Pain “the great awakening”

It’s been said that if our minds are not aware we are a sleep. What does that mean? Well it means we go through life moving from one thing to the next never truly being present. We physically are there but our minds are lost somewhere in the chaos of the untrained mind. It means we experience pain and we cover it up with something that may offer comfort. It means we spend time with our family and worry about what will happen tomorrow. It means we take medicine because our untrained mind is always anxious. Life will be like a dream that we have no control over because we have lost our connection with ourselves and the world.

The beginning of the pandemic I experienced more cravings for alcohol than I had in years, I was scared and anxious. Every cough, or sneeze, made me think I was going to die or my children would die. I’ve battled substance use disorder, anxiety disorder, and anorexia/Bulimia most of my life. This was all ways to stay a sleep instead of leaning in to the blessing that pain was trying to teach me.

This pushed me into the corner and right where I needed to be to become awake. To start investigating what I was avoiding and the beginning of the journey home to my heart and true self.

As humans even at the most basic instincts pain tells us what we need. For example when you eat to much you feel pain in your stomach that signals to the brain “hey you, stop eating.” When our muscles are sore it signals to the brain, “hey drink some water, or stretch.” And yet when it comes to emotional and mental pain we just ignore it or cover it up with some sort of self made experience. We think certain things will save us, maybe a marriage, a diet, material things. When really when looking deeper if we think they will make our life better we are mistaken. Only I can make my life better as I allow the pain to teach me how to respond differently to it.

What pain gives us is an opportunity to become aware. To look deep inside and see what we need and what our experience truly is. We should rejoice in pain instead of covering it.

What is the pain you are experiencing there to teach you? Can you sit with it and understand it? I was told to “make friends with my pain.”

Right now at the end of 2021 we all feel the pain and for some of us it’s causing an awakening to happen. We are returning to our roots and finding healing through the earth, movement, and the most powerful thing we have for healing our breath. For some people it’s doing the opposite pushing them into a sleep like state by taking to much medication, avoiding connection, and living in a fear based mentality. This is causing more painful mind states.

I remember a time when pain was so unbearable because I would not just lean into it. I wouldn’t eat for days, I drank to the point it almost killed me. I didn’t know who I was or why I was alive. Some of you may know this pain too. That pain was a gift for awakening. It was a calling card to look and see what was really going on and where I needed to wake up.

Pain is the great awakening. Lean into it and allow it to teach you.

The Buddha said. “Oh nobly born sons and daughters of the Buddha remember who you truly are.”

Many blessings to you in 2022 and may we all continue on the path of great awakening.

Precious human birth

The other night I opened up my back porch and a bird almost flew in the house but my cat grabbed it before I could help it. Time slowed down and I became so aware of my empathy for this poor bird and the lack of empathy my cat had for this bird.

My cat acted out of complete instincts that were rooted in him from birth. Survival instincts that kept his species safe.

This made me think of how different I am being born into this human body. I have empathy for other beings pain and discomfort. I also have responsibility because of this awareness. I have to choose rather I’m going to create suffering or work to end suffering. This is one of the gifts of precious human life.

Karma isn’t just doing good things so good things happen, Karma is action. Karma is seeing with understanding and creating action with intention to cause less harm in the world and create good karmic fruit.

With this birth comes responsibility to choose compassion and to help ease the suffering.

Each moment I could choose to act out of habit without intention, but I was blessed to have the awareness of choice and to be reborn in this human body. How will I continue to create good karmic fruits from my actions in each moment?

What a gift!

May all beings learn to live a life with compassion.

The thoughts !? Self- soothing? I can’t meditate.

We live in a world where we were wired to be constantly thinking. In fact we were born that way, it kept us safe on many levels in our life. We were always thinking about where we were going to get food next, where to find shelter, procreation and keeping our species alive. Then through the centuries we added more things to think about, money, education, wars, politics. Now we are in my opinion at our worst so far, we are constantly thinking about what will happen. We are currently in the middle of a pandemic, political up-roar, and an entire shift in thought. Our children are being taught through computer screens, therapists are meeting with people over the phone, doctors visits are virtual. We have so many devices to manage and patterns of thought going through our heads at any given moment of the day it is no surprise to me that I so often here, “Hannah, I cannot meditate.”

We have forgotten how to self – soothe, we have forgotten how to even know if we are in the moment or not. Our minds are constantly swinging from one thought to the next. We are just doing what we have evolved to do for survival. Habitually keeping our minds busy and in a constant state of “fight, flight, freeze, or fawn” mind states.

So where do we begin? After years of evolving and developing, racing thoughts, high anxiety, high pressure, and survival skills, how do we meditate?

First, I want you to know, you are not alone. This is a normal problem that has existed for as long as humans have been around. I suggest starting with placing your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your chest, what do you feel? Notice if you can connect with the place in your body where the breath is present. Notice how the body moves as you breathe in and as you breathe out. Stay here for three minutes and just connect do not worry about your thoughts, you may find that as you shift your attention to the physical sensations you may have less intrusive thoughts. This is a practice of learning how to self – soothe. Many of us lost this ability as we got older and started to get stuck in the fast paced society we live in today. For some it may even be because of trauma we have lost this ability. After you practice this for a few minutes, you may notice thoughts coming to the forefront of your mind, once again this is normal. See if you can just say to yourself, “I am only thinking, thinking, thinking” then re-direct your attention to your breathing. “now I am breathing, breathing, breathing.” The goal here is for me to help you understand that our thoughts will not have all the power if we do not let them have it. Through this practice you will slowly learn to control your mind and let go of thoughts. My hope is that you will slowly learn how to self – soothe yourself again. This is about changing our relationship to our thoughts and the patterns of thinking that cause further harm, further anxiety, and unhealthy self soothing or coping skills.

The baby in the womb was rocked to sleep and soothed by the movements of the mothers body, watching the breath move in and out of the body is a very similar feelings.

Give it a shot, remember, thoughts are normal, you are not doing anything wrong.

May all beings find comfort today.