Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ordinary is the New Extraordinay


Have you been feeling a LOT this month? Are you finding it hard to stand in your yes and no when you make a decision?

I'm about to get real personal here with my own story because for me, you are my witness, and I also know the power of someones story to help me shift perspective, so I hope that my story will help you in whatever way it can today.

If you've been keeping up with me, you know that I am going through quite a journey right now. To be truthful, I have been feeling depressed, sad, angry, resentful, jealous, in a lot of blame and frustration.

I have been spiraling down into my internal CNN... Constantly Negative News... channel in my head ( thanks Devika Kern, for that insight this morning in dance class). I have been frantically trying to grasp on to something that will 'fix' or 'solve' what's wrong with me.

And the funny thing is, after all the work I have done, all the knowing I have around spiritual wisdom, knowing that there is nothing wrong, there is nothing to fix, that I am perfect as I am, it's still been pretty F-ing hard to come back home, to my core, my heart, my womb and allow myself to be as I am. Can you relate?

I am diving deep into myself, into my divine-brokenness and into the places that scare me the most. I am being honest about MY truth and noticing how much I let other people's truth overlay my own.

I am in the underworld of underworlds. I am letting go of the constructs and the images that I have created for myself and told myself I should be or need to be to be successful and secure.

Sometimes the scariest and most challenging thing we can do is to love ourselves just as we are. The most ambitious task can be to simply do LESS... or even, do nothing. To listen in silence and wait.

I have been facing many difficult decisions lately and being more honest than I have ever been with myself and others. This video that I made for you is all about being 100% in fidelity and honesty with your heart ( and your yes and your no)





In the midst of all of this my websites have been hacked and will need to be rebuilt... so I'm posting this blog on one of my old blogger blogs. Which is an interesting parallel to what's happening to my body internally. There are no coincidences right?

The fun part is, I got to revisit my mind from a few years ago when I was just starting the Feminine Rhythm in July 2010.

Whether you are here with me in this place or you know it... I welcome you into it. Know that you are not alone, just as I am remembering as I write to you that I am not alone.

And remember, that in our alone-ness, is where we find that we are not alone. This is the clear, shiney place of clarity that comes from our ability to approve of ALL the parts of us.

I am learning to surrender to my sadness. I am learning to come back home to myself in deeper ways. I am learning to relentlessly be there for myself.

Here is a practice I've been doing to help myself be in allowing of my internal state:
1) Go in front of a mirror. Look at yourself in the eyes softly.

2) Take a moment to feel into your core, your heart and your womb. Close your eyes if you need to for a moment.

3) Open your eyes, and show yourself the internal state of your core. Allow the emotion to show up on your face, in your body language, radiating from your cells. Joy, anger, sadness, resentment, blame, shame, excitement... whatever it is, allow it to be. Let it be there. Show it to yourself and take it in with as much compassion as you can.

4) Cry, scream, shout, laugh if it comes, but don't try to change your internal state right now. Just let it be.

5) Look yourself in the eyes and tell yourself what truth you are feeling or hearing from within. Especially the truth you are afraid to hear.

6) Affirm to yourself in the mirror love and kindness. Here is an example of what I say: I love you, ( insert your name), and I am always here. It is totally normal to feel afraid and unsafe. Know that I am here and there is nothing you need to do or be. I love your ( insert emotion that showed up). I love the way I saw you ( insert what you saw).

Often I am speaking to my inner lil one, and I surround her with love, light, angels and remind her she is loved, pretty, and safe.

7) Then I tell myself: I am Lauren Sheehan. I am 26 years old and I am in Austin, Tx. I leave whatever part of me showed up as it is.

If you should try this, please let me know how it goes for you! If you have a practice that works well for you, please share.



Monday, November 8, 2010

Thank you, It's True! Embodying your Receptivity

One of the qualities of the feminine that I spend a lot of time speaking to clients about as well as in my  Art of Feminine Presence Classes is receiving.

When I think about receiving I am reminded of a time when I was in a group and we were asked to go around the circle and tell people what we were grateful about them for.

The interesting part was watching how everyone received their compliments. Most everyone was enthusiastic to give gratitudes, and most everyone was terrified to hear what other people's gratitudes were for them. Some people allowed their compliments to come close to their body, but were quick to stop it right there. Others didn't let the compliment come anywhere near their bodies. Most people didn't allow the compliment or the feeling to fully enter and permeate them. Most people don't allow their bodies to receive all the good things that are in our lives.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Life: It's all a delicious treat


This poem was sent to me by one of my Yin Sisters and art of feminine presence teacher Heather Williams. I've been reading it over and over and over and over....

Each time all I can say afterwords is... Ahhhhhhhhh.

