The Weight and Measure of Stigma

If I could know then what I know now, I would never want to. When I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 over 20 years ago it was still the era of shame and hiding mental health diagnosis. Neuro-diversity was not yet a term and we did not have “days” or campaigns dedicated to understanding or awareness. There was always an unspoken agreement, that I should never speak or admit to it in public and for some I am certain this still remains. This existence in truth created wordless pain in my nervous system, body and soul. The symptoms of the diagnosis are very difficult to deal with by themselves, but then to add endless emotional energy to mask the anxiety and fear of being seen as lesser or in a box of defective just adds to the distress. The culture was one of obtaining a perfect “normal” which in my opinion is driven strongly by a great deal of fear and cultural habits of convenient othering. Generational norms and holding tightly to old, worn out, dated cruelty and divisiveness. What I learned over two decades of being in the shadows and experiencing a great deal of struggle was in truth, to rely on myself. To within my solitude, bravely and slowly excavate the many layers of fear that had shaped my own exhausting habits to be seen as normal or acceptable. This striving, was another full time job after working a full time job and maintaining a marriage and having two children. During these decades of experience, over the many moments, relentless practice, micro-decisions and vulnerability, I learned that the pain was the fuel to fight the very large force of fear and judgement. Stigma is an overwhelming wall. Fear is a torment that steals voice and freedom. As I learned to lean ever closer to vulnerability, I found liberation from my life long fear of being diverse. Now, I am left with the aftermath of a silent war fought alone. The pain of longing, disappointment and honestly some resentment. I easily deal with the resentment, as when I sit with it, I realize every human contains the tendency to be divisive because of the fear of survival and this I can understand. The longing is something more difficult to ease. I work on it within my solitude, to gain healing over the fact that humans often have love for one another, but so often are blocked from truly communing for fear of emotional availability because of their own walled off, damaged hearts. As for disappointment over my fate as a person born with Bipolar or the era in which I lived with it in, I don’t contain it. Though it was a great suffering, I am grateful for it as it gave me a depth of understanding and freedom I otherwise would never have been able to obtain. Moving forward, my advice is that stigma is so strong, but it is built on fear and you are stronger. Have courage and move one breath, one step towards your pain. Remain still and gently feel the truth of emotion in your heart. This is where your freedom will be found. Your desire to avoid vulnerability will be so strong, lean ever closer anyway. This is where authentic freedom and peace resides. This is where your strength and courage are cultivated. With every breath of truth your autonomy becomes more of a reality. This together, is how we will step ever closer to families and communities with relationships built on compassion, non-judgement and understanding. A space where we can be a part of slowing the momentum of the stream of fear and age old loneliness and heartbreaking separateness and thrive and live instead within authentic, available, love filled relationships.

The Sacred Heart

Within every heart resides a sacred song, a melody of love to dance and truly live upon. A comforting rhythm, a lyrical beauty of divine purpose. Unique, although a part of the collective unity and oneness. Listen deeply to align to your golden movement. Attune to the radiance of your eyes filled with wonder and inspiration. A brilliance reflected by the heart set free and ignited. A source of strength from overcoming all odds. The measure of the courage to remain steadfast and strong. To stand tall in the face of the grief, that is what it means to be human. A thousand moons, a reflection in the still water. To see your true face without a veil of hesitation from the painful losses. Step forward in the wise direction, fluid and untethered. A guide from intuition, the colors of transcendence illuminated and iridescent. No more need to repair or mend, just an appreciation of the depth from the longing. The history of the heart sturdy and courageous. A movement of the mountain, slow but certain and timeless. A continuation to embrace and become unfrozen. The rust is the memory, the measure of the healing. The beauty of your story, the script that tells your heroic journey. Your inspiration for others to keep the steady pace and continue to walk their own loving soul path. From the broken pieces, to a wholeness that remains with you forever and beautifully formless.

The Groundwork of Emotional Resiliency.

