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I've come from a codependent upbringing. During childhood and teen years, my parents were "abusing" themselves with alcohol and other fixes, and at a very young age, I witnessed this behavior and confused it for love.
Do you ever feel so stuck, you're just praying for the signs to be heard and answered? My prayers were answered, at least for today. Tomorrow is the unknown. Something so simple can spark such great inspiration. And so, in times of chaos and duality, the one thing we can control is ourselves, our focus, and our attitude towards a person, place or thing.
Now that I am an adult, I am experiencing love at first hand and I recognize my tendency to avoid it or "run away" from it, as my little child had done or made the decision to do when she was vulnerable and afraid.
Now that I am an adult, I am my own mother to my inner child. I know that previous illusions of "love" can be dissolved and I don’t need to hide away or run from current relationships (including the relationship with myself) because I know what is safe and supportive for me (and my inner child). I have the opportunity to tell her she is safe and she can be direct about how she feels and when she feels it (and then I give her a long embrace, literally.)
What Our Society Says About Feelings
Our culture splits our feelings into two categories: good and bad. Anger, pain, fear and shame are labeled as bad or negative. Joy, passion and love are considered good or positive. Pia Mellody (Facing Codependence) says that "this sort of black and white categorizing is erroneous and dysfunctional.
We are constantly being labeled and worrying about which emotions are acceptable or not. This puts a lot of pressure on us! For example, if a man is afraid, he's a coward. It's acceptable for a woman to be afraid because she is weak and vulnerable, but if a woman is angry then she is a witch, but a man's anger is him exerting his power…" it’s all a bunch of crap!
Another message society imposes on us is that pain is not acceptable (for men or women). The code I interpret when I hear this is that "I don’t have a right to have pain, or I am not worthy of pain, so I should take what I need to numb it", which leads to higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse/ addictions.
Pia says that, "wisdom and maturity come from facing pain and learning from it... we are a nation of very immature people who don’t have the willingness to experience the pain that leads to authentic wisdom. We haven't learned how to tolerate pain and deal with it as an agent of positive change."
"Emotional damage most profoundly sabotages our lives as adult codependents," says Pia. The moment I decided to understand my emotional numbness (rather than being in denial of it) and slowly open to feel is one great step towards liberation!
A behavior that codependents often have trouble expereincing is setting functional boundries and owning and expressing their own reality. Their needs and wants get mixed up in a storm of what other people need and want (people pleasing) and their personal expression is not being met moderately, nor is it being owned. I've always been very passive aggressive in my words and actions. And up until now, I didn’t realize it was a defect, I took pride in it. (HA!)
I can relate a lot to this… in fact, I am slowly recovering from this dysfunctional, less-than nurturing "parenting" style. As a child, it was all that I knew, the intensity was normal and if I didn’t feel this intensity in myself, in my relationships, sex life, family, food… then I thought something is wrong with me! And worse, I tried to numb myself (and my emotions) for many years in thinking that my behavior was valid and sane when in fact, the more I come to think of it, my life had become unmanageable!
A Willingness to Heal
In Pia Mellody's, Facing Codependence, she explains that feeling healthy emotions is a positive experience. And that as long as each emotion is expressed in a healthy and functional way (not bypassing or numbing), each of our emotions has a specific purpose and can serve as a teacher for us! Below are core emotions and perspective on each:
Joy gives us hope and a sense of abundance or "I have enough."
Passion gives us an energy that motivates us to create and to survive.
Love is a sense of warmth for self or another that motivates us to treat ourselves and others well. It gives us a sense of inherent worth.
Anger gives us the strength we need to do what is necessary to take care of ourselves. We can use anger in a healthy way to our own best interest by facing it and expressing it in non-abusive ways (to ourselves or to other support).
Fear helps us protect ourselves. We become alert to the possibility of danger when we feel fear, that way we can safely protect ourselves. Healthy fear keeps us from getting into relationships that would not be in our own best interest. (A question I asked myself during meditation... "Would... be of my best interest? "Would it be of my best interest to...?" and so on... listening to my body's reaction/ and considering your heart).
Pain motivates us to grow towards increasing maturity. Life is full of pain-producing "problems", that is normal and healthy. Feeling the pain produces growth, ability to heal from past events, and a maturity to learn and move on. Repressing the pain and not facing it (or medicating/ abusing substance in some way) keeps us injured and immature.
