POWER AND CONFIDENCE:
If power is not a measure of effort, but rather a measure of lack of effort… (like a really good lever)  How easy can this be? AND what makes something easy?

EFFORTLESS EFFORT:
Though many paths are difficult, the ones that are right for us have a coherency of flow that makes the difficulty easier to bear….there is a sense that working with the individual difficulties isn’t about “individual” moments, but that the work we do within them has a great effect on the rest of life… as if the universe just tossed us another opportunity to grow and change in a way that has been steadily holding us back. This understanding is what fuels will.

WILL AND BADASSERY:
This understanding gives us a reason to rise, it calls to that inner badass, the one that gets up again…. the one that is pretty much unaffected by procrastination, a soft bed, snacks, — unending avoidance… but instead, shows up with a willingness to be there even though it is hard, but something inside knows that continuing to avoid this lesson is harder.  

GETTING FED:
What is nourishment but power? There is the power that comes from giving ourselves nourishment, like enough sleep, enough food, enough exercise, enough touch, enough filling up on needs, enough time crying, enough time processing, enough time fighting, getting enough positive feedback and affirmation… enough breath to speak a full sentence, enough.  What stops us from this but shame?

SHAME:
“When our self esteem is high, we are confident, assertive, proactive, disciplined, and basically excited about life. When self esteem is low, we are filled with doubts and self recrimination that acts like check damns for the psychic momentum needed to get something done. If there are too many check damns, we lose our momentum entirely and end up in a puddle of inertia.” – Judith Anodea

FEEDING OURSELVES ENOUGH:
Shame is interesting… it shows up for all of us in different ways. I had years of not feeding myself enough.. I still don’t feed myself enough even though I am feeding myself much more. Last time I weighed myself I was 40lbs heavier than I was 6 years ago. When I told my girlfriend that figure, she looked at me completely shocked and didn’t understand at all how I could have even existed without those 40lbs. We talked then about the courage it takes to let yourself gain weight and engage with all the feelings and paranoias. It takes much more courage to do that than to continue to run on the hamster wheel away from fear and avoidance.  

GIVE YOURSELF MORE POWER:
I told her about my obsession with nuts… how as soon as I have a couple, I have to have a million… she looked at me and said… “Well, that’s probably just a sign that you still aren’t giving yourself enough fat and protein.”  Ohhhh…. so as an X-anorexic, diet-aholic-bulimic-exercise-addict-cleanser-extraordinaire-vegan — I decided to eat Bacon…… 3 pieces of heaven and I was done craving.  I was full and could feel the nourishment. My hunger wasn’t a “problem” I was having and needed to avoid. It was an opportunity to learn and grow and I needed it in order to ever move on. It was a part of the story, a stepping stone, a rung on the ladder, a part of the path.  Now I know another layer of full… and I will know it when I feel it again. 

JUSTIFICATION:
The thought pattern was always that I needed to justify my hunger, if I had been a good girl, exercising, working out, getting things done, I deserved to eat as much as I wanted and whatever I wanted… If I had been slumping around, watching movies, laying in a comfy bed… snacking…I didn’t deserve to eat as much as I wanted to.  Why was I so uncomfortable with keeping my tank full? Did I need to drain it to the bottom before filling it up? I wouldn’t use that thought pattern with my car… I fill it up sometimes proactively — thinking about having fuel for the future… I don’t deprive my car based on it’s poor performance or give my car more fuel based on it’s good performance! haha! 

CONFIDENCE – A MEASURE OF OUR COMFORT WITH POWER:
We know that if we don’t fill a need, the hunger doesn’t go away and it will begin to come out in all different facets of life… so why not fill the hole and find out what “full” is?  Why not go right up to that tank of fuel and power and plug in?!  So then, is confidence and high self esteem actually a measure of our comfort with power?

LEANING IN & HARMONIZING:
Just sitting with my Shiatsu teacher, Nini Melvin, and she poured us a cup of wicked hot peppermint tea. I chuckled at my joy over a cup of such hot tea when it was a hot day… and said, “Why does this feel so good? This is theoretically opposite of what we should be doing??! Wouldn’t ice cubes do it? BUT THIS, THIS IS IT!!” She said, “Yeh… well, the Chinese would say.. drink some hot tea and you will start to sweat a little and cool right off.” I thought… oh what a philosophy for life!!