When neurological and physiological resilience is being taught, it is explained as the contrast between survival or staying alive versus engagement and learning. Feeling safe and satiated is the very foundation for all well-being and ability to explore and enjoy our moments. When under threat we disengage from life and when secure we are able to freely engage in our lives. To shift factors into moments that are enriching and empowering helps to mitigate fears, and to rewire the brain for well-being. Under-represented groups can gain greater control over their environments, grow their voice and participate for positive change within themselves, their families and communities. Gaining the courage necessary to require boundaries that include dignity, respect and a standard of loving presence. I believe that great struggle leads to real change and that all of the loss and the suffering must have meaning. That meaning is the fuel for a shift into a more autonomous, hopeful and free way of living, with more opportunity and positivity. The contrast between the burden and the freedom is a sensation like none other. Resilience and overcoming are the most powerful force in a life of liberation and true freedom. Your voice is yours, find your power. To remain in a fear driven nervous system keeps you vulnerable to manipulation from outside individuals who may not have your best interest in mind. It also keeps you closer to the constructs of the status quo, which lessens your access to your unique perspective and truth of being, ultimately erasing your individuality. Your resilience can not solely rely on the shifts in the structure of your government, community or family structure. I believe resilience occurs within the micro-moments and the micro decisions within each individual. Practicing resilience increases awareness of sensations of safety, which leads to higher access to cognition and thinking. One breath, one moment can, overtime add up to a calmer nervous system with less fear and more ability to take in knowledge and tolerate increasing levels of stress. When trauma occurs we must practice unlearning the unhealthy coping patterns and neuro-connections of fear. Mindfulness or meta-cognition is not just relaxation, it is the groundwork for emotional resilience. It is to be aware of what is happening in the present and to allow it, and accept it. To purposefully focus on a conscious, present level, to how you are developing and maintaining your situational awareness. Meta-awareness is to inquire and observe thoughts, feelings, sensations as they happen in the now. Without awareness you remain stuck in familiar habits with no choice about what you can do next, which creates feelings of less efficacy. With practice, when stressed you can gain greater capacity to step back and notice body sensations of tension and the difficult thinking and feelings that are driving the tension in your body. To pause and take note of the now, intentionally. To notice purposely and embody your moment. Noticing the rhythm of your breath and investigating and cultivating self acceptance. Body work assists with unlocking the immobilized brain. Activities including walking meditation, yoga and dancing are all known to help ground and regulate the body. The rhythmic movement and focus on slow breathing, both calm and stabilize the brain and ground the body. Move the body and change the brain. Movement makes us more malleable, improving emotional flexibility, adaptability and tolerance for change. To engage more fully without being frozen in the old habit energy of fear. Interoceptive awareness of inner sensations of emotion are more accessible and tolerable during and following participation in calming movement tasks. Labeling and granulation of the details of sensations of emotion assists us in shifting from the subconscious, where things are in disorder to the conscious where we can translate the difficult thinking into order. Overtime, resilience grows as you build courage and tolerance to fear and stress. You are more able to override the desire to retreat or move away from difficulty, and to pause and bravely face them. This improves your access to life, as you gain a sense of competence and ability to have an impact. Awareness of ones own values can be enhanced and accessed. There is great meaningfulness, improved engagement and access to greater feelings of confidence. You understand and feel that you have more choice over environmental factors and how they can shape your day and life. Small shifts, towards moments of calm silence and inner awareness are your greatest currency for overcoming obstacles, gaining your autonomy, voice and sense of your true life’s purpose.

