The “Explorer” and Weight Loss

I have successfully used many different diets, but I never want to use the same one twice because it’s boring to repeat something I’ve already explored.  Instead I will try something new.  I am beginning to think that is why there are so many fad diets; people want to try something new rather than the tried and true.

I am an explorer.  I love to learn new things, and once I’ve learned, I want to move on to something else.  To stay with the same old thing would be like torture.  Some of the things I’ve explored are public school, college, marriage, motherhood, divorce, another marriage, art school, water color painting, oil painting, acrylic painting, ceramics, jewelry making, printmaking, drawing, sewing, quilt making, drying and arranging flowers, herbal remedies, holistic medicine, wild edible and medicinal plants, survival school, philosophy, spirituality, friction fire, building structures like: log and cob, traditional stick frame, barns, art studio, shed, gazebo, remodeling, decorating, accounting, gardening, to name some.  These attracted my attention and I explored them with passion for periods of time.  I have loved learning and doing each of these things and I still dabble in all of them, but if I thought I would have to do any one thing on a daily basis I panic!  I can’t do that, I’m too restless and curious to stick with one thing.

The diets I have tried that work for me are: counting calories, food combining, the “don’t eat anything after 5 pm except grapefruit” diet, the Suzanne Somers diet which is also based on food combining, the pH balancing diet, the blood type diet, to name some.

Now, I can start using any one of these diets, which I know work, but sticking to them is a real challenge because I have already used them.  It’s boring to repeat a diet because the learning has been done.

I have been trying to develop something new.  I would like to be so in tune with my body that I can sense what I want to eat that is good for me and supports me becoming my ideal weight for health and happiness.  Remembering to check in with myself deeply, and asking the Sacred Question about what I would benefit most from eating, is where I slip up.  Changing my habits can be hard, but doable if I am curious enough.  I have to want it bad enough to make it happen.

I have to ask myself, “Do I want it bad enough?  What do I need to do to make it happen?  Am I willing to do what it takes?”  I have to be still and listen to the answers emerge from the stillness.  I can ask more than once and peel back the answers, layer by layer, all contributing to my understanding.  With these answers I will know how to proceed.  I will have the power to move forward and accomplish — I will also have the power to let it go and not pursue it.  The choice is mine and the way is shown by the answers to those Sacred Questions: “Do I want it bad enough?  What do I need to do to make it happen,” and finally, “Am I willing to do what it takes?”

These questions can be used for anything we might want to pursue in life.  I spent about 10 years going to classes at Tracker School to learn to trust myself.  By asking the Sacred Questions I learned I have the answers within me, I just had to learn to uncover them and trust myself.

The "Explorer" and Weight Loss

I have successfully used many different diets, but I never want to use the same one twice because Continue reading “The "Explorer" and Weight Loss”

The Sacred Questions and Self Awareness

There was a time in my life when things were just so bad!  In my mind I felt hopeless.  I could not see a way out.  I was stuck.  I had been taught all my life, however, that we are special and that we humans are meant to overcome our difficulties in life; to learn and grow from them even.  In those dark moments I thought to myself, “If I could just know who I am, I could overcome my problems!”  My question was, how could I know myself?

Like many of us, if not all, we have been taught how to behave since childhood.  Stuffing our emotions is often part of that learning.  As we grow we become more and more disconnected from ourselves, disconnected from who we really are.  Instead we play a role set out for us by society and our families.  This is normal for a society, but in my opinion, when the disconnect is strong, broken people are the result.

“Know thyself!” is an admonition given to us students by our teacher Tom Brown Jr. in Scout Class at Tracker School.  “Know thine enemy!” is the second.  “Sometimes thine enemy is thyself!” he states, almost an after thought, but likely is key to the awareness of self.  These are sayings handed down by the Apache Scouts, Tom says.  “Know thyself, and Know thine enemy,” seems to be a common theme in warfare.  Self awareness can help us learn if we are thwarting our own progress, if we are the enemy we face.

