Tag: Balance

Lessons In Letting Go & Finding Balance with Sora Garrett

Lessons In Letting Go & Finding Balance with Sora Garrett

Learning to find our balance again and again, is a valuable skill we practice as we navigate life’s challenges. This is especially true during the midlife years when a plethora of destabilizing happenings beset many of us. The blessing that is born as a result of our hard work is multifaceted. Sora Garret joins us today as the final guest in this segment of The Voices of Wisdom Series. In her article she describes this practice beautifully. Sora is a gifted writer with a gentle spirit whose valuable message comes through loud and clear . . .  Be sure to visit her website and check out her books.

Midlife Reflections on Balance, Menopause & the Joy of Being

Sora Garrett

Letting go
Sora Garrett

I’m turning 50 this year, the foundations of my life solid around me, wisdom woven deep from the rich tapestry of a half century of living. Some days I revel in this feel of solidity—the comfort & freedom it brings. Other days I am cast as water, floating in the elusive nature of things and wondering what I am to do with myself now that I’ve reached so many of my dreams.

Most of my life I’ve found fulfillment through action, the fulcrum of my life based in doing. Finding balance meant stealing time for myself so that I could keep functioning as a working-volunteering mother-wife-friend-entrepreneur.

Balance was also a journey of taking myself to the extremes, testing boundaries, exploring edges to find where I belonged so I could be really happy. My outer life was in well-juggled balance. My inner life was not.

A LESSON IN LETTING GO

Eventually life crashed in around me, literally, and forced me to listen. After a major ski wreck gave me a concussion, I slowed down for a few months. The following year…different wreck, same concussion. Only this time I listened more deeply and finally ended a business partnership that was falling apart at the seams.

It was a huge lesson in letting go, and one that started me on the most amazing adventure of my life—the journey into my essential self.

I’m at least part way there, and the dance of balance is different now, though still illusive. There is less I have to do and more I want to give.

While I still have tendencies to over-do, my evolving spiritual practice keeps me well-watered and connected to my inner being. I really know what it is to overflow with giving that comes from a sincere desire to share. These days, I’m pulled (not pushed) to explore my edges so I can stay fresh & awake to wonder.

FINDING BALANCELetting Go

Rather than looking for some miracle balance point that will bring happiness, I’ve learned to shift my balance in the moment as life blossoms around me.

When I engage gracefully in this life-dance, I find a joy of being that is more fulfilling than any accomplished goal or conquered dream. And as I learn to say no to my habits of over-doing, my soul leads me to give in ever more satisfying ways.

Except there’s this one little thing: my changing body is betraying me.

Some days, I barely know myself, the heavy-fuzzy symptoms of menopause casting a dullness over my otherwise radiant world. More sensitive to almost everything, my physical balance point has become so narrow that I keep falling off. And, some days, nothing I do seems to help.

So I just keep doing what I can, showing up as authentically as I know how, and creating new rituals to support the physical changes as they come. My body has become a new learning edge that is inspiring me to pay attention more closely than ever before…to practice a new dance that will serve me as I enter this next new phase of my life.

TUNE IN TO THE SIMPLE JOYS OF BEING

I’ve discovered that even in the midst of the physical or emotional pain, when I tune to the simple joys of being…walking in the snow, getting kisses from my dogs or hugs from my family, drinking in a most amazing sunset, connecting with a friend, sitting by the fire…my balance is restored, at least for the moment.

And I’m learning that sometimes doing nothing is the best way to keep giving.

MORE from VOICES OF WOMEN

 


Sora Garrett is an author, mentor & life simplification guide who just turned sixty. She wrote this article ten years ago and is amazed at how relevant it still is today. While she no longer experiences the intense symptoms of menopause, her highly sensitive nature has given her a gift for helping women s l o w – d o w n to create lives of ease, joy and overflow.

With her FlowLiving® Mentoring programs, Sora will help you embrace the miraculous and find calm in chaos as you create more space in all areas of your life. Schedule a free illumination session, enroll in a mentoring circle, and find her books & blog @ SoraGarrett.com

SORA’S BOOKS

The Miracle Keys: A Conversation with an Angel

Silent Grace: A Celebration (poetry)

Coming Soon: Ignite Your Inner Star: a discovery guide & playbook for creating your most Radiant Life.


 

Backwards Thinking

Backwards Thinking

bffff3fc7ca8ab3fcb9ff07f7e7e1bc6The sun streamed through the kitchen window this morning, it’s warm inviting tendrils wrapping themselves around me like a lost lover. The relief I felt, the fullness of my appreciation for what I had been missing and the cavernous desire to take in as much of its energy as I could was  not dissimilar to the way I felt when my boys returned home after their first weekend camping trip, or my husband from a business trip.