I read this to my Art of Feminine Presence Class this morning and almost burst into tears as I said this and felt every single word envelop my skin. I felt the truth of this poem in me, and the desire in my body to know it's truth; to drink in life, to feast on every bit.

One of my students had this to say: "It's like the ability to metabolize all that is on my table; as if to say Mmmmm love, Mmmmm rage, Mmmmm sadness...."  and I agree. The anger, the fear, the happiness, the bliss: it's all delicious.

with emphasis on SIT. FEAST ON YOUR LIFE,

Lauren

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’ s welcome
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
To itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes.
Peel your image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott, “ Love after love”

Friday, October 22, 2010

Getting off the pills: Our Cosmic Cycles


In July, I posted "Getting off the Pill" on Owning Pink.com. I had decided to finally stop using unnatural hormones to regulate the perfectly capable system that my body is designed to regulate itself at the end of June.After speaking with many friends and women, I realized that so many women had been thinking about getting off or already had. What was so surprising to me, was that I heard so many stories of getting off, and women having irregular or nonexistent cycles for months and months after getting off.

I delved into my own research on menstruation and hormone regulation, utilizing Dr. Christiane Northrup's BIBLE for women,  Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, the internet and other various books about womens health and energy medicine. I realized that of all the hurdles and mountains women have jumped and climbed to be empowered,  we still aren't really talking about our vaginas or periods. This realization only empowered my decision more in my desire to connect to and honor my body and the ways in which it communicates with me and gives me power.


Cosmic Cycles
Much of my remembering pointed out the beautiful connection that women's cycles have to the phases of the moon. Dr. Northrup says : "The menstrual cycle is the most basic, earthy cycle we have." Most women have probably noticed that they feel physically and mentally different during different times in their cycles, and that this pattern seems to be consistent month to month. This is amazing. That means if we can tune into our cycles, we can actually have a better idea of what we require to nurture ourselves at different times of the month.

Here's the biggest realization I had. Our Cycles are cosmic. They are divine. They are interconnected to the fabric of the universe and as women, we get to have this extra golden string of connection to all that is. Just think about how incredibly amazing it is that your body is synchronized with the cycling of the moon, the sun, the earth, the stars. And on an even larger scale, think about the idea that every women on this earth is also cycling and connected to the same moon. I just love visuals like that, we are so interconnected.

Every woman has experienced menstrual synchronization; you know when you hang out with the same woman a lot you all end up cycling together. This phenomenon has not been widely scientifically studied or explained, but here's my two cents: a healer friend of mine who can see auras very well tells me that womens auras are unlike mens auras in one way. Women's auras will actually mesh, and merge with each other and mens auras do not do this ( any aura readers out there can comment on this or not). What does this mean? It means that women's energy more readily connects with another persons energy than men. This is why women's power grows even stronger when we gather in circles and groups. 


Imagine a circle of women, and their auras around them. Imagine that energy all blending and connecting together as not many women in one circle, but one large interconnected energy bubble that radiates as the soul of the collective group. This is what happens when women come together.

In ancient times and in tribal cultures, many communities had a moonhut or women's lodge. When we didn't live with artificial light sources we had the sun and the moon. Our bodies took ( and they still do) cues from these light sources, the waxing and waning of the moon, and basically, the energetic "pressure" or positioning of the entire universe.

You can imagine that women who lived in the same tribe were probably all cycling together, and probably all in concert with the phases of the moon. A moon hut was not a place for women to be shunned during their period, it was a place of retreat, renewal, and celebration. This is the place women could go and honor the time of the month when their bodies called them inward, for reflection and guidance. It was a gift to the tribe for the women to come together during their sacred flow, to harness the collective power to ask for guidance, blessings, and wisdom. When the women's bleeding stopped, they returned to their community and offered guidance based on their experience.

How the moon can signal ovulation and menstruation
Based on my research and own intuitive knowing, here's my explanation of how the moon signals our bodies to ovulate and to menstruate. The moon obviously has gravitational influence on our planet which can be experienced logically and physically as the ocean tides. So it is not very surprising that the moon effects our bodies in the same way that it effects the ocean. In relationship to the tides, during a full or new moon, something magical happens; the moon, the earth. and the sun all line up, causing a larger gravitational pull on the earth and thus, the largest swells of the month.

So, when the moon, the sun, and the earth are all aligned, the "pressure", if you will, that is placed on our physiological buttons that cause ovulation or menstruation is different and greater.





Don't take your womanhood, or your body for granted
image from resonanttruth.com
If you havn't come this conclusion yet, I'll just let you know that I think being a women is the BEST ever! I wouldn't trade anything about being a women for anything in the world. I've heard many a woman complain and moan about cramping, whine about how heavy her flow is or feel insecure about her body because she's menstruating. It saddens me to hear these things.

