A retreat, a mantra, and who I know I am

Written by Amie on November 14, 2011 – 1:54 am -

My new mantra: “Be Who You Know You Are”

Before I get to the part about creating my new mantra, I want to share my weekend experience with you. I’ve been digging deep for the past three days, focusing on inner growth. I went on a retreat called, “the art of living”. Writing, creating art, singing, and movement were all included. Even though this is something I chose to do, I arrived with feelings of resistance. This is pretty typical for me though. It is an interesting process. So many times when I know I will be doing deep processing, I feel resistant to it. I know it is fear based. I think it is normal to be afraid of what I might find when I start digging around! In the past, I have often chosen to run from the experience, but for the past few years I have chosen to push myself past my comfort zone. As long as it is *my* choice to push myself, I am able to do it. If someone else tries to push me, that is never a good thing. Growth has to be a personal choice. Each individual knows when and if they feel ready to look within, and if they feel safe enough to share with others. For me, safety is a very important detail. I completely shut down emotionally if I don’t feel safe. It is the way I protect myself from being too vulnerable with someone I don’t trust. We all have things we do to protect ourselves, and this is a very good thing.

I made too many choices based on the conditioned belief that I should please others before considering my own truth

The nice thing about the retreat was that we always had the option of not participating. I suppose I could sit on the sidelines and never participate, but then what would be the point of going? It is so incredible to be in the company of others who are on a similar journey of self discovery. When others share what is true for them, there is always someone who is helped by their sharing. What a gift! I participated in some of the exercises on Friday and Saturday. I also chose not to share during a few of the exercises. It was interesting to notice how empowered I felt by knowing it was *my* choice whether or not to share. That, in itself felt great. I think this is a very important part of the healing process. I have to know *for sure* that it is my right to make choices and decisions for myself. This did not come easy for me in the past. I made too many choices based on the conditioned belief that I should please others before considering my own truth. I can say this is definitely no longer the case! Step by step, I have learned to speak up for myself and to put my foot down when something doesn’t feel right to me. It took me a very long time to trust my inner voice and to follow it. It was scary at first for sure! As I have said so many times before, depression will stay with you as long as you keep choosing to drown out your true voice. It is a process, so be gentle on yourself!

More about the retreat

Singing in a circle of women is so incredibly powerful! It is amazing to me how beautiful all of the voices sound together. Many of the women have been afraid to sing in the past. It was something new to them to hear their singing voice. I was always a bit shy about singing. In the past year, I have been focusing on my throat chakra, which has steadily helped me gain confidence in my singing voice. Feeling the vibration of my own voice is just amazing! Feeling 20 other voices along with mine was just beyond words. It felt wonderful! I really encourage you to use your voice as much as possible! Sing in your car, sing in the shower, sing whenever you can! It really is a healing tool. The more you sing, the easier it becomes to use your voice to speak your truth.

This has always been one of my favorite body movement videos. Always listen to your body, as it will tell you exactly how it wants to move. The key is to notice the judgments going on in your mind if there are any, but don’t believe them.

The people that bug us the most are our biggest teachers

Another part of the retreat was movement. I have talked on here quite a bit about how moving my body helps me release emotional energy. This happened again for me at the retreat. As I said at the beginning of this post, I was feeling resistant at first. I finally broke through it on the morning of the last day. We did a meditation/movement exercise, and the flood gates opened! I cried and moved and then cried some more. It felt so good to release a bunch of stuff I had been holding onto this whole week. Without going into too much detail because other people are involved, I will just say I lost trust in one person this week, and two people did things that triggered one of my biggest wounds. Each situation seemed insignificant at the time. However, after reacting to 3 different scenarios with the same core feeling, I knew it was a healing opportunity for me. One of my core wounds is that of feeling disregarded. In the past, I felt as though my voice, my opinion, and my true self were not heard or considered. Because the Universe is so amazing, it keeps giving me chances to heal this wound. People are in my life to help me heal. I know that sounds weird, but it is true! The people that bug us the most are our biggest teachers! Really, I promise you.