The Sacred Questions are the key to knowing ourselves.  “How am I feeling?  How can I heal it?  What more can I learn from this?” and many other questions that can spin off them take us on a journey of self discovery.  As we move through the layers of emotions and feelings, learning what we feel, why we feel this way, and what we can do about it, we move closer to who we really are.  Meaning, the emotions are not us but are reactions to things in our lives based on our experiences and the people around us.  The problem is the reactions are based on limited perspectives; what we can see and understand from our limited viewpoints.  Our perspectives are so limited we can in no way understand everything around us and therefore our feelings and reactions are skewed by our limited perspective.  In stronger terms, our perspectives and reactions are wrong simply because they are based on limited understanding.

What I am proposing is to get past the emotions and reactions which are the byproducts of our living experiences, and get to the pure self; the essence of who we are, which is hidden beneath the layers and layers of feelings and emotions.

When our class was sent out to our individual sit areas in the woods (where we could be alone) to do this exercise, we were given 45 minutes.  We wrote down each layer and why we felt that way.  I worked very hard to move through the layers because I had paid a lot of money for this class and I was going to get the most out of it!  Shortly, I found myself being distracted after each layer.  My mind would wander off in a day dream until I remembered the exercise and pulled myself back.  Going deep in those layers was surprisingly difficult.  There was some resistance by my physical mind; almost a little tantrum of not wanting to look for another layer, thinking there could not possibly be anything else, and being tired of the exercise.  This resistance was almost painful.

I remembered, though, when Tom sent us out he hollered after us in his booming voice, “If you think you have gone through the layers far enough, keep going!!!”

I am so glad I forced myself to move doggedly through the layers.  This exercise gave me a priceless gem of understanding.  I got to the point there were no more layers of emotions, only a vision of energy, symbolism which I understood, and a sense of who I am at the most pure level: strong, powerful, amazing.  I was shocked at that revelation and couldn’t help bawl my eyes out for the next half hour; not even stopping when we were called in, it was that uncontrollable.  I was full of joy and gratitude for what I saw/understood.  I can never forget that moment and the change it brought to my sad, hopeless and helpless little life.

I share this exercise with you.  Could you make use of peeling back the layers to learn who you really are?  Would this enable you to approach life from a greater understanding.

If you should choose to do this exercise you may share your results here.  I would love to see how it works for other people.

Focusing For Happiness and Weight Loss

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Focusing will help you give your attention to one of the many, like picking one flower to look at from the garden.

The other day when I was focusing away my depression (click here for previous post) I hit upon an idea which I started immediately using.  I spent moments throughout the day centering my attention inward, as is done in focusing to discover emotional layers, but instead of asking how I am feeling, I quiet myself and center my awareness deep inside my core and touch the place where I feel peace, relaxation, and love for myself; I then ask myself, “”What do I want to do right now?”  This sets me up for working on something I really want to do, plus I am always much more productive when I am doing what I most want to do.  Surprisingly, the answer to what I most want to do is often to organize something, or do the dishes, or help one of my children with their homework, or some other chore.  My answer is not always to make art!  That doesn’t matter though, because I am doing something I really want to do at that point in time, that fits in my overall life plan; something that is calling for my attention, and gives me pleasure to accomplish.

I am realizing that this first focusing question, “What do I want to do right now?” does not remove any of the myriad of chores that were overwhelming me when I wrote about focusing away depression in my last blog.  Instead, this process allows me to temporarily place all those things in a holding pattern, patiently waiting in line, as I accomplish the one chore that will bring me the most satisfaction at this time.  Then I can ask again for what is the next thing I really want to do.  This first question takes care of reducing stress, allowing me to enjoy the process of accomplishing things, and have more joy in my journey.  I am finding that in my core, I do want to accomplish all the things necessary for success in my goals.  In other words, I am not wanting to play all the time, but asking what to do first allows me to let go of the rest until they pop up as what I want to do next.