After hearing all the trouble my friends had gone through just to have one natural cycle after getting off their pills, I was a bit nervous that maybe my body had also forgotten how to cycle naturally. Your body is here for you to celebrate it. There is nothing that it does that is not amazing and worthy of praise. And when it comes to something so sacred and wonderous as sustaining a microcosmic cycle of life, growth, and death, how can you not be in reverence for such a reminder of the power of creation and destruction?

Each month your body regenerates new tissue. Each month your body prepares itself to fertilize an egg, or symbolically, an idea. Each month your body connects you to the ebb and flow of life through your cycle. What could be more grand!?

For the record, it took me 3.5 months to start having a cycle... at all. To my excitement, my first REAL period began on the new moon. What a lucky girl I am!

I kinda felt like this girl....


Monday, October 18, 2010

Please think with your Belly: Learning to Live from your Core

At the center of my work is teaching people to connect to their center of energy, their fire, their internal engines. This is a sacred place, a reservoir of energy. If I had to pick one tool that I have learned on my journey that helps me stay present, connected and in my power it would be focusing my attention on this place.

If I am ever conscious of my less than presence, I call my attention back to my belly. When I wake up in the morning to do my practice, it begins by "starting my engine." I have learned to honor my belly in ways that I enjoy and that empower me. When you can honor your belly, listen from it, and speak from deep within it, you will find a whole new sense of interaction between you and your world.

Your Heart is not the only source of higher wisdom 


Very often in the holistic world we learn to listen to our heart as our source of wisdom, which is great! But there is another place we can tune into that offers guidance. Our belly is actually the first place to react when we sense something new and different. It's that "gut feeling" we sometimes speak about. The reaction of the belly is immediate and always truthful, and it's what informs the heart and the brain.

Just take notice the next time you meet someone new, or someone asks you to do something you don't really desire to do, but you say yes anyway. You may notice some contraction or "belly speak" as I call it. Notice the ways in which your belly speaks to you and guides you. Listen to it. Talk to it. Allow it to be a part of you

Your Internal Engine

You have a source of heat and energy in your body. It is located at your center, a channel referred to in qi gong as  dan tian, which means "elixir field" and is a place to store energy. When a person is connected to their center, they are more balanced emotionally and physically. This is a very stable place to be and you can think of it as a reservoir for energy.

There are three large energy centers within the Dan Tian channel, upper, middle, and lower, located in the brain near the pituitary gland, the heart near the thymus gland, and about 2 inches below the belly button respectively.

When I speak of your internal engine, I am speaking specifically of lower dan tian, in between the navel and the pelvic floor. In yoga, this corresponds to the manipura chakra, the place of personal power, and is said to be the seat of pranic flow in the body. I have also heard it referred to as the "golden stove" and is known in Japanese martial arts as "hara" which means belly.

These three centers represent the three centers of thought in your body: Belly, Heart, and Mind. We are taught in our culture to think mostly with our mind. Many people have expanded and learned to think with their hearts. Now it is time to expand further and complete the process; Thinking starts in the belly.

We are informed from the belly, we receive immediate information about our world, without reaction, judgment, or emotion. It's the most "black and white" information we receive. This then relays up to the next energy center in our heart, our emotional center, where we decipher how we feel about this information. We have to check in with our heart space to decide what to feel about what our belly tells us.Then our mind comes in, and starts to logically reason out what's going on. It tries to make up stories about why your gut feeling might be wrong or how it will be too hard.  This is often the place where we get stuck. We let our minds reasonable answers cloud our own higher wisdom. What's your experience with this??



"Please Think with your Belly"

The Japanese actually have a practice and artform called Haragei, which means the art of the belly.  It is the "unspoken way" used in Japanese society to decide immediately and silently whether or not a person is likable, trustable, and worthy of your time and business. Haragei is the act of influencing others without words; with your presence.

They even have a saying; "Hara de kangaenasai" which means "please think with your belly"; in essence, go deeper, stop being rational and think with the essence of your whole being. They also have a saying, "hara-goe" which means "belly-voice" and is the kind of voice that resonates deep from within the belly, and carries a presence of integrated connectedness.

An article about Haragei says:
"In modern day Japan, a person will be accepted by others or shunned, in business and personally, by their gut feelings towards you. This is a normal and accepted way of life. The Japanese people as a whole really believe that what they feel about you is true, without reservations."
 In his book, Hara: The Vital Centre of Man, Karlfried Graf Von Durckheim writes

"Hara is the very embodiment of man's contact with the fundamental powers of the Greater Life manifested in him."
He asserts that people who have a strong connection to Hara have a steady sense of connection to the universal life force that surrounds them. Connecting to Hara means being fully present and aware, on all sides of you, not just in front. You are connected to the intuitive knowing that is available to you always. Durckheim writes that a person with Hara has "an inner calm from which springs the greatest possible presence of mind and the greatest possible capacity for endurance."

