Triggering Times Can Lead Us to Wellbeing #yoga #mindfulness #wellbeing

Photo Credit: Pixabay

I just finished listening to part of a YouTube astrology post that a blogging friend of mine shared. The astrologer triggered had me at the word “trigger.” To say these are “triggering times” for many of us is probably an understatement. We don’t, in fact, need an astrologer to tell us that volatility and instability surround us and stir the sense of unease within us, but it’s helpful to know how we react to what triggers us. It’s helpful to discover the cause and the effect.

Triggering events are what spurs life into being. If you recall yesterday’s post where I discussed the five elements and their corresponding seasons that cycle through our lives, you might bring life’s triggers into the perspective of the natural patterns of Life. And these need not be negative. We need not view them from the lens of judgement. The union of yin and yang energy that brings forth life is often pleasurable, just as a “triggering” song might inspire us to dance or sing with joy.

The key lies in the response. What do we do with what we are given? How do we learn? How do we take action that yields new growth, which brings us closer to the state of being that resides in joy?

Often, when we are triggered by something that we perceive as “negative,” we dive into defense-mode. We externalize our feelings to guard and protect our sense of security. It can take tremendous vulnerability to let go our guards and dive inside instead of outside of ourselves. We forget that herein lies the gift. When we go within we find the seat of our strength and our inner power, because that ever-wise inner-self calls us home to who we truly are.

I have experienced many triggering events in my life. Some days I experience several over the course of just a few hours. I probably don’t need to tell you how exhausting that can be. We are energy, and the more we are pushed to expend our energy and then turn that push into defense-mode, the more exhausted we become.

These triggers remind me of the guards I still station around my joy. They are irrational in the moment, but rational when I dive into the body’s wounded stories. What a disservice, though, it is to myself and others to perpetuate these myths and to allow them to wreak havoc on my interconnected mind/body/spirit.

There are times where it doesn’t take much to spur the creative action of grown. Years ago, I decided to get my palms read. I was a vendor at a local metaphysical fair and during one of the audience lulls I went over to a booth that had caught my eye. I’d say about 50% of what I was given during the reading rang true, the other 50%, well some of it triggered within me with the feeling of untruth.

As the palm reader was studying one of the lines on my hands, she declared with absolute assertion that I could not be a writer because I lacked the line for creativity. This statement triggered a whole series of wounds inside of me before it spurred me into growth. It triggered my sense of self-doubt and the idea that I would never be good enough to do what my heart knew to be truth since the moment of earliest memory. It temporarily unraveled my sense of identity and had the potential, if I had let it, to unravel my dream. I pushed aside the fact that the reader had also got a lot of other things wrong, like that I really didn’t listen to, nor like in the least bit, heavy metal music. Instead, I immersed myself in the one statement that spoke to my wounds.

And for those of you who follow my writing, you know that I haven’t stopped. We can feed our energy bodies or we can deplete them with the stuff of life that triggers us. Many of you may also know that when I was in my early thirties I suffered from debilitating IBS. For two years I allowed my energy body to suffer because of its untended wounds. Then, on Mother’s Day of 2008 I awoke from a hellish night of my body’s agonies and decided that this trigger I was experiencing was not going to defeat me. I was going to defeat it. Or, let me put it more kindly, I was going to grow from it and heal it. For the sake of my children first, and my own wellbeing (still always second, I’m still learning), I dove inside and released what needed to be freed. It was the same day I gave myself permission to write. I had 30+ years of words buried inside of me, it was no wonder my body was ready to explode. Thus, you can perhaps image how triggering it was to, years later, hear that palm reader tell me I was not, in fact, a writer.

I tend to be one of those people who always looks for the underside of the story of an event. I like to dig into the “why” to discover a deeper meaning, and how it might relate to the bigger picture of my life, or life in general. It helps me make sense of a world that would otherwise seem chaotic and randomly unjust. I don’t always like doing it, but it’s essential for my own wellbeing.

