WHAT MAKES A GOOD BEGINNING?
I’ve been feeling stagnant, for what feels like foooorrreeeevvveeer, and wanting a huge change and suddenly all the pieces started coming together. I got really clear on all the parts and I started doing things and then… I just stopped wanting to do anything at all… like complete desperate aversion from everything I wanted to do… and totally just wanted to watch movies and disappear from life… and I’ve been feeling really wrecked about it, especially when all this snow came down and then some underlying sickness that was only manifesting as fatigue hit me….. like… ALL HOPE IS LOST… and then I read about the element of wood and springtime, and it gave me so much HOPE… that gateway of hope. Like.. oh, this is actually how beginnings go! 

SPRING:
“Spring is a time of amazingly rapid growth continuously beset by unexpected setbacks. It is a time of renewal and resurrection; of vigorous outward and forward movement; and of new plans being put into action—or meeting with opposition. It is the time of release from Winter’s constraints into new-found freedom; it is impetus for the abolition of all stagnation in our lives.

The gift of Wood is the ability to make a comeback from anything. It is the Springtime’s astounding capacity to move forward with new growth towards the returning light. Wood is our aliveness, our capacity for hope, our creativity and adaptability especially in response to challenge. Activism, heroism and constructiveness are the hallmarks of a healthy Wood element.” – Thea Elijah

MOVEMENT AND CESSATION:
The power of springtime and the wood element is movement and cessation.  We always talk about the power of movement, but the power of cessation is important too. Imagine a catapult or pulling the string back on a bow. We draw back, but it’s not a tranquil draw-back, it’s zippy and boingy.  Wait for it…. wait for it…… wait for the exact moment of release. We pull back towards the suspense and away from explosion. We gather energy, direction, focus, and attention.   

GATHERING FORCE: 
This allows for the possibility of a gathering of force. 

GOOD PACING AND BAD PACING:
In the beginning we are soooo ready to get on with it! There is this issue of pacing and patience… A good beginning has really good pacing…BUT to be able to do good pacing  we have to get really clear about REALLY. BAD. PACING….
So much of the beginning is about getting clear about pacing.

OPENING TO THE DREAM:

WHERE DO WE BEGIN?
What would it feel like to be free? In your body, to be free? You might move around a little and be reminded of..oh yeah, that place.. imagine moving totally un-inhibited. Go there. Feel it right now.  Can I open the gates of freedom? What would I be like at full gallop? Full wingspan? Can I open my chest and let the birds fly?  Can I find the longing for that kind of freedom? Do I know freedom? Do I remember?  Have I ever experienced freedom?

What would it feel like if I were emotionally free? If it were okay for me to feel whatever I feel, and to feel it as much as I felt it, and for as long as I felt it? “Hey, that’s the way I feel!” What would it feel like in your blood, what would it feel like in your circulatory system? I’m not keeping it pent up. I’m not saying it’s wrong to feel it; I’m not saying get over it. Let there be an internal experience of allowing movement. It’s inside of me, a place that requires no defiance of any outside authority. We’ll talk about the outside later, but inside of my body: there’s no defiance of outside authority for me to feel what I feel, and to be the way I am……And how about mental freedom? How about seeing it the way I see it. This is the way it looks like from my point of view, Mom! Dad! Teacher! Cop! What if, inside, I were free to think whatever I think, and nobody was going to call me dumb and nobody was going to say “That’s wrong.” Even if it turns out to be wrong, just for now, I am going to think about it this way. I’m going to imagine what I imagine and nobody is inside of me to say “not possible, can’t be done.” It’s my dream. Maybe it’s a daydream, maybe it’s a vision. What would it be like if I were free? What would I be like? Maybe I’d be substantially the same; maybe not. Maybe I don’t even know what I would be like if I were free, if I didn’t have to confine. I’m not saying it’s OK to do anything; I’m saying how much have I lost, if I’ve lost the option to consider freely?” – Thea Elijah

OPENING TO THE DREAM:
Can I open up to a future in which I am healed? Can I re-open to healing as a possibility? Am I willing to pop open the places which I packed shut, which I decided… oh hey, I just won’t LIVE there anymore. Can I imagine living with freedom in all the places that I am currently stuck?  I have really dug myself in here, can I imagine digging myself out? Who will I be on the other side of this epically long (maybe short!), treacherous (maybe adventurous!), and enduring (maybe thrilling!) DIGGING?  

FLYING INTO THE FUTURE AND LEAVING A TRAIL OF BREAD CRUMBS::
Can I let my imagination fly into the future and bring back a gift of a vision? Like an arrow with a rope attached to it or a trail of bread crumbs.  Can I imagine what it’s going to be like so much so that I actually feel it in my body right now, like, let your blood start to tingle and vibrate with it, feel the beginning of the transformation taking seed deep inside right now. Let it pour in. Can you let yourself be like this? Can you allow it to happen?

LAYING THE PATH:
I’ve got the vision now.. I can see it..  So how do I get there from here? 

FIRST – CESSATION:
Let’s pull back for minute, draw the bow string, ready the catapult and before firing get really clear.  Because there is this whole issue of good pacing and bad pacing. For me, the bad pacing comes from giving my attention to things that aren’t aligned with my dreams, goals, and commitments. This drains my energy and leaves me feeling wiped out.  

