healing, meditation, wellness

To fight, feed, free or flow…that is the question: the power of knowing you can choose

There’s certainly no one-size fits all structure for assessing life, but when it comes to looking at the relationships, conditions, environments and situations of our life that create stress in our bodymind, sometimes a simple framework is useful to begin sorting things out.

It’s an art to become objective about our subjective human experience.

In becoming objective, we reach beyond the emotions that charge the body with feeling sensation–that emotional energy that challenges us and can limit our perspective. This shift can:

  • support us in processing and healing the unhelpful energies in our life
  • help us to use emotion for what it’s meant to do–guide us
  • discern which people, places, things and conditions are life-giving
  • assess which energies are life-depleting
  • give us some elevation over the limitation of stress and perceive possibility we didn’t know existed

Naming things is powerful medicine.

Energy medicine teaches us that we tend to have 4 responses to stress. Knowing these can help us to remove biases and conditioning as we evaluate the impact of stressors in our life. As we develop clarity and evolve beyond crisis, chaos, overwhelm, emotional traumas, anxiety and depression, we see that these 4 responses are also 4 choices, and that we can be the conscious creator of our life by selecting whichever best serves our life in the moment.

Fight

The fight response is in place to save our life. We fight to defend our being. The problem is, in chronic stress or with cultural conditioning, our filters and perspectives about what’s truly life-threatening become clouded.

Are you feeling resistance in your physical body? Do you feel yourself tense up around certain people or in certain environments? Are you frustrated or angry a lot of the time and you’re not even sure why? These sensations may be a sign that your mindbody complex is in a chronic state of fight-or-flight.

In this state, we are forced into survival mind and we tend to think our problems can only be solved with sheer power–body-to-body or matter-to-matter. We have to push, shove, manipulate, work harder, endure more grief, and grow more and more fatigued while getting worse results.

If we never elevate ourselves out of the emotions that compel us to fight with the people and conditions around us, our choices and perspectives are limited.

Fight state is not a creative state of mind, and if we are conditioned to fight, our brain might not even recognize an obvious alternative immediately before us. In this state-of being–operating from this level of mind–we are vigilant, waiting for the other shoe to drop even when there’s no real and imminent danger.

If we stay in fight-or-flight state-of-mind long enough, we can lose our sensitivity to the body’s subtle signals that are always directing us to more comfort and less overwhelm.

As director of the body, we can heal our fight mind by taking time away from people and conditions that stress us, to give ourselves a new perspective, a new opportunity to become objective without the repetitious negative stimulation of unhelpful energies. Ideally, this time allows us to take steps, to assume self-responsibility and affords us time and space to identify choices and options we couldn’t see in chronic stress.

Feed

We can feed energies that are ultimately unhelpful for us through our unconsciousness, through our not knowing. Becoming conscious–becoming aware–of knowing what we don’t know is for most of us a very, very difficult task.

It’s very challenging in stress, or in the midst of a family, work or cultural difficulty to know what you don’t know, to be aware of something we’ve never experienced or embodied. This sounds obvious, but many of us blame ourselves for not knowing something once we do find it out.

“Feeding a problem” is contributing to increasing the energy of something that is not helpful to our well-being. I’m not going to name specific behaviors here, because life is complex and we stay in difficult situations for all sorts of reasons, but we can use this concept to evaluate our personal tolerance of and willingness to embody a continued involvement in “feeding” the things in life that cause stress.

Withdrawing your thoughts, di-vesting your emotions and even removing your presence from the people, conditions and environments that are unhelpful to your health are all powerful ways to recall your creative energy to you. Think of this as energetically feeding yourself–and self-loving act of self-preservation which may enable you to recall your valuable life-force energy back to you so you have energy to create the life you want.

Free

Freedom in this sense can be either a mental act, an emotional act or a physical one–or it can be all three. To free ourselves from stress is to change our relationship to it.

Can you change the way you think about certain aspects of your life? Can you adopt new beliefs around it that don’t produce the same level of stress?

Can you change the way you feel about things? You can condition your body to better-feeling emotions by noticing the groups of sensations in your body which are a response to the conditions of your life.

What would it be like if you became more cognizant of and more effectively responsive to this guidance and used your energy to creatively rearrange your expectations, your resistance to and your acceptance of them?

I understand just how challenging or even impossible this work might seem, but just ask the questions and maybe a new possibility will reveal itself. Just know that everything is energy.

