I sat quietly with my eyes closed. With a whoosh(!), I felt my entire being swept gently-yet-firmly backwards at a “starship-enterprise” warp speed. In rapid, repetitive wave patterns, I was swiftly moving away, gaining distance from something—as if to offer me a 40,000-foot spaceship view and perspective. [Read more…]
…you actually ate as well as you know you should?
I’ve had a long-standing love affair with words. During high school and college, while studying Latin, French and Spanish, I became infatuated with words and their origins. In early adulthood, I amusedly discovered literal commonalities among “dirty words” across language and cultural boundaries. Over time, I have come to a deeper, more mature relationship with words.
My mom was a continuing fount of wisdom in my evolving relationship with words, nurturing a curiosity to know more than what’s simply IN a given word or its origins. For example, if someone was injured, she would opine whether they were actually “broken” or perhaps simply “bent”. And, if mom was in pain, she would often distinguish between whether it was a “hurting” or “healing” pain.
Years later, I am able to extract ever deeper, more personal meanings of my life experiences. Sometimes, it’s by inquiring, “What does this particular word mean for me, within this particular experience?” or “How does this word help me ‘make sense of’ an experience?” Increasingly, it’s helpful to ask, “What lies ‘between’ multiple words and symbols that emerge out of my experiencing?”
In preparing to write this article, I invited an inner sense of what wanted to be written concerning “finding meaning”– this 11th dimension of wellbeing. First came “felt meaning”—coinciding with my dog, Blue, standing up next to me, physically “asking” to be petted. A moment later, Blue went back to his own quiet place on the floor. I, too, sat quietly. Then, suddenly, Blue was back–this time pushing his nose determinedly through my arm….with a firm insistence. Ah, perhaps I also want to emphasize the idea that acknowledging one’s feelings always plays a role in the meaning-making process.
A few more moments passed. Blue was again lying quietly at my feet as I began to freshly acknowledge something inside—a recognition of how often I find it difficult to give voice to my feelings…..to identify them…..to say them out loud. Suddenly, Blue began quietly growling at something unseen. It almost seemed as though he was offering a quiet reflection of my own inner feelings.
Ah, there’s a low grumble of sadness. Expressing my feelings was something I was never allowed to do. Moreover, there’s a wanting to express my feelings. Except, it’s a fearful, growly-protective sort of wanting…as if it half expects to be squashed or scolded. There’s also a tightness, somehow related to that fear. Yet, there’s also a sense—even with my eyes closed—as though the sun had come out…a momentary, wondrously warm light…..that would graciously accept and welcome my expression.
I smile when the inevitable yawn comes. These yawns have become a kind of shorthand reminder [for me] for letting and allowing…for accepting multiple channels of meaning-making as a way to understand my own life-experiencing…for opening fresh pathways for living forward.
* Originally published as => Kiener, M.E. (2016, November). Choosing Courageous Wellbeing: What’s In a Word? Sibyl Magazine. For the Spirit and Soul of Woman. Retrieved from www.sibylmagazine.com.
What’s wanting my attention right now? How am I feeling about “all that”? Whenever I quietly pause to sense how my body-mind-spirit is holding my experiencing of life—these two invitations provide a welcoming attitude of presence and curiosity.
Recently, the first accessible invitation I noticed was “how am I about that upcoming meeting”….which led into “how am I about that whole project of which this meeting is just one small part”….before expanding into “how am I about ALL the projects currently going on in my life”. Feeling as though a switch had turned on in the center of my chest, I began to notice a warm, round “fullness” inside. It felt something like a sun, although [Read more…]
Ever wonder what nurses who are passionate about “self-care” talk about when they get together?
Keith had invited me to share a blog post for his readers. I did, and am also reposting it below:
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During the first meeting of the year with my two “mastermind” buddies, Sue started us off with a centering exercise. As we paused to become aware of our individual surroundings, she invited us to first envision a clear whiteboard.
While I then expected to hear (and what she probably did say) was that there was a box of shiny “markers” next to the whiteboard. However, what I heard (and then visualized) was a box of shiny “erasers”!
Wow! I could tell this was going to be an interesting exercise, as long as I could graciously welcome what was there for me in that moment.
Step One: Pause. Noticing freshly what’s here inside now.
Hmmm. There’s the whiteboard itself – bright, shiny, and undisturbed – almost like freshly fallen snow. And there’s the box of shiny, multi-colored erasers. And nothing else.
Step Two: Turn. Letting go of any lingering need to do the exercise “right”, so that I can “be with” what’s here for me now.
Swiftly, some memories come:
- From earlier that morning, as I had begun inputting more projects and action steps into the new software I was learning: worried feelings of “Oh my god, there’s SO much to do” and “Don’t make the list any longer.”
- From decades ago, while I was still practicing bed-side nursing, whenever I would be assigned to a patient in isolation: a still not-understood/un-resolved “something” about the process of having to “gown up” (including mask and gloves) to be inside the patient’s room for an undetermined amount of time.
Step Three: Listen. Acknowledging, welcoming and hearing the “inner guest(s)” that arrive.
I find myself acknowledging the long-term relationship I’ve had with the decades-old “isolation room” experience– and recognize that the “felt-memory of it all” often stops by for a visit when I also feel overwhelmed by things that “need” to be done. There’s a sense that it’s also connected somehow to the overall concept of “time management.” It’s evident that there’s more to be learned here – and I let this old friend know I really want to take the time to get to know it better as the coming days unfold.
As I turn back to the still-present feeling of “there’s too much to do”, I notice several interrelated aspects unfolding within it:
- There’s a difference between those activities I “have” to do and those I “want” [and/or “choose”] to do.
- The software’s byline of “Simply Get it Done” brings a sense of comfort and ease inside of me – especially combined with a thought of including only those projects to which I have freely committed(in contrast to the necessary tasks/chores of daily life).
- Ahh……now the new software-related project begins to feel more like an “Integrity List” that helps me assure to get those things done that I truly WANT to do.
Noticing a “felt-shift” inside of me, another memory fragment comes – of gently cradling my kitty, Sheba on the examination table during a New Year’s Eve visit to the veterinarian. Ahh….it begins to feel inside as if there is room for me to breathe and grow…..together…..with my “want-to-do” list.
As the envisioning exercise draws to a close (could it really have been only 2-3 minutes?), two new words come into my awareness about the whiteboard and the nearby erasers: “Spacious ease”.
What a delicious transformation from where I started the exercise. And, I take one more breath to thank my body-mind-spirit for yet another of its luscious gifts—in return for my taking a moment to “Pause, Turn and Listen” inside.
Perhaps you’d like to experience a transformative shift of your own about something current within your own life. I offer private sessions that can help you do just that.
*Note: An earlier version of this post was originally published on January 17, 2013.
When we listen, we offer with our attention an opportunity for wholeness.
Our listening creates a sanctuary for the homeless parts within the other person.
That which has been denied, unloved, devalued by themselves and by others.
That which is hidden.
In this culture, the soul and the heart too often go homeless.
Listening creates a holy silence.
When you listen generously to people they can hear the truth in themselves, often for the first time.
And in the silence of listening, you can know yourself in everyone.
Eventually, you may be able to hear, in everyone and beyond everyone, the unseen singing softly to itself and to you.
Rachel Naomi Remen
Could YOU use a good listening to?
Twice each month, I host a Virtual Changes gathering (by phone), that offers simply this – an opportunity to both listen and be listened to. There’s never a fee.
I look forward to having you join us AND to listening!