Helpful tools used in my journey through depression

All of the exercises we did at the retreat are tools I have used on my journey through depression. The retreat gave me the opportunity to go deeper in my healing. I am grateful for this. Now I will finally get to the  part about my mantra. I want to share this experience because I want to encourage you to make one for yourself. I have had many different mantras in the past few years. They are so comforting, empowering, and nurturing. It always amazes me to hear what others come up with for their mantras.  The process requires you to really listen to your inner knowing. When you ask yourself what your mantra should be, your body will respond. You may have to listen closely, and you may have to change it around a few times before you feel it is the right one. I had to play around with mine for awhile before I knew it was right. Also, we were asked to put a rhythm to the words. Some people even put body movements with theirs. I knew in my body when I found the exact words needed for my mantra. After the events from this week, I knew my mantra had something to do with being who I am and not being afraid to be that 100%. So, my new mantra is, “Be Who You Know You Are”.

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Remove your armor

Written by Amie on September 23, 2009 – 1:07 am -

Insightful read

I just finished reading the book called “Expecting Adam”, by Martha Beck, and I want to share a part of it with you that I loved. I actually loved the whole book, it was so touching, so insightful, I was sad when I finished it. She wrote this book when she was expecting her son, who has Down Syndrome. It was about so much more than just her pregnancy. I highly recommend the book! Anyway, here is a quote that I absolutely love, and I find so inspiring.

Go On Naked!
“The way back to my real environment, the place where my soul was meant to exist, doesn’t lie through any set of codes I will ever find outside of myself. I have to look inward. I have to jettison every sorrow, every terror, every misconception, every lie that stands between my conscious mind and what I know in my heart to be true. Instead of clutching around me all of the trappings of a “good” person, a “successful” person, or even a “righteous” person, I have to be exactly what I am, and take the horrible chance that I may be rejected for it. I can’t get home by cloaking myself in the armor of any system; social, political, or religious. I have to strip off all that comforting armor and go on naked”.

italian_knight_armor

The armor starts early

I keep thinking about how most of us have been taught to believe so many things that are just not true. Most of these beliefs are taught to children the minute that a child starts doing something that adults deem “wrong”. The word “no” starts very young. The child gets frustrated because she is following her heart, but she is getting a message that she needs to please the adult. I wonder when this rule started? If I examine some of the “rules” that many families have, I can see that most of them are in place to make life easier for the adults. It really has nothing to do with whether or not the child is actually doing anything truly “wrong”. I’m not talking about obvious dangers here. Most of the conditioning that children receive (the armor they start growing) is due to the fact that they live in a world where adults are in power. Adults get to decide what is best for the child, even if the child is clearly saying that it is not what their inner voice is telling them is right for them.

Shut down the inner voice

The child then grows up questioning whether or not what they feel inside is really right, or if what they are feeling is bad. This leads to the child internalizing the message that something is very wrong with them, because they don’t feel the same way that the parent feels. If the parent tells them a certain thing, it must be right. So, the child learns to put on more armor, learning to cover up their true needs. I know that this is not intentional on the part of the adult, it is simply repeating what they learned.

Strip off the armor to let your true self out!

The good news is that we all have the opportunity to get back to our  “real environment”. The real self that has been hidden behind the armor. The armor that we use to protect our tender feelings. The armor that we were forced to grow so that we could shield ourselves from our own truth. Our own truth felt bad to us because we thought that in order to be “good”, or “successful”, or “nice”, we must conform to what the adults around us told us was right. Well, I am here to tell you that it is time to strip off the armor. You don’t need it anymore! Your true self is the “right” way! Really, it is. Your true self is the reason you are here in the first place. You only needed the armor because you were a child and you didn’t know there was a choice. There is a choice, and you can choose to reveal what is under the armor.

Who you are is you

I want everyone everywhere to know that their true self is perfect. It is “right”. Your true self is what will make you feel alive. When you strip off the armor, sure, there might be some bruises, but bruises heal. You were born perfect, you really were. There is nothing wrong with you, there never was. The misunderstanding came in the form of others telling you stories about yourself that were false. The verbal or non verbal stories were all made up. They were made up so that you would be “socialized”, and made into a good little citizen. You internalized the stories and came to believe them as completely true. They aren’t true, and you are free to believe what you want about yourself. Yes, it is a choice, and the choice is yours! It is okay to love yourself for exactly who you are, this is the way it was meant to be.

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