Your thoughts are energy.

Your emotions are energy.

What we are thinking and what we are feeling is creating our state-of-being.

We can bring more life force energy into your life by stopping thinking and stopping feeling about those things in our life that are out of our control, that don’t bring us peace, that don’t create harmony and which disrupt our heart.

We liberate energy by redirecting our thoughts and generating good feelings by spending time and energy on the things that bring us life.

Flow

To flow through life, to me is to embody mastery. I would define mastery as maintaining an inner state of peace and harmony throughout the ease AND amidst the difficulties of life, and remembering moment-to-moment that I have a choice.

Easier said than done, I know. That’s why meditation and medicine are called a practice.

To flow means to be aware, to live as awareness itself, recognizing the inner urge to fight, to feed, to free or to flow in the moment, and to be conscious about the choice to take whichever action preserves my life, my spirit, my integrity and my bliss in the moment.

If you’d like to learn more about how these and other energy medicine concepts can help your life, you can learn about my services here, and peek in on upcoming retreat offerings. The modalities of energy healing are forms of drugless wellness–no matter what you’re currently experiencing or what treatments you are receiving, they can do no harm. You can visit my upcoming classes and retreats page here.

Sign up here: https://dianamariachapin.com/upcoming-events/

Email dianamariachapin@gmail.com, or Call Diana at 207-249-2261Subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page.  Healing, learning and sharing is my passion…please share this blog with those you think it can help.  We are changing the world, one heart at a time. Thank you!

healing, meditation, wellness

Difficult People: Surviving Challenging Relationships with Energy Medicine

It started out as an ordinary family holiday, everyone gathered in the kitchen, the happy din of chatter and laughter, people cooking, people playing games at the kitchen table.  We eagerly anticipated the feast. 

I was sitting at the table having a delightful conversation with a family member who was in her first year of college, and I remember I’d just asked the question, “So tell me, what are you learning at college that has nothing to do with what you’re learning in your classes?”

I love asking people her age this question, and really what I was seeking was to remember the mind of a 19-year-old, and to see how the world looked and felt like socially and culturally through their perception. My body was in relaxed, aware anticipation, at rest and ease while I awaited her response, expecting something that would satisfy and amuse me.

Abandon expectation

But on a dime, everything suddenly changed.

Another family member who I’d been close to all my life but with whom I’d had some serious struggles and conflict over the years, swung around from the counter where she was slicing onions and waved her huge chef’s knife back and forth in the air in front of my chest, finishing her gesture with target precision, pointing it at my heart. 

She was standing a couple of feet away from me, and I didn’t consciously THINK she was going to stab me, but my body felt differently as she said with a kind of hostility and hatred that didn’t match the occasion, “You know, that’s the problem with you, you always have to…”

Alarmed, I stood up, trying to grasp how the energy of the moment had switched from peace to aggression in mere moments.

In a blur of utter confusion, unable to make rational sense of the difference between what my brain expected to receive and what it was receiving, I blocked out her words as she finished her sentence about whatever was wrong with me, and turned around nonchalantly, returning to her onions. 

The Hormones of Survival

My nervous system had switched from peaceful ease to survival mode in an instant.  My heart was pounding and felt outside my chest, adrenaline was rushing through my veins.  My body said “run or you’re gonna die!” but my brain resisted:  it presumed I was safe in a house full of people who were trustworthy. 

Talk about conflicting messages!

My stomach clenched with nausea and my body was shaking all over.  My legs felt simultaneously rooted to the floor and as if they had been knocked out from under me.  I held onto the back of my chair and felt a little out of my body. I could feel myself shaking my head as if that would clear the webs of confusion out of my overwhelmed brain. 

I could feel my blood pressure escalate and it felt like a portal opened in the crown of my head, that my life-force energy drained out there, leaving me light-headed.  Weirdly my tongue felt like it spontaneously had swollen.  I realized I was holding my breath and then gasped for air.

I managed to mobilize myself, moved into the next room and tried to regain my bearings.

In a semi-unconscious act of self-preservation for which I will always be grateful, I took out my phone and took a video of my own hand shaking and trembling wildly, and I recorded my voice saying, “Don’t you ever forget this.  This is what she does to you.  Don’t you ever, EVER forget this.”

The Problem of Vigilance

It’s taken a long and painful road to understand, unwind and heal within me the conflict in that relationship, but it has been one of my greatest lessons in life and I’m grateful for that.  