For the weight loss part, I focus again to that deep centered place within my core, where I am calm and relaxed.  I remind myself that I am me, one person, centered on myself and my needs right now; knowing I have to take care of myself (no one else is going to do this for me) to be healthy and balanced; reminding myself that I answer only to myself and no one else for my health and well being and happiness; reminding myself I do not have to let anyone stress me out or make me feel less than I am; creating a protective shield of seperation around myself that allows me to rest when I want to, eat when I want to, and focus on a chore or fun activity when I want to.  Once I am centered and balanced and ready to take care of myself, I ask myself, “What do I want to eat that will make me feel good and help me be my best self?”  My answers have been the healthy foods I know are good for me and make me feel good and will help me lose my excess weight.  When I then proceed to eat the healthy food, I do feel good.  When I have not centered myself and focused on what I want to eat that will help me be healthy and my best self, I find myself reaching for chocolate, or ice cream, or bread and butter, or cereal, etc.

The key is focusing away from external stimulation that cause me to want to eat fattening sugary foods.  Resting when I am tired.  Pausing when I feel stressed, evaluating that stress, and focusing for what I want to do next.  Eating sugary starchy food, which makes me feel sleepy, is a way I have been self medicating and dulling my senses so I don’t have to feel stress.  Or, I reach for the giant (and I do mean giant!) bar of chocolate to rev me up and give me a big push, which gives me a high I enjoy, but does not benefit my health in the long run, nor does eating chocolate help me put my finger on what I really want to do.

I understand that this method is not easy when there are so many demands made upon us by external sources (and to be honest, most of the stresses and demands in my life are self induced).  Regardless, I have to do something to get my happiness and health back, so I now give myself permission to experiment with focusing for happiness and weight loss.  Once the simple meditation is accomplished a few times, it really takes very little time to recenter and ask those two questions again: “What do I want to do right now?” and “What do I want to eat that will help me be healthy and happy and be my best self?”

Focusing for happiness and weight loss worked so well for me yesterday (I know . . . only one day) that I wanted to share the process.  I will let you, dear readers, know how it goes as I continue with this experiment.  Also, if anyone wants to try this, I would love to hear how it goes for you in the comments section!  Love and happiness and health to you all.

Everyone’s success is your success. 

This is a statement that my teacher Tom Brown Jr. says during class. I didn’t understand it completely although I understood the concept. He would say that if someone got a success in an exercise we were doing for class, that shows that it’s possible to get a success, therefore it’s also possible for others to get a success.  Continue reading “Everyone’s success is your success. “

Everyone's success is your success. 

This is a statement that my teacher Tom Brown Jr. says during class. I didn’t understand it completely although I understood the concept. He would say that if someone got a success in an exercise we were doing for class, that shows that it’s possible to get a success, therefore it’s also possible for others to get a success.  Continue reading “Everyone's success is your success. “

Finding Our True Heroic Selves!

Healing is all about digging deeper and deeper and looking into the shadowy corners to shed light on everything and create healing.  Today I did some more digging.  What I found may resonate with someone out there.

I woke feeling stressed again.  “Why do I feel stressed?” I wondered.  “Time to focus,” I sighed.

“How am I feeling?” I asked myself.

“Afraid,” I said.

“Why,” I asked.

“I’m afraid I will fail,” I answered — but there wasn’t much power in it.  I knew that fear was pretty much healed.

I set that fear aside and asked, “OK, good to know.  Aside from that, how am I feeling?”

“Afraid.”

This fear was a little stronger.  “Why am I afraid?” I asked.

“I’m afraid I will succeed.”

I’ve heard this before too, I thought, but I  continued, “Why am I afraid to succeed?” I asked.

“Because if I succeed, people will expect me to keep doing what I succeed at and I will be stuck.  I will be expected to keep doing it and I won’t be able to focus my life on anything new.  I’ll be trapped.”  This has been an issue before in my focusing.

As I pondered this answer I realized my fears are based on the belief that I  must do what other people say I must do, like continuing to perform certain actions if I am successful in them. Bringing this into the light allows me to see that although that may be an ingrained notion, it is not really true and I can begin to let go of that belief.

