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Oh, blocks, how we know ye well. You’re so good at surfacing when we want to move forward. But there it is. Perhaps it’s a creative block, and you can’t finish creating that poem / painting / song / macrame that’s awaiting. Or, it’s an emotional block, such as fear, frustration, anger, pessimism, or other negative feelings. Yes, those are blocks – they inhibit us from moving forward, and make us stop dead in our tracks.
So let’s look at some way to work with them. Here’s the first.
Look at your blocks. But rather than being upset, frustrated or, well, blocked, there’s another choice: honor them. Stop wishing they would go away. Perhaps they’re actually a gift in disguise. Like with anything negative, it’s possible to turn to it and say, “Like all things in my life, this is a lesson that seeks to bring me health and healing.” Ask what it’s wanting you to heal and shift within yourself, or possibly externally.
We often have a myriad of opinions and thoughts. I can’t deny that I sometimes favor complexity rather than reducing something down so that it loses all the nuances.
And yet, often the most power comes in simplicity. In truly listening to the heart of the matter, and conveying is as succinctly as possible.
That’s why these posts are relatively short – to give you enough to really sit with and meditate on. However, if you ever wonder, “Jonathan, what about X? Could you talk more about Y?” then please ask! Your comments, inquiries and feedback are always appreciated.
Action: Before expressing all aspects of a situation, really breathe into it, and feel what’s most true for you. And express it as such or act on it directly.
Another inspiring tip on mood improvement: connect with yourself in a new way.
- Close your eyes, and take some deep breaths.
- Imagine that your grumpiness is actually just one part of you. If you like, try to picture what part of you it is – for example, your inner child… your inner jokester… your professional self.
- Ask it why it’s unhappy, and what it needs. If this is difficult, just make it up – use your imagination until you come up with an answer that somehow feels satisfying or brings out a feeling of relief.
- Visualize giving it what it needs. Or, a big hug. Or, picture The Wise You, At Your Very Best, giving love to El Grumpie.
- Return to your day. Anytime you like, close your eyes, or simply shift your focus away from other activities, and reinforce this self-love.
Today’s daily inspiration, admitting and declaring the truth, is unto itself quite simple – but it easily gets complicated and burdened with “add-ons” (which we’ll discuss).
Let’s begin, though with a question: do you fully, completely, speak your entire truth?
Most people (except for, say, New Yorkers) tell, well, little white lies. Sometimes we just omit a few things, like leaving out that pesky detail that might hurt someone’s feelings, or make us look bad. Perhaps we avoid confrontation altogether, so that we don’t need to say what’s really on our mind. Or we’re afraid of being judged or rejected ourselves.
When we’re not honest and direct, we divert energy away. Which means that we’re choosing to not let transformation happen. Change happens when we put the truth out there fully and completely. When we hedge around and don’t say what we really think or feel, whatever we don’t want will remain.
Part 2: What happens when we don’t tell ourselves the truth?
Everyone wants the answers. And we want them now. (Or, preferably, last year.) We must know! We all want to be skinnier, healthier, happier, more in love, and what investments to make in order to retire tomorrow (well, the way things are going now, in order to retire at all).
Yet, despite this demand for definitive knowledge, it tends to largely elude us, year after year. (Except for those who invent answers, and then retire off the money people give them for what turns out to be half-baked results.)
So… what would it be like to embrace, well… not knowing? Could that get us somewhere?
Stay tuned for part 2, with… the answer?
Thursday night, I found myself wide awake in the middle of the night, with no explanation. Only in the morning did I discover that those hours corresponded with Mubarak’s long-awaited resignation announcement. Now that was inspiration – so much inspiration, in fact, that the energy stopped me from sleeping!
Seriously, though, this has interesting parallels. Jews historically refer to ancient Egypt as mitzrayim, or “the narrow place.” When we hold the Passover seder each spring, and reenact departing Egypt, we can also choose to depart that narrow, constricted place within each of us.
And now, Egypt itself has exited the vice-grip of a dictator. Which is something that we all should celebrate.
Why, aside from the obvious? Well whether you believe in a greater spirituality or in quantum physics, both declare that we are all connected. Let us take a moment to celebrate greater freedom in the world, and in ourselves.
If you close your eyes, breathe, and listen, you can feel it.
Let’s look a little more at that inner critic. It might be viewed as the internalized Voice of Society. Or perhaps the Stater of Idealized Norms (how we Think everyone is supposed to be like). Or the If-I-Was-A-Good/Healthy/Functioning-Person-I’d-Be-That-Way Declarer. Or the Comparer (“That person is obviously doing much better than you are. Why don’t you do that?”). Or the Arbiter of What is Good and Proper (“and you obviously are not it”).
We hold everything a little too tightly, don’t we? Here’s a way to give yourself more space and permission to be, well, human.
Action: Next time you find that you’re judging yourself…
- Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and physically relax your body, especially your shoulders, chest and solar plexus (which is where we often store these feelings).
- Imagine that your body expands a few feet out, giving more room for these feelings.
- Let it keep expanding as much as necessary – to the size of the room… the building… the city… and so on, until you really have enough space and permission for all that you are. (Note: if it ever feels too big or spacey, just adjust it to be somewhat smaller again.)
Yes. You can give yourself that much Space and Permission to Be – All That You Are.
Sometimes inspiration isn’t about creating an amazing feeling – it’s about letting go of the blocks that stand in our way. One of them… grudges. Anger. Negativity. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with anger – it’s about getting in touch with our own power. But it can get in the way of being happy and in touch with our inner love. Here are some ideas.
- Picture them as a small child, hurt, not knowing what to do.
- Take your image of that person and imagine it’s a million miles away, growing smaller and smaller.
- Spend time loving and appreciating yourself.
- Know that someone’s actions have little to do with you – they’re how we were trained to react.
- Invite them to the world you want to live in. Talk to them. Tell them what you’d like to be there in your relationship.
Sometimes we feel we need to do more to be productive. We have to work really, really hard and “effort” through it. Work! Hyyyyahhh!!
But, in fact, we *think* we need to do more. No, literally – we spend so much time thinking about what we need to do that something quite simple becomes really laborious. Take, for example, cleaning. “Oh, I need to clean the house.” Or, “Oh, I need to clean my filing cabinet.” Or, “Oh, I need to exercise.”
The mental pattern is what exhausts us – usually, an act in and of itself is simple.
- Keep a small pad of paper by you. Every time you think of a “should” item such as the above, write it down. Then, when it resurfaces, put hash or check marks next to it. Become aware of how often you think these thoughts.
- If possible, do them immediately. If not, then let yourself off the hook until you can do them – and then do it ASAP.
“Effort” is not about the work- it’s about our perception of it. Make your life easier.
- Express your creativity – make a drawing, write a story, sing a song.
- Get outside! Run in circles. Play.
- Call someone you miss. See them – or at least have a great talk.
- See a play or a dance concert. Get inspired by others doing their work and support them.
- Spend time looking in the mirror. Look deeply into your own eyes. Appreciate yourself.