. Start turning over your old beliefs and expose the truths and break apart the roots by exposing their frayed ends. We all have events and circumstances, actions and words that trigger us. Do you find yourself asking, “Why does this always happen?” “He knows this bothers me, why does he keep doing it?” or “She really knows how to push my buttons!” If this is sounding familiar, it is time to pay attention to your reaction and more importantly how long you stay in this reactive period. We are all human and we are going to get hurt and react. This is a simple fact, but if we stay in a reactive period for hours, days, weeks, months or years we are causing our body undue stress. Stress leads to dis-ease. Stress affects our sympathetic nervous system. We stay in fight or flight mode using all of our survival energies to ward off the danger we perceive all around us every minute of every day. I’m exhausted even writing this, just think how your body, mind and spirit feel defending all of this on a daily basis. We need this part of our nervous system, it allows the body to react to threats of danger, but it was designed to signal our bodies to survive, not to be activated every day because we feel emotionally threatened and defensive. No wonder we are an exhausted society. The art of balance, the act of bringing our energy centers into harmony activates our parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for the rest and digest function of our body’s autonomic nervous system. Both are crucial and work involuntarily. If we are stressed, we can have a direct effect in mastering and introducing calm back into our lives.
I feel strongly about the digging. Start to be curious, ask important questions to get to know the whys in your life. We bury our pain at a very young age and although you may recall certain pivotal events in your life, ask yourself how you recall these events. Perhaps when you share your experiences, you rattle them off as if you are reading a grocery list, free of any emotional connection, however, the fact may be that you have not turned over the soil of this event to see how it has impacted your personality and character. I will use a personal story here and you can replace the event with your experience so you can begin the new planting season by understanding the depths of your own truths.
One night I am standing at the stove making my husband’s meal. I am pissed off because it is nearly 9 pm and I am growing more pissed off because this has become the norm for us and no matter what I do or say to my husband, he won’t change this behavior of eating dinner SO late. We used to eat at a normal family dinner hour and we always made it a point to have a schedule for our kids so they could develop a good sense for routine and priorities. By eating at a decent hour (as I liked to call it) it allowed plenty of time for the boys to do their homework, relax and have a little TV time and then get ready for bed. As the boys grew older and were more involved in their varsity school sports, our schedules became very accommodating, which on most evenings meant that dinner was after their games and we became accustomed to eating closer to 9 or even later some nights. I thought when their busy schedules ended, we would resume our old dinner schedule. That didn’t happen. What did happen is that everyone ate at different times depending on what their schedules allowed. By the time the boys left home, my husband had settled into this late night routine quite comfortably, much to my dissatisfaction. I tried everything from “it’s a poor health choice to I’m just plain tired” to try to get him to eat at a decent time. So here I am standing and stirring, the pot and my emotions, when I thought to myself, why does this get me so charged up? What is the REAL reason behind all of this angst around when he eats? I knew I was sick and tired of cooking this late. I knew I was sick and tired of trying to change his mind. I knew I was sick and tired of being in a bad mood even before I started preparing the meal. I knew this was deeper than the surface of eating at 9. Still stirring, I went all the way to the end of this thing, and by that I mean I pictured myself as an old widow cooking my dinner. Wow, look at you Mick, aren’t you happy, you get to eat whenever you want. You get to make your dinner whenever you want. Nobody to worry about anymore. Nobody to piss you off! Nobody at all-Nobody! I immediately felt so incredibly stupid and selfish. Why do I feel such a need to control this part of my life? I’m not a control freak, am I? He’s the one that’s controlling, not me! Back and forth I went blaming and convincing. Then all of a sudden I was back in my childhood home, in the kitchen watching my mom prepare our dinner. My dad was waiting impatiently and my mom asked for our help to set the table and pour the water. The meal HAD to be served piping hot and all at the same time. There is an art to this and I learned it well. It’s all about timing and we were all ready to make my dad happy and indulge in this event called dinner. I then felt the familiar feeling of doting on my dad and needing to please him and if we did that, all was well in the world. I remembered a great emphasis on perfect timing and piping hot because when