I asked, “How can I heal this?” but nothing came so I asked, “What more can I learn about this?”  I received this answer — which came in bits and pieces: “In the past I have had my ruts, my time constraints, my health issues, my feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, my feelings of depression, my feelings of being stuck.  These feelings and ruts have given me excuses to fail, or at least, excuses to not excel.  These feelings would rescue me when someone would badger me to do things, or blame me for not doing things, or yell at me for not doing something I didn’t have the time or energy for, or for something I didn’t even think of, or didn’t have the desire to do, or the intention to do.  They were my hiding place from someone elses’s abusive demanding controlling behavior.

In learning more about this fear of success I realized that in succeeding I would appear to others to be competent, capable, able, strong, and my excuses and ruts that I hid in before might not protect me anymore.

I also realized that without these familiar ruts, that I have lived in for years, I would struggle to know who I am, where I stand, what my perspective is.  I would feel lost without them.  I would be floating free without a harbor.  I understand clearly now how people identify with their wounds, their illnesses, their pain, because I clearly see how I do.

One of my teachers, Malcolm Ringwalt of Earth_Heart, explained the personality as post it notes inside of a light bulb.  When we are born we are like a light (the filament) with in a clean bulb, seeing the world as it is, our pure light shining out through the clear bulb accurately reflecting back the truth.  As we begin to interact with the world around us we gain experience based on our limited perspectives and begin forming opinions and shaping our “personalities”.  We make little notes and post them on the inside of the bulb that is our interface with the world, and our filters begin to be created.  (Scared of the loud dog.  Like the pretty flowers.  Don’t like Needles!  Kitty soft but scratches.  Man with beard mean.  Lady with brown hair gives cookie.) Each experience creates a post it note and each post it note taints the new experiences.  We become so used to our space within that bulb and our perspectives, we have a difficult time seeing anyone else’s perspective unless we have an experience like theirs.  Then we can write another post it note like theirs.

People on a spiritual path are attempting to poke holes in those post it notes, over and over, until eventually they begin to see glimpses of the world as it really is.  Sometimes in meditation one can poke a hole and get a glimpse.

Focusing is a type of meditation that allows us to look closely at our post it notes and begin to understand why we put them there in the first place, and help us peel them away little by little, or poke holes in them.

The first time Tom Brown Jr. had our class do the focusing meditation he had us out there in nature peeling back the layers of feeling for 45 minutes.  Focusing over and over for 45 minutes was excruciating.  It was work.  After I peeled back each emotion I couldn’t imagine there would be anything more to find, but there was.  I would get distracted and forget I was even doing an exercise, but when I remembered I would force myself to continue, after all, I wanted to get my money’s worth.    Looking for each new emotion was not an easy task, especially the deeper I got.  But I kept it up and I got to a place that completely surprised me.  I saw myself for who I really was, underneath all the emotions, the drama, the feelings.  I saw myself as pure energy, fearless, a warrior, and as a glittery core of energy going up and down within my body.  I wept uncontrollably at the beauty of myself because I had no idea I was anything like that! I also saw my accomplishments hanging off me like dead whitened logs.  I realized when I saw them that they were not a part of me at all, but just a residue hanging there; that the only thing that was me was this energy that was alive and was me.

I will be eternally grateful for that glimpse.

Even when Tom called us back to class I couldn’t stop crying.  I would have never guessed I was anything like that.  So today when I realized that I was afraid to let go of those ruts I was hiding in, of helplessness and incapability, and afraid to let them go because I wouldn’t know who I was, I remembered that meditation.

Why not hold onto the me I saw in that meditation?  That is the real me after all.  That is who I really am.  I can let go of my old crutches.

I believe we each have that incredible strong and powerful self under all the pain and suffering.  Curiously the painful experiences are for our growth if we can figure out how to use them for that.  I encourage us all to peel back the layers and learn from them.  Find and work to become the amazingly powerful people we really are.

I have to be gentle with myself because years of living in the rut is not an easy habit to break.  I have known for years who I really am but I still find myself in fear and that’s OK.  I simply have more to learn from those lessons.  I am still learning as I explore the layers between who I really am and the surface where I am confused and conflicted.  So please be gentle with yourself and with others you encounter on this journey toward self discovery.  We are all in this together and are all in different places along the path of total recovery.