When you are connected to your center, you are home, you are at your core. This is the seat of your authentic power. When you are present there, you have access to everything you require, your life becomes less forceful and more effortless, and you exude a magnetism that draws abundance to you. 




The Belly as the source of Creation and Power

Your belly is the source of your power and creativity. Whether you are a man or a woman it houses much potential. In the belly new life and new ideas are created, nurtured and birthed. It is the place where you receive information about the world around you.

I have mentioned many times before that our western culture does not honor the region below our belt.Much of my work with clients consists of reconnecting to this sacred area of our bodies; learning to listen to our gut feelings, feeling comfortable with our sensuality, connecting to that which is the core of who we are.


Aphrodite- Goddess of Beauty and Love

We often treat our bellies very negatively. We are a culture who values flat, tight, pulled in bellies. Ages ago, and in some pacific island cultures today, large bellies were considered a sign of wisdom, wealth, and fertility. When we look at ancient art we see sculptures of women with full breasts and bellies. We see paintings of goddesses with soft bellies and features. These were images and sculptures of worship, inspiration and beauty. Today the images we see of bellies and beauty are much different.


Goddess of Willendorf Circa 250000BC
Now by no means am I advocating unhealthiness or excess fat in the belly, what I am saying is, I have in the past spent a lot of time hating my belly, desiring it to be virtually non-existent, ignoring it's presence when I felt "fat". We are taught to scrutinize our bellies; every roll, every imperfection, every bulge. We live in a world where women either feel relieved at being pregnant because their bellies can now be big and acceptable, or they are still terrified of looking fat even though they are embodying the most sacred form of creation.




Love your belly!
What's my message here??? LOVE YOUR BELLY!  As we begin to embrace our own bodies and our own bellies, we can dissolve this belly dimorphic and dis-empowered culture we have created. We can begin to live closer to our innate connectedness, our purpose, and our joy. We can speak from our bellies, think from our bellies, and live from them. 

I leave you with this Japanese Fable about intuition: There once were two men standing in the forest. One thought he heard a tiger coming, but when he went to ask the other man, he was no where to be found.  One man thought he heard a tiger, and the other just ran. We are the decedents of the one who ran.The other man was never seen again.

Get it??

What is your experience with your own belly? Do you have a strong connection to it or do you spend a lot of time ignoring it's presence?





References: 

Brunetti, Cliff. "Was that a Tiger? With Haragei, you never ask." Kazoku Dojo. Oct 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

For the Love of Compassionate Friends


It has been on my mind a lot this week that songs are prayers. Being a dancer and a lover of music, I mostly listen to music. The lyrics are not something I always comprehend or pay attention to.

But when a song does catch my attention with it's words, I know it's for a reason. This song came up on Pandora today, and it just struck me. I love Jason Mraz, for one, and for two, I love the emotion that went into the writing of this song; compassion for a friend in need.

We all require help. We all have those times when everything just feels like it's falling apart and it's so great to know we have friends who can tell us everything will be just fine, and remind us of who we are and what's important.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine happened to text me "how are you?" in a moment of complete frustration, sadness,and fear. She helped me with a few things and closed by saying "I felt your presence all of the sudden, so I thought I should text you."

I had been asking for my guides to show me what to do, asking for help. I'd say I got an answer. :) Friends are our angels. And don't underestimate the power of asking for help. Even if you only have the pride to ask the universe for help. 

This song is a prayer. Listen to it with attention on someone you love, and don't forget about yourself too.

Have you ever reached out to a friend when you had an intuition that they were in a bad space? Have you ever just felt like you needed to call someone or talk to someone, and followed that? Has anyone every reached out to you when you needed it?

I leave you with the lyrics written below and the you tube video of the song above. With emphasis on "If it's a Broken Heart then Face it"....

Much love,

Lauren


Calm down
Deep breaths
And get yourself dressed instead
Of running around
And pulling all your threads saying
Breaking yourself up

If it's a broken part, replace it
But, if it's a broken arm then brace it
If it's a broken heart then face it

And hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way
Hold your own
Know your own name
And go your own way

And everything will be fine
Everything will be fine
Mmmhmm

Hang on
Help is on the way
Stay strong
I'm doing everything

Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way
Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way

And everything, everything will be fine
Everything

Are the details in the fabric
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling?

Are the things that make you blow
Hell, no reason, go on and scream
If you're shocked it's just the fault
Of faulty manufacturing.

Yeah everything will be fine
Everything in no time at all
Everything

Hold your own
And know your name
And go your own way