How to Accept all of Your Self: Part 5 of 6
Most times we forget the exact source of our beliefs, thoughts, feelings or felt senses. On this Dare to Ask Journey you have been bringing awareness to them no matter their source. Through this awareness of these parts of yourself and your habitual ways of being you can start to shift from awareness to consciousness.
What is the difference?
The biggest difference between awareness and consciousness is that when you are living in consciousness, you accept 100% responsibility for all of your experiences in this life.
This means our habitual beliefs, thoughts, feelings or felt senses either lead us to believe our experiences of life are generated by others and the outside world, or we take 100% responsibility for how we experience life. Katherine Woodward Thomas sums it up beautifully in this quote: “It’s the difference between believing that life happens TO us as opposed to life happening THROUGH us.”
How do you make the shift?
You use your thoughts, feelings and felt senses to master new ways of being so that you can overcome your triggers and projections. You do this by accessing broader beliefs so that your spirit can fully awaken to a life of joy.
During these last few months, the work you have done has reminded you that as a human being of spirit, you are body, mind and soul. While the awareness of this truth can seem obvious, the fine art of mastering the act of living as a spirit integrated in body, mind and soul is how we can move towards consciousness.
Let me give you some background as an example:
After giving up on my soul at the age of 16, my adult life was lived from the mind and the body. While functional in many ways I was not integrated and still held onto blame, shame and guilt stories that caused me to suffer. I alternated between states of being happy when not triggered, and sad and in pain when triggered by others or the external world.
It’s only when we are opened to a conscious way of being in the world that we no longer have to deny any of our truth. More importantly, we no longer justify our lives by needing a mask, someone or something in order for us to live a life of joy.
In my 40’s I become aware that as a human being of spirit I had little to no conscious connection with my soul. This is why I started my Dare to Ask Journey and developed daily practices to nurture and broaden the nature of my mind, the senses of my body and essence of my soul. For example; each day I nurture my mind by reading something to broaden my thinking, be that for 5 minutes or 2 hours; likewise I nurture my body through varied movement, which can be anything from an hour of calming yoga or aggressive cardio training or a simple 20-minute walk in nature; and I nurture the essence of my soul through meditation, prayer and play (be that rolling on the floor playing with my cat as I pretend to be a cat myself or playing a card game with a friend as we laugh with no real care for who wins or loses).
Some days I cannot get to all of it, but because my intention is strongly aligned with consciousness, my truth often turns out to be the same as my intention. I also note each of these activities in my calendar and at the end of every week I am always delighted by my truth regardless of how well I ‘performed’. While my weekly intention is to achieve 7 out of 7, I don’t judge myself for doing less than I set out to do. Rather I celebrate the intention and allow my truth to reveal itself without negativity towards life’s disruptions: a family crisis, a weekend hanging out with my fabulous partner, a bad mood day or a simple I-don’t-feel-like-it day. In allowing myself to be all of this and have compassion for myself on the “down days,” my inner critic is silenced thereby achieving a regular 5 or 6. From this connected space my spirit can remain curious, as it energizes me towards a conscious life so that I can experience a joyful life. I do this as I accept in my deepest truth that I alone am responsible for how I experience things; no matter what life brings me.
Of course, when I am fully present in my practices, I cannot help but wish for 2 hours a day for each! But in truth, I don’t have that sort of time available and I’m guessing that’s true for most of you too. The intention is to work towards an enlightened life and accept that between work, raising children, running chores etc, that unlike Buddha and Jesus who committed their entire lives to an enlightened experience, it may be that you can only afford 10 to 20 minutes a day to nurture your mind and your body and your soul. But even this small commitment can be difficult.
So how do we break out of our habitual ways of being?
Most of us connect to one aspect of ourselves more than others. If there is no integration of mind, body and soul we habitually approach life primarily through only one or two of these aspects of ourselves. Without conscious awareness we are “addicted” to the particular mode of being we are most comfortable with. And as with any “addiction”, we need to travel the road of truthful inquiry in order to change.
But what does it mean to “addict” to something?
Habits that are out of balance are our addictions. The function of any addiction is to habitually practice ways of being that numb us from feeling or being aware of a painful part of ourselves. When numbed from this part of ourselves, we cannot be aware of honest feedback that would keep us grounded and integrated. In my own example, I kept a strong connection with my mind and body. I even justified it and in so doing distanced myself further and further from my soul.
