The Wellness Room

Noticing Our Stories: And How to Move Past Them to Become More Present

ACS_0216.jpg

A few weeks ago, in an attempt to ground myself and settle into the present moment, I drew myself a salt bath. I had been busy busy all day and needed a moment to settle in and allow my physical body to release.

Sometimes when I take a bath, I’ll listen to music or set up my laptop and watch a tv show to zone out, but that day, I remained in the quiet and focused on my breathing.

I started watching the water. The way it moved when I moved. The ripple effect of droplets on the surface. The distortion of my hand as it entered the water.

Over and over again, I began dipping my fingers into the water and pulling them back out, amazed at the almost disappearing of my fingers as they fell below the surface. But when I pulled them out, the truth of my hand remained. All of my fingers were there, the same proportion that they always have been, despite what the water told me.

The water was so quick to change the way that I viewed the reality, that is my hand. It told me a story that was different than what was actually happening.

When we are moving through our daily lives, there are so many things that impact every situation, conversation and environment that we walk into. We have this distortion of the water flowing all around us.

Yesterday, I had this awful interaction with my sister. I’m still so upset about it. And now I just had a fight with my best friend about something that wasn’t even a problem.

Have you ever experienced something similar? Yeah, me too. This is the same as when someone gets “hangry” or hungry angry!

If we imagine the water as emotions, trauma and stories that are constantly swirling around us, coming in and out of our daily lives, we might start to notice how this water impacts other parts of our day, conversations and situations.

Oh. I’m not actually upset with my best friend, I’m upset with this past interaction.

This self-observation takes incredible amounts of practice, vulnerability, compassion and non-judgement.

It’s not an easy practice, by far. But it can bring us to a different level of TRUTH. By being present with my emotions and listening to myself deeply to understand what it is that I’m experiencing, I can be more true to myself and to those around me. I can be more present.


Where do we even begin?

  1. Get quiet with yourself.

    Take 1 minute. Take a big inhale and sigh it out through the mouth. Scan down through the body, from the head all the way to the toes. Notice the sensations that are present - physical sensations, emotions and thoughts. Allow everything to be as it is and build a picture of what you are feeling in your body. Know that there is no right or wrong.

    You can practice this before you eat a meal, before you get out of your car to walk into a restaurant or in the morning as you drink your coffee. The more you practice, the more awareness you’ll bring to what you are feeling.

  2. Notice your stories.

    Just like the scenario above about getting upset with my best friend, I noticed the story. We create stories in our heads about what we think is happening, sometimes before it’s even happened. Have you ever planned a conversation hours or even days before it has happened? (me too!)

    Notice when the story is taking place. When you find yourself acting out a scenario or find yourself emotional about something and taking it out on someone else, come to the saying Is this real? Is this true? Notice if the answer is yes or no and then move to the most important and most difficult part:

  3. Find compassion and non-judgement for yourself.

    The most difficult and most transformative piece of this practice. I like to phrase it to myself as this: Even though that didn’t go the way that I would have liked it to, I still deeply love and accept myself. I appreciate this place that I am, in this practice of self-observation with compassion and non-judgement.

    While this is not my full mantra every time something goes not-according-to-plans or I’m telling myself a story that’s not true, it’s important to note one major detail of this affirmation: I still deeply love and accept myself.

    Will I do it better next time? Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, I deeply love and accept myself, no matter what.

    Keep saying it. Even if it doesn’t feel true. Especially if it doesn’t feel true.

    With consistent practice, it becomes engrained in the body and becomes habit more than practice. (More on that in a future post)

Are you practicing this already? Can you relate? Write your questions or comments below!

Sending big love always ~ Mackenzie

 

 

Setting Intentions, Not Resolutions

Welcome 2019!

The new year is here! Everything feels like a fresh start. Maybe you cleaned your house vigorously yesterday (like I did), maybe you promised yourself to let some things go, maybe you set your goals in your pjs by a fire or maybe you celebrated with friends and stayed up all night to greet the new year. Anyway that you welcomed in this new year is awesome.

For me, there's always a huge, deep breath of release and refresh as we round the corner to the next trip around the sun. It serves as a check point to reflect on last year's intentions, think about all of the positives things that happened in the past year and dream about where I'm ready to go next. 

Although many people may be making resolutions for this next year, in the past few years, I’ve shifted my focus to intentions. What’s the difference? Let’s explore.

Resolution is defined as “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” I’ve made many resolutions in the past that sounds like, “I will eat NO bread in 2019!” and then 5 days in, that cinnamon roll looks reeaaallyyyy delicious. This firm “no” creates a perfect opportunity for judgement and very little compassion for my humanness.