The situation has helped me to see that chronic stress and dishonesty in a relationship can place us in a state of vigilance. This vigilance simultaneously keeps us alert to spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical danger AND unable to discern clearly and navigate skillfully within it.

The act of recording the physical evidence of duress in that single event allowed me to start the process of being honest about the true nature of the relationship beyond my biases and my conditioning. 

With the knife event, the violence of our relationship reached an undeniable crescendo.  In the past, this person had slapped me, yelled at me, resented me, threatened me, and ignored and withdrawn from me out of spite.  They had been habitually both aggressive and passive aggressive toward me.  But there were plenty of good times and laughs, too, and that created within me a kind of blindness, or a blind loyalty. 

In truth and in hindsight, it created within me an unconscious but ultimately self-destructive tolerance that only I could heal, and which had less to do with her and more to do with me, my beliefs, my expectations, and my interpretation of her behavior.  

I began to understand that she was a stimulus to which I had a habituated response. 

Over the lifetime of the relationship, I had been neurologically primed and programmed to a cycle of vigilance, avoidance, tolerance and/or submission.  Our shared history, her erratic, at times manic or depressed, volatile and aggressive tendencies, coupled with my inability to express myself, assert myself or set reasonable boundaries, left me on guard for anything—in good times and in bad.

That’s energetically unsustainable if the goal is wellness and wholeness.

Objective Witnessing

Removing the personality and objectively looking at the behavior liberated me. 

I understood that this person just embodied certain words and actions that produced within me an emotional reaction.  Independent of whether or not they intended harm, my emotional reaction to their behavior was embodied within me, and it harmed me, no one else

This was a wildly uncomfortable conclusion that didn’t happen overnight.  It took a grueling number of years and more provoking events.  I had to endure within me tremendous sadness and numerous cycles of painful grief as I mourned the loss of close family connection. 

Overcoming decades of conditioning, I had to learn—to teach myself—to be dedicated to loving and caring for myself more than I was dedicated to upholding some belief agreement that didn’t support my life.

Tuning in to bodymind wisdom

My video helped me to begin the process of honoring my body’s interpretation of the experience without my brain’s conditioned analysis which caused an over-write of my spirit’s desire to thrive, not just survive.  

My brain was firmly rooted in the illusion of and attachment to a false-and-limited belief of what I needed to tolerate as “normal family stuff,” at the expense of my own well-being.  Formed long ago in my past, I unconsciously agreed to a definition of family without question.  To my own spiritual, mental, emotional, and now, it would seem, potentially physical peril.

Our body is always offering guidance on what we should move away from or closer to, and we condition ourselves to override that guidance by over-analyzing the experience in our brain.  Our culture is very mental-oriented. Often what we don’t realize is that over-thinking and over-analyzing is siphoning our attention and therefore our energy away from actually feeling the emotional energy, and therefore the body’s language, reducing our ability to effectively solve our problems.

A body of many brains

Energy medicine has taught me that we can view our nervous system as a series of “mini brains,” or intelligent centers of energy-information.  Specifically, the nerve plexuses that emerge from our spinal column in our pelvis, sacrum, solar plexus, heart and neck are always responding to the energy and information of our life.  They are always decoding and assessing the relevant benefits or threats of the people, places, conditions, and environments of our life.  If we just attune our awareness to them and use our brain for what it’s meant for (decision-making) we’d feel less stressed.

The “mini brains” of our lower body are centers of consciousness and they are always assessing:

  • Am I safe and do I have permission to take up space?
  • Am I able to assimilate and do I have the permission to express myself?
  • Am I able to act and can I direct my life?

If these aren’t met, the body can respond with fight, flight, freeze or withdraw response—feeling pain or heaviness in the legs, lethargy, feeling antsy or numb.  People might have symptoms of digestive disruption, chronic stomach aches or difficulty deeply breathing in this state-of-being.

Our heart is the center of our energy process and it’s always working to guide us to intuitive, inner truth and wisdom in love.  It would be wise for us to feel and “think” with our heart, which is inherently guiding us toward what’s most loving to us.  We know this when we feel soothing, harmonic peaceful sensations in our chest.

The “mini brain” of the neck and throat and the big brain in our head are about the enlightened consciousness of verbal expression, creating with love, connecting to the mystical, multidimensional meta-reality we are a part of, and connecting to cosmic, divine, life-giving energy.

