Artwork by Sajjad Saju
Hello Fellow Body-Mind-Hearts –
One of the primary ways we learn to be with the challenging emotions and sensations is to learn how to witness them and not be so taken over by them. Cultivating our witness or what I like to call my Wise Woman or what some different traditions call Atman, Bodhi, Divine Presence, Higher Consciousness, is an important practice. And a potent one if we would rather not be overwhelmed and run by our nervous system responses. But it can also lead to a certain distancing and detachment that can move us to break away from ourselves with judgement.
I learned a new word recently that helps with this challenge. How about instead of witnessing the pain, the challenge or even the joy we with-ness it. We are with ourselves with compassion and kindness the way we might join a loved one on the bench and simply sit with them when they are hurting. How can we withness ourselves into a more spacious place where there is more possibly for choice and love?
Withnessing (I love that spellchecker has now learned this word from me:) is a simple shift of profound awareness of bringing self-love in the from of presence and non-judgmental awareness to ourselves especially when we are in pain. We can cultivate a friendship with ourselves; the kind that holds the other with respect and presence and allows the feelings to flow and knows that simply ‘being with’ may feel like doing nothing but it can be a powerful action of love.
When you pause and put a hand on your heart and say to yourself, ‘I’m with you sweet one. Let’s sit here with all that is unfolding and challenging inside for a little time. I got ya.’, it’s similar to a friend putting their hand on the back of our heart and saying everything by saying nothing and letting the tears roll. Often this lack of fixing or improving can open the space of all manner of shifting from the inside and space for choice on the outside.
I invite you withness yourself in moments of pain and in moments of joy; becoming a dear and trusted confidant to the different parts of yourself. And from this place of space and presence and compassion perhaps there will be more choices available in the following moments and situations. Try it…let me know what you discover.
I have recently met and I am super inspired by Erin Geesaman-Rabke, who along with her husband, Carl Rabke, offer their wisdom at Embodiment Matters. Erin lives her teachings is such a clear way and her voice is a melodic invitation to inhabit this wild body and all its interconnections. It is Erin who first used the term withness and I love her for it. Check out her offerings, please.
May we endeavor to become our own dearest freind who can hold space for the full spectrum of life
May we withness ourselves into awakeness and love
May we deepen our capacity for the beauty and the terror of life with compassion
May we offer kindness, compassion & beauty everywhere we go & in every interaction
- Take a moment right now to pause and gently put a hand on your heart or your belly or anywhere that’s comfortable for you and check in with what’s happening in your body…your heart…your mind…your soul. As you check in notice if the tendency is to ask with cynicism or judgement and if so, can you soften it a little with a sense of withness…not trying to change anything or fix it but be with it in kindness. What happens?
- When you are feeling upset or deeply saddened or angry can you find a way to pause and be with those feelings and sensations; to withness yourself with presence and see how that offering of withnessing impacts the feelings. Do they change in any way? Lessen, intensify, shift? Do you find some space around them to notice other options of action?
- Schedule some time to sit with yourself and visit…perhaps with a cuppa tea or a snack…can you simply offer yourself some time the same way you might for a friend.
- If you would like to learn more about my offerings please email me or schedule a free 20 minute Exploratory Session.
Upcoming Live Streaming Practice Opportunities:
- Slow Flow Yoga, Mondays, 9:45-11:15am PDT, livestream through Seattle Yoga Arts
- Continuum Inquiry Playshop, Monday, Sep 12, 5:30-7:30pm PDT livestream through Body of Insight
- Autumn Mini Retreat: Tending the Time of Surrender, Saturday, Sep 17, 2-4pm PDT, livestream through Seattle Yoga Arts
- All Levels Yoga, Sunday, Sep 18, 10-11:30am PDT, livestream through Two Dog Yoga
- Save the Date: Monday, Nov 7, 5:30-7:30pm…Tending Our Nervous System; Resourcing Ourselves Amidst Tumult
- On Demand Yoga Practices…All Levels… through Seattle Yoga Arts (practice with me anytime, anywhere!)
Mother of Us All
Mother-of-us-all prays to free us
from our image of perfection
to which so much suffering clings.
When in the shadowy mind
we imagine ourselves imperfectly,
praying to be freed from gravity
by enlightenment, she refines our prayers.
Putting her arms around us
she bids us rest our head on her shoulder
whispering, Don’t you know
with all your fear and anger
all you are fit for is love.
~ Stephen Levine
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