How many times have you looked back at your supposed mistakes and thought, "I knew that was going to happen," or "Why do I keep making these same choices that lead to me feeling terrible?" When I started Intentional Path Wellness, I knew it was going to bring some pretty big healing for me and hopefully some others as well. The idea of consciously choosing our path to healing was at the forefront of my mind and I realized that I was not so good at following the direction laid out in front of me. I was so good at not listening and paying attention over the years, that I was hit by many Universal 2X4s, as I like to fondly call them. These are those defining moments when your deeper knowing has tried to communicate with whisperings, nudges, murmurings until finally it screams with things like chronic pain, losing a job, divorce, DUI. (that's my story anyways.) It has been a few years since any big 2x4s have swung my way and I realized the reasons for that are my ability to listen to the whisperings and the foundational process of the healing center I created in Intentional Path Wellness. I have found four steps I used over and over again to grow and make changes in my life for the better. Sometimes it is quick and sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes it is easy, and, most of the time it presents challenges to overcome. It is always simple, the steps build on each other and it always works, eventually.
So here they are:
Presence is a state of being. It is not about doing, however, there are some things you can "do" to help yourself feel more present in any moment. Feeling your breath is always a sure way to be present, as you can only breathe right now; you cannot breathe yesterday or tomorrow. You are always one breath away from total presence in any moment. When caught up in making a decision or ruminating on anger, fear or sadness, it is all too easy to find ourselves focusing on the past or fearing the future. Feeling into one breath can bring you into the present moment and allow disruption of those patterns, even if for only a moment. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Everything we need is available in the present moment. We must find it. If feeling your breath doesn't work for you, you can also try feeling a part of your body like your feet against the floor, or your butt against the chair. Focus on physical sensations only. Whatever you feel is perfect. Stay with it for as long as you can. Once you give up what you feel to your presence, it has to change.
Once finding a sense of presence in your body and taking a moment to feel it, you can start asking some questions about your situation and what aligned action is best to take. One of my favorites to ask when I am feeling overwhelmed is: "What can I do, right now?" The answer is clear and not always what we think it is. Sometimes the answer is nothing, which means we breath and be present for longer. Sometimes it does not make sense. I was once given clear direction to move a table when I was struggling with some decisions for business. That simple movement streamlined a process that was gumming things up at the office. Play around with these. If you are not getting a clear answer, it may not be time for you to know the answer to the question you are asking. Try a different one. Always come back to presence.
Trust Your Answers
This step and the next one are probably the hardest and they flow back and forth into each other. They go against the mind's ability to figure things out and rationalize. The answers you gain from presence are true to who you are and most of the time don't make sense to your rational mind. They come from deep within. They are simple directions and will most likely stir up some type of emotion at first. Trust yourself enough to know that if you are given a clear direction from presence that you cannot mess it up. Do it. You may need to use parts of the next step before finding the courage to do it, but know that you will. You can trust your self through this process.
Harmonize with Gratitude
Undoubtedly, the mind will start kicking and screaming when you start to trust in your deeper understanding. It has protected you from your self for most of your life. It will tell you that you should listen to reason, it will get you to talk to experts to justify your actions. It will be very angry and sad and fearful. All of those defense mechanisms coming up have been put in place to serve you well and protect you. If they are coming up in this situation those feelings are ready to be harmonized with gratitude. SO, what does that mean? Dig deep, find something that you are truly grateful for, that you have unconditional love for. Feel the sensations that thinking about it brings in. Now turn that same sense of gratitude toward your fears, anger and sadness. This is the simplest and hardest part. If that is too hard at first, start with the idea that you want to feel gratitude for these things or that you wished you could want to feel gratitude for these things. Opening up the willingness for this part of the process is where all the magic happens.
Putting It All Together
I have had this process go as quickly as two breaths and as long as several months. It depends on what part of your self you are uncovering and how long it has been "protected." My suggestion is to start with small things. If you are feeling overwhelmed cleaning your house, take a deep breath, ask 'What can I do, right now," and do that. This can also work with any larger problems you are facing. The only requirement is the willingness to do it. It will bring you closer to who you really are. It will help you see many things that have been in your way. It will show you how to navigate your own life from presence and stop judging the poor decisions.
I wish you the best in your journey through this. Please reach out for help from those that support you the most, if you need it. Thank you for tuning in again.
Nate Ewert, RMT. Owner of SS Performance Massage and Intentional Path Wellness; Founder of Denver Hiking Club.