Tuning in to the wisdom and guidance of the whole body helps us to become aware of the habituated responses we have developed over the course of our life.  More conscious, objective awareness of the body’s assessment helps us question the dissonant or incoherent (unbeneficial) energy of the conditions, relationships, and environments we have unconsciously normalized.  

Why energy medicine?

The exquisite beauty of energy healing is that it can heal and inform the head-brain in an instant what can take years to consciously work out through excessive and redundant thought.  In energy healing, the flow of highly coherent universal life-force is increased, and as it moves through the body, it supports the body in processing the emotional energy stored in our cellular environment. 

All energy carries information, and highly coherent energy is intelligent, organizing energy.  When we rest and get our thinking head-brain out of the way, it can restore, reorganize, re-order and regulate us back into centered wholeness.

Healing begins when we give ourselves opportunities to get out of survival, and when we give ourselves permission—we love ourselves enough—to withdraw from relationships that keep us in a disordered vigilance and which diminish our wholeness.

It takes time to learn how to trust our body and the information it is providing about our life.  This is where the naturally easy meditation practice of Yoga Nidra can be helpful.  To learn more about energy healing or Yoga Nidra meditation, book a private session or join an upcoming class or retreat.  Text or call Diana at 207-249-2261 or email dianamariachapin@gmail.com with questions.

Subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page.  

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This is how the naturally easy meditation practice of Yoga Nidra can inform, transform and heal your life

For years I thought meditation was about struggling to quiet my thoughts. 

Suddenly one day, I understood that meditation isn’t about focusing on not thinking, it’s focusing on something that’s not thought.  It’s about getting our awareness out of our head and placing our awareness on our bodymind, on our consciousness.

Before this epiphany I thought meditation was about technique: I sat up ramrod straight, legs twisted in the appropriate pretzel-like pose, motionless, breathing “properly,” holding fervently onto an intention.

Then one day my body just spoke, and on an impulse, I decided to listen to my own inner promptings rather than to what the world outside of me had told me to do.

I laid my body down.

Opening Up To Energy

During the months that followed that decision (and the years since) I have had some amazing inner experiences in meditation.  I interacted with the energy within and around me and very cool things have happened. 

And I’m not special: these things are available for us all because it’s who we are: we are biologically, neurologically, energetically and chemically designed to have amazing inner experiences.  Although I now understand a good deal of the science that explains what’s happening in meditation, I had no idea what was happening to me at first.  

But it felt really good, and it was incredibly interesting, so I just kept at it.

I experienced feelings I can only describe as bliss or ecstasy flowing through my body and brain, I had sudden and complex epiphanies about my life which became my best guidance. I healed old emotional wounds within me by somehow spontaneously becoming aware of and reconciling them with no effort at all. 

With eyes closed I could see amazing colors, living kaleidoscopes, and images that played out like movies in the “third eye” within my brain.  I saw unfamiliar symbols pass through the space behind my brow and became aware of the connection of every person, every place, everything and every time as One. I even heard wisps of celestial music that were from some dimension beyond my room.

I know it sounds a little trippy, but I assure you these were drugless experiences, with the only chemicals involved being those naturally occurring in my body and brain. 

As a healer I now know so many of us have these kinds of experiences, we just feel we can’t talk about them publicly because our culture isn’t very supportive, trusting or understanding of them.  We are afraid we aren’t supernatural, be instead mentally ill or that we will be seen by others as mentally ill.

And by supernatural I don’t mean paranormal, I mean supernatural: outside of the “normal” range of perception and eminently real.

I think our supernatural and meditation experiences are inspiring and liberating and healing, and I have a strong desire to normalize sharing our inner experiences, because to reject them or to suppress them is to reject and suppress our wholeness. 

A collective of Oneness & Wholeness

As a collective we are having all sorts of fascinating inner experiences and we deny or question the reality of them because we feel alone and we haven’t been taught that this is a normal biological, endocrinological, perceptual and spiritual reality of who we are.

Back when I changed my meditation practice from sitting to lying down, I didn’t have any language around what was happening to me energetically. I thought I’d stumbled upon something magical and that the whole world should know about.  Then one day I exclaimed to a neighbor (who is well versed in the Eastern wisdom traditions) this fantastic discovery I made. 

He just laughed and said, “Diana, that’s Yoga Nidra.  People have been doing that for thousands of years.”