Intention is defined as “a thing intended; an aim or plan”. I love the idea of aiming at something, because sometimes, 3, 6 or 9 months in, the target moves. We as humans, are constantly developing and changing (thank goodness) and in my experiences, the target continues to move. My intentions are usually short and sound like, “Dare greatly”, “Leap”, “Trust” or “Sacred”. When I set intentions, they allow me space to move, grow, explore and have compassion for myself if my expectations don’t go as planned (side note: they never do).

As you set your intentions for this next year, consider adding a little compassion and flexibility into your goals.

Instead of a concrete goal like, "I will lose __ pounds", consider shifting to, "I will move more!". Or just pick one word to explore throughout the year, like “core”, “trust”, “explore” or “reach” and think about how these can apply to all of the areas of your life.

Most importantly, even if you have a concrete goal, practice compassion and non-judgement with yourself. Your expectation may not turn out the way you imagined, but you might get something even better in return.

Big love ~ Mackenzie

Becoming a Lighthouse Builder

Last Saturday, I went to the Zeal Center for a Community Energy Healing Share. Local energy healing practitioners came together to offer donation-based energy work for the community. I was so happy to host.

I had forgotten my laptop at home and headed out to my car to run back and get it when I noticed something written in the dirt on the side of my car.


F U.


“Wow”, I said out loud, as I thought about what was coming up for me.

First, I felt personally hurt. Why would someone do this? Is it someone that I know?

Second, I felt sad. It’s sad that our world feels so hurt that we want to hurt others.

Third, I felt inspired. I am a lighthouse and I’m here to help others build their own lighthouse.

I have been through this exact series of emotions many times before and through this experience, I fully realized one of my strengths - When I have an awful/bad/sad experience, I turn it around to make a really great experience for someone else.

This time, I reaffirmed my mission. I want to offer the tools that I’ve learned to make others feel empowered and wonderful about themselves. But I don’t want to be the only gathering point. I want to be a lighthouse builder.

Those empowered people have brilliant and beautiful lights of their own to shine that look much different than mine. We need all the lights of every color, shape and size. I want to be the helping hand, the volunteer and the friend that helps them build their lighthouse. One lighthouse is not enough. What if we had 10? 50? 2000? Once those people know how to build the lighthouse, they can help another and another to build their lighthouses. We could have a whole world of beautiful lighthouses shining their lights out into the world.

That moment standing next to my car was a reminder that this work that we’re doing together, helping each other build lighthouses, is so incredibly important.

I’m here to be a lighthouse builder. Are you?


Big Love, Mackenzie

Reconnecting with Myself

Originally posted May 21, 2018

c18466f0e0667a66df5b7eed42d741eb.jpg

It's so very easy to get caught in the under current that is comparison and let it take you deep into the ocean of self-doubt.

"I'm not doing enough." 

"I'm not doing it right" 

"Why can they do that and I can't?" 

The ego gets really caught up in this wave and fights so hard to swim against it. Flash to a scene from a scary ocean movie - a person fighting against the waves, coming up for the big inhale, only to be pulled under again. Up and back down, up and down again. Arms flailing, trying to find control in what is greater than the human body - nature.

Oh, the poor ego. Always trying to protect us. Working against the wave with fear and worry. "What will happen if I go out there? I can't do this. I won't survive."

Back to the movie - the current pulls the body into the ocean and suddenly there's a calm. The person is faced with nothing but themself, floating in the vast ocean, no one around to compare to, nothing to do but breathe.

When the ego, the comparison, the self-doubt, the worry and the fear is stripped away - what's left? What will you find when you come back to you?

***

In February, when I was feeling the deep solitude of winter lay heavily on my heart, I begin planning trips for the summer to pull me out of my winter funk. I knew that trips would give me something exciting to look forward to when the snow had melted and the sun traveled closer to our hemisphere once again.

Surprisingly, my first trip planned was one of solitude, with a little bit of visiting friends mixed in. I planned to travel through the Great Lakes Region, camping with my dog at National Forests along the way. We would eventually land in the sweet city of Minneapolis to visit a good friend for a few days and then head back out to camp until we reached warmer beds in NY.

There was no telling what my state of mind would be when planning this trip so far in advance. Now that it's a day away, I know that it is perfect timing. My ego and I have been hanging out in comparison land for a bit together and it's time to let that fall away and come back to my Self.

My ego has been nervous, worried, fearful and yet deeper in, I am so ready and needing this trip. My ego wants to swim, my Self wants to ride the wave.

Into the vast ocean I go to reconnect with myself and the inner voice that's trying to speak but is too quiet to be heard above the ego's loud speeches. My laptop will stay home, my phone time will be limited, my email will remain unopened. I'm ready and excited for this break and as it sneaks closer, my ego/fear is starting to submit, knowing that this is happening no matter what.

I'm sure that it will try to sneak a few words in during the trip but it won't be driving or touching the radio. (Thanks for the tip, Liz Gilbert.)  Come along for the ride, ego. Let's see where we end up in this ocean.

Big Love ~ Mackenzie