Moving into and beyond discomfort.

I've written about acceptance many times on this blog. It's something I'm constantly ebbing and flowing in and out of. It seems appropriate to want to write about it whenever I notice that eb and flow.

As I witness myself experiencing my life I notice a lot of resistance lately. Whenever I'm resisting, I'm not allowing what IS to exist. Instead I wish for it to be different than it is, and I feel out of control. This out-of-control feeling sends me spiraling into my mind, where I try to figure out how to find something to grasp onto which might help me feel in control again. This leads me to destructive addictions and habits, such as arguing about stupid things just so I can feel right about something, or over eating foods that I know don't love me back because there's a hole in my belly that yearns to be filled.

The belly, or third chakra, is where our power lives—our will. When we're feeling out of control, it's because something is out of balance in our third chakra—our belly. We feel butterflies, or nauseous or like there's a never ending hole that needs someTHING to fill it. If we remain unaware of these feelings, and continue to feed them or deny them the attention they crave, then the cycle of ungrounded lack of control will remain cycling throughout our lives.

A chakra is a non-physical wheel of energy that directs energy into, out of and throughout the body. There are 7 major chakras. The third chakra is located in the belly—there are 2 below it (the root and the sacral) and 4 above it (the heart, throat, third eye and crown). Commonly, if we are noticing chronic reoccurring discomfort in any of these areas, when we readjust the energetic flow more toward balance in that area, then the discomfort will ease.

When we're aware that these uncomfortable feelings are a result of an unbalanced energy center, we can focus our attention there—shine some light where there was once darkness, unconsciousness—and begin to turn the ship around—begin to bring some balance into our lives that helps manifest… in the case of the third chakra: confidence.

One really simple way I go about doing this is by simply placing my hands on my body—as if to tell my body: "It's okay. I recognize that you're suffering. I'm here for you."

Our bodies are like small children. In our minds, we may feel all grown up and adult, but as we've grown our bodies have taken all the things that our minds can't handle at the time and hidden them away to resurface at a later time when our minds are more capable of handling them. The body is wise—it knows when the mind has the capability of being able to handle the feelings and make sense of them from a new, more adult, perspective than it possibly could have when we originally experienced the feeling.

For example—any abuse that a child endures. Each time a child is exposed to a certain type of abuse that child's body learns ways of hiding away the feelings of the abuse so the child can tolerate the moments while being abused. These hiding places keep the feelings hidden until the body can be reassured that it's safe now. It's okay to come out from the hiding place and be acknowledged.

I'm reminded of a beautiful story that I heard from Tara Brach, during one of her podcasts.
A number of years ago I was working with a client, who also had some exposure to meditation, and she shared a story that for her expressed her own experience.  I want to tell you the story:  It starts when she’s 7-years-old hiding in a closet, terrified after another unexpected attack from her drunken, enraged father.  The little girl is praying saying, “Help, I can’t take it anymore.”  And she opens her eyes to see a fairy in a haze of blue with a glittering wand.  She lets the fairy know how her father has been beating her and that her mother doesn’t help, and how she believes they both really wish she was dead.
The fairy listens with tears in her eyes.  She tells the little girl that while she can’t make all this pain disappear, she can help her get through this time.  She can help her forget, then help her remember later when she’s able to handle it.  With a wave of the wand, the good fairy says, “I’m going to send things into different parts of your body and they are going to hold them for you until you feel strong enough to let them move freely again.”  And she explained she would dull her pelvis and her belly to block the sexual energy from moving, and she would constrict her heart and her throat so she wouldn’t feel the raw intensity of her fear and the need to cry out.  The little girl wouldn’t have to feel the broken-heartedness.
“You’ll have trouble feeling and being close to people, but it will be your way of surviving.  At those times that the pain erupts, you will find your own ways to control it.  Ways that may not look good to the world, but will be of temporary comfort.  And you, my darling, will be fairly functional.  You will be a functional human being in spite of all this because you have a strong mind and you can hold all this in.  And I will be helping you.”
The child looked directly into the fairy’s eyes and asked, “How will you help?  Will you come back to see me?” 
The fairy replied, “You will not forget everything.  I will leave a voice inside that will urge you to reconnect with your whole self.  It may be a very long process, but in time, you will feel an urgent calling to step out of imprisoning beliefs, to unwind your body and release what is has been holding all these years.  You will learn the art of sacred presence.  There will be physical and emotional pain as you open, but you will have what you need:  the compassion and wisdom, the support of loving others to be a whole person, spiritually awake, but still the same.  It’s because your soul has always been there, just hidden by scars of this lifetime.”
The story ends as the fairy gently puts her arms around the little girl’s shoulders and leads her to bed.  As the little girl finally relaxed into deep sleep, the fairy gazed tenderly at the small, innocent face and then whispered her goodbye.
“When you wake up, you will forget I was here.  You will forget you asked for help.  You will forget the sharpness of your daily pain.  This is the only way I know to get you through this.  You are a beautiful child, and I love you.  In fact, your parents love you, although they are incapable of showing it to you.  You will have to love yourself enough to heal so that when you are older, your life will be powerful, full, and free.  One day you will know who you really are.  You will trust your goodness and know your belonging.  Until then, and for always, I love you.”

Placing our hand over the part of our body that is feeling uncomfortable is a way of saying to the body that it's safe now. You're present with the feeling, and it's okay for that feeling to be felt now, as there is nothing here that is directly harmful—nothing but a memory. Then, for as long as possible close your eyes and focus on your breath. With each inhale feel how your body expands beneath your hands allowing a little more space for the feeling to grow into.  With each exhale, feel a little more ease as some of the discomfort leaves your body. It's okay now.

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