Tag Archives: growth

Questions of Flow

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“As you get older, you are more set in your ways and harder to be in a relationship with” I’ve heard many people utter. Perhaps this is true for some. But I started to think about the WHYs. Why do we say that? When we say it, do we say it because someone stated this as a truth we accepted, or do we truly believe it, or is it an actual truth and if so, why is that our truth? And if we accept this as a truth when we’re in our 20s or 30s or 40s, do we take it on and manifest this rigidity unconsciously? Where does this rigidity come from? And perhaps more importantly, are we fully aware of it?

During this contemplation, I chose to reflect on my own experience of rigidity. In my journey thus far, I’ve observed great changes in my body – normal weight, overweight, underweight, overweight, normal weight – sort of in that order. I firmly believe that the changes in my body reflected the status of my inner world, and of course my family, friends and coworkers easily observed the physical changes. However, what no one could fully perceive was the lack of flexibility, or the energetic heaviness of the rigidity and stiffness in my mind and spirit, which was reflected in my body, but only fully experienced and felt by me. Of course, I also created it. I created it with my thoughts, choices, words, what I chose to do and not do. When I look back on those spaces in my life, I realize that I was not allowing the natural flow of my being to navigate the spaces I needed to manoeuvre, or make choices which served me, or even think thoughts which were of my own contemplation and discernment. Instead, I was either fighting my true self in order to conform to, or ignoring my intuition and rebelling against, something that was set out as ‘right’ by society or my family and culture. That constant push and pull, building walls, crossing lines, running away, keeping busy for distraction, created an emotional, spiritual, and mental paralysis in the extremes, was reflected in my body. Physical pain, stiffness, rigidity/lack of flexibility, tightness, being blocked, congested, and isolated from the enjoyment of life and others, were my personal experiences in my body as a reflection of my inner world. I found glimpses of joy and beauty and even calm during this experience but they were just that – glimpses. I did not know how to fully engage in anything other than the stagnant state of being I had experienced up to that point. It was not until perhaps a few years ago, when I finally began to open up and allow the natural flow of my being, my intuition and spirit to guide my healing, that I began to experience joy, beauty and calm more fully and consistently. But I do not consider my experience to be unique or isolated.

Since I was a child, I’ve been an observer of everything and everyone around me. This served me greatly when I began a daily meditative practice over a year ago, for meditation is a space of observation of our inner world, of the status of our soul, our mind, our heart, which we enter at that moment in time. Having worked in healthcare for almost a decade now, I’ve interacted with many human beings and I’ve observed some things which I am not intending to use as examples to generalize anyone’s life or existence, but rather as patterns I’ve observed some humans engage in.

I’ve observed that as we get older, some of us take on things we accepted to be true in the early years of our life and development, which restrict our flow. We don’t question things our child or teenage or 20-something-year-old self accepted to be true, though our experiences and observations thereafter suggest otherwise. For example, as a child, the experience of my parents suggested that relationships must have the experience of X, Y, and Z, and they must lead to A, B, and C, in order to be ‘real’ relationships. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that that experience of relationships may have been true for my parents but that is not necessarily a reflection of the flow of a relationship that may serve me. Often, in conversation, people will reveal that their ideal relationship is that of their parents or grandparents or a couple they saw in a movie or met when they were on vacation, and that they are working towards having a relationship like that, but they don’t actually take the time to figure our what best serves them as an individual. And I’ve observed, myself and others, to be addicted to relationships in search of the IDEAL we decided on when we were 12 or something, as the experience we want to have, rather than being present and discerning, in the experience that we are actually having. I’m not saying that in every case the relationship that we decided is our ideal does not serve us. I’m just saying that we didn’t take the time to figure out for ourselves why it does (or doesn’t). As a result, many of us find ourselves somehow ‘stuck’ in a relationship or friendship where we aren’t able to grow or learn or be ourselves fully and completely. And we project the rigidity we experience in that friendship or relationship, onto others or it gets extended in our habits, schedules, rituals…‘the way that things MUST be’, rather than allowing.