I’ve become increasingly aware of the vast array of sensory healing that is available to us, and how little we are shown the way in a culture that focuses on illness and pathology more than it does on sustenance and healing.  We are taught to focus on what is wrong with us, not on the amazing power to heal and thrive that is inherent in the gift of life.

This is especially true when it comes to mental and emotional issues. Although the tide is changing, many of us are currently suffering the ill effects of a lifetime of living in an environment that neither feeds us nor teaches us how to manage our gifts and challenges. Furthermore, we were taught to ignore the very signals our bodies naturally gives us to guide us through these challenges.

In the simple example of the sun shining after three days of rain we are shown many things. My body told me loud and clear that it needs warmth, sun, and the loving sustenance of nature. It needs these things as much as it needs water and food.  If I had not been fortunate enough to be in a home facing the sun when it came out and had instead been in a cubicle facing a computer screen, a very real need would not have been met and my awareness of it would grow dull over time.

I remember sitting in many a classroom longing to be outside. I forced myself to go to work in an office day after day because that was the thing I was supposed to value, not the needs of my body, mind and spirit for nature. I told myself that cleaning my house and making money was more important than any signals my body might be sending me to the contrary.

We have it backwards. I had it backwards. When we work in cooperation with our body we do not become the unhealthy sloths we think we will become. Quite the opposite. We find renewed energy, renewed health, renewed focus and activity.  When we follow our instincts, our intuition, our yearnings and desires, we give ourselves what we need and energy begins to flow and health begins to blossom.

Coming back to my original self from a lifetime of backwards thinking and backwards living has been a long and not always easy process, but it has been a glorious one, a life-affirming one and one I would like to see everyone have the opportunity to experience.

Learning to fill ourselves with what we actually need rather than trying to fill ourselves with that which will never nurture or sustain us is a life long process. I experience hurdles and bumps and drift away from those things I’m learning to be true. The difference now, however, is that I stay true to who I am more often. I live in closer proximity to my soul self and perhaps more importantly I am learning how to get back there when I wander off.

The path I took may not be for everyone. We each have our own unique sensibilities, but we all also have an inner self that will speak to us when we choose to tune in and listen.  It is this inner guide that will lead you on your path of healing. It will lead you to exactly what you need and take you to the place where the sun will heal your hurts and fire up your energy and a sense of well-being will become more real than ever before. The abundance of life and love lives within each of us regardless of circumstances. It is our birthright. This I will always believe.

 

A Child without Edges

A Child without Edges

art by Molly Brett
Fairy Artwork by Molly Brett – click on image for more info.

A childhood of abuse or neglect sets the stage for an adult who does not know who they are. Healthy boundaries are either a mystery or non-existent. They are either too rigid or too fluid. When we don’t know who we are, we may unconsciously cling to the rules and belief systems that were imposed on us as children, or we borrowed them from an external belief system such as a religion, a political party, or a social group. It gives us a sense of identity and security. It gives us the edges we are unable to create from within as children.

Or, we may exist without edges and live the life of an emotional and psychological amoeba. In this case, we allow whoever or whatever is in our life at any given moment to take up residence within us. We live in a constant state of reaction to, rather than action toward. Never having learned to validate our own wants, needs and desires, we wander aimlessly through life falling victim over and over again to the whims, desires and manipulations of those who don’t hesitate to tell us what our boundaries should be. The child who is ignored, drowned out, or in any other way taught to ignore her own inner voice and guidance, is a child without edges and a child doomed to suffer as an adult.

These two different reactions to abuse are a match made in heaven. They attract one another like iron to a magnet, perpetuating the chain of abuse in an endless dance. The rigid must constantly remind themselves and all with whom they come in contact, of what they believe and who they are. Beneath this drive is the unconscious fear that without constant feedback and validation they would crumble and disintegrate. It’s a life or death activity that keeps the veneer in place.  What better way to do this than to seek out those with porous boundaries, who are looking for their edges, who are willing to be influenced, and who have learned not to question or challenge?

If, however, we have the opportunity to see, sense or become aware of the ember of our real self that still glows in the recesses of our heart and soul, we can begin the exciting, albeit terrifying journey of self-discovery. We must go back and raise ourselves, give ourselves the adult guidance and structure that allows our inner child to blossom.

We once had our very own responses to life. We once had our own thoughts, our own feelings, our own deep physical and emotional expression of all that we are. We can have it again.