I am currently reading a book I don’t like. It’s a sequel to another book I didn’t like. The author, Octavia Butler, was a fine writer, but her apocalyptic choice of genre is triggering for me. I suspect that was a large part of why she wrote the books she did. In these particular books, the nightmaric world she created for the future illustrates a future out of control due to all the triggering events that lead up to its dystopian creation. Climate change, greed, the lust for power…it hits hard with a possible reality that is difficult to stomach. Yet, I keep reading it. It is triggering my shadow-self, that part of me that I don’t always like to visit, and that part of humanity that Butler is asking us to see for all its potential horrors.

There’s a section of the population, including the lead character of the books, that Butler calls “sharers.” It is another word for empath, but in the case of Butler’s stories, these empaths were created from a drug their mothers took. The stark reality, though, is that we are all empaths. Some of us hide it better than others. Some of us build shields to protect what we don’t like to feel. Butler’s books are uncomfortably close to our global reality, and because they are so dystopian, they stir more despair than hope through their plots. Yet we can still use them as triggers for change. We can dive deep, deep into the shadowland of the individual and the shared self to find out the root cause of our actions or inactions and allow the trigger to inspire positive growth.

It is always a choice. Life, in each moment, unfolds a myriad of options at our feet, asking us which way we would like to walk. We can, quite literally, in each moment choose the path of darkness or light. Love or hate. Peace or turmoil. Wellbeing or disease. The choice is always there.

Selfheal #selfheal #medicinalplants #magic #spirituality

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Common selfheal and the grass that is my natural lawn

Life begins with a spark of light entering a darkened womb. The self dividing itself over and over again until it finds cohesion inside a physical form. Quite often birth involves a struggle of forces. The body contracts as it gathers energy to release this new life through a narrow canal of darkness back into the light. We see this pattern in various lifeforms. The seed of a plant, requiring darkness, the compaction of soil, and a protective womb-like shell in order to grow a new self back to the light.

I tend toward the belief that there are few true accidents in life. Things generally happen for reasons, even when they are unwelcome or difficult to decipher. It’s the simple law of cause and effect. These “things” that happen to us can lead us in many directions, and it is in the path that we choose to follow where we gleam insight into ourselves.

When I made the decision to enroll in a mystery school, a part of me was hoping to learn some magic. You know, the sort that you find in the Harry Potter stories. Although I understood this was not the path of study I was to embark upon, there was a longing to uncover something magical to, let’s say for example, defy the gravity of the mundane existence. Like, you know, learning how to fly.

I flew in my dreams, so why not learn to fly the physical body, like Icarus, but with invisible, magical wings, towards the sun? During my last year of study with the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, I embarked upon the path of yoga. The two paths, I soon discovered, were not so separate. In the yoga sutras, which have been widely translated, the mysteries of yoga are revealed as a path back to the true self. In the final chapters of the sutras, the yogi, if s/he so desires to, and with great disciple and practice, can learn how to fly.  Literally. Or at lease levitate. It is revealed that outer manifestations of magic are indeed possible if the yogi learns to how to become a master of energy.

But to what true purpose does one gain this sort of mastery? The whim of the ego, or something else? If we don’t first fly through the dark land of yin energy where the self is formed and molded, exploring every curve and fold — every shadow, until it is revealed as a truth to be learned — to what end will flying serve us? The wings burn when the self fails to understand the form of being.

There are so many things we are being asked to give up right now, and rules that we may resist abiding by. Minds are plunging headfirst into conspiracies of darkness, screaming blame in the voice of ignorance as they spiral deeper and deeper into the abyss. How easy it is to deflect and refuse to examine the interior. How easy it is to erupt in anger instead of pausing to breath into the inner discovery.

If restrictions were lifted, perhaps I would be walking the ancient landscapes of England right now and finding that delicious stirring of cellular memory that fills me with the call of home. But I am here, in my physical home, and somehow that is just right. I find I am relishing, albeit not always with joy, this prolonged pause we are all being asked to take. Welcoming it, for the most part, as a gift of the self that I can unwrap into discoveries inside the inner land I have thus far left unfound.