I’ve also come to understand that EVERYTHING is in constant flux and motion so much so that we change every day, yet we stick with things we decided we liked when we were kids. For example, we may have decided when we were five that our favourite colour is red and as adults have maintained this without exploring the experience of other colours – whether in the decor we chose for our homes, our clothing, our art etc. – and because we immersed ourselves in that one colour our entire life, the lack of exploration of the energetic quality of another colour is simply lost on us. Perhaps the calming quality of the colour blue would really serve us in the space we are presently exploring, but we don’t allow it to become a part of our experience because when we were five, we decided that red is our favourite colour and the only colour we want around. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with red, I’m just saying that there are so many other colours we have the privilege of experiencing, yet we decided when we were five that for the next 75/80/95 years, we are going to stick to red and only red without asking why. We also may have decided that we only like one type of music, and we only listen to that genre and never explore others, thereby limiting our music experience for our entire life. Though there is something beautiful to be found in stimulation of every one of our senses, I’m not saying that we are going to love all colours or all genres of music but that there is value in allowing ourselves to explore.

It has become apparent to me that our inner world is also constantly changing. Think about how differently you feel each morning you wake up. Some days you wake up feeling energised and ready to take on anything that may cross your path, and other days you just want to stay in bed and not talk to anyone. Yet most often, we ignore how we feel and push through our day without acknowledgment of where we are, of how we feel, or of what we need in order to find our centre and balance. What serves us most may be finding the stillness, movement or flow to navigate the newness without judgement or imposing boundaries we fought against or accepted when we were younger. For example, maybe when we were younger we decided that our discomfort gives us permission for everyone else to experience it and project our own emotional states on others (think of a toddler in the grocery story isle having a meltdown because their parent is not giving into their ice cream request), rather than being accountable for the understanding of why we feel/think/act the way we do at this moment in time. After all, it is our own personal experience so only we can answer our own why, and finding our centre in the spaces of meditation, yoga, reflection, contemplation, creative or other practices, may be ways that can help guide our inner exploration. When I was in high school, I remember going to school while having a temper tantrum which had nothing to do with anyone but me, but I had decided that it was acceptable for me to act out and take it out on others for months until someone told me that my behaviour was unacceptable. I was projecting the discomfort of my inner world outwards, however, not only did it not calm my inner, it also created chaos in my experience of friendships. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to sort through or experience the discomfort we may be feeling but our own. And at some point, we have to get comfortable in being uncomfortable in order to grow, learn and elevate.

In my healthcare practice, I’ve dealt with adults of different age groups and I have observed that age does not play into how difficult it is for me to navigate the unfamiliar space the patient is about to experience. I’ve interacted with 20 year olds who are more set in their ways and stubborn in what they feel they should receive from me, than some of the 90 year olds I’ve interacted with. I truly believe that getting older does not mean we become more difficult to be around or set in our ways, but that it is a choice. And I think that choice is as much a reflection of what we have accepted to be true, what we have decided we should experience or how we should experience something, than it is of the reality of our actual experiences. It is true that we are born with things or born into situations we did not choose, but no matter what, as an adult, we have a choice in what we carry, how we perceive, react, act, think, speak.

I believe that the experience of our body and the state of our physical world, which we can perceive by the limitations of our five physical senses, is a reflection of our inner, spiritual and mental state. I believe that the interconnectedness of mind, body, spirit is a reflection of the interconnectedness of all things in the universe and across universes, for what’s in the one is in the whole and all things in our universe abide by the same laws (of physics, mathematics, energy, quantum mechanics, balance, reciprocity etc.) the universe itself abides by, and the same laws the atoms which make up our cells and our bodies abide by. Each entity/thing/being/energy is not separate from another. Specifically for human beings, there is a continuous flow of creation as a response to a thought, a choice, an emotion, an action or a lack thereof, which is being directed by each and every one of us. And those choices can further support or hinder our own flow.

 

What supports your flow?

What hinders your flow?