I was both amused with myself and affirmed!  This exceptional experience was REAL!  And I knew with all my heart I wasn’t special: anyone could do this…feel this goodness within the sanctuary of their own body.

Meditation means “to become familiar with,” and in Yoga Nidra we become familiar with our unknown Self and we learn that:

  • The body is an instrument of consciousness that is biologically and energetically designed to connect to the life-giving and loving intelligent energy that manifests everything—the meta-reality beyond what we experience through our 5 senses in the here-and-how
  • We are designed to connect to the energy of the all-in-all and to fearlessly participate in the creation of our life
  • The inner space within the body, no matter what it has experienced in the past, is actually the safest place in the Universe to Be
  • To linger as awareness in this sweet safe place is to flow more energy into our life

Lingering in the sweet space within you

Yoga Nidra is the art and science of lingering in the state of consciousness where the mind maintains a state of awareness and the body is relaxed, even asleep.  It is a practice informed by the Mandukya Upanishad, a Sanskrit (Eastern Indian language) text of Hindu philosophy.  Anyone can enjoy and adopt this practice, as ultimately it is a natural state of being that is beyond any religious affiliation.

In Sanskrit the term Yoga Nidra means “awake asleep.”

Many people find this ancient form of meditation practice naturally easier than sitting, standing or walking meditations.  It is typically performed while lying down, supine, but it can be practiced reclining or sitting in a chair if lying down is difficult or uncomfortable.

In Yoga Nidra we learn to observe our body as space, as a sort of container through which all experience flows.  Practicing this meditation—and energy healing modalities like Reiki—we may experience knowing ourselves more deeply as the awareness that is having this bodily experience, not as the stories of the past Earthly reality we so heavily identify with.

Suspending our awareness in the state of consciousness that is Yoga Nidra we are able to experience our inner being as the space through which thoughts, feelings, perceptions and beliefs flow and move.  The practice cultivates relaxation, restoration and healing. 

It is a state of consciousness in which the “doorway” between the subconscious and conscious mind opens and we may experience epiphanies or spontaneous spiritual, mental, emotional or physical healing.  And it is the threshold beyond which we may experience mystical connection to the all-and-all of our Divine source.

Moving from doing to non-doing…from doing to Being

This meditation practice is often called the art of non-doing: of moving beyond the active mind that is conditioned to the habit of doing to get something/somewhere.  Yoga Nidra is the experience of relaxing and observing the inner self as we enter a state of restful awareness.  During this experience our brainwaves drop from higher frequency (cycles per second) to lower frequency, just as they do when we fall asleep, but in Yoga Nidra, we maintain an aware mind. Here’s a hierarchy of brainwave states:

  • Gamma and Beta, 12-100 cycles per second, where the brain is focused in problem-solving mode; busy and active (or overactive in anxiety) with attention placed on the external environment, to
  • Alpha, 8-12 cycles per second, a state of relaxed, restful, reflection and passive attention (like when you’re watching birds at your birdfeeder) to
  • Theta, 4-8 cycles per second, where the brain and body are drowsy, deeply relaxed and inwardly focused, to
  • Delta, .5- 4 cycles per second, where the body is dreaming or deeply sleep

Yoga Nidra is typically a guided meditation, but it is entirely possible to entrain and condition yourself into this meditative state through independent practice.  Ultimately, we practice navigating through subtle realms of consciousness: we experience levels of mindful awareness in which we identify less with the known self and become aware of our unknown Self

We move from a known and familiar consciousness (the story of our limited life) to greater unknown and expansive source Consciousness (the unlimited unknown.) 

We experience ourselves less separate, less a “part” and more of the Whole, or as Wholeness itself.

Supernatural Brain

The brain gears down through the brain wave states in Yoga Nidra and can spontaneously return to Gamma, as the inner experience of the meditator becomes as real or more real than any experience the body has had in 3-dimensional reality.  When this happens, the meditator is having a supernatural experience in Consciousness.

For many people, this creates a certain knowing in which we understand we are more than, greater than our physical body.  We have had a direct, first-hand experience of the supernatural.

The supernatural experience is real and we integrate that energy and information from our new awareness back into our body, living our life in the here-and-now more free, more clear, more in love with ourself and others, and in a very real way more enlightened. 

We bring more light, more love into our Earthy experience.