The Potency of the Feminine

The revolution of the feminine is to courageously embody the nature of vulnerability and compassion fearlessly. To take on the masculine traits of power and aggression of the system that has oppressed, minimized and demonized the feminine gender with for millennia is just a continuation of a crumbling system. The feminine has not been given equal access to literacy and education, spiritual studies and places of esteem, political office, decision making or opportunities for creative tasks of art, dance, poetry or music. This has created a massive imbalance in the world culture, as the masculine traits of power, aggression, conquest and insatiable consumption have lead to war after war and now an environmental global crisis. That system has had its time and has been found to be fleeting, dwindling, destructive, hateful and divisive. A true revolution of the feminine energy needs to be equalized, to give access to the wisdom of all of it’s beauty, patience, love, compassion and great depth of ability to share kindness. Women bring life and because of it have receptivity, they have the divine gift of embracing and delivering souls into this plane. I see the womb as a powerful and untapped force to change the world into a sustainable, open and equitable home. For the liberation of humanity and for us all to prosper, a balancing of energies must become a reality. Feminism, is to become emboldened and fearless to be feminine. To end the chains of the cultural constructs of subservience and self abandonment. The societal pattern of feminine submissiveness, while carrying great burden and without any love remaining for herself. Children must have a role model of an autonomous and liberated feminine, not a suppressed and voiceless self sacrificing one. The masculine is just as much of a prisoner to this finite and fleeting, insatiable structure. In a constant battle of egoic dominance and the continual maintaining of power, without access to the unburdened beauty of half of the population. Everyone loses in this inverted value system, where only one side is represented and given a voice. Equal representation will bring restoration, a potency of 1000 generations of insights, inspirations, innovations, art and the truth of balanced, conscious relationships and unions. Wisdom and love, fairness and understanding, open hearts and unconditional giving. Unity and oneness of minds, bodies and souls begins with the feminine building resilience of heart. To practice restoration and creating access to a calm and balanced system. To heal the collective store of pain within the body. To improve regulation and access to a sense of self worth and confidence. To ease the body from constant stress that interferes with access to wisdom, creativity and voice. To open to and listen deeply to the voice of the truth of emotions from within and the needs and desires that have traditionally been ignored. The womb seems to be a storage of pain, to heal the collective soul the feminine needs to be seen for what it is, as a high value. To build compassion and love for themselves and to see the nature of vulnerability as a great strength. That the indomitable feminine will and the ability to carry great responsibility and burden are all immeasurable factors to finding balance and satiation. The passion, grace, understanding and independence, that has been the backbone and the base of creating humanity since the very beginning. To uncover the empowered confidence, erasing the inferiority and devaluing of the feminine. The liberation of all humanity depends on this balancing. Providing positive regard, dignity and and expression of an entire perspective that has not had an opportunity to be cultivated since the beginning of recorded time. I have daughters and their freedom to be true to themselves, to consider their own needs and desires, to find their own unencumbered path is a compromise I am no longer able or willing to accept. A world filled with authenticity, prosperity, joy, freedom and ease depends on it. The viability of the Earth and the continuation of the species depends on it!

I have been reminded about matriarchal societies around the world including indigenous North American cultures, where the mother-line is highly valued. In this structure the social construct of the dominance of the physically stronger male is not observed. Upon looking further into this way of existing, I found Visionary Feminism. This feels very much like what I am trying to convey in my writing. A culture focused on mutual growth of everyone involved. A place of equal self actualization with no gender having privilege or power over one another. A shift from bondage to freedom and from maintaining power to actually experiencing reciprocal love. Society can not prosper if relationships and communities are not based in authentic shared love and continue to prioritize control, power and oppression. Love is based in the desire to share with someone, to live in a place of freedom with the ability to make authentic and truthful decisions for themselves. Prosperity will never take place if the system that continues to be propagated down, is based on ownership and control of minds, bodies and souls. A balanced society where freedom is not based in gender, but on cultivating the truth within each individuals liberated heart.

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The Heartstrings of Our Kindred

Heartbreak, the sorrow is groundless. No order or sense to grasp onto for solace. Far from the shore, but a light is on the distant horizon. Thoughts consume and the burden seems endless. A beacon for the soul to find faith and reprieve in. The soul sees the light, a source of divine silence. Grace is the hope, a comforting harbor. A warmth, a shelter to place all your grief within. Give the longing over to loving presence. Release the weight, it’s your soul’s gateway to respite. A sanctuary to kneel down and rest your hearts anguish. A stillness to bring ease to the bodies great suffering. To love greatly is the measure of one’s true living. The pain of the contrast is the reflection of their hearts beauty and riches. Our love always remains, it is our gift and can never be altered. A wholeness untouched by time, circumstances or burden. Pure current of the energy of loving existence. We reside eternally together, our heartbeats the witness. Listen deeply to the pulse, a vein of love. A line sent out to save our souls. Hold on through the darkness, for the dawn will bring lightness. A soul family, eternal, beauty beyond measure. To travel on the stream, to share love boundless and forever. Together without limits, a union for all time. No beginning or end, enduring bonds woven into our heartstrings. An unspoken promise to remain kindred, a silent agreement. The fabric of divine union, our tapestry of infinite soul connections. A thread that binds our hearts devotion, a great mystery everlasting and golden.

The March of the Golden Heart

Heart in a ravel, heavy and broken. Confusion and burden searching for the reprieve of restoration. Darkness and distortion, a smoke filled battle. Eyes sunken, burning with desolation. Finding the source, reaching into the unknown. Hands of beauty, a faith restored. Belief in grace, the hope never truly lost. The rhythm of the heart, the pace of sincere living. From chaos to clarity, an escape from illusion. Listening within, to the messages of healing. A body worn, but a soul stirred and curious. The triumph foretold, the truth leaves one wordless. Wholeness of heart, the catalyst that kept the steps. A whisper to seek peace, a home to reside without soul shattering anguish. To step over the threshold, to enter an empty unburdened place. Courage and fearlessness, the tools of the peace trade. The depths contain the ground, the stillness and refrain. The march of the weary, full of scars to honor the dark hours. Fresh eyes clear and humble, a future where once seemed little hope of reaching. A golden heart, a hard earned beginning. An unwritten moment, potency unfolding. The work of the heart, a store of pain. The fuel for the glory, the grist mill for the grain.

