Tears, Anger, and Qi Gong

Hot tears glide down my face as I feel in my body that my power, my true power comes from within. Not from what I do or don’t do in my career…not from the size of my waist or bust…not for how friendly or unfriendly I am to others. But truly from myself and strength within. This all comes to me in a flash, an instant even, then I open my eyes. I am in a class of about 12, standing in a circle, standing right hand over left in meditation at Qi Gong. My first reaction was to run and not be judged, my second was anger at myself for being so vulnerable, and my third was to settle into what I was doing because no else seemed to notice but myself. Breath,focus on the inner power I felt growing, feel some anxiety, breath. Repeat.

I couldn’t stop the anger it kept coming. The more I tried to damper it and hold it down the more it flared up and it seemed to be what was producing the tears. I wanted to rage, to throw things, to hear plates smash. No sobs, no sniffles, just silent hot tears that flowed despite my attempts to hold it back. Then I remembered, I didn’t have to be afraid of this anger, it didn’t have to consume me. There was a place for it, “a fire place” my friend and teacher Amira says. “The anger can flare up out of control unattended and burn down the whole house OR attended with intention can act to heat the house and therefore be of use.” So as I  was doing the Gathering Heaven and Earth exercise, I started to build that fireplace, that intention. The tears stopped and my breathing became more relaxed. I started realizing  how  continue to feel even more confident and fierce in my body. I wasn’t used to that, I was accustomed to anger causing me to loose my temper or lash out. I felt during this that my boundaries were clear and any “yes” or “no” I stated would come out as fact and not negotiable. I felt solid, unmovable, and ready for action at any moment. Powerful.

Far too often I have allowed myself to give this power away or allowed others to take it. Either by inaction, i.e. not standing up for myself  or by reacting, i.e. lashing out, there for have become afraid of my anger or expressing  and stepping down or shying away from other’s anger. Trying to compensate either way has left me burned or burnt out. So now I work on building my “fireplace”, allowing the fire to burn brightly and allow me to see and sustain the power within. Burn baby burn.

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Looking Inside

We don’t give ourselves the permission to be still with the thoughts that make us uncomfortable. Instead we push them away, seal them in a box, and perhaps make a mental note that we will look at them someday when its “safe” or “when we have time.” We carry these around and make stories of them to suggest we’ve processed them or we are not affected by them , but in all reality they are there weighing us down and gathering the emotional dust of avoidance.

What boxes are you carrying around? You don’t even need to look in the box, just acknowledge they are there. One by one name the boxes…failed marriage, rape, trauma…Realize how you’ve been carrying them or ignoring them…drinking, saying to yourself “look how strong I am, this doesn’t affect me”, lying…Once you’re ready you can softly brush off the emotional dust (defensiveness, stress, anger..) and look inside the box. No need to pull everything out, just look. You may realize that the box is empty, time has diminished all the details and you’ve been carrying around an empty box that to you has felt really heavy. It may be putrid and rotten or be hiding a hidden gem of knowledge. But give yourself permission to just look, no need to take it out yet (to be honest I haven’t been able to do that part yet). We’ll get to that in time. Just sit with it, know its there.

Do you feel lighter? Do feel overwhelmed, joy, anger? Just be with it, know that what ever you are feeling that moment is part of the process of acknowledging those boxes, of dusting of the emotional dust, and looking inside.

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Googly Eyes

Some people start their road to perception by suddenly realizing  or seeing themselves in another being or object. They see that log being crashed over and over by the waves and realize that’s how they feel about their job or seeing a person getting yelled at and find themselves thinking about their relationship with their child. Seeing ourselves either in others or outside of ourselves can give us permission to see those deeper things that we may not of seen or even looked for on our own.

Mine….mine was an injured seagull and a googly eye dream,in fact one I just woke up from this morning. The injured seagull I will get to in another post don’t you worry.You see, for fun and well because its me, in this dream I was glueing those little plastic googly eyes to myself (if you’re not sure what I’m talking about go here). All over my legs while wearing a leotard, and since it was a dream I looked fabulous!  I was wearing them around proudly and showing them to everyone. Every time I touched one I saw a memory, “good” or “bad” and it started to affect me. I started to hide some of them but then started to literally see through them into the events around me and see how they were changing what I was looking at. I would see my current boyfriend as loving, kind, supportive and amazing but when I looked at him through the memory of my ex-husband I saw manipulation and over control coming out of the support. Stopped looking through him with that googly eye and it went back to normal. I started playing with this in the dream and realized how much those perspectives were affecting my world. I woke up and started writing.