Body of light

Both Yoga Nidra and energy medicine (including the Japanese healing art of Reiki, in which a practitioner flows universal life-force energy to the recipient) are informed by the knowledge that our physical body is nested in an invisible but perceivable torus/apple-shaped energy field of light and intelligent information.  This field is a matrix of emotional, mental and spiritual energy, a constellation of consciousness.  Energy medicine calls this the biofield or the Human Energy Field (HEF.)  The Vedic texts call these subtle fields that surround the body “koshas:” bliss, wisdom, mental, energy (emotional) and physical elements.

The physical body has 7 primary energy centers.  The Vedic texts refer to these as “Chakras,” or “spinning wheels of light.”  These energy centers are each associated with an epicenter within the physical body where nerve plexuses emerge from the spinal cord.  These centers inform and are informed by the brain.  They are also associated with the endocrine (hormonal regulation) system.  You can find more information on my energy centers/Chakras chart here:

An energy medicine view of the body: our nervous system is converting the energy and information of our life into chemistry and communicating this information through our circulatory system to our physical flesh. 

This transmutation of energy causes a state-of-being that we perceive of as an emotional state: we feel at peace or in stress, or somewhere in between.  We may be consciously (knowingly) aware of our state or unconscious (not knowing) of it.  For example, we can be unconsciously fearful or shameful or guilty and those states may drive our behavior.

For many people right now, the set point state-of-being is stress, anxiety or depression.  Yoga Nidra has been shown to reduce these sensations. In Yoga Nidra the parasympathetic (rest/digest/restore) nervous system is engaged.  When this system is engaged the body self-regulates and self-organizes to order, harmony and coherence, and we feel sensations of well-being.

And in Yoga Nidra some people have mystical experiences that can be healing, transformative or personally informative and deeply meaningful.

In this state the neurochemicals in the brain and the hormones in the tiny pineal gland within the brain generate conditions in which the brain acts like a radio antenna, receiving and decoding energy and information from the universe at large and creating a mystical experience that is very real to the person experiencing it.

Why take the journey?

I love Yoga Nidra as a tool to support my/our transformation to a better-feeling state-of-being.  This practice has taught me there’s nothing to “fix” within me, that nothing is “wrong” with me.  It shows me that meditation leads us to embody the freeing sensations we feel through the practice during our waking hours, which translates to:

  • Observing our thoughts rather than attaching to or believing in them as absolute truth
  • Challenging our beliefs and assessing whether they limit or expand us
  • Becoming aware of biases, programs, distorted thinking, fears, shame and guilt of the past and deciding if these have a place in our future
  • Becoming objective about our subjective experience and taking things less personally
  • Being less affected by the low energies of other people
  • Being less influenced by the environments and of the conditions in our life that aren’t actually life-giving to us
  • Knowing how to self-regulate to obtain relief from aspects of our reality that cause us stress
  • With agility detach from the energy that is not preferential to us
  • Fall more deeply in love with ourselves, our life and with others, embodying objective non-judgement

Would you like to learn more?  I have some upcoming 2-hour group healing Yoga Nidra sessions you might want to attend.  Please sign up by texting, calling or emailing me at dianamariachapin@gmail.com, as space is limited to 4 people.  Also, some upcoming day-long retreats are scheduled.  You can view upcoming opportunities here. 

Call Diana at 207-249-2261

Please subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page. Healing, learning and sharing is my passion…please share this blog with those you think it can help.  We are changing the world, one heart at a time. Thank you!

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7 ways to transform your self-image and master your inner energy using energy healing and meditation

Call Diana at 207-249-2261

Our attention is the most precious, powerful creative essence on Earth.  Whatever has our attention has our energy.

Think for just a moment about what in your life holds your attention, and therefore your creative energy.

Are the things that have your attention life-giving? Do they support your peace and feelings of harmony in your body? Do they make you feel whole and free? Are you living with clarity and feeling aligned with a purpose that is fulfilling? Or maybe what has your attention makes you fragmented and disconnected? Maybe you feel sustained stress? Does it make you feel fearful and disconnected?

We could argue that this is a very challenging time to be human.  There are unprecedented demands for our attention.

View this as a time of possibility

And we could argue that it’s a time of great potential and possibility.

Many of us don’t want to carry on the current path.  Never mind what’s happening outside our body in our culture and time, we don’t want to carry on this way within our body.  We want to transcend our current conditions, feel more alive, improve our well-being, enjoy nurturing relationships with others.

We want to create a more beautiful reality from a greater level of consciousness.  And maybe we don’t articulate it in this way, but we hold that feeling in our body, that wanting.