And why?

 

Be kind to yourself and others.

Love, T

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between the notes

Photo © T.Nikic, 2013.

1

silence

noun si·lence \ˈsī-lən(t)s\
  1. 1:  forbearance from speech or noise :  muteness —often used interjectionally

  2. 2:  absence of sound or noise :  stillness in the silence of the night

  3. 3:  absence of mention: a :  oblivion, obscurity b :  secrecy weapons research was conducted in silence

(SOURCE)

*********

Sometimes it’s the silence between the notes

Which makes the song.

The pause, which allows the note before

And the note after it

To be heard and understood.

We write songs in our daily lives

Often without knowing it.

We pause before replying,

We walk away,

We breathe.

It’s what determines the song’s melody.

If I had to tell you

What my last song was about

I’d say it was about fears

And that it’s important we face them.

It’s about wounds and scars,

Covered up and bound with

Band-Aids and bandages

Which, at some point,

Need to be ripped off.

It’s about being present,

In the moment,

Without definition, expectation or direction,

Where one exists as they are.

It’s about staying in the moment

And trusting that that space will evolve,

Grow,

Change,

Grant life, beauty.

It’s about meeting another’s gaze,

Without looking away,

Not being scared of that sacred space.

It’s about SOULfood

Where freedom exists

And there are no limits

Placed on humanity

Or creativity

Or BEing.

When one song ends,

The silence before the first note of the next

Will surely be of influence.

And when the new song starts

Listen carefully,

Because it just might be the song

Which becomes the oyster shell

For your heart.


EXIT

I’ve been practicing Bikram hot yoga (at Bikram Hot Yoga Center ) since September 2009. Not consistently or as frequently as I’d have liked to, but nevertheless, I feel that it has been challenging, engaging and beneficial enough to my body, spirit and overall well-being, that I’ve attended the 90-minute classes (held in a  40 degree Celsius room of about 40 percent humidity), for almost five years. And it’s no small feat to captivate my interest for that long – I LOVE being challenged and this yoga practice is very challenging.

 

I receive the BYC email newsletter and in the most recent one, I saw that two intermediate classes with music were added to the schedule. With music, captivated me. In fact, when I went to practice a few days ago, I asked a teacher if I’d be eligible to take it, and when he said yes, I immediately made the commitment to my Self, and to him, to attend.

 

Today, was the very first class offered at an intermediate level with music at BYC. Was I excited? Yes. Was I nervous? Yes. Was I scared? Absolutely! Even after all those Bikram yoga classes I’ve attended, I still did not feel as if I could always get into the deepest expressions of some of the postures nor have I ever done a head stand. But I stuck to with music and that helped me calm my nerves down…a little bit.

 

Unlike regular Bikram yoga classes, this one did not have verbal instruction, but we all were to move in unison with our instructor. It was simply incredible to practice yoga in synergy and with music which included Hindu chants, prayers and songs of Shri, Krishna Das, as well as the music of the band Stars, Leonard Cohen, Eva Cassidy and Dan Gibson! The absence of verbal instruction and correction from the teacher made me feel more accountable to my own Self awareness – body, posture and position, as well as mind/thought and feeling. The few new postures which are a part of this class were challenging but surprisingly enough, I was able to do most of them…except for the head stand. I mean I did try to set it up, and even though it was something I’ve always wanted to be able to do, it was just too scary for me to do it on my own, for the first time, in this class.

The group of us who attended the class, were told at the very beginning to bring our mats in towards our instructor, as we were meant to be much closer together than in a regular class. Somehow my yoga mat ended up directly in front of the EXIT sign and door. After the standing series, I was faced with that EXIT sign every time I laid down for the Shavasana. I started thinking about the word itself. EXIT goes with escape, with letting go, with some form of freedom. And I realized that I did not allow my Self to EXIT my own thoughts which made me apprehensive about doing or attempting something new, something different, something scary. Although there were other things in my life this applied to, in this case, that was a head stand. Well, remember how I told you that I love challenges? I asked for some help and this is what happened:

I did it!