You see I was looking at each memory and seeing how it affected my daily life in the dream but I realized that this was happening more and more in my waking life. By being aware of how I felt about situations and people in the moment, I was examining my conscious perspective and then concluding that many more times my unconscious perspective was doing it as well. It got me thinking. Where in my life are these perceptions affecting the choices I take, the way I interact with people, and the way I perceive myself.

So I started to write in my journal, I started to write both the pleasant and uncomfortable memories. The situations that felt “good” or “bad” for no definitive reason and started to explore why. Each memory, event, or general perspective was a touchstone or googly eye, it allowed me to see or at least open up how that was affecting my perspective. Positive and negative. Example: My dad always made me feel safe and warm during the Minnesota winters, he always seemed to know what to do.  His beard, his broad frame, and layers of warm clothes were visual confirmations of that unspoken preparedness and safety. Am I more likely to feel safe, warm, and assume that man knows he’s doing with a man displaying these properties? Probably, but I’m aware of this. I won’t just trust any man with a beard, broad frame, and layers of clothing (I’m sure there are plenty of axe murders that meet that description too). But I then ask myself,  in the past would I of unfairly judged a slighter man without a beard and simply dressed because I wanted to feel “safe and warm”? Possibly.

This opens up a whole new world of how to interact with others, situations, but more importantly myself. As a nurse, future acupuncturist, and in general healer, I feel its important to examine how these perspectives frame my external world and my interactions with my patients and clients. Really examining the core of my being, to not only be able to connect with my patients and have compassion but to see where I maybe unfairly bringing a perspective to an experience, person, or even myself. Instead to just truly be with the patient, see what’s in front of me minus the google eyes.

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Beautiful Creature

I’ve decided to start reading poetry to myself as part of my daily meditation practice, here’s the one I landed on today. I’ve found it has provided me with a lot of inspiration, deep insight, and a moment to do something beautiful for myself and my mind. Who are your favorite poets? Whom would you recommend I check out?

“Beautiful Creature”

by Hafiz

There is a beautiful creature living

in a hole you have

dug,

so at night I set fruit and grains and little pots of wine and milk

beside your soft earthen

mounds,

and I often sing to you,

but still, my dear, you do not come out.

I have fallen in love with someone

who is hiding inside

of you.

We should talk about this problem,

otherwise I will never

leave you

alone!

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The Theory of Everything begins

The awareness of self. Whether it be through self reflection, a psycho analysis, or through pushing your body to the max, you learn something. Even if its that you never want to go back to that shrink, gym, or dark place in your mind again, you have stepped away knowing something more. There is nothing like acupuncture school to make you aware of your body, your mind, and your spirit, that I am learning. I should of suspected something big was about to happen in my life when one of my first classes in the program started off with my professor very solemly prouncing, “Now we will begin, and we will learn the theory of everything.” It had an Earth shaking effect on me. I realized within that lecture that the Tao or “The Way”  connected everything together, that thinking of ourselves as separate from nature or the people around us was like thinking our hand was separate from our arm. Denying that our thoughts and emotions has any effect on our body was ridiculous. It continues to baffle me and at the same time urges me to step forward to learning more.

In our modern world many people find it an inconvenience or a wonderful happenstance that we can disconnect our life, our emotions from our body. We push it, abuse it, and then wonder why we become quicker to anger, quicker to stress. I know I didn’t realize how much stress I carried in my hips until I started really paying attention. Now that I know that, my body tells me something. I find I tell myself I’m relaxing and all I have to do is check in with my hips to find out I’m lying to myself and need to further let go of the day, or a conversation, or an expectation.

The journey through this life has reinforced this disconnection with my body. The events that happened in my body aren’t me but happen to me. If it was a negative event, like body image or pain, I would label it “unfair or unjust”, but please just don’t label it me. If it were pleasurable, like an orgasm or laugher, it was because someone else had caused them but it wasn’t a part of my body or self.  I’m embracing those parts of me mentally, emotionally, and physically, making them me. I realized that this was necessary in becoming a Acupuncturist, I needed to provide the same care to myself as I would a patient. I needed to look deep within myself and find the disconnections so I could further help others. The beauty of it all  is I become more and more comfortable in my body everyday. There is sometimes setbacks where the discomfort and disconnection is back but then my hips tell me to let go, relax, and soak in the comfort of my own skin.

