Have you ever been in a conversation with your child or partner and mentally just drifted off? Found yourself in a crowd of friends, but could only focus on finding a polite way to exit? Have you ever avoided your own thoughts and feelings in moments of solitude? I have. I call it ‘numbing out’.
There are times, when I am numbed out, it feels like I am moving through warm, soggy porridge because I am that disconnected to myself. At these times, I want to curl up and go to sleep or check Facebook and watch pointless videos on Youtube.
Other times, it feels as if my mind is out to sea. Like there is something deep in my subconscious that needs to be resolved. So I meditate, or sleep to allow that process to happen. I have learned to pay attention and trust that unfolding.
And still other times, numbing out is the default mode for dealing with something overwhelming, uncomfortable or out of alignment with me.
When we numb out, usually, it is because we want to avoid the truth of our feelings. So we look for ways to fit in and disguise our discomfort. The problem with this approach is that it’s taxing and purposeless for us. How long have we been “blending in” and “keeping up appearances”?
Too long if you ask me.
Let me give you an example:
In my life, I learned to drift off, or “leave my body” when I found myself in painful or stressful situations. I concluded that it was not safe for me to be “there”, and as I could not change the situation, I went elsewhere in my consciousness.
The problem with this solution was that any situation vaguely resembling stress or pain triggered the escape button in me. We all have our survival tactics – yours might be zoning out, anticipating the needs of others, losing yourself in your work, or making people laugh.
In and of themselves, these actions are perfectly wonderful. But when they become a defensive reaction for avoiding pain, the numbing begins to settle in for good. We start to disappear from our own lives and relationships.
We know this numbing out creates pathways in our biochemistry as well as our passions. We don’t delight as much, or feel the excitement in our loins as much. Ha!
Luckily, we can choose a different course of action. We can consciously awaken ourselves (again and again), in our everyday routines that numb us out, as well as those uncomfortable situations we wish to hide from the world.
So next time you feel yourself drifting off, or sense the telltale signs of numbing out, practice pulling yourself back in. Take time to examine what you may be trying to escape. Be patient, loving, and the truth of your feelings will free you.
And then because of such choices, such little daily awakenings, we may yet get to walk this earth as powerful, self-illumined homosapiens; lusty for life, and streaming goodness for generations to come.
** Special announcement lovely friends**
If you tend to get stressed during the holidays, want a trick that will keep you gracious, kind, and prevent you from overindulging in booze and food? I have something that will keep you sane, cheerful and true to your inner voice! Look in your inbox in the next couple of days for the announcement.
There are many suffering right now: whether in Syria, France, Beirut, or Afghanistan.
Those displaced by war, famine and climate change.
Families seeking shelter and food. Hungry children.
We must not shield our hearts from this knowledge. We need to inquire purposefully into the cycles of destruction and violence, so the endless play of victim and victimizer can finally cease.
It doesn’t take much investigation to find that destruction and violence are as old as our origins, but that is only one part of the story.
If we look deeper still, we can clearly see that we would not have survived had we not cooperated, collaborated and cared for one another. Compassion, love, and kindness are part of our evolutionary success story.
I think our continued success depends on further nourishing these traits. When we take care to develop them, we begin to see the interconnectedness of all life; that everything is sacred. That child. That lion cub. That forest. That body. That mind. All of it is sacred.
And so today, as we walk and move in our lives, let us remember we can make a difference. We have the power to heal, to nourish, and to offer friendship and shelter to all of humanity through our thoughts, deeds and actions.
When we do that, we begin a new cycle of sacred responsibility, anchored in our kinship.
And now, a meditation for you – a nurturing exercise for healing a hurt heart, a broken spirit, or a confused mind.
Take a moment and register what you are feeling. Allow yourself time to identify the deeper currents of your emotions. Breathe deeply into your body, pause a moment, and then slowly, deliberately exhale. Repeat this a few times until you feel yourself relaxing.
Now make your hands into cup shapes (as if you were about to cup some water to drink), and begin to pat your body gently but firmly. Start wherever you feel the your body most needs attention. It could be your chest or your solar plexus. Continue with the rest of your body, making sure you pat everywhere; including your bottocks, the back of your shoulders, legs, feet, etc. This will take some time, but it is worth every second.