In stress, it can be so hard to figure out how to elevate our perspective enough to create from a greater level of mind.

Nearly 10 years ago a series of events happened in my life that demanded I evaluate the trajectory I was on:

  • My mind was a mess of grief from my father passing and a bundle of stress and anxiety around my responsibilities. 
  • My emotions were all over the place and ruling my life with a boiling-just-under-the-surface level of frustration and anger.
  • My physical body was taking a hit, being worn out with repetitive, hard labor and manifesting mysterious issues in my stomach, heart and throat that no blood test, EKG, or imagining could identify or define.
  • I was losing interest in my profession, which I had a passion for in many ways but in which I was growing lonely, bored and restless. 
  • My relationship with my business partner and mother (who was and is one of my greatest friends and teachers) was strained and stuck.
  • I had a plaguing sensation, a dissatisfied feeling that there must be more to life. 

Be courageous and willing to modify your idea of what is reality

At that time my spiritual practice was disintegrating. I was practicing a religious tradition that felt incongruent with my heart: it taught me I was essentially flawed, sinful and unworthy but also made in the image of God, and I didn’t think those two concepts could co-exist in the same space, within the same (my) body.  And anyway, that religious institution was crumbling under its own weight due to its own wildly harmful, dreadfully misaligned, hypocritical, shadowy conduct.

All of these events happened simultaneously but across the span of a few years, playing out as things do when they dawn and build over time.  It all took a toll on mind, body and soul.

Previously I had relied on my analytical thinking to figure things out and I told myself this situation was no different: “Figure it out Diana, think your way through this,” I demanded.

Applying more work, more force, even bulling my way through things had always worked in the past and I figured this was no different.

But then something unexpected happened.

Become more energy, less matter…shift atttention from the physical to non-physical

In my turmoil, I figured I could soothe and fix myself through meditation, which to me meant that day after day I twisted my body up in what I called “the pretzel pose” (what normal people call the lotus pose) and tried to breathe deeply and shut up my mind.  I thought it was about technique, and that I just had to figure it out, based on what other people had done and what they typically instructed.

Then one day as I sat there wrapped in pretzel pose, I perceived the subtlest quiet uttering as my felt my body speak.  That’s just the best way to say it: I felt my body speak.  This to me was a novel sensation.  Looking back now I can see that up until that time in my life I had suffocated my body’s subtle feedback loops, it’s quiet and powerful communication system that is in place to self-regulate order and harmony in our life.  I believed my body to be and I treated my body like a draft horse that could pull through anything and everything through sheer willpower. 

Blinders on.  Head down. Focused.  Muscling through. Forging forward.

That day, my body told me to lay down, and that for me the pretzel pose was non-sense and uncomfortable.  It made no sense to willingly endure pain in pursuit of enlightenment—pain was a signal meant to que avoidance.

Honestly, it was like my body said to my brain, “For the love of God, Diana, just lay down and get out of our way.”

I love my body so much for that day and I love my brain for decoding its message.

Love and listen to your body, your wholeness

I laid down on my living room floor and propped my knees with pillows from my couch.  I was more than a tad bit fed up with typical meditation instruction like “just let the thoughts float across your mind like clouds across the sky.”

That wasn’t helpful to me because there were so many thoughts in my head the sky was totally overcast, a thick mat of grey clouds with no blue sky, no white fluffy clouds in sight.

Viewing meditation as something that happened in my head hadn’t served me.

I remember thinking as I lay down that day, “What if meditation means use my whole body, not my head?”

I shifted my awareness down into my body and let go of the idea that I was trying to not think.

I let my attention roam around in my feet and legs first, just noticing the space they occupied as I lay there on the floor.  I felt my hips and back in contact with the floor and let my awareness float around the space my abdomen and chest took up in the space of my living room.  I felt for where my arms were, their weight and then just feeling for the space they took up.

I just lay there feeling down into my body and forgetting about my brain.

I let myself drift into a semi-sleepy state and kept noticing the space of my body, taking it all in at once.  Soon I lost track of where my body was in space, and my mind couldn’t really tell the difference between the space of my body and the space around my body.

I didn’t really know what I was feeling for but I had the urge to “listen with my whole body.”  I didn’t know what I was listening for so I just paid attention, listening for sensations and movement.  Before long I felt a tingling at my right side, in the space between my lowest right rib and my hip bone. 

