Self Kindness

Hello everyone and hope you are well,

I realize it has been a while since I have posted here. The past year has been full with completing my manuscript which meant all my writing time was devoted to that. I was also recording some podcasts along the way which has been a nice change of pace. I have 2 new podcasts that both focus on Self Kindness. You can listen to them on my website with no need for signing up or downloading anything. Just sit back, grab some headphones if you need, and take a listen. And if you ever want a transcript of the podcast, just drop me a note and I can get that to you. (I will put the podcast links below.)

I am also really excited about the book. It looks like it will be published and available by the end of this year. I feel so much gratitude on so many levels. Feel free to write to me if you want to learn more. Or check out my website to read a description.

In the meantime, I hope you are well.

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Click HERE for One of the Most Important Life Skills

Click HERE for Self Kindness Continued

 

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Posted in happiness, kindness, Life Skill, mind body tools, philosophy, stress

A simple exercise for developing one of your superpowers

As you may have noticed I spend a lot of time talking about this thing called awareness. I really believe that developing your awareness, even in the most subtle and small ways, is an essential tool for anything you want to do in your life. Often I am talking about making changes, moving beyond limitations or getting unstuck. But truly, developing your awareness will serve you across the board with anything you do in your life.

So, I am going to continuously talk about how powerful it is and give you different perspectives on ‘why’ because I think it helps to have an understanding of why you are doing or investing in something. Understanding where it fits into your growth and development helps you have an intuitive wisdom with developing it for yourself.

In this post I am offering a simple exercise called ‘Body Scan’. It helps you to develop your awareness beginning with something you have right now; your body.

You can do the exercise anywhere but when you first begin it helps to be somewhere where you can have some quiet and close your eyes for at least 10 minutes.

 

Body Scan
This is a simple meditation that also uses visualization. You can walk yourself through it very simply as a way to focus your awareness.

Gently close your eyes and let yourself settle into your body with whatever position you have found whether seated or lying down. Take a few full breaths with clear inhales and exhales.

Now bring your focus and attention to your feet. Imagine you are like a small explorer and are able to climb this landscape of the body both inside and out. Notice the bottom of the feet, each toe, the small bones, tendons, skin and texture. Allow yourself time to navigate around all aspects of each foot and be curious. Do your feet feel the same or does one have more fatigue or energy than the other? What qualities do you notice? Allow yourself to notice any sensations or images.

For many of us, our feet carry our weight throughout the day and are constantly making micro adjustments for balance. Consider how you use your feet and ways in which you do or do not engage them. Just notice what you notice without judgement.

Once you feel complete in your time with your feet, begin to move upwards towards your ankles, shins, calves and onward towards your knees. Along the way spend time with all of these areas or parts of your body, inside and out, bringing the same awareness and observation. Notice what you notice.

You can ask questions or find new information through your visualization guided by imagination. All along the way be open to learning or observing something new. Ask yourself how you feel about parts of your body or what your relationship is to them. Consider how you engage them in your life. Notice if certain parts of your body are easier to connect with than others.

From your knees you can move towards your thighs, hamstrings, hips, genitalia, tail bone and buttocks. Here we begin our exploration of our torso and the spine. The torso with our stomach, back, chest and shoulders houses our major organs, digestive system and more. Let yourself move three dimensionally within your body as you imagine the many layers and components that create your living body.

You can dive into the details of each vertebrae, vein or nerve ending or explore more from the big picture of bones and organs. Wherever your attention takes you, allow yourself to observe, ask questions and simply notice.

From the torso we take a trip down the shoulders into our arms and hands. Notice your elbows, palms and all your fingers. Spend time exploring here before going back up to the neck where the weight of our head negotiates movement. Notice any sensations throughout the neck. Then, just beyond the neck is where the spine culminates in entering our skulls. Take your time to observe the details of your face, ears, hair follicles, sutures of the skull, membranes and structures of the brain. You can go as deep as you are compelled. Simply notice what you notice and remember that anything that comes into your awareness is equal to anything else. Try not to dismiss images, colors or other visualizations. All are what the wisdom of your imagination is offering to you. There is really no right or wrong way to do this.