my dad was hungry, he was grouchy. I recalled one of the first meals I prepared for Russ in our early married life. He took one bite, spit it out waving his hand in front of his mouth, picked up his plate and put it on the window sill and said, “Let me know when that is cooled off enough so I can actually eat it.” You can imagine the insult. Years of practice and precise timing to this? I chuckled to myself remembering that night. I wanted to make my husband happy with a well prepared, good tasting meal and it got set on the window sill! It hit me right then, after all these years I still was holding onto how I was raised. Although I was able to let go of the piping hot version of meal delivery years ago, I had never let go of the control around the time and preciseness the meal had to be served. I had allowed this to disrupt my routine for so long. It is so interesting to me to have gotten that download and to understand the simplicity, piping hot meal promptly served at 6 pm equals happy man. I decided that night that I was no longer going to let my past run my future. I was not going to let my old beliefs, my old training dictate what I thought should fit. It doesn’t and hasn’t fit in my life for a long time. Why am I trying so hard? It hits me. I think I am still trying to please my dad. To gain his approval. By adhering to this old paradigm to please one man in my life, I am not pleasing the one that would walk through fire for me. I understood. With this realization and understanding, I could let that go and it was so freeing. My final thought that evening, as I dished the not-so-hot meal onto a plate was, who cares, it’s just us. I will prepare the meal with gratitude knowing I have someone to share it with and he appreciates a different PERFECT time to eat.
Now, obviously this is not about dinner or the time that you choose to eat or making people happy. It is about discovering why we do things and especially why we do things that aren’t working and ultimately cause us stress. Our lower three energy centers are creation, ego and survival. As young people, we don’t have the life experience to determine the “whys” of our life events, we store them away nice and neat, dividing them into good and bad. Some of the negative experiences have been buried for so long, we forget all about them. The ego has protected the feelings surrounding the events so masterfully, it takes a great amount of effort and digging to raise them to the surface. The purpose of the doing, the digging, is to offer answers to who you are. To invite these lower 3 energies to journey through the heart, (the fourth energy center) The heart is where we are able to offer forgiveness and understanding and turn the fear-based lower three energies, the seeds of your inner turmoil and struggle, into the new seedlings rich with love. This will take honesty, deep honesty with yourself. This is, for many of us, the most difficult row to hoe. This is a time to examine the child within and hold her close and tell her she did the best she could. I am not going to lie, this takes a commitment of peeling back many layers of experiences to understand your modern day reaction to what triggers you. I blamed for a long time and even when I thought I fully understood that all of the experiences happened FOR me, to bring me to my authentic self, I had more layers to peel back and more work to do. Noticing that my guards had not fully given up their defense, I kept people at arms-length, I retracted from sharing or becoming too close because this only brought eventual pain. What I was still in need of learning was the ability to set healthy boundaries for myself. Not to be defensive, but to acknowledge the difference between people who authentically want the best for me and those who did not. Who has my back, no matter what, and in turn those who I support and love in the same way. Those are the people I surround myself with, the rest is just fluff, the non-nutritious, non-essential filler. None of which are organic to my root system to stabilize my healthy growth. Once we’ve dowsed the first, second and third energies with love and understanding, we can send them to the next center. This is when we call upon the 5th energy center, the throat. There is a lot of work to be done in the throat. This is our voice, it is where we form the words to speak our truth.
My decisions allow me to stand strong with my face towards the sun and feel its warmth nurture my entire body. I have cultivated balance by looking deep into the lower 3 energy centers that hold my guilt and shame and expose the creative parts that needed nurturing to ensure their evolution and growth. I was able to see the potential of planting new roots that inspired growth beyond my expectations. I started the practice of keeping a journal which led to writing my book which has become the most insightful practice of getting to know ME. Journaling and meditation have been the most therapeutic practices for me. Both offer a peeling back of the years to expose an honest understanding of how old experiences shape our current reactions to events. Allowing quiet time to tend to the garden, to understand what it needs to bloom and grow is crucial for a successful and healthy result.
Get your shovel, start digging.