CLARIFYING:
We have to find out what’s draining our energy by asking: “What am I committed to that fuels my dreams?” 
“Our actions show us what we’re committed to and sometimes that can be frightening!  …because maybe what we give our attention to what isn’t aligned with our higher dreams and goals.  I have found that when I clarify my commitments, I stay focused rather than pulled down and distracted in old patterns.” – Elana Meta 

FUCK! OLD PATTERNS! OH NO!
HOLD IT RIGHT HERE!!! BEFORE YOU GO JUDGING YOURSELF FOR “GETTING PULLED AND DISTRACTED IN OLD PATTERNS!”

EVALUATING OURSELVES WHEN WE’VE BEEN LESS THAN PERFECT:
Think of a recent situation where you did something you wish you hadn’t, or are currently doing something you wish you weren’t.  Notice how you are speaking to yourself about having made, what we call a “mistake.”  (What’s wrong with you?! You’re always messing up!” “That’s so selfish!”)

We have been taught to judge ourselves in ways that imply that what we have done was wrong or bad.. our self inflicted labeling assumes that we deserve to suffer for what we have done. We get enmeshed in self-hatred from this dialogue. However! We can benefit from our mistakes, which show us our limitations and guide us towards growth. 

GUIDED BY SELF HATRED:
“If the way we evaluate ourselves leads us to feel shame, and we consequently change our behavior, we are allowing our growing and learning to be guided by self-hatred.  Shame is a form of self-hatred, and actions taken in reaction to shame are not free and joyful acts…

….In our language there is a word with enormous power to create shame and guilt. This violent word, which we commonly use to evaluate ourselves, is so deeply ingrained in our consciousness that many of us would have trouble imagining how to live without it. It is the word should as in “I should have known better” or “I shouldn’t have done that.”  Most of the time when we use this word with ourselves we resist learning because should implies there is no choice. Human beings, when hearing any kind of demand, tend to resist because it threatens our autonomy, our strong need for choice.  We have this reaction to tyranny even when its internal tyranny in the form of a should…..” Marshall Rosenberg

THE TRANSFORMATION:

TRANSLATING SELF-JUDGEMENTS AND INNER DEMANDS INTO UNMET NEEDS
“Whenever we imply that someone is wrong or bad, what we are really saying is that he or she is not acting in harmony with our needs.  If the person we are judging happens to be ourselves, what we are saying is, “I, myself, am not behaving in harmony with my own needs.” I am convinced that if we learn to evaluate ourselves in terms of what and how well our  needs are being fulfilled, we are much more likely to learn from the evaluation.  Our challenge then, when we are doing something that is not enriching life, is to evaluate ourselves moment by moment in a way that inspires change both (1) in the direction of where we would like to go, and (2) out of respect and compassion fro ourselves, rather than out of self-hatred, guilt or shame. ” – Marshall Rosenberg

THE “TO-DO” LIST:
What if everything on our lifelong to-do list and daily to-do list was for our heart? Think about the trees, they only grow towards the light. They put ZERO energy into anything but their growth, even in fall, as they drop their leaves, the leaves become fertilizer for the soil in which they grow in and their future generations will grow in.   What are the important values behind the choices you make? “I choose to_______ because I want _______” If we gain clarity about the need that is being served by our actions, we can experience all actions as play, even when they involve hard work, challenge, or frustration. 

A DRAINING “TO-DO” LIST:

  1. FOR MONEY
  2. FOR APPROVAL
  3. TO ESCAPE PUNISHMENT
  4. TO AVOID SHAME
  5. TO AVOID GUILT
  6. TO SATISFY A SENSE OF DUTY

FREEDOM AND IMMORTALITY:

FREEDOM AND IMMORTALITY:
The other day, I was giving a shiatsu treatment with my teacher, Nini, and after the treatment, she confided that as she watched me work it almost brought her to tears. She felt like she had, in essence, fulfilled her calling when she watched me fully take on what she had passed to me. That in a way, she can die, but she was a conduit for this thing to continue on without her. It was almost like immortality for her. It gave me a sense of purpose that came from a different place.. one beyond ego…beyond this small and often frustrating human existence. Like, what is most important to me? AND what about the very fabric of my existence can carry this “something” really well and share it, pass it on, without making it worse, maybe even making it better, what can I be a conduit for that serves me but also serves the generations to come?  That feels like freedom… to work in service to something that is aligned with my heart and will create more freedom even when I am gone. NOW FOR THAT, I CAN YELL, ALL IN!!!!!

IDENTITY BEYOND FORM:
How can we grow so that our actions are in alignment with our hearts, not just for body image or public image…and when it comes time for our autumn, our season’s end, the leaves that we shed fertilize the soil for those yet to come?

My body is my temple, my asana are my prayers.” – BKS Iyengar

SO WHERE’S YOUR FOCUS?
Spring is for regaining our freedom. Spring is the return of freedom. You get out, you stretch! The Nei Jing say: One strides boldly across the court yard with one’s hair loose and flowing. This is what one does in the spring time. One finds out: who would I be if I were free? Who would I be without inhibition?” – Thea Elijah

LETS BEGIN LIKE THAT!!!

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