Once you have completed your journey through the top of your body, the head, then allow yourself to float up above your body. Let yourself see your body as a whole, one magnificent interconnected entity. Notice if there is any area of your body that feels more or less connected. Bring your attention and some breath to this part and see if you can reconnect it to the whole. Otherwise just breathe deeply as you bring your attention to the presence of this incredible entity of you.

Gently allow your attention to soften and just notice your breath. Relax into easy breathing. Notice the points of contact where your body meets the surface it is resting upon. Begin to wiggle your fingers or toes and begin to feel yourself in your physical presence in the room. Gently open your eyes and notice what is in the space around you. Notice how your body, thoughts and spirit feel. Simply notice what you notice as you bridge the space of visualization back to your physical presence in the room.

Welcome back!

You can improvise with this exercise and find new ways to deepen your awareness and connection to your own body. Just notice what you notice while bringing your curiosity and kindness.

Take care and stay in touch!

If you are interested in hearing my podcast guiding you through this exercise, click Here.

Posted in being human, health, mind body tools, philosophy | Tagged , ,

Podcast: Our relationship to the unconscious


IMG_4247This new podcast explores the nature of the unconscious, how it influences our life and ways to shift our relationship to it. Developing our awareness and learning to interact with our unconscious is a game changer. Click HERE to listen or subscribe to this podcast series on iTunes.

For more insights and exercises you can check out ‘Awareness is Key’ on this site or the Sound Body Wisdom website.

Thanks for listening,
Much Love…
Jacqueline

Posted in philosophy

New Podcast series!

Hey there radiant human beings!

I just wanted to let you know that I’ve started a podcast series and am really excited about it!

It feels like an amazing format for sharing Sound Body Wisdom and connecting in a new way with all of you. The series will explore the nature of mind~body and using our own inherent superpowers to shift anything in our lives that doesn’t nourish us or might impose any form of internal limitation. This can create changes in our own lives on every level but also in the world around us.

We are filled with such brilliance and power…why not tap into it as much as possible? Truly, we are always adapting day to day to this practice of living!

Click HERE to find the podcast on iTunes

As always, you can contact me through my Website with any questions or comments. And feel free to let me know any topics you might like to hear about on the podcast.

Thanks for reading and for listening!
Much love and light.
Jacqueline

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Posted in philosophy

All Parts Included (Revisited)

Hello all and hope you are well!

Today I wanted to look at the art and challenge of self-acceptance; the practice of accepting ourselves with all of our unique foibles, idiosyncrasies and less than shiny bits. (No ifs, ands or buts.)

This practice is so essential because it fundamentally informs the way we perceive the world, others and our own self. And our perceptions create our ‘reality’……or at least how we feel about it and choices we make.

My question to you is this:
When you think of yourself and look at the complete/everything included version, do you allow all your different parts to show themselves or are there some parts you consistently keep hidden away? (Hidden except for when they manage to act out or until you can tuck them back out of sight.)
Are there parts of your self you don’t show due to shame, embarrassment or simply feel they are ‘unacceptable’?
Are there parts of yourself you don’t like?

This is interesting territory to look into because it is a natural human response to avoid things we don’t like or enjoy. It seems quite ‘normal’ to ignore those less than savory parts or tuck them outside of the light of who we (want to) see ourselves to be. (And many of us have our parts that we might struggle with….)

The truth is, I have yet to discover a way of fully seeing, loving or accepting oneself that might include a severing or rejection of certain parts of our selves for any reason.
With this in mind, if we are participating in any form of blacklisting or diminishing of certain parts, I don’t see how we will be able to fully enjoy the nourishment of self-acceptance and authentic self-love.