The disassociation I experienced after the accident was the most extreme expression of my own disconnection from myself, though it began much earlier. It is an utterly terrifying feeling to be without boundaries, to feel utterly powerless and helpless. How many children feel this way every day of their lives? How many of these children grow up to be deeply troubled adults?

As a victim of abuse or trauma, finding a connection to oneself is an ongoing challenge, but one that is not only essential but worth the effort. When we heal our own suffering, we stop the cycle. It’s time to stop the cycle of abuse.

In Search of My Edges

Still Learning

Righting the Ship

Righting the Ship

painting A Winning Yacht
“A Winning Yacht” by J.O. Davidson, engraved by W. Wellstood

It seems that it is time, well beyond time, for me to begin to gather my thoughts around all that has transpired in my life over the last decade. To offer what I have learned in case it comes in handy to you, dear reader, or someone you know. I don’t write here for my own aggrandizement. In fact, I often don’t write because I wonder what use another would find in my journey, and yet, I have learned so much from others. Perhaps my insecurity actually causes me to be stingy with my experience.

I’ve written much in the midst of my pain, but now that I’m in a clearing space I find my perspective is different, my view broader and broader by the day. I was listening to an audio by Andrew Harvey today and he talked about his “dark night of the soul”. He spoke of a specific experience that he considered to be THE dark night of the soul of his life, not just “any old dark night of the soul”. It made me wonder how one quantifies such a thing.

In many ways, I feel that my entire life was a desperate attempt to pull myself out of just such a place – I lived in the dark night way more often than not. And yet, my deepest despair, the closest I came to giving up and giving in came three years ago, when everything I had worked so hard to make happen in my life seemed to crash in on me…literally and figuratively. in spite of all of my efforts to do otherwise.

This time, however, I think I finally got the message that was trying to be sent to me. Or at least I am starting to get it.  It’s a multi-faceted, multi-dimension message that I will try to filter into some basic principles, truths and guidelines that might help you in your own journey toward a conscious life.

FIRST: The biggest and most useful step one can take to bring about change in one’s life is to seek one’s true, authentic inner voice. (I didn’t say it was going to be easy!) Finding our essential or core self takes some serious sorting through of all the voices and messages that exist and deciding what is what.  It’s not as obvious as one might think, or at least it wasn’t for me.

I listened to my feelings my entire life as if they were the gold standard for the truth.  I really thought I was listening to my true self. If I felt it, it must be real. Right? Wrong. Feelings are valuable, don’t get me wrong, but the psychology of my generation, elevated them to a height that was way beyond healthy. In reaction to the feeling deniers of our parents generation, it made sense, a necessary over-correction. The bad habit I had acquired from my training and reading wreaked havoc on my life. It wasn’t until I understood where feelings truly belonged in the overall scheme of things and began to put them in their proper place was I able to find some balance and some semblance of inner peace.

Just as harmful as being ruled by one’s feelings is mistaking one’s mind chatter for our true selves. More often than not, the mind chatter that directs our decisions and disrupts our self-confidence is chatter we acquired from our family of origin, the culture and the other significant people in our lives. Refusing to listen to this type of guidance takes us one step closer to finding our own true and authentic voice.

I deepened my connection to my essential self, my soul self, my real self through the practice of meditation and guided imagery meditation at the same time I was consciously sorting through the this-es and thats of my poor self-esteem using psychological and psycho-spiritual tools.  It’s a very fluid process, this strengthening of the core self and the quieting of the fear mongers in our psyche. It’s a push on this and pull on that until the ship begins to right. But it’s worth the effort.

BANISH THE DARKNESS
IN SEARCH OF MY EDGES
Finding Your Inner Guide

Finding Your Inner Guide

Duke Gardens, Durham, NC
Duke Gardens, Durham, NC

Many of us, particularly those of us who are members of the “scar clan”, the walking wounded, have an unhealthy tendency to minimize our accomplishments. We look around us and see only those people who excel, who have accomplished what we have accomplished and more. As our access and, perhaps more precisely,  our exposure to what’s going on in the world is heightened by technology, particularly while we are healing we need to be careful, and intentional, about what we allow into our view. If we do not, we may find ourselves shrinking away in horror at our utter ineptness by comparison to what we see.

Focusing our attention outside of ourselves is always a path to destruction, as in doing so we lose sight of our own inner directives and talents. The people we put on a pedestal are people we only know very superficially. The Oprah’s of the world. We may think we know them, but we only know the facade they carefully choose to share with the world. This is true all the way down to the people we connect with in social media who seem to be very much like us. They may be, but again, we do not see as clearly as we might the road they have traveled to where they are now, or even what their road really looks like.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of comparing our insides to their outsides.  (Thank you to my good friend Jill who first uttered these words to me.) It’s a wonderful little phrase that sums up a crucial concept that we should repeat to ourselves often on our healing journey and long after!