Guilt is a healthy warning system telling us we have transgressed a value we considered to be important. Meaning, what you thought was important and was previously damaged/ hurt by it, is serving as a gentle sign for you to recognize your behavior and evolve. By feeling our guilt, we can shift our behavior and decide to live up to our values.
Shame tells us that we are imperfect and that we are not God. Although, according to our culture, we may feel shame but "we're not supposed to talk about it... our lives are filled with experiences of shame." Pia says, "codependency is a shame-based illness and it's hard to recover when the one thing we need to talk about is not supposed to be revealed or discussed." Our own healthy shame serves as a reminder to self that we are perfectly imperfect (as I like to say), and we can learn to be accountable and responsible for our own actions and the world around us.
Walking Through the Door
These times bring up so much uncertainty. In a world with so much chaos echoing all around us, it is most important that we listen to our greatest M.V.P... our heart!! As well as trust ourselves and ask ourselves, "What is most important for me right now?" or "What is good for my soul right now?".
I've been the "love avoidant" all my life, because I witnessed a distorted version of love as a child and decided back then to turn away or "avoid" love. Now that I am an adult, I can walk through the shadows, pain and sorrow (all those "black" emotions") and allow them to come up and out without judgement or shame. This is so liberating! I can now see and feel with a new pair of spectacles (and an ever evolving skin suit)! But of course, I had to experience all that I did to come to this realization, how magical!
These days bring so much distortion and it is hard to tell what is true and what is false. Asking ourselves, "What is true?" or "Is it true for me?" is a good place to start when making decisions about your future!! Let's not forget to always invite JOY and PLAY into our relationships, intents, words, and actions!!
It is okay to ask for clarity and take as much time as we need to process our daily experiences. Imagine you get in a car accident and the little child is in the back seat... post accident, everyone is safe, but the little child is traumatized by such an extreme experience. We have to hold our inner child and tell him/ her that we are okay, we are going to be safe, and allow as much time as you need to walk through the door. I always say "take baby steps" or as my mentor says "micro-commitments". And remember, saying "no" is a sentence. When you say "no" to someone else, you say "yes" to yourself.
“Even when I detach, I care. You can be separate from a thing and still care about it.” ― David Levithan
Featured Photo @rosa.scipion
Other photos taken by me on my most recent adventure to Kauai
Highly recommend books "Love Addiction" and "Facing Codependency" by Pia Mellody
Do you ever wonder why you cannot fully meditate? Put it this way, meditation without the heart is like thinking without the mind. Mediation is feeling, while thinking is using your cognitive brain. Do you get where I am going with this? Rather than using your head in practicing a meditative state, practice scanning your feelings and body awareness, such as breathing. Being a volunteer for the world is the "work" of the soul, and one who takes the courageous leap, walks the path of the warrior. Just as a child graduates from crawling to walking, our human experience is celebrated every time we take a breath.
So what brought you here? Something greater than the very existence of life itself created this moment now; in fact, you created this moment right now for something else to unfold and so on in the spiral of time.
I will be up front with you now. I have been releasing a lot of emotion, some days it comes out of no where, I'll be driving and then "Whoosh", waves of emotion, feelings of loneliness, crash into my core. Other days, I am "triggered" by my mamma; whom is simply extending her unconditional love and service to me at every moment. I used to fail to realize the pure awareness and lucidity within the situation at hand. The biggest revelation I've had (and keep coming back to) is simply that we are all reflections of one another. Why for some people we can feel so fluid and free in expression, while others bring out the angry little child? Perhaps it's the little child whom we have not given the attention to in the first place and we need to comfort them most right now. These moments of "trigger" are created by your higher-self to bring you face to face with the facet that you are invited to uncover and clean the dust away. It's like a spiritual service; when you receive the invitation, you are invited to the "shadow work" at play; and therefore, initiate what you need to do (breathe; cry; scream; share; dance) to surrender to the little gremlin within.
Relationships are a service which allow us to grow and evolve. The "shadow" moments are simply dark spaces being illuminated by the light to help you shift out of an old way of being, or out of your head, and into your heart.
In a world where we all are fueled by heart, there would be no "low frequency emotions" (anger, fear, jealously, resentment) because everyone reflects one another, the great mirror. All people recognize love and compassion in the heart of a stranger and within the heart of a loved one. This is ultimate oneness. This is who we are.