(Again, when I say ‘authentic self-love’ or acceptance I am speaking of the kind where there are no caveats or strings attached. It is a state of being without an ‘if’ or ‘but’.)

It can be quite a puzzle because what we have generally learned is to only acknowledge or truly show the parts that we like or are ‘acceptable’. And since this is status quo, it seems like this behavior is a no brainer, right?
But what if…
What if the key to consistent and grounded self –love/acceptance is actually about gathering together all parts of us? Even if we don’t like them, what if we choose to invite them in and accept them as is?
What if we gave these parts caring face time (and not just when they are ‘acting out’ or causing a ruckus inside of us)?

Here’s what I know; each of us have these parts that we might want to reject or hide, even from ourselves. And each of our reasons and relationships with these parts are unique to our own lives. That is why there will always be a unique approach we each need to discover for ourselves. But I fully believe each of us can discover this approach and a deeper sense of self-acceptance without question.

These parts that we try to ignore always find ways to speak up and get out from under wherever we have ‘hidden’ them. This internal dynamic creates a tension and even a setup for pitfalls. It can support a system of continuous push/pull that leads to a sense of internal struggle, depression or self-deprecation (to name a few). It can also fuel dynamics you perpetuate in your external relationships with others. These inner dynamics can cause replicated behaviors of rejecting others, reacting as opposed to communicating or favoring only that which is simple/pleasant. (I am sure each of us can connect the dots along these lines somewhere in our own lives)

Learning to recognize how we shut out or snub certain parts of ourselves and then choosing to integrate them back into the ‘whole’ can actually free up energy we are exerting to keep them ‘out’ or hidden. This acceptance and integration that we can cultivate is a tool that benefits not only ourselves but also our interactions and relationships with others. It can bring a sense of calm, empowerment and renewed energy within us that has a domino effect throughout our lives.

Learning to “ride the bike”

I realize that this is generally easier said than done and I don’t offer any of these suggestions lightly. For me, the practice of the self  is one that requires attention, patience and a whole lotta kindness. The metaphor of riding a bike works pretty well here and all the qualities of: focus, consistent practice, encouragement, repetition, willingness, effort and…. falling over.
When we first learned to ride a bike we might have gotten frustrated, had a bit of a cry, felt scared or even fallen but somewhere in the process we simply needed to take a breath, trust and try again. We didn’t typically accept that falling over was all there was to it and stop there.

Accepting and loving our selves without question is similar in this way. First we need to recognize there is something beyond our conditioned patterns to move towards. To a certain degree I am not even sure we are aware of this ‘self -practice’ that can help cultivate an all round more pleasant ride in our lives. Many of us have reached the point where we can at least function on autopilot so why fix something ‘if it ain’t broken’.
It’s as if we don’t realize we can cruise smoothly on our bikes and tend to think that constantly falling over every few feet is as good as it gets. But imagine the difference if falling became more infrequent and you could actually enjoy sailing downhill with your feet on the handlebars. Suddenly even the challenges of hills and traffic became more manageable or possibly nourishing.
When we engage the qualities of awareness, focus, willingness and kindness and apply them to our own personal growth…anything is possible.

If living with less stress, tension and criticism were possible would you choose to move in that direction?
If cultivating more self love and energy were within reach would you try or practice something different?

 

If yes, then try this.

Our ‘small stories’: Affecting Change

I read somewhere that ‘our small story can only sustain itself if it remains unconscious. Recognizing it is the beginning of the end.’

For me this means that actually becoming aware of our habitual patterns towards not fully accepting ourselves is the first step towards change.

  • We realize that we have divisive habits that use up crucial energy and are not serving us.
  • We realize that the habit of diminished self-acceptance can perpetuate the same behavior towards others in our lives.
  • We acknowledge that we are capable of developing new habits that are more sustainable.

In order to affect change we must have clarity, keep it simple and on some level see it is achievable. This way we can decrease resistance, avoid gumption traps and maintain a sense of inner encouragement.