It reminded me the other day of needing to cry, needing to cry so bad, but trying to be wise and maintain composure… but I couldn’t work out the problem while trying to maintain equanimity… I actually had to go all the way.. I had to cry and scream and get mad and then really cry and do it a couple times… then it started to shift. The tears were the transformation moment.  

PHYSICALLY:
In bodywork I have always been taught to look at the tight places and stretch them out, look at the long places and shorten them up.. but lately I have been looking at the tight places and seeing what happens if we bring them even more into their pattern, what happens when we go deeper in? What happens if we exaggerate the pattern? Instead of fighting… the body lets go! It releases! The way in seems to be about acknowledging the need, seeing it, understanding it, allowing it, giving it what it wants.. for example, a shoulder that is pulling forward and up towards the ear.. we pull it even more forward and even more up towards the ear.. and then suddenly all it wants is to roll back and drop down. haha! Once it has what it wants, then there is this willingness to do the work of setting it up so that it doesn’t have to go into that pattern anymore to get what it needs.

So lately.. with my internally rotated legs and knock knees and arches that want to drop… instead of strengthening my glutes and external rotators and working on lifting the arches I have been letting my legs really turn in, letting my knees brush together and pressing down on the inner foot… I almost can’t do it, it brings up so much shame about my body image and the way I am holding myself.  I feel like an adult in a baby position… I feel unbelievably vulnerable… like I am a disgusting example of a human being. There is a certain courage in letting go of our attachments and identifications with pain enough to actually allow them to be present, to come and go.. rather than developing elaborate strategies of avoidance. 

POISON IVY’S STRENGTH IN IT’S VULNERABILITY:
Today I was running through some fields on the way over to Puffer’s Pond and suddenly their was poison ivy everywhere. I changed my stride to a slow tip toe and thought about how poison ivy is on the edge of a forest… often it is one of the first things to arrive when the ground has been messed up and it acts like a barrier to humans coming in… it acts like a protector for the forest until the forest is healed up. It’s strength comes entirely from vulnerability though… it is so sensitive that it bleeds at the slightest touch.

There is something about allowing my legs to do their pattern that I finally feel the ground under my feet supporting me to rise up… when I fight the pattern it is entirely my own energy working to maintain the position, without the help of the earth. When I let my legs drop down the earth is there for me to push off of.  It reminds me of that saying… what happens when we hit rock bottom? Well, there is ground under our feet to stand up again. 

NOURISHMENT FROM CREATIVITY:
“I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.”
– Freidrich Neitzche.

AND then there is the nourishment that comes from creating something that suits us better. There is a deep trust that life is timed right, has given us the right ingredients to work with, the right body, the right partnerships, the right friends, the right house, the right amount of money, the right surgery, the right family, the right dead ends, the right falling outs, the right injuries, the right parents, everything… as Nini says, “Let’s just assume it’s supposed to be like this.” The o’l “Thy will be done” verses “My will be done.” The acceptance of what is, is the beginning of creativity. CREATIVITY IS EMPOWERING.

CONSULTING WITH THE ONENESS:
“What is my service to the world and how can I best do this? Power within is an openness to the flow of power around us, and our wills wrap themselves around our purpose gracefully when these powers are alive” -Anodea Judith

As a small part of the whole, can our actions consider the whole, what will be good for both us and the whole? I think that when we are disconnected from the whole we feel that we need to get power through others. This feels like the difference between entitlement (which ultimately comes from a feeling of not deserving) and making choices that are good for both ourselves and the whole.

THE END OF THE FIGHT:
This also feels like the end of the fight.. where things begin to flow. The challenges and difficulties begin to line up with the areas that we need to grow and a willingness to make changes with the changes of life appears. The inner conflict around whether we deserve is gone because we are in alignment with something greater. Self esteem doesn’t even seem like it’s a topic anymore because there is nothing to justify. It’s bigger than our small personal story. It’s a universal experience… not an individual problem.  Lets all make our way back to the source and in so doing, honor ourselves and where we come from. 

LOVE DOGS
BY RUMI

One night a man was crying,
Allah! Allah!
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
“So! I have heard you
calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”

The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.

He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.
“Why did you stop praising?”
“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing
you express is the return message.”

The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.

Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.

Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.

There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.

Give your life
to be one of them.”

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