Peeling Back The Negatives, Finding our True Childlike Joy

I have used the tool of focusing that I explained in my blog called “Do ya ever just not wanna get outta bed?  “Focusing” will tell you why.” many times since learning the meditation in Trackerschool almost 10 years ago.  The meditation is getting easier for me and I am more quickly able to pinpoint the problems and the good things I am looking for to assist me in my life.

I woke from a wonderful dream this morning which held all sorts of hope and confidence symbols, to a day clear of scheduled duties and full of possibilities, but a feeling of being overwhelmed and not up to the opportunities.

After feeding my horses and letting them out, taking the dog out, and setting up my computer, without any change in my feelings, I decided to peel back the layers and get to the bubbling over excitement and unrepentant confidence I knew was in there because I had felt it so recently!  So I lay back on my couch as my computer was warming up . . . my meditation went something like this:

“How am I feeling?”  I surrendered to the answer with no judgement, only love and acceptance, and waited for the first feeling to arise like dew forms on grass.  It took awhile for me to identify the feeling, it just looked like a carpet of darkness all over me and the landscape around me.  After several moments of being in that darkness I understood what the feeling was.

“I’m feeling inadequate, ‘less than’, incapable.”

“Why, why am I feeling that way?” I asked myself, again with only love and understanding, no judgement.

Again I waited in the feeling for awhile.  The understanding was not quick or easy in coming, and even when the answer came I was a bit surprised.  “I’m feeling this way because I have been taught since childhood not to trust myself, my feelings.  I was taught to look to others for approval, for what my path should be, for how I should be feeling.”

After sitting with that understanding for a minute I said to myself, without judgement, only acceptance and love, “OK, that’s good to know.”  I proceeded to attempt to set the darkness aside so I could go to the next layer but it really didn’t want to go.

I wondered why the darkness of inadequacy didn’t want to go.  I felt reluctant to force it to go.  I felt like maybe something bad would happen if I made it leave.  I wondered if I would be hurt somehow, ripped apart somehow, incomplete somehow, if it was gone.  Then I remembered I was just setting it aside.  But I also remembered that setting it aside often healed it and sometimes it didn’t come back.  I wondered if setting it aside was like giving it to God.  I wondered if giving the darkness to God is what the scripture means when it says to cast your burden on the Lord.  I tried it by saying, “Here God,” and imagined the darkness going to the light. It went, but very slowly, almost reluctantly or doubtfully, and I wondered if that was my doubt, or even my fear of being incomplete without it.  I wondered if I had been too hasty in setting it aside, maybe I had more to learn from it. . . maybe . . . anyway . . .

Next I asked, “Aside from that, How am I feeling?”

I was a little bit surprised when I found I was feeling afraid.

I asked why and surrendered.

“I am afraid I will fail, than I will know I was inadequate, not good enough.”

“OK, that’s good to know,” I said, meaning it and so grateful for that understanding!  I thought about giving that to God too, but wondered if setting it aside myself is the same thing, in a way.  I set it aside and it was easier that the first darkness of inadequacy.

Next I asked, “Aside from those, how am I feeling?”

This was the layer I had been looking for; buried under the layers of self doubt and fear.  I could see all the pictures in my mind, the colors I have been playing with for a project I am working on, the sketches I have been making, the shapes, the compositions, the textures!  This layer of feeling held the excitement of creation and joy!  “I feel energy, creative, full of life and ideas!  I don’t care if I make mistakes, it will be fun!”

“Why?”

“Because this is living, wondering, experiencing, tasting, smelling, making, seeing, doing, touching, trying, showing, talking, smiling, laughing, hugging, sharing, energy, everything.”

This layer isn’t hampered by fear, negativity, or self doubt.  This layer is pure.  This layer is more who we really are. This is the light that we are.  This is the layer I want to live my life from and I just had to get past the film of negativity to find it again.  I believe this layer is always in there, for everyone.  We simply (or sometimes not so simply) have to make the effort to find it under the other layers.  Focusing is a great tool to help with that!

I will forever be grateful to my teacher Tom Brown Jr. for his teachings and his healing methods we students benefitted from.

