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What continues in the crying?

There’s different types of crying.  Some are a relief and a let-go and bring a sense of healing.  Others are more desperate and hopeless.  There is a wound that comes up in one area of my life that sees me in this place at times.  Sometimes I get fired up and passionate, sometimes I am accepting and soulful, sometimes open and optimistic, but the tricky one is the collapse response.  The slow caving in.  I watched this as it came on this morning after my morning walk, not wanting to be tearful and at the same time watching the unfolding.

I still had my observer self intact, which is great.  Sometimes the observer gets pretty small and the pain gets big.  In the midst of this today a question arose – what continues in the crying?  The collapse may sometimes feel like an annihilation, but what continues in the crying?

I noticed for me today, it was my breath and a sense of spaciousness as I watched the process of tearful collapse begin.  In that there was easing for me, mellowing, gently inhabiting more of the current moment.

If you are someone who ever finds themselves lost or drowning in a difficult emotion, notice your present moment experience through your five senses and ask yourself … what continues here, through this emotion?  Keep some of your attention with this and some with the emotion.  Watch what happens.

Counselling approaches that help.

Mindfulness and pleasure

“Mindfulness” is a way of being that is mindfully aware, observing, accepting of all of our experiences, our thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. It asks us to view these experiences from the position of observer or “curious scientist” and to accept them with an attitude of loving kindness.

I don’t know about you, but there’s plenty goes on in my head and emotions that I would like to shut down or get rid – I’m sure most of you have noticed by now that it’s near impossible to make thoughts not be there (“don’t think about a pink elephant”) and shutting things down usually creates more problems. Mindfulness offers a way to be with difficult experiences, without being overwhelmed and so is often used to assist with managing stress, anxiety and depression.

I’d like to invite you to explore using Mindfulness to enhance your awareness of your moment by moment experience of pleasure. We are wired for survival to pay way more attention to threatening or negative experiences, than positive ones. So it takes conscious attention to balance things out.

Beyond that though, mindfulness of pleasure offers a pathway into the self, a way of experiencing yourself more fully, of really being present in moments. Whereas Hedonism would have us drown in sensations of pleasure, Mindfulness has us moment by moment aware of more and more subtlety.
Think the five senses. Incorporate your breath to enhance your sensory awareness.

Begin with taste – may I suggest a square, just one square of a really good dark chocolate. Feel the texture and temperature of the square as you break it off. Notice what happens in your body in anticipation of putting this in your mouth – do your senses waken? Breathe slowly and deeply and bring the square to your nose, as you take in the aroma, how does your body respond? Do you notice pleasure centres opening, do muscles relax. Slow it down, take three slow deep breaths as you take it in. Notice any part of you that wants to rush, that is resisting the pace, look on this part with kind, loving acceptance while you continue your slow exploration.

Break it in half again, hear the gentle snap. Place a piece on your tongue, tune in to all the notes, like a description on a wine bottle – can you taste salty, sweet, bitter? What is the taste like on different parts of your tongue? Notice the part that wants to devour, choose to savour. What feelings does this experience evoke in you? Allow them to be there, watch them kindly.

Now see if you can bring some of this new, slow, awakened sensibility to your daily experiences and interactions. Does this bring more awareness of your internal experiences, that of others? How does this change the quality of a moment, of a day, of an interaction?

Pleasure – a most valid and valuable pathway.

Unknowing …

Feeling a warm, compassionate smiling-laugh as I reflect on the human condition and the dedication with which we seek to solve our problems and achieve our aims.  This weekend a bit of a joy-ride and slow opening.

Some drama, an apparent crisis, associated with a friend of a friend and creeping into our relating as well.  Words like ‘threat’ and ‘attack’ were in there.  My fight-flight mode was triggered, agile mind jumping about, seeing the situation from each perspective, what’s really happening here, what’s needed.  As I walked along the river at Currumbin in the early morning sunlight, I managed to catch myself hard at work with all this and felt a sense of compassion rise for the urgency and dedication with which I was seeking to understand and manage things.

That slowed it all down as I felt my heart open and a gentle, watchful curiousity take it’s place.  I didn’t know what the answer was and didn’t need to.  I decided to gently ‘watch this space’ instead.  This allowed me to come to a more compassionate heart-space for others involved and later take a gentle step from this place.

The weekend was a gradual slowing down and unfolding, reminding me to honour this process, this gentle, watchful curiousity.

By Sunday afternoon, after a swim, I gave myself the gift of sitting on the beach with a coffee and just being, without needing to make the space ‘useful’.

Questions and reflections came bubbling up as I again watched my mind jump about, exploring some issues around trust and safety.  Did trust mean trusting my ability to hold myself through whatever happens?  What about trusting that what I most want will evolve?  In opening into the unknowing between these two places, a wonderful energy moved up and filled my being and my body, not my eyes, began to cry in recognition and relief.  The answer was in the space between, felt as truth and would disappear in the face of labels and explanations.

Do you ever consciously allow yourself to be in a place of unknowing, even about the really important stuff?  Have you felt the raw power and beauty of this?  What happens to your fear when you choose this?