So, in learning how to ride this bike we start small and simple. You get to discover your own tweaks for what works best for your own personal environment.

Practice
Since we are focusing on self-acceptance of all parts of our selves this is where we will hone our attention. At some point during your day (perhaps just before bed) take a few minutes to survey the range of your thoughts and feelings and see if there are any moments you notice a lack of self acceptance or a diminishing thought about some part of yourself.
Just notice it and see if you can take a breath with it and find some way to perfectly accept and acknowledge without judgment this feeling or thought. Try to create a field of acceptance without question and embrace this ‘part’. Notice what this type of acceptance feels like in your body…the sense of it. And that’s all. You can do this with as many thoughts as you have the energy to fully find acceptance for and when you feel complete (even if this is after just one)….you simply let it go.

Creating a memory for the felt sense of acceptance is powerful. It’s like programming a computer or building a bridge….as you practice it allows more access to your ability to create acceptance.

This practice may sound too simple but it is amazingly potent to begin by accepting the parts that are often the ones doing the bullying. This small act can set a trend towards getting to know what this type of acceptance feels like in your body, creating a memory to access it more easily in the future and building bridges for integrating all your different parts no matter what they look like. It also flips the ‘game’ or conditioning on it’s head. We generally play out these habits in a particular way and if we can interrupt the usual M.O. then we open up the gates for other possibilities.

This is the laboratory of you….and you are the genius within it all. You never know what you might discover….experimenting with the practice can uncover new truths, solve old mysteries or perhaps just give you wings for flying on that bike of yours.

                                                                                                            Thank you for reading
                                                                                                            So much love, Jacqueline
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Soundbodywisdom.com

Posted in philosophy

Meeting Life on New Terms

Sound Body Wisdom

I’ve been reflecting on how each of us has our unique struggles and the different ways we meet them.  Each day there can be any amount of joy and challenge.  But typically, it’s the challenges that can throw us off balance and create stress in our minds, emotions or bodies.

Each one of us can relate to struggles with work, family, relationships, health or situations in your life.  Any of these can cause habitual reactions such as worry, anger, feeling hopeless, self blame, criticism or even reaching for comfort in food or other behaviors.

And we know that life is always going to bring us these challenges.

We can’t always predict or control what happens in our days.
But there is an alternative to how we respond.
Engaging the experience allows us to change the response and empowers us to feel differently no matter what the circumstance may be.
And this ability is our power.
Often we notice with hindsight that our responses to situations may not make us feel very good and are wearing us down. But it’s one thing to notice the habitual response and another to go about changing it.
Awareness is  absolutely essential… 
The next step is engaging and creating a new relationship with the situation.

 So how do we do that?

Here is something that I know works.

Instead of beating yourself up, giving up or just moving on with your day as usual; imagine softening and staying with what you are feeling. Can you try to stay present with what is happening?  Take a breath and bring kindness to meet it with curiosity?

I suggest developing this new relationship by speaking directly to that inner part of yourself with kindness and curiosity.

Choosing a different approach means we interrupt our habitual response and develop a new habit that is softer, kinder and helps cultivate more possibility.

The next time you find yourself reacting to a situation

  • Identify what is happening and stay present. This helps you create space. You can develop feeling more neutral towards the situation and less reactive.  (Connecting to your breath consciously is a simple tool to assist you in staying present.)
  • Develop a kind and curious relationship to the situation and reaction.  This helps you to stop fighting what is happening and accept the situation.  This acceptance is an active practice to stay present without judgement and acknowledge it is temporary.
  • This practice trains your awareness and allows for so much more possibility in how you respond and feel in any circumstance.

Directly engaging yourself in the midst of the habit allows a different region of your brain to join the conversation.  It’s a region that helps you stay clear in simply witnessing what is happening without getting overwhelmed or triggered.  This means you can feel more rational and less emotionally stuck.

We can shift how we relate to any situation and therefore change our overall experience.