Neuroception and Self Regulation An Occupational Therapy Perspective

Neuroception is the subconscious system for detecting threat and safety.  Doctor Steven Porges, PhD theorizes in the Polyvagal Theory, that neuroception is the process that evaluates risks within the environment without our conscious awareness. That the brain distinguishes whether situations or people within our relationships are safe and trustworthy or dangerous and threatening.

Neuroception takes place in the primitive portions of the brain without conscious awareness. You may not be conscious of threat, but the body has already started a sequence of neural processes, that lead to an adaptive survival response of fight/flight/or freeze.

Our capacity to form social bonds is integrally dependent on our ability to neurologically inhibit our defense mechanisms. To switch from a defensive state into social engagement, your brain assesses risk.  If your environment feels safe you will subconsciously inhibit the primitive defensive reactions and comfortably engage.

The nervous system automatically knows when the environment or people within it are safe and provide security or are distressful and threatening. The brain makes these evaluations by detecting features including body and facial expressions, vocalization and posture.  Non-verbal factors contribute to the overall impression of safety and trustworthiness.

Nonverbal communications reveal the state of another person’s mind. Another’s facial expressions and eye gaze subconsciously decides for us whether to approach (positive) interaction or withdraw (negative) retraction.

Neuro-diverse students including those with diagnosis of autism, ADHD, trauma, anxiety, depression, aggressive disorders or medical interventions prior to three years of age are possibly in a neuroceptive state of immobilization.

Just because the classroom does not appear threatening to us, does not mean the circuits of children with neuroceptive awareness deficits agree.  The environment may be too loud, too bright, too busy or they may be in a state of physiological distress.

Treatments for improving neuroceptive awareness and self regulation:

Somatic experiencing therapy emphasizes guiding the student’s attention to interoception, kinesthetic and proprioceptive experiences. It is considered the art of reconnecting with bodily sensations in a way that is safe and self aware.

Survival activation can remain stored in the body disrupting mental and emotional processes. You must interrupt this destructive loop and move away from the state of persistent activation. When addressed the allostatic load (the cumulative burden of chronic stress and life events) can slowly be released, building resilience.

When focusing on resolving the symptoms of chronic stress it is a bottom up process. It is an approach that avoids direct contact with intense evocation of traumatic memories.  It is indirect and done very gradually.

Interoceptive therapies involve investigating inner awareness or the capacity to identify access and appraise internal body signals. To adapt and demonstrate appropriate emotional responses, facilitation of new corrective interoceptive experiences must be practiced. Interoceptive awareness assists with increasing attunement to body cues, signals and messages prior to overwhelm or reactivity. Interoception improves relevance to sense of self, cognition and mental health. 

To begin, notice, describe and label physical sensations within the body.  First engage in a positive manner, investigating easeful and relaxing emotions. Put the student in touch with positive inner feelings of safety, strength, comfort and optimism. Provide positive social engagement with proximity and face to face contact, vocalizing with appealing inflection and rhythm, all creating a safe and secure therapy environment.

Approach inner experience gradually reducing arousal, to enable restoration to occur slowly overtime. Train students to practice noticing the sensations and emotions without reacting, labeling them with granularity and detail. Staying present and feeling the experience, furthers the discharge of distressing stored energy and increases the level of regulation and resilience.

Mindfulness meditation is beneficial with improving the overall awareness of inner emotional state. Sustaining focus on the breath with a practice of sensing all subtleties is restorative and calming.

Breathing therapy is used to attend to the sensations and flow of the breath. Deep inhalation through the mouth followed by exhaling through the nose is calming and inhibitory.

Body scans are beneficial to decrease stored body tension.  Tense and release muscle groups, bringing attention to specific areas of internal body (chest, shoulders and abdominals). Tensing the muscles on the in-breath and releasing or softening the stored tensions on the out-breath.

Body literacy defines and articulates sensory experiences associating back into the body, improving awareness, increased resilience and providing stress reduction.