I did it! (Source BYC Instagram page)

I realize how powerful our thoughts are – they can help us face our fears or nurture them. I chose to literally EXIT the realm of CAN’T, with music, and some help. Like the mural at the BYC studio states: “Be afraid not of growing slowly, Be only afraid of standing still.”

 

Love,
T


‘Dysfunctional’. ‘Relationships’.

Two people meet. They are attracted to each other. They share their stories with each other. They discover they’ve both been through heartbreak (Surprise! *sarcasm*). They find comfort in their understanding of each other’s stories. They spend time together. “Fall in love”. But their relationship somehow isn’t working. SOMETHING is ‘missing’. The two people break up for reasons not completely understood and for actions that cannot be forgiven. Does that sound like a story you’ve heard or lived through a few times yourself?

So one of these two people decides that after this break-up, they’re going to not date for a while, spend some time alone and actually get to know their Self. And what this person finds is that the reason that the last relationship didn’t work out was because they didn’t deal with the baggage of past relationships that they’ve brought to that relationship. In fact, the baggage was so vast and deep that its roots laid in their childhood, their insecurities and fears were nurtured in so many of their non-platonic and platonic relationships with others, and in fact that’s why they couldn’t BE with anyone completely, fully up until that point of their life. They go ahead and sort through all of those feelings, discover their roots, break them down, start looking at their past and the world with an adult set of eyes and then start thinking about their last relationship. Of course, since the energy of the universe moves in the direction of truth, there is contact with the ex. After a short conversation, the person who has done their Self work, realizes that their ex hasn’t. And then they’re left with a choice – to go back to something that didn’t work out before (and which will for sure not work out again) or let go and move forward – it’s the ULTIMATE test from the universe in terms of finding out if a person has learned their lesson.

What do you think is the right choice to make? And please, leave feelings out of it. Just be real and true to your values. Where should this person who has done all this Self work now go? Would it be wise for them to go back to a situation where there was no real growth evident on the other person’s end?

It makes me sad when I see a person stuck in his or her own hurtful cycle in terms of relationships. It’s like people knowingly get into being with those who are: not only emotionally unavailable, but who are also a little lost, carrying around a lot of baggage from their past and are absolutely not nurturing to those they are close to. (Note: I am not judging any of this. I have been through it which is how I know about it.)

The thing is, no one can make anyone grow up. It is a CHOICE. Working through one’s past and issues IS a choice. Self work is extremely important but one must deem it necessary in order to get to where they want to go in order to view it as such. It’s important to remember that you are not a halfway house for broken hearts. People have to come either whole, having already dealt with their baggage, or are in the process of doing their own Self work.

We have to stay true to ourselves. We must stand in our own integrity. We know right from wrong so we must do right. But we also have to remember that we are an example to those around us of how to treat us right.

Nurture those traits, behaviors etc. that are important to YOU, that lift YOU. Stand up to traits, behaviors etc. that hurt you or aren’t nurturing to you. If you don’t demand the best, you won’t get the best. And remember, whatever you bring out in others, what you give to others, is a reflection of you, of your desires and needs. So as much you need to ensure that your needs are being met by another, also pay attention to what the other person’s needs and desires are because, although you may be able to fulfill each others’, you may speak two different love languages.

Having been hurt by one person is never a justification for hurting another. Do not allow your ego, your fears and insecurities, and most importantly do not allow the wounds from your past, to turn you into someone you are not. Yes, it sucks that you were hurt. No, it wasn’t fair. But LEARN from it. Don’t let it define you as a person. You ARE above that. Choose who you want to be. Choose how you want to live your life. Choose how you want your life to look like. Then, after you’ve acted on all of those decisions, and after you’ve done your Self work, THEN be open to being in a healthy, mindful, nurturing and loving relationship with another person. Because, the truth is, people can only go with you as far as you go. The deeper you know your Self, the deeper your bonds with others…if allowed.