 Try this:

The next time you notice you are experiencing a situation with a response that feels unpleasant, stressful or defeating, try saying this to yourself:
“My dear friend, I see this situation is challenging.  Take a deep breath and just relax into your body a little bit.  Let’s take a moment to simply notice what’s happening. There might be other perspectives we can discover.”

This is a simple place to begin engaging the moment with clarity, kindness and resource.  You can continue with gentle questions to learn more about this habitual response or revisit the event when you have more time to reflect.  (Feel free to substitute any of the statement words above with some of your own.)
Listen to anything your mind and body bring forward.  Be open without judgement and remember to also trust your intuition.
Notice how your body feels when you can interrupt the habitual reaction, breathe and create space in the present moment.  Continually observe the process and find your own guidance towards what next steps might support you cultivating this new relationship.  Remember that whatever you choose is perfect for you right now.

Life inevitably has challenges…but how we feel about it is optional.

                                                                                    Thank you for reading.
                                                                                 So much love, Jacqueline

Posted in being human, evolving' truths', philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Lowering the water line of the unconscious

This practice really is about developing your awareness. Your entire life can change from this one activity. Not that it’s an easy activity but it really is a primary one that involves authentic care, kindness and curiosity.

The definition of ‘unconscious’ is anything not in your awareness.

Even when we’re not conscious of so many things, they are happening under the radar. And truly, we need our unconscious because it isn’t possible for us to be aware of all things all the time. Just the amount of bodily processes happening in any given moment would be impossible to conceive and process consciously. And then throw in memories, thoughts, habits etc.  So our unconscious is awesome and incredibly helpful but I am suggesting we learn to interact with it more and not just by our default settings.

Think of the iceberg metaphor where consciousness is the tip that sticks out just above the water line and the unconscious is the massive entity in the depths below. I believe that with practice we can lower our water line to reveal more of what is under the surface, influencing our lives and experiences.

Now, it is true that we can live with minimal awareness and this can work fine. But if you are even a little interested, there are tools to help you reveal more of what is happening below the surface of your awareness. Lowering the water line allows you to touch those things that were previously invisible. By making them more visible (tangible) you can interact with them consciously to actually make choices. It’s incredible. We are truly empowered to change our ratio of conscious/unconscious.

And as we do this practice it begins to grow exponentially. Because everything you bring into conscious mind has threads or connections to more that is still below the surface. You begin to sense and understand more of the unconscious simply by experiencing what you have brought up into the light thus far.

Okay, so the practice takes effort. Yes. And some might say ‘hard work’. And it’s not always comfortable. It can feel at first like you are going against the ‘grain’ of who you are. But often times the habits that we have developed don’t even register as habits. They simply feel like an integrated aspect of who we are. They are what you think of as ‘you’. So to change a habit can feel like going against the grain of what is familiar as you. And any habit, thought or feeling can become absolutely familiar and comfortable. Even something like anger or melancholy (which on the surface we might identify as being unpleasant, can become part of your familiar comfort zone and habit). When you develop your awareness and lower your water line to reveal your unconscious habits, you can ask yourself if they are life affirming habits and whether or not you want to engage them. So, the work really is about developing your awareness to reveal what is below the surface so you can choose to interact and potentially create alternate habits. This can apply to anything in your life.

But in the beginning it is a learning curve for sure. And it can feel like going through withdrawal to not engage some of these well ingrained habits. The cool thing is that once you are cultivating your awareness and your observation skills, it becomes easier.
The moment to moment noticing of thoughts becomes more effortless. It’s like you have developed a new, core sense. It becomes second nature to discern what is or is not life affirming for you. Awareness becomes a new habit and perpetuates even more awareness. It becomes ubiquitous. You then find you have shifted that ratio of conscious to unconscious. You have lowered your water line by choice.

Check out this companion video “Lowering the Water Line”

Posted in mind body tools, philosophy | Tagged , , ,