We can only walk in our own shoes. If we are fortunate we may have one or two other people in our lives with whom we have a deep enough connection to walk a bit in theirs and who set a higher standard that we can model and grow toward.  By and large, however, those “successful” people against whom we measure ourselves really have no bearing whatsoever on how we live, what we do and who we are. We only see their outsides, not their insides. We have no idea what is really true about their world as we are only seeing a very small piece of it.

It takes time, effort and attention, but when we become aware that we are doing this, it’s important to take several steps back and find our core selves again. If we do this often enough, it will become a habit and a way of life. If we ignore the signals, we will spend our lives trying to be someone we’re not, living a life we were not meant to live, all the while feeling like a failure.

We are meant to live our own lives. We are meant to use the gifts we were given. We were meant to be as fully and completely present in love to the world in which we live. Period.

When I start comparing my insides to someone’s outsides, I have learned to use this as a signal that I am not paying enough attention to the needs of my own soul, that I am not tuning in to my own heart.  I now use this awareness to draw myself back into the fold, calling my attention back to my inner guide and resources. If need be, I shut off the TV, I limit my time online, I turn my attention away from external input of any kind, even books and spend more time alone.

We all have different levels of tolerance for solitude. I am a person who requires a ton of it, but the important thing is that when we become aware that we are living “outside of” ourselves, increasing our time spent in quiet will help us to restore our inner balance.

In this quiet space I write and meditate.  You may enjoy doodling, drawing, needlework, creating a vision board, or simply doing nothing. Follow your instincts. Whatever facilitates communication with your true self and helps you clear away the debris of the world is what will bring you back to you. The first step is to disconnect from the outside world.

Developing Resiliency

Developing Resiliency

Portland Maine
The Waves Came Crashing Full by Charlie Widdis

It’s hard to believe it’s been a week since I last wrote here. Time flies when you’re feeling good, and I’m feeling great! I didn’t think I could ever feel “young” again.  I not only feel younger than a did four weeks ago,  I feel better than I ever have in a body/mind/spirit. It’s been a hard-fought battle and I don’t pretend that there won’t be ups and downs, although wouldn’t it be great if there weren’t?

When we feel great, we always want to feel great. When we feel lousy, we think we’ll never feel good again. I continue to work on accepting the ebb and flow of life, in all its dimensions; to join forces with the rhythm of my body, my mind and my spirit as I live out my life; to pay attention to the signals each is sending me and to do what I can to cooperate with these signals, and to respond to their needs. My goal is to develop a resiliency that I have heretofore not had the good fortune to possess.

Rather than blocking  or ignoring the signals that are attempting to make themselves known to us, perhaps because they seem inconvenient or we fear what they might be trying to tell us, we might choose instead to turn toward them and to learn to trust that they are with us rather than against us. Our body is a gift, a friend, a beloved companion. It knows what we need.

It’s the little things that we do to tend and care for ourselves that fosters resiliency;  stopping often enough, and long enough to listen to what we know; to silence our minds and hear with our other senses. Most of us have lived in mental overdrive for so long, and the world around us is so very loud,  that it does indeed take a concerted effort to tune in to our bodies and to the voice of our spirit guide.

There are numerous ways to develop a practice of tuning in and each is as unique as the individual. An important first step of my healing journey was reconnecting with my body. PTSD, and trauma of any kind, can leave one feeling “outside” oneself, in a bubble, or a box.  I felt numb, detached, disconnected; I had no feelings, no sense of taste or smell, no appetites of any kind; I was unaware that my feet were even touching the floor when I sat. One of the first practices my healing guide suggested was the practice of mindfulness, tuning in to the sensations of my hands on the arm of a chair, my fingers as they gripped the arm’s edge, my feet where they connected with the ground beneath them. It was a slow process, but bit by bit, I began to let sensations back in. Eventually, I moved on to healing massage and chiropractic treatments. I was knotted, frozen, locked up from trauma.

It’s often not just a single traumatic incident that leads us into a state of numbness, but rather layers upon layers of traumas of all sizes, each compounding the one before. When we do not have resiliency, we reach a point where we can no longer ride the waves. That is why so many of us reach our breaking point at mid-life. We have held up the mountain we carried for as long as we could. It’s time to put it down.

Dorothy Sander 2014

A Word About Trauma

Along the Healing Path