This exercise brings blood up to the periphery of our bodies, and that in turn communicates to the body that it is safe. When our circulation moves in such a way, we can let go of contraction, fear, confusion, and even our struggles.
Once you have patted your whole body, inhale deeply and close your eyes. Feel the soothing, energized waves of energy flowing through your body now.
On your next deep breath, ask your Higher self, the wisest, most loving part of your self, to touch your body where it holds the essence that transcends the victim/victimizer equation. You may feel or see the body part.
Breathe into this space, and sense the essence radiating from it. It may be a tingling sensation or a warm feeling. Give yourself a moment to fully connect to it. Now, begin to expand this energy throughout your body.
How does this essence feel? Is it peaceful or loving? Is it a calm awareness. Allow yourself to discern this quality that will transcend the victim/victimizer scenarios.
Now, take another deep breath, and ask your Higher Self to give you a message that will help you understand your part in healing this world. Listen carefully. Ask questions until it is quite clear to you.
Breathe quietly and purposefully, and then open your eyes.
We must be the change we seek in the world. When we recognize this truth and apply it every day of our lives, we become more powerful than governments, corporations and the darkness that destroys our humanity.
Be true. Be willing to shine.
Many heartfelt and warm blessings to you. Please share this post with loved ones, friends and colleagues. It may help soothe a heart or open a mind that is closing up due to fear and anger. And you, tell me your thoughts and ideas on creating peace.
If I were to ask you what are you grateful for, you would probably have a list of things a mile long that you could share with me in seconds. But can you answer as quickly when I ask: “what would make you feel appreciated today?”
When I ask myself that question, it takes me a few moments to move through the layers: thoughtful gestures such as, someone to clean out my closet, cook healthy meals for the rest of the month and make the 1001 decisions that take me away from the fun in my life, would probably be on the top of my list.
Why? Because the things that I desire the most are: time and freedom.
Time to breathe and be in the pulse of the day and freedom to explore, dance, sleep and relish life fully. But, as I continue to think through these ideas, I realize that I do have time and freedom. They are right here, right now. I can literally stand up and start dancing, read whatever interests me, even go to sleep for a while.
So, why do I wait for these things from the outside when I have them already?
Maybe, it’s me who needs to appreciate me and give myself a break from the daily routines and schedules? Perhaps, I need to snap out of pushing myself so hard, ease off the gas peddle and take in the scenery?
As I switch the settings in my consciousness to appreciating myself, I see an array of options open up for me. The swirl of activities that needed my attention begin to fall away, my breathing changes and a feeling of wakefulness rises to the surface. I start to connect to a deeper me that is time-rich and free.
Would you like to change your settings to appreciating yourself today? Come with me and try this little exercise and you will be well on your way to feeling grand!
1 Stop running – Step back from your life and make a note of all the things you are juggling in this moment, including all the things you are thinking about.
2 Think clearly – How urgently do these things need your attention right now? Are they as important as you think? If you are unsure of their importance then rate them 1 to 5 (rate emergencies as a 5). If, there are no emergencies, can you move some of the items around and spread them over the week?
3 Gain insight – Are the things that need to happen, more important than you? Is how you feel important to you? Take a little time to feel into these questions and observe what insights you gain.
4 Prioritize – Once you arrive at the distinction that how you feel is important to you, you can take your first action step! Need a nap? Take it. Want to feel wide awake and engaged? Rock out at a concert or go rock climbing. Start taking what makes you feel good seriously by appreciating what makes you feel alive.
Appreciation, when received from others, makes a huge difference to us, but when we appreciate ourselves, it changes the whole ball game. So, today, I want to encourage you to take that leap of faith and appreciate yourself by prioritizing your desires and dreams. Figure out what would make you feel appreciated and go get some! As we get closer to the holidays, let’s get some “me time” before we get lost in the hit and miss reality of family get togethers!
Now your turn, tell me what makes you feel appreciated in the comments below? What can I write about, share with you that would show my appreciation for you? Because without you, it’s just me and my thoughts, but with you, I am a universe.