Integration of interoceptive experiences into greater self understanding improves daily life, well being, self care, body connection, social connections and embodiment of emotional regulation. With practice insights and shifts in understanding can take place, bringing increased ease of being and greater freedom to access life tasks.

Payne, P., Levine, P. A., & Crane-Godreau, M. A. (2015). “Somatic Experiencing: Using interoception and proprioception as core elements of trauma therapy”: Corrigendum. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, Article 423.

PORGES, S. W. (2011). The polyvagal theory: neurophysiological foundations of emotions, attachment, communication, and self-regulation. New York, W.W. Norton.

Price, C. J., & Hooven, C. (2018). Interoceptive awareness skills for emotion regulation: Theory and approach of mindful awareness in body-oriented therapy (MABT). Frontiers in Psychology, 9, Article 798.

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Neuroception- The Sensation of Trustworthiness or Threat

The Polyvagal theory of neuroception from Stephen Porges, states that the subconscious system for detecting whether situations or people are safe and trustworthy or threatening, occurs without conscious awareness. Neuroception takes place in the primitive portions of the brain and is directly linked to your social ability to interact. This system is non-cognitive and immediate and begins a neurophysiological sequence that can either lead to flight or ease. The brain assesses the environment and initiates an adaptive survival response. That it is biologically impossible for humans to simultaneously self protect and also to socially connect. These subconscious evaluations are based on the brain detecting features from others such as body and facial expressions. Non-verbal communications reveal the state of another persons mind. Vocalizations of pitch or intonation contribute to our sense of safety or insecurity. Facial expressions, eye gaze, blinking and widening of the eyes, all regulate whether to approach positive or withdraw negative. All these decisions bypass conscious processing, allowing for immediate reactions to fearful stimuli. Increasing your interoceptive awareness of emotion will assist you with lessening suppression and disassociation of your inner emotional truths. Helping you to increasingly come to realize and be conscious of your state of security or defensiveness. When you are around a safe person, your nervous systems guard is interrupted. Your shield or barrier drops and your authenticity naturally increases. When a person is threatening or provides a feeling of contempt, you have a sense of being walled off, fabricating emotions and an overall air of feeling disingenuous. This increases your fears of lacking, self consciousness and increases the suppression of your truth and needs, draining your resources. A friend or loved one that brings out your authenticity feels sincere. They provide inspiration, a deep sense of satiating gratitude and an overflowing cup. Reciprocal kindness and wealth of giving is fulfilling and restorative. The joy of sharing and being immersed in loving presence creates ease and makes the heart happy. Comforting relief from the everyday stressors of life is provided and preservation of emotional resources is a result. Sharing honesty and not having the sensation of needing to hide your self or embellish is a great benefit. Time spent in these relationships creates a safe space for growth and freedom from constrictions. You can truly be yourself and your heart can rest. Your ruminations and worry subside and your belly is no longer uneasy. The body tension is released and the need to strain to keep the peace and ease artificially is eliminated. Kindness can coalesce and cruelty will dwindle without your supply of attention and energy. To increase attunment and body literacy, practicing calming to your system is vital. Breathing and listening deeply to your interocepitve emotional truth increases your ability to become aware of your history of suppressing or numbing your inner sensations and needs. This practice overtime, develops your awareness and capacity of identifying internal body signals, cues or messages prior to feeling overwhelmed or burned out. Grounding strategies of heavy work can be a great benefit for preparation of the body to decrease overall built up tension and forceful repetitive thinking. Rhythmic movement such as nature walking is another calming tool, especially for individuals with a constant sense to keep moving to avoid difficult inner emotional frictions. Deep breathing in through the nose and deep exhalations out through the mouth are a recommendation for expelling long held tension and constrictions. Move toward the truth of your heart and begin with listening deeply to the positive sensations that reside within the body. Define and articulate with positive language to describe the sensations with as much detail as possible. Embodiment of the sensations of these positive experiences provides a sense of wholeness. Open the space for your positive and loving relationships to flourish. Decrease as much as possible the environments that were using up all of your energy, resources and emotions without a reflection or reciprocation of loving kindness and positive regard. Move toward thriving and freedom, joy and liberation. Love your life and unlock your peace, you have the keys. They are simply your increasing awareness of emotional authenticity and autonomy. This has immeasurable value for you and your true loves, well-being and ease. It improves your health and longevity, your ability to have rewarding social connections and deeper awareness and insights into understanding the great wealth of sharing your kind and loving hearts.

The Alchemy of the