Much love,

T


How To Be An Adult In Relationships…

I have chosen to write a conversation piece over a poem this week for personal reasons. I feel that this post is necessary.

I’d like to discuss the impact a book has made on my life and why I (and my friend B) think that everyone should read it. It’s called “How To Be An Adult In Relationships” by David Richo.

My friend B and I have made this book our relationship bible because it guided us both in our individual growth periods. It’s a book which is to be read at your own pace as it is deep and because it addresses many different issues relevant to having a healthy relationship with oneself first and foremost, which then leads to a healthy relationship with other people. It takes you on a reflective journey of your past experiences and allows you room to decide what it is that you want for yourself as an individual and in relationships while teaching you tools in how to go about doing that. The book has been a saving grace for many of our friends who’ve also read it. I’ve given this book as a gift to a few people including my mother and sister. It does not matter how old you are, what you’ve gone through or where you find yourself currently in life. If you’re struggling with personal issues, unresolved pain or painful situations, OR if you are in a happy relationship this book is relevant.

I want to let you know that if you feel like you don’t have a good grasp of your life or your emotions, if you feel that you’re at a crossroads of sorts, if you feel that your life is a bit of a mess or that you fail at having successful relationships, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We’ve ALL gone through “stuff”, experienced pain, been disappointed, have been unsuccessful at something. But the thing is, you CAN overcome all of that IF YOU TRY and do the work.

Since reading the book “How To Be An Adult In Relationships” by David Richo, I’ve become more aware of my reactions, my actions and the words I use when communicating with other people. It is difficult, however, after doing all that work and going through the growth process which the book guides you through, to not pass on the knowledge and tools learned from it in helping other people, which is why I’m writing about it. I would like to note, however, that this isn’t directly from the book but these are some of the things which I’ve become aware of while reading it.

Some of the things which I learned about myself while reading this book have helped me return to a place of peace within. Don’t get me wrong – my life is not all roses and like everyone else, I also go through problems and difficult situations. It’s just that I’ve been able to stand in the midst of it all and be at peace. I suppose there were other things I did while reading this book which helped me but because that is an individual and personal choice, I choose not to disclose those as not to skew anyone’s perception. What I will say is that ANY type of creative expressions, activities which help you focus or remain calm, should be engaged while doing this work on Self.

I feel that this book has given me tools and guided me in dealing with and understanding my emotions and feelings better. That is a big deal. So many people out there are riding emotional roller coasters which creates unnecessary drama not just for them but for people whom they deal with. I’ve read many books and have done plenty of work on myself prior to reading Richo’s book, but after making the commitment to really work through it, I was able to elevate my own sense of self in the way I conduct myself, in how I see myself and in who I am in relationship type situations. (Note: this book is highlighting non-platonic relationships but it’s applicable to ANY kind of relationship – family, friend, romance, business, professional etc – because it will strengthen the relationship you have with your Self and make you more aware of your actions, words and reactions towards others.)

Another thing that the book helped me with tremendously was making peace with, and understanding my past. By doing the work laid out by Richo, I was able to grasp how certain things which occurred during my childhood, teenage years and early adult life (that includes situations which happened in different types of relationships) affected me emotionally, how it affected my current relationships and more importantly, it helped me sort through things that I was holding on to which had a hold on ME – i.e. my actions, reactions and words towards other people. Take a moment and honestly ask yourself how many of us actually do that? Most people run away from their past (which turns into a lot of baggage later on in life) instead of actually sorting through it and dealing with it before moving on to another situation. THIS IS IMPORTANT WORK, in my opinion and I encourage everyone to do it.

You may find another way to do your work which will work for you, but if you’re unsure of where to start or how to go about it, I strongly recommend that you go and pick up “How To Be An Adult In Relationships” and start working towards creating the life you want to live, by being who you are or want to become, and having the kinds of relationships that you want to have.

Love, T

PLEASE NOTE: I am not an advertiser nor do I have any affiliations with the publishing company or the author. This is simply me practicing my “sharing is caring” mantra.


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