That's happened to me this last few days.
Last Friday I wondered what it would be that I'd regret not doing when I'm nearly 90 and know that even if I can still touch my toes, I'm not going to be around here that much longer. Travel? Nope. My mind finds it stimulating but my body, not so much. It wasn't made to travel the surface of the earth that much. Work? Yeah right. Risk-taking? Noooo. Love? Got as much of that as I need because I am damn lucky. More to help others? L'il bit, yeah actually. But number one, the thought that got the mind-body-spirit trio all excited, was time spent feeling what it is to be alive. That's what I want to make sure I have time for. Reaching the ability to tune in my body so I can feel Life. Running through my meridians, my blood vessels, my nervous system, my soul. I want to know the essence and soak it up.
Over the last few days I've become really quite determined to make this happen. Because I tend to be an anxious, spinny-headed, overly cerebral person I need to work on being at home in my body and making sure it's at peace. This was already a plan for 2013, now it has a reason beyond just, y'know, being a good idea. I know that when I use my 15 minutes mindfully, my body relaxes, my stomach unknots, my jaw releases, my fists unclench, I take deep breaths and forget about my to do list. I am as still as I can be and it is deeply healing. Stress hormones fade, inflammation (boo, hiss) eases and feelgood stuff fills the gap.
I believe that if I can learn to do this in a situation that is supportive of being still and quiet, then I can develop the ability to do it anywhere. I can just flick that switch. So far, the trials are going well. And, because it feels so damn good, I'm positively reinforcing the habit every single time. Didn't even use a clicker (dog joke).
So then, the signs that popped up...
I talked about this with Charlie on the Friday night and last weekend our power went out. We spent Sunday daytime and evening with no heating, lighting, phones or internet. We stayed together in the living room with the wood stove going. Because it's a functional stove not a pretty one, we cooked on and in it. It was fun. We had candles everywhere. We played I-Spy (E won with H for 'Hopeless Mum and Dad, because you two are SO rubbish at this game!'). We laughed and we moved slowly. It was cold and wet outdoors so that wasn't really much of an option. We were comfortable, relaxed, unpressured, not overstimulated and it felt like we were where we belonged. I felt alive and I felt the Life. I got a taste of what I asked for.
Over the last couple of days things have fallen into my path that have all joined up to tell me I'm on the right track. Rather than write it all out I'm just going to list some links. This is my story, my truth and yours may be different but hey...something might make those shoulders drop down an inch or two and that, my friends, is healing.
Back on 3 January I wrote about my new tattoo and how it had re-connected me with my body.
'The few intentions I have for 2013 are about becoming more connected to my body and the body of the earth. For me this tattoo is part of that. It makes me feel more 'here'. The needle has sewn me back into my body and imprinted me with my wolf, crow and tree companions. Ink is a powerful magic.'
So I completely loved this piece on magical tattooing. I'm already planning my next.
'The Mentawai of Siberut Island also wear intricate bead tattoos on the backs of their hands. One man told me that these permanent beads “tied-in” his soul to the body but that they also made him more skillful whenever he needed to use his hands to perform various tasks. It should be noted that the Mentawai people are one the most profusely tattooed people living today. The reason for this, they say, is that their beautifully adorned bodies keep their souls “close” because they are pleased by beautiful things like beads, flowers, sharpened teeth, facial paint, and above all tattoos (titi).'
I am totally okay with identifying my self as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). This is not some affectation, it is a horrible name but it is also A Real Thing. No really. I'm reading this book and almost weeping. I have also been researching, properly, migraine. Because seriously, it rules my life and I just pill pop and trample all over it and that is not clever or peaceful and absolutely not anti-inflammatory. So now I'm a regular visitor to the Migraine Trust. The most recent research (into what is a very personal, variable condition) is that migraine is a result of having a supersensitive brain.
Yeah. Sometimes you just don't see the wood for the trees.
Anyway...I'm enjoying Dr Elaine Aron's work and also that of Dr Ted Zeff. I'm feeling very smug and grown-up about the fact that I have already, without knowing his work, set up all of his Daily Routine coping strategies and many of the others. Again with the feeling of belonging.
Belonging. In a field this morning I knew that was the word. When I reach the state of ease I'm trying to achieve, I feel as if I belong in my body, my head, my heart and my soul. And belonging makes you feel good. You have space inside you to feel Life and after spending time out in the fields and woods, I came back and this was in front of me: Shinrin-Yoku Forest Therapy.
I love the mystic-meets-science stuff, which is actually just me loving the science stuff and supplying the mystic angle myself. And so it was on Sunday evening, when the power returned in time for us to have Brian Cox (yeah I know, me too) bring us Wonders of Life. What's the strap line on the BBC site? Oh yes: Professor Brian Cox discovers how the laws of nature drive the most diverse and complex phenomena in the universe: life.
They made me a show! Bless.
Not a physicist, obviously, but here's his summing up. In my words. So not as good.
Living things take ordered energy from the universe and send it out in a disordered, lesser form. But the ordered/disordered ratio is such that Life continues, despite the constant decay.
And I wondered, is it that ordered energy that I seek? It is. I want to feel it running through me. I want to experience it in the way that only a physical, animal body will allow and so I need to be at home in my body, to belong.
I think that, if we're able to learn/remember how, we can feel that ordered energy and channel it. Sending it back out maybe a little less disordered than we would in a mindless state. And if we pass on that more ordered energy to another being, a place, a situation, an intention...is that what healing is? My break with Reiki was all about my belief that we don't need the song and dance and expensive courses to be healers. I have missed the energy work, it's true, but whenever I look back at Reiki I know I don't belong there. But Life, that fundamental creative energy and the feel of it, is what I long for. So thanks Brian, maybe not what you were hoping for in a takeaway concept, but it's good for me.
He finished up by saying, in so many words, that you don't need 'a mystical spark' (his phrase) to explain Life because the laws of physics and nature explain it and that is equally as awe-inspiring.
What grabbed me (apart from: but where did those laws come from? What creative energy and intention had that 'thought'?) was that everything in his film would still be true if you switched that statement. In fact you can choose between:
A) you don't need a mystical spark to explain Life because the laws of physics and nature explain it and that is equally as awe-inspiringExtra awesomeness points: choosing any one of these to believe makes no difference to anything except your personal experience of Life.
B) You don't need the laws of physics and nature to explain Life because a mystical spark explains it and that is equally awe-inspiring
C) The laws of physics and nature, coupled with a mystical spark, explain Life. That is awe-inspiring.
I choose C, because it's where I belong.