 

Do Ya Ever Just Not Wanna Get Outta Bed? “Focusing” Will Tell You Why.

That’s how I felt this morning.

I was rested but just didn’t want to face the day.  There was nothing pressing I had to do for anyone else, but I felt stressed and awful!

I decided to do the focusing meditation Tom Brown Jr., my teacher at Trackerschool, taught me, to separate the individual emotions that make up the mix of emotions we experience.

The method is this: While in a quiet place, alone, preferably in nature, you ask yourself in the most loving, non judgmental, kind manner, “How am I feeling?” and surrender (to surrender is to go to nothingness, no thought, no image, no agenda and see what comes to you) to the first emotion that presents itself.

If you get, “Well, I feel just fine,” then say to yourself, “Yeah, right!  How am I REALLY feeling?” and surrender to the real answer.  Then ask yourself, “Why?  Why am I feeling this way?” and surrender to the answer.  Then you make note of it on paper if you like, or in your mind, and set it aside in your mind.  Next, say to yourself, “Aside from that, How am I feeling?” and surrender to the answer.  Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way?”  Make note of it, and set it aside in your mind.  Then ask yourself, “Aside from those, how am I feeling?” and surrender to the next emotion or feeling that comes to the surface.  When the emotion or feeling presents itself, ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way?” and make a note of it and set it aside in your mind . . . and on and on.

If at some point you get nothing in return, realize there is some reason you are not allowing yourself to know about that layer, which is just fine.  Say to yourself, “OK, good to know,” set it aside and go on to the next layer.

When Tom had us do this, he gave us a full 45 minutes on this exercise.  I got distracted a lot as I went deeper and deeper, and had to struggle to bring myself back to the exercise.  He told us, “When you think you have gone deep enough, go deeper.”  This exercise is VERY healing and helps you to see what is contributing to the mix of emotions which are affecting you right now.

–If you go deep enough, you may find something completely unexpected that will change your life.

The emotions that are affecting you now change with time.  Each day will probably be different, but you may find some consistencies too.

When you are finished with the exercise, there is more you can do with it.   Tom taught us to go through the list and ask yourself, “Which one of these emotions is the most powerful right now?” and circle it and put a 1 by it.  Then go through the list and ask, “Aside from that one, which one is most powerful or  most important right now?” and circle it and put a 2 by it.  Do this until it feels like the most important ones are circled.

If the ones circled are positive emotions you can ask, “What more can I learn about this?” and surrender to an answer.  The answer may come in an image, a feeling, an emotion, a complete knowing.  You can ask again and again, going through layers of learning about this positive thing.  You can do this about individual emotions or about the group of emotions.  I think doing both would give the greatest understanding.

If the ones circles are negative emotions or feelings you can ask, “How can I heal this?” and surrender to an answer.  This question can be asked again and again until you feel you have gotten what you need for help in healing.  You can do this about an individual negative emotion or about a group of negative emotions.  I think it would be beneficial to do both the individual emotions or feelings and the group for the greatest understanding.

Back to my exercise today . . .

The first layer showed me that I was feeling very frustrated — because I had too much I wanted to accomplish and not enough hours in the day, week, month to accomplish everything, and I felt a pressure or expectation from myself but also because I believed others expected things of me.

The second layer showed me I felt calm, relaxed, not worried — because none of that is really important

The third layer showed me I was angry, roaring, holding up the rafters of my house, wanting to break it to pieces!  Not caring if I died!  — because of my frustration and bottled up anger from past things.  (In my dream interpretations, my houses seem to represent my life.)

The fourth layer I felt like a quiet, small, amber red, elliptical shape, and very happy to be alive — because that is more real, that is more the essence of my true feelings.

That was all I needed for today.  I realized the second and fourth layers were the most important and powerful ones for me and to let the other ones go.  To do things as I can, with joy, and not worry.

We get trained in life to focus and stress on things that are not really that important in the long run and that can cause a great deal of internal strife!  Realizing how wonderful it is to simply be here, experiencing everything, can make such a difference.

If you want to read more about my first understanding this because I remembered how I felt when I was coming to be in the physical world, click here.