Monthly Archives: October 2014

Feeling My Worth

Descartes

It’s probably no surprise that I’m a (recovering) control freak. My go-to impulse is to try and shape the outcome of pretty much, um… everything by inserting and/or imposing my will over the situation. It’s an assertive way of being that has served me well to an extent (especially in the “business” world)—but living this way is, well, pretty dang exhausting.

And I’m over it.

The good news is that something finally seems to be shifting for me around this. And I’m fairly certain it’s largely due to the three month long (kick-ass!) group coaching program I’ve been taking with Chela Davison.

My intention for joining the group was to work on shifting my core belief structure around my self worth. It’s tough to stand in my power when my power chord is rarely plugged in… So, the first practice Chela suggested I do was to visualize myself sometime in the future, allowing myself to open up to receiving and listening to whatever message the older, wiser, “future me” has to say.

And, I totally tried this. I swear. I gave it my all. But, no matter how hard I tried…

I just couldn’t do it.

To begin with, I couldn’t even picture my future self—which was a brow-furrowing surprise to me because I’m constantly using my mind’s eye to visualize all the time. But, not only was I unable to conjure up a picture of my future self—I kept catching my mind trying to make things up for my future self to say because my mind didn’t want to stay open to “blindly” receiving something it didn’t perceive as having created, itself (too scary!). It kinda felt like I was catching myself trying to subconsciously cheat on my homework.

Epic fail.

So, I reported my “results” back to Chela. And she suggested I try a different practice this time.

“The contraction you’re experiencing is mental, and your tendency is to exist solely up in your head… So, try accessing the feeling of receptivity through your body, instead. Make a safe place in your home that has a boundary around it where you feel protected. Then go through each body part, contracting and then relaxing it— paying close attention to the sensation of release. Then throughout your day, also practice receiving through the senses—taking in sounds, scents, tastes and sights—and feeling them coming in to you.”

OK—this is something I can do, I thought to myself…But what exactly does this have to do with helping me shift my core belief structure around my self worth? As if reading my mind (which I’m pretty sure she was!), Chela immediately piped back up.

“-And the reason I’m suggesting this exercise is because you’ll never be able to truly know your value if you’re not in the practice of being receptive and feeling your body. If you’re not open and present to what it feels like to feel and root your value in your body—then your mental idea of what your value is will only ever be a fleeting objectification. We objectify ourselves so much in this culture.”

It took a few days for that gem to sink in. But, holy heck, did it land with me. And deep.

All the body-focussed mindfulness work I’ve been intuitively drawn to doing lately has been leading me toward a more integrated way of being. On a conscious level, I had no idea my difficulties with being receptive and connecting with my body and senses had anything to do with my bouts of low self esteem. But now I can totally see it. And not only can I see it.

I can feel it.

Transformation Lines

IAM

As an artist (and perennial student of life), I’m constantly looking for ways to grow—and I love taking classes and workshops when my time and budget allow. This past spring, I had the pleasure of taking Jack Grapes’ Method Writing class here in Los Angeles. It was the first writing class I’d ever taken that focussed solely on process—not product. And, wow, was it helpful…. I learned so much about how to put pen to paper, “go with the flow,” and just “trust the process.”

Of course, there’s a great metaphor for life in there, too…

One of the exercises Jack had us do involved something he calls “massaging the transformation line.” A “transformation line” is essentially a personal statement that has the word “I” in it, and involves a self-discovery. The object of “massaging” the transformation line is to delve deeper, with each succeeding transformation line deepening the original one—almost as if the writer were a detective working backwards to arrive at the truth.

Here’s a poem I wrote that came out of the transformation line exercise. I don’t know how close I came to arriving at “the Truth”—but it’s certainly an honest attempt to get there…. 😉

“DO YOU?”

I seek.
I want.
I grasp.
I cling.

Searching for solutions.
For revolutions.

A resolution
to my evolution.

But it never ends.

I can’t remain still.

There is no conclusion.
Stillness is an illusion.

I am an illusion.

I have no idea what I am.

But society tells me.
My parents have told me.
Self help books.
The media.
Pornography.
Advertisements.
The Church.

They all tell me.

And part of me believes them.

The wounded,
lonely,
broken,
insecure
part of me
believes them.

Craves them.
Needs them.

…Or, do I?