The concept of separation is worth bringing up. Separation is a head thing (yep, same system that we discussed in the first sentence about meditation). Our (ego) mind created separation. It's a game our mind likes to play for the sake of its own entertainment purposes. The "imbalance" of our nature is that we were conditioned to believe the "duality" is our truth. We lived a majority of our lives practicing it in action, and therefore, if we dissolve the illusion of separation, we dissolve our physical existence and we see the world through spiritual eyes, as one whole body pulsating together.
According to Heart Math, "The human body has a magnetic field, with the heart being the strongest source in the body for electromagnetic activity. The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body, about 60 times greater in amplitude than the brain waves."
Leonard Orr says, "When the mind is at peace, the body is enjoying what it's doing." Take a deep breath right now. Your breath is connected to the plants outside, the breath of your partner in the other room, the breaths of all whom once did breathe in this atmosphere. The connection with our breath awakens the connection to our heart. Your heart is your true north, the graduation from mind to heart, creativity thrives here.
Breath is like an alchemy; just like our creativity is to the heart. If you transform one, you transform the other.
In truth, not everyone will be there when you need them. We cannot rely on outside forces to lead us home. The path home is simply the walk, hand in hand, with your breath. That's who will guide you... never underestimate the power of the breath. I encourage you to study each other, practice and experiment. You will gracefully feel the oneness dancing within you, and you will fully experience the unlocking of your heart in full synchronicity, full power, guiding you home.
If "returning home" (returning to your breath vs. your mind) is the ultimate ecstasy; a time for celebration, and the graduation within our soul, then how can we create more heart coherence?
Dan Brule teaches Focus, Consistency, and Commitment, in his best seller "Just Breathe", as the big three to direct your spiritual practice in achieving conscious breath awareness. He says, "Breathwork is like a spiritual discipline." The more we focus and create unlimited compatibility with our heart, the more time dissolves, our intuition increases, psychic senses are activated, and our creativity rises like the reborn phoenix.
No one said it would be easy, though, a meaningful challenge is essential for the celebration of our souls. Breathing is the dance of your soul, so let us support each other in the union of our ever-expanding hearts; create our wildest dreams, and open portals to universes through the transmission of our beating drum within.
As above so below, as within so without.
In Lak'ech Ala K'in
(Pronounced "in-la-kesh-a-la-kin". Mayan for "I am you and you are me.")
Thank you for receiving my humble truth. Visuals are by Rosa Scipion at Villa P.O.E.M., in Bali. Enjoy the rest 🙂
I woke up and honored the sun rising, beginning the day with a few sun salutations and a short morning flow of stretches and qi-gong that my body thanks me for upon rising. I enjoy to make up a flow as I go. It all depends on my body's feeling, so I listen to her (my body/my temple) and act. Every sun rise is different, so why not embrace the uniqueness in my body each day as well.
The enchanting island is alive and enriched with magic. She is growing with wild bush, cherry trees, fig trees, olive trees, wild herbs and wild flowers filling every space of her naked land. Her heart is in the middle which is guarded by the mountains. The story of Samothrace (aka Samothraki) is said that the island used to be virgin, which was held by the priests and priestesses that inherited the land throughout time. It wasn't until the fire was brought from Mount Athos (male/light) to Samothraki (female/dark), that radiated light from her crystal core, illuminating her mysterious presence from miles across the sea. Population of 2,500 humans and 100,000 goats.
She wore her elements beautifully.
The sun is alive and the birds are singing; it is a beautiful day. Today is "spiritual purification" day, meaning on this day, we allow ourselves to break free from the daily habitual norms and envelop ourselves in all the ways to spiritually purify our mind, body, and soul using the 5 elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Ether (Love).
This includes fasting and honoring the day in silence. Sometimes our ego/mind makes up a big story about fasting or not talking for a duration of time, the truth is, once you surrender, there are no barriers. Your mind and body is free to bathe in the abundant life spiraling all around at every moment.
"When I feel in alignment and in flow, it's as if the whole universe is dancing with me. And that dance wasn’t taught or learned, I know the steps because it is imprinted in my cells. My purpose on this earth is to do my dance. My steps are authentic and effortless. There is grace, passion, and laughter integrated in my moves. I can feel the sensations of my body dancing with joy, time doesn’t exist, I am a vortex of abundance and my heart is the music box."
Samothraki (Samothrace), Greece
Photography + Words by Dani
Infinite Love to Global Breathing Awareness―AGAPI ❤