First, a little confession: There are times when writing this column flows like melting ice cream on a hot summer day, yuuumm! And there are times when writing this column is like hiking through thick mud, yuck! Actually, I just did some hiking through thick mud a couple weeks ago.
I find that I often experience pressure to be profound or insightful when writing this column-that's what creates the mud experience. So, I'm going to try an experiment in writing. I'm giving myself permission to write a mediocre column here, lets see if writing it from this place helps me flow like the melting ice cream and that it's yummy to read!
So...mediocre, here we go...I want to talk about how our body talks to us and how we can care for our body, particularly our emotional body, in a heartfelt and skillful way. I call it the ABC's of healing the emotional body.
First, our physical and emotional body speaks to us through feelings of comfort, pleasure, satisfaction and joy. It also speaks to us through feelings of discomfort, pain, agitation, depression, fear and a host of other unpleasant feelings and emotions.
We need help in managing or caring for those feelings that are tough to weather. Here's the "A" of the ABC's of self-care: "A" stands for awareness or acknowledgement of your body experience. If we were to simply track the pleasure-pain continuum of our physical sensations and feelings within our physical and emotional bodies, then we would be doing this huge first step towards caring for our body-acknowledging our body. Try that...every hour or so (maybe use a timer) check in with your psycho-physical being (aka your body) and ask, "is this body experience now one of pleasure or pain, comfort or discomfort, ease or distress?"
Now for the "B" of the ABC's of self-care: be with or befriend what you just acknowledged in your body. Being with requires a capacity to tolerate our feelings even when they get yucky! To not jump into distractions or even self-improvement activities. No yoga, no exercise, no meditation etc. As good as these self-improvement and self-care exercises are, sometimes they are detours away from a feeling that needs to be befriended!!
Now for the icing on the cake: "C" is not for cake but for compassion. The art of supplying compassion directly into a distressing psycho-physical experience is not easy. It means juggling two realities. The reality of the discomfort in your body that is immediate and then simultaneouslycultivating, sensing, or envisioning an atmosphere of love and compassion that surrounds your body.
Imagine you are bathing in an ocean of love and the pores of your skin open up and breathe in that compassion directly into the emotional pain within! Then feel what the uniting of pain and love ACTUALLY feels like. That momentary enlightenment where fear absorbs love, or sadness breathes in compassion, or agitation is receiving kindness.
Try the ABC's this week! See what happens.
OK, I like this experiment of writing a mediocre column. It took me 40 minutes compared to sometimes 4-5 hours! And I enjoyed writing it! I hope you enjoyed reading it!