When I ask, I receive this response, The pause will take as long as you need.

I am okay with that. Most days. Even when the computer broke, again, and left me feeling strangely weightless. If I lost it all, what would really happen

Perhaps the load of life would feel a little lighter.

Here I was trying to hold onto temporary things until I discovered the gift of the break and sank my belly to the ground to breathe in crumbled grass and prunella vulgaris, also known by the name “common selfheal.”

Self heal.

I peer through the green blades to study the tiny purple pitchers, imaging the nectar of bees. Through the skin of my belly I can feel the tendrils of life pulsing into the matrix hidden from sight. This is magic enough for me in this moment. I need nothing more. The pulse is strong and reassuring. Comfort dances with gratitude in the moment of connection and the outer hold dissipates in the surrender. This is the magic of life.

 

 

How Can I Serve?

yoga woman
Image Credit: Pixabay

Learning to step aside and allow the unfolding of the self is, I have learned, a multilayered process. There is a shedding of the old in all of its preconditioning through past events held largely in the grasp of Fear and the many cloaks it wears. It’s almost funny in its irony. Holding onto the guise of protection only serves to limit the energy of the true self. Who, or what, then are we protecting?

When I started asking the question “How can I serve?” I found I needed to let go of the preconditioned self. And, I also needed to let go of the envisioned path. When I added the words, “Show me the way,” there came with it a relinquishing of conditions. I have found, although others may disagree, that The Secret to life is not to hold a vision so firmly in one’s mind and being so that it manifests into one’s reality, but just the opposite. The Secret to Life, at least one lived through the True Self, is to do the opposite.

The will of the mind, when removed from its throne of power, provides a seat for the soul to flourish into true being.

It’s a terrifying process, this becoming naked from habitual wraps, and the relinquishing of the mighty reign of the mind. There comes a moment, or progression of moments when one must return to the stage of birth in all its wonderment and vulnerability. What we have hidden within the folds of our donned garments becomes exposed before it is shed as an aspect of the false self it protected.

Just over one year ago, I walked the hills of Ojai, California hoping for, if I am brutally honest with myself, one of those transcendental experiences of mystical enlightenment that many of us read about, but few of us experience. Instead, what I got was the still, soft voice within urging me to embark upon the path of yoga. It wasn’t vague, and it didn’t speak just once. Instead, it crept into my thoughts often throughout the next several days and nights, always speaking the same words, “enroll in a yoga teacher training program.”

And so I did.

I signed up for my first yoga class more than twenty years ago while I was living in southern Massachusetts and working (it was a paid program) toward a doctorate degree in molecular biology. The yoga class, I told myself and the instructor, was my outlet. A means to destress the stressed mind. I had no intention, twenty years ago, or even one year ago, of ever teaching yoga, but just practicing it from time to time for a little more balance and peace as I went about my daily life.

The funny thing is, the inner voice, as it always is, was trying to talk to that much younger self who thought she was going to be a geneticist one day. It was not soft, though, but loud. It would wake me from sleep (I was too stubborn to hear it by day), stepping outside of my body to press against my ear before it yelled whispered my name, Alethea! 

For Truth.

We don’t truly hear the voice of the true self, though, until we are ready to. And, thankfully, I don’t regret not listening to it those many years ago, because I know I was not ready to hear what it had to say. There was too much learning to do. Too much holding onto before I let go.

Now I find myself sitting on the sofa, with two dogs I never thought I would have as beloved companions bookending me. I am typing away on a computer while my stomach flutters with excitement. Tonight I will be teaching my first yoga class to teens. I am only halfway through my 200 hours of yoga teacher training, yet this is where the asking, How may I serve and Please show me the way has brought me. And, it feels like home. I can’t tell you what tomorrow will bring, or even what later in the day will bring when I am standing in a room filled with thirteen and fourteen-year-olds. What I can tell you is that it feels like Truth.