Why do we all do this and then practice self-destructive behaviors that numb out a healthy self-concept of Self?
Knowingly or not, we are trying to avoid some painful truth in ourselves by either creating a mask to hide what we want to avoid or by trying to control the behavior of others. In my own case I wanted to hide the painful truth of trying to commit suicide at 16. So after failing to kill myself, I successfully killed off my soul instead and tried to hide this part of myself by adopting a mask. I didn’t want people to know me as ‘the girl who tried to commit suicide’ as this would then mean I would have to fully face the pain of that time of my life. We all disconnect from a part of ourselves due to trauma (either large or small) so as to avoid the uncomfortable feelings inside ourselves such as hopelessness, anger, fear or sadness. The truth is, the choice of a spiritual journey is available to all of us and in this we get to seek out this disconnected part, take it back and be whole again.
What you have been doing in Step 1 and 2 of the Dare to Ask Journey, is getting to know your individual story by accessing your beliefs, thoughts, feelings and felt senses so that you can start getting truthful feedback from yourself. This is a part of taking 100% responsibility for yourself as you explore and examine yourself separate from what anyone else might think, so you can access the courage to see what parts of yourself are underdeveloped or out of balance.
As you continue to master the art of self-correcting in these final two exercises of Step 2, you will start to move towards generating experiences that serve you, others and the greater world in each moment – moment by moment by moment.
In exercise 11 below you will focus on bringing awareness to your current habitual ways of being; and in exercise 12 in my next blog, I will share more about the truth of taking 100% responsible for your experiences. As you start to introduce self-nourishing practices you will shift into ‘doing’ to help you master the art of nurturing your mind and its thoughts, your body and its behaviors and your soul and its essence.
Exercise 11 – Accepting that which is TRUE for you
When we find our way back to how or where we first deviated from the truth, we can rediscover it and take back our truth.
Note: While undertaking this exercise bring awareness to which of your habits are in balance and which are out of balance. Habits that are out of balance are your addictions.
Intended outcome of this exercise:
- To bring awareness to your preferred connection with Self.
- To bring awareness to any habits and or addictive behaviors you might have in order to avoid dealing with parts yourself.
Over the next 2 weeks undertake the exercises below. Download your journal pages for exercise 11 here.
Awareness of your connections with Self
- Identify the part of yourself, be that body, mind or soul that you connect with most.
- Identify the part of yourself, be that body, mind or soul that you least connect with.
- Identify the remaining part of yourself, be that body, mind or soul that resides in between these two.
Awareness of your habits and or addictions
- Journal about the part of yourself that you mostly connect with and how you nurture or pay attention to it. For example, I connected mostly with my mind as I believed intelligence was the key to happiness and nurtured it via reading while neglecting my body and soul.
- Journal about the part of yourself that you least connect with and how you habitually avoid it. Notice what part of yourself you connect with in order to avoid this part of yourself. Can you possibly find a story that brings an understanding as to why this is so? For example, I connected least of all with my soul and would avoid any quiet contemplation through meditation or prayer, by reading or addictively watching television and then justifying my decision by telling myself that reading was a good way to educate myself and television was a good way to relax.
- Journal about the remaining part of yourself that resides in between these two and write in your journal about any thoughts that come up for you. How does this part of yourself cope in your life? Can you possibly find a story that brings an understanding as to why this is so? For example, for me, this was my body and is very aligned with my family narrative. While I always engaged in physical exercises over the years, I noticed that this was the part of me where the pendulum swung as I either became aware and habitual about nurturing it, or disconnected and without consciousness addicted to abusing it. Hence when I am out of balance, it is my body that gives in first.
Deepening your awareness practices:
- Continue with 10 to 20 minutes of silent meditation practice over the next 2 weeks, merely focusing on your breathing and inviting any thoughts that arrive during your silence, to leave.
Once again celebrate how much you have moved forward and continue to bring a curious mind to each day. In the interim enjoy play a little more until we meet again in a few weeks for exercise 12, which will deal with the Truth of your ways of being and where you will introduce practices to help you nurture your body, mind and soul.
If you have questions about exploring your individual truth, either submit your question in the comments section below or in a private note here (link). Likewise, I’d love it if you shared which part of yourself you favor most and why. You can share through the same links above.
I love you all for your courage.
As always, warm love and regards