Thursday, May 29, 2008

On the Importance of Being a Cheap Date

The key to being happy more of the time is learning how to be a cheap date. Cheap dates get a bad rap, but really there is nothing better than discovering a simple recipe for what works for you, and then getting good at enjoying it. Let me be clear: I'm not advocating that you settle for second best or water down your desires to minimal satisfaction. On the contrary, I encourage you to cultivate the places that give you the good stuff, the super-charged juicy juice that also comes easy for you. Imagine having access to energy that is continuously renewed rather than depleted, energy that seems to become more abundant the more we use it.

We all have ways of using and moving our energy--whether it's mental, emotional, or spiritual--that we are familiar with. They are supported by the physiological structure of our bodies and spines, and they are repeated and reinforced by our perception of the world through those filters. They are strategies that we've developed over time and from experience, usually in response to external demands and expectations. Unfortunately, because we often choose our strategies to avoid fear and harm, they also tend to be hard work to maintain. These defense strategies are very effective in the short-term, and simply not sustainable as tools for creating and celebrating your best life.

Network care, and SRI in particular (Somato-Respiratory Integration), gives you the opportunity to develop new strategies, anchored in your spine and physiology, that connect with your internal guidance system. With our body and awareness as our guide, we discover what our personal recipe is for boundless energy and ultimately, deep meaning in our life. Progressing through Network care allows for more and more refinement, effectiveness, and efficiency with these strategies. Not only do external stressors and influences derail us less, but our capacity to manifest and express the richness on the inside becomes our greatest resource. We learn to tap what's most easeful, to shape all that brimming potential, and to marvel at the gifts that reveal themselves as ours to give.

So, who wants to be a cheap date now?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Being Your Own Boss Sucks

There comes a point in the healing journey when we can no longer deny that we are the most responsible for what's gone wrong in our lives. That's not to say that external circumstances and other people's actions have not affected us. But we are the only ones who can anchor those events into our bodies and our lives, and we are the only ones who can heal them. Understanding these facts, and even better, feeling them in our bodies is the crucial step to gaining enough energy, emotion, and momentum to make the decision to stop doing what we've always done. It's much easier to get fed up with someone else's behavior, or blame the situation, or blow your top. Making these kinds of decisions are about reorganizing your internal terrain, and require a significant amount of accountability.

Making these kinds of shifts and taking responsibility for ourselves is really about taking our own power back. You become your own boss--no one else is the boss of you, and there is no one else to blame. You start catching yourself at your old tricks, and if you're a good boss, you just don't let yourself get away with that behavior anymore. It's become clear in your mind and in your body that it doesn't serve you. Even if you still choose those survival strategies from time to time, the auto-pilot, reflexive quality of those choices has no choice but to change. What was automatic and unthinking before is now unavoidably felt and seen; what was numb is now awake.

And having been my own boss in this way for a while now, I can tell you that being your own boss sucks. The level of accountability is high, and though I do maintain compassion, patience, and appreciation for my expertly honed coping strategies, there is nowhere to hide from myself anymore. With no one to blame and with the decision already made to step up to the next level, we are in new territory here. Unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable, true change is felt in the body, mind, and spirit. This is the beginning of sustainable transformation, and the beginning of sustainable living.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Staying in Balance Will Kill You

To build a sustainable life, and to improve the quality of that life, we have less use for balance than most of us think. Actually, what most of us think is that balance will help us to feel less uncomfortable, or at least give us some control over it. Often I hear people talk about wanting to find and maintain balance in their lives, and balance is also commonly touted as one of the outcomes of healing. But the idea of being in this kind of constant equilibrium is a myth.

The truth is that nothing in nature ever maintains a static balance; everything is always changing and adapting. In fact, if your heart rate doesn't fluctuate at all for more than a minute, you will likely die within the following minute. The reason is a non-fluctuating heart rate exists only in a non-responsive system--your body is no longer receiving or responding to the dynamic input from its internal and external environment. If you are no longer changing and adapting, you are no longer living in a sustainable way.

Look to increasing your capacity instead, for both the chaos and the order in your life.
Rather than trying to create a world and a life in which balance is paramount, our resources are better spent improving other qualities:

  • Flexibility, so it doesn't hurt as much when we move to or from extreme states, and so we can more easily shift into and out of stress, defense, healing, and growth.
  • Adaptability, so our experiences and life's lessons can be received for the opportunities they are to develop and deepen our strategies for connection and awakening.
  • Resiliency, so we are able to respond to changes in our established course with more grace, and so we are able to make room for the gifts and miracles no matter how uncomfortable, messy, or unseemly the situation may be.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Trust that They See Right Through You

Change and growth can be quite scary, especially when we are truly discovering who we are and when we start to realize that we must be true to our authentic selves. When our journey leads us to the sometimes stark reality that we are not the people we've been pretending to be, it can be deeply unsettling. In my experience with these moments, not only am I often stunned at how profoundly I have cast myself as who I think I am supposed to be, but I also run smack into the fear of whether anyone will love me if I stop keeping up the charade. That is to say, if I stop being who I've always been and stop doing the things I've always done, will the people in my life stop being in my life?

These questions are a fantastic distraction. Running our perceptions this way basically creates a story where we have managed to fool everyone around us, where we are convinced of our success in hiding our authentic selves. But the truth is that most of us are just not as good at hiding the light inside of us as we think we are. It doesn't matter how well it seems that you are keeping what you really think and feel to yourself, or how complete you think the act you're putting on is. The people who love you best and are the most intimate with you, they really can see right through you. And that's because true connection doesn't happen between our facades and personalities. It's your authentic self doing the connecting all along. The shape, color, and tone around your essential nature may change and be different, but why people love you, what makes you unique and special, those shine through no matter what the wrapping.

Granted, the changes we make may create a situation where those around us are prodded into discovering more about themselves, and that may not be comfortable. Sometimes, the degree of attachment and physical structure of our relationships may even change drastically. But who you are is what people connect with more often than not, and if your changes are to let your light shine through clearer and brighter, you can trust that those connections can be nothing but better for the change.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Business of Healing

Going into business for myself was a bigger decision than I really understood at the time. I made the decision six years ago when I resigned from my seven-year career in software development and enrolled in chiropractic college. I knew that the change in career would involve becoming an entrepreneur because there aren't really "jobs" for chiropractors in institutions or companies, and I was ready for that shift in that I was ready to start making my life work for me. What I didn't realize was just how profound the difference really is.

The financial safety nets and emotional certainty of a job with an employer had been a huge part of my adult life, and I did well in that type of structure at work and at school. Graduating from chiropractic college thrust me back out into the world, but this time with no external structure into which I could fit myself. More than three years after the decision had been made, I found myself suddenly forced to live the choice I had made. I am responsible for my own safety nets now, and the feelings of certainty have to come from inside. The challenge was significant, and though I managed to regain some semblance of order and confidence in my life, it's only recently that I discovered the true healing that my original decision was calling for.

Woman-owned businesses are often vehicles for creative self-expression at their core, and the courage required to be successful in business is the courage required to bring your authentic voice out in public. As a woman choosing to start and run her own business, I must get fully on board with myself. I am attaching my livelihood and that of my family to my business, which is really an expression of my truth and what I value. So for me to truly be successful in this business, I must first recognize and own the unique value of that expression, the worth and specialness of me. And though I wasn't aware of it several years ago, the "calling" I responded to in choosing to become a chiropractor and a businesswoman was actually a calling from within to take this journey to embodied self-esteem. Indeed, in all our endeavors, our healing is the point of the situation we find ourselves in, and real success comes when we can take the opportunity in front of us.