I don’t really remember day

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Today is Remembrance Day, but what makes me feel sad is that I don’t really remember. I can’t.  

I am trying to think about the heroes that put their lives on the line so that we can be free. 

That is, I guess, how it happened. And yes, they were brave. I want to honour and respect what they did for us.

I am not very well versed on my own family history, and besides that I (many of us) will never really know what it was like to be involved in the war at any level. I feel disconnected.   

When I try to put myself in someone’s shoes, as I read stories about people in combat or women waiting at home, or anything in-between, I feel just plain sad.

Many of them did not actually have any agency in this matter. They were sent to sacrifice and be sacrificed. 

I don’t think that the only way to freedom is through the fight, and I don’t like how we still think that this is true. 

I don’t believe in the idea of governments offering young, naive (working class and often poor) citizens glorified visions of war and other benefits only so that they can use them. ‘You’ll be a hero.’ Well, maybe on paper. Maybe after experiencing trauma on such deep levels that you will be scar(r)ed for life by the time you come back.

You will be a new person, that’s for sure.   

What I have is not an actual memory, but a feeling that it was all wrong from the getgo, and that there must be alternative (peaceful) solutions.

With all due respect to our veterans, the military, and other war participants, I still need to believe that we are smarter, kinder, and braver than to believe that fighting and killing and destruction is the right answer. 

 

 

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Why energy healing works (just maybe not in the way that you expect)

IMG_0591I recently had a healing session with a friend at Quantum of Solace Healing.  She is trained in several modalities, one of which is called Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT.  In EFT, healer and client work to identify a key problem and rate the emotional intensity of it.  Then, via several rounds of repeating phrases aloud while tapping on various parts of the body (the client can do this themselves with guidance and/or the practitioner will do it for them), the emotional intensity that the patient feels gradually decreases, so that they should feel lighter and calmer about the problem in the end.

As our session progressed, I struggled to pinpoint the real issue(s), the reasons why I was still anxious and sad about having broken up with my partner a few months before.

We tried one round of tapping, then went back to revise, refine and dig deeper.

As we progressed, a sense of discomfort arose in my heart, and I began to choke up.  Like a massage therapist might work on a knotty muscle, we had found that emotional tender point, and she was – gently – loosening it.

As we went through the repetition and the tapping, she sensed the exact moment when something shifted for me.  She actually noticed when when I welled up, even though I struggled like crazy to hide it.

In her ability to sense this place of fear, she was compassionately pressing me to acknowledge things that I didn’t want to admit about myself.  

In these moments, I felt raw, vulnerable, exposed.  I recognized just how much I was still grieving my last relationship, and it scared me.  After all (I’d assumed), wasn’t I the strong, independent woman who was ‘moving on’ with her life?  Especially after several months of being apart?  Especially after a relationship that wasn’t truly serving either one of us that well?

How could I still be so scared about love, so lonely, still grieving this thing that was supposed to be long over, when I knew that splitting up was the best thing for me (us)?

That kind of shift can sometimes ease into a sense of peace fairly quickly.  But, the stuff that the session brought to the surface sat with me for the next couple of weeks.

What I realized from this is that one healing session doesn’t necessarily lead to immediate lightness.  The ‘feeling better’ part of the healing doesn’t always happen right away: sometimes you have to hang out with the discomfort for a while, get to know it a little, before your load is lightened.

In this case, I needed to acknowledge these things that I was feeling and process them so that I could really break free of that weight and move forward.

A good healer should be able to recognize this kind of a shift, to loosen the knot and understand that discomfort can be a part of the process.  The shift might manifest as a lightening, or a breaking, an opening, or some sense of uneasiness, but it’s the practitioner’s job to acknowledge it.

It might not be that comfortable, but it (often) needs to happen.

You know the Leonard Cohen quote: “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

For me, this time, deep fears had been unearthed, and I had to stare them in the face.  And this was a key lesson of the session: it didn’t fix me.  It opened me up, it exposed me, it shook me, cracked me, but it didn’t fix me.

By offering a safe space to acknowledge some of this pain and help me be OK with it, my healer friend helped me understand how I could help myself.

When I told her later how I’d felt, my friend (bless her giant gentle heart) asked me if she had been being too pushy.  I told her that if I had felt a little bit pushed, it meant that she was doing her job well.

In order to help another change, grow, heal, there has to (sometimes) be a compassionate nudge beyond their comfort zone.

An effective healer (or trainer, friend, partner) will be there to nudge you forward, will know when you are feeling uncomfortable in the right way.  They will sense your pain, and will be there to help you through it – if and when you are ready.

It can be scary – really scary.  But if you aren’t scared, you aren’t growing.

Sometimes in the EFT sessions my friend says something in a really cute way, and we giggle, or I giggle at myself out of nervousness.  And there is something about that little moment that reminds me of Pema Chodron’s concept of smiling at the fear.  So in that way, just being there with someone with the mutual intention of facing a fear can lighten the load.

The people in my life that I love the most are those that challenge me, stretch me, open me up.  They are people that are willing to have radically honest dialogue, who are self-aware, compassionate, conscious.  Something unspoken connects me with them, and them with me.  And we each thrive on this to grow.

So, if, energetically speaking, this is the kind of relationship that can be healing, then why wouldn’t an energy healing mode like EFT be successful?  Why do scientists sit around arguing the ‘validity’ of alternative healing modes, when maybe just this connection and mutual intention is exactly what makes it effective?

So, let us establish the kinds of connections where both parties are moved to examine and question themselves so that they may grow in whatever aspect is needed.  Let us create safe spaces where we can practice radical honesty in facing our deepest dreams and fears.

The right person at the right time will sit with you through the pain of cracking open, guiding you into your own light, which will in turn help another.

Hello, Alone, How Are You Today?

Sometimes, when I’m by myself, my mind reaches back into some other time when I felt safe, secure companionship, from a relationship that ended not so long ago.  My brain automatically, instantaneously classifies that past time as “good”: safe, secure, comfortable.  And classifies now as “bad”: lonely, unsafe, lacking meaning.

It all happens so fast that I don’t even know it!  And suddenly, I feel lonely.

As an only child, a natural introvert, an HSP, and someone who has not had many long-term (serious) relationships, I’ve spent many moments by myself in this life.  I should, by now, have so much practice that I’m really great with it: the thing is, I’m not always OK with it.

The video below, How To Be Alone, by poet Tanya Davis, offers us a glimpse of just how great being alone can be.  Take a look.

Sometimes it’s easy to see the beauty of alone.  Sometimes it takes some practice.  It is always, always important to be aware of your solitude, to practice being OK, to practice play.

And always, some days are better than others.

But the times that you have to really focus on your aloneness are those times when you start sinking into loneliness without realizing it, when it sneaks up on you like a disease.  When it starts to creep in without you barely noticing  then all of a sudden you really are lying in a pile on your bedroom floor (which is also perfectly OK, btw) for no real reason.

Or, maybe you have anxiety attacks, but only when you are alone.

Does your own company, your own mind, really have to cause you that much grief?

For me, today, right now, I’ve resolved to not go there.  I’m not able to spend money (I’ve resolved to never again use the term ‘broke’, because that implies that something is broken, a vessel empty, but that is a whole other blog entry).  I’m OK alone, in my somewhat messy little cheap apartment, in the middle of a rainy-day-grey-Vancouver-Sunday.

I could (as I have many times), allow myself ‘get’ grey, feel lonely, but I’m practicing just… not.

My brain (society) is so deeply conditioned to believe that alone = bad.  Even with all the new-agey hype about the concept of making friends with solitude, that habitual thought pattern is still engrained in my brain.

But in reality this moment of alone is just as good as any other.  Or, if we want to get all Buddhist about it, it’s neither good or bad.  It just is.

Today I made one promise to myself, a promise that I boldly (in bold!) proclaim to the world (or at least my small blogger audience, and a few friends):

I will not equate being alone with sadness.  

I mentioned earlier that I’m an HSP, which means I’m a very sensitive person, swayed easily by the energy of others.  I’m learning to do this in only the most positive ways, to let others lift me up, and to use my influence to help others, even when all that entails is listening well.  It’s taking time to learn.

But as an introvert, I find I need time alone to recharge.  I need time alone to just be, and not have to navigate through so much external energy.  It can be exhausting.

In fact, when I’m around my most energetic, interesting, intelligent and wonderful friends, sometimes I find myself most exhausted!  Which does not mean I don’t want to be around them, it just means that I want to (do) absorb everything they say and do, and when I can’t I don’t feel quite so devoted.

I want to be fully engaged and connected to those who I know and love.  And when ideas are bouncing back and forth and conversations and ideas flowing, it’s so overwhelming!  Wonderfully overwhelming. But I need time to sit back and process after those times.

Alone is fine.  In fact it’s great, because here there is noone to energetically sway me.  I can’t hide here, but I can go here to recharge, to refuel.  It is such a blessing, really.

So, why not try it: if you are alone, be strong and bold in your aloneness.  Don’t wish for something else, just be (interested) in this time you have now.  Get used to your own company.  Do your thing.

You can view it as making friends with solitude, or, just being.  It could just be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself.

Thank you for every single solitary thought and gesture that ever happened.