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Auntie Angie

In one month I’m flying home for two weeks to meet my brother’s first baby and play Auntie. Up until now I really didn’t want to go and couldn’t put my finger directly on why. You see, my brother and I don’t play well together.
I’m not going to pull the veil over your eyes and start off by telling you how when we were young my brother and I fought but now that we’re adults we are close and have never been cruel or hurtful to one another since. That’s the thing is we have been cruel and hurtful to one another. Dave and I have always grown up with very different opinions, ways of approaching people and life, and even different ways of approaching each other. When I say different ways, I mean throwing closed fist punches, glances of pure disgust at each other, and screaming matches that would drive our poor mother to tears. She couldn’t figure out why we just couldn’t get along. OK we were kids back then but the general disagreements and distemper toward each other has just changed into avoidance and at times snarky remarks.

Some of the problem I realize is now as an adult I have this “idea” of what my brother and my relationship “should” be as adults. We come from a close family, family that is involved in each other’s lives. This has translated to everyone, except between my brother and I. In the last five years, I have flown home twice a year, to help out with his wedding, and will soon fly home to see his baby. When I fly home we a brief encounters and visits but there are moments filled with anger and frustration. I think I remember when first talking about California and how excited I was, David stated very bluntly “Well you’re in Minnesota right now, not in California.” Which I guess literally he was right, but immediately the tension was flared up between us. When I flew home for his wedding, I was seen with annoyance before the wedding and then was met by a disgusted glare while he was at the altar. It hurt me to the core and this is why I’ve been hesitant to go home and celebrate with him again. Then something changed.
On Tuesday I got the text that the baby had been born and then pictures followed, I cried. Right there in the middle of Diagnosis Class the love for both him and his new little family came pouring out of me. I saw my brother; I didn’t see the person that had been mean to me or hurtful. I glimpsed moments of connection and love we have had over the years. I saw a new beginning and that the reason for our disconnect wasn’t just on his side but on mine. We got to FaceTime and I saw the softer side of my brother, I had lied to myself over the years and believed in some small way this wasn’t there. But there it was right in front of me as he held and kissed that little boy. Out of a beginning for new life, came a new way of thinking about my brother. That is a beautiful thing.
Healing ourselves is top most priority but its amazing when we are strong enough to stop and heal the parts of us that interact with others. I hope that with this new insight and love that the relationship between my brother and I can start to heal.
Things may continue to be strained or uncomfortable for a time being, but here’s to a blossoming, a beginning, and a baby boy.

  

The power of vulnerability

I am reminded by the people surrounding me, the meditation I sink into, and the medicine I study, how powerful vulnerability can be. I used to fear the word, thinking it meant weak and/or leaving yourself open to be hurt. This video changed everything and it was one of the many things that have lead me to this path I’m on today.

“Without”

The next glance will be without one back.

The next step will be without hesitation.

The next breath without a word.

The next thought will be with complete clarity.

 

Finding my voice

I have found my voice. For those that know me this will make you laugh for I always seem to be talking or laughing or both. But for those that know me and my darkest parts, the places I feel scared, I hope you feel as relieved as I do. You see I can talk and talk and connect deeply with people, I can shoot the shit about guns or flowers or tea or beer. I find that I can relate to people easily and conversation, most times, comes naturally for me. That voice is tuned and ready to go, I’m not even talking about passion or a belief in an idea. Ideas come left and right, and passion? Well I have some to spare, would you like some? Or should I say my passion has me wandering again, would you like to come along?

This lost voice though has been afraid to come out and I didn’t realize why until I started to think about this blog. Mind you not even the writing of it because just the thought made my gut clench and my throat dry up. You see I can speak in front of people all day long (I may be nervous grant it) because I know in a way I’m good at it. I also am comforted by the fact that most people only remember about 50% of what they hear, so I have that in my favor. Writing it down though where others can read it, then read it again, then refer to it when they show their friends, then laugh at it, then laugh at it again when the whole high school reads it!!! Oh its the 9th grade note passing incident all over again!

So an idea can get stuck in your head and when its stuck there it can continue to grow and become bigger and scarier. So I examined it, I looked at why I was so scared to write these teeny little blog entries. What it came down to, was I afraid I didn’t know what I was talking about. That people would tell me I was wrong, stupid, dumb ,ect. The funny thing is….this blog’s focus isn’t strictly on facts or figures, its my experience. And who knows better about that then me? Those people out there that would tell me those negative things anyway…well ok they can say that, but it doesn’t take away from this.

The stepping into claiming my voice, claiming my experience as my own and not the result of something outside of myself. Forming my thoughts, emotions, and experience into words, something more permanent; to either reflect on, or inspire, or just to release the passion and ideas in my head. Its not so scary now,  I realize what the fear is and why. That fear seems smaller now and I feel much louder than before.

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