At first it felt like a non-physical energy tickle-itch down in my body and at the same time up in my head, in my minds eye, I could see the minute nerve endings down there wiggling around, excited, aroused.

It might sound a little strange, but the best way to put it is that my cells felt happy, like they were anticipating something.

“This feels good, so why not go with it?” I thought.

Teach yourself (take time) to trust what your subtle body is telling you

I held my attention on the tickling-itch sensation, trying to notice it more. The more attention I gave it the more it grew.  It was building and expanding and soon I felt like something outside of me was sending electrical signals to me and all I knew was it felt good.

It felt like three-dimensional goose bumps, the kind you get on your arms and back when someone tells you a story of a heart-moving coincidence or something exciting, thrilling, extraordinary or supernatural, only it was flowing like a sine wave throughout my whole body.

Suddenly I realized something was happening TO me.  I had noticed it but I wasn’t making it happen, it was happening to me.  The niggling good feeling blasted a sudden shot of what only can be described as gorgeous bliss through my body.  I had no control over it as it branched out, running down my left leg and shooting across my chest and up the right side of my neck and filling my head and brain with what felt like spaciousness and light.

This bliss like an elixir of energy: joy, love and harmony all bundled into one.  It was branching out through my body in a way that created the image in my mind’s eye of a tree’s root system as I realized the energy was like a low-grade electricity, “lighting up” my nerves and I could feel the precise structure of my intricate nervous system which I had never previously given a moment’s thought to.

It was like I was being mapped by the energy of some extraordinary force that was outside of but also within me. 

I just noticed kept my attention on it and hung on for the ride as pulsing waves of bliss gently washed through my body from right to left with amplitudes that ebbed and flowed in delicious wave after wave.

Let go of labels, biases and beliefs and become objective awareness itself

Under my belief system at the time, it took some presence of mind to hold on to the feeling and not to freak out, evaluate or judge as the extraordinary event unfolded.  Through my disordered, fear-based thinking at the time I wondered if something possessive was over taking me, but the more I felt and observed the sensations, the more I noticed the waves, the more I paid attention to it the more impossible it seemed that anything that felt so good could be even remotely bad. 

It was the energy of life giving me more life!

It was like a non-physical energy massage that was subtle, gentle, powerful, loving, intelligent, knowing and transformative.

And there was this gorgeous sense of the familiar although I’d never experienced anything like it: like this was something inherently natural, a natural state of being that I had forgotten but should remember.

In just a few incredibly beautiful minutes pure energy itself was teaching me what I was looking for through meditation.  Listening to my inner directive to lay down, I opened up the energetic pathways in my physical body.  Mentally I had become the observer, awareness itself.  I transcended the story of who Diana is, what she was reaching for and struggling against.

I had just forgotten all that and paid attention to something else.

Through intense focus paying attention to space, not my physical body, not thought, I had stumbled upon the present moment and when I held my attention in that experience as an objective observer.  And I became united with, unified with, coherent with the energy around me.

And the only thing around me (and it’s within and around each of us) was the bliss of life itself.

I was able to obtain information from it.  That information surprised me.  It made me feel known and loved in all of creation.  It had always been present, I just had never tuned into that aspect reality.

Know your energy anatomy and fall in love with its wisdom

I know I said in my previous blog that I’d share what I’ve learned about energy anatomy, but for some reason all this came out first.  I’ll do that next time and here’s why it’s mission-critical for our healing:

We all have an innate energetic guidance system that processes the energy and information of our life empowers us to direct our life in love.  Historically this system is called the Chakra system, but I think of it as a process and call it the Anatomy of Self-Love, because it is always:

  • Directing us to take the most life-giving actions, doing the most good and least harm
  • Helping us decide which people, which conditions, which jobs, which environments are most life-giving to us
  • Self-organizing and self-regulating our energy to maintain a state of harmony and balance
  • Grounding us in the here-and-now
  • Helping us transcend awareness into our multidimensional Self, which is Divine Love itself
  • And so much more!

This information has been known for millenia, but is now being validated, defined and understood by the sciences of neurology, endocrinology, cardioneurology, epigenetics and quantum physics.

When you know this anatomy, when you feel into it and into the energy within and around your body, you feel into how magnificent you are.  If you want to create a first-hand experience of knowing more about this, consider attending one of my upcoming Yoga Nidra healing meditation retreats.  For more information see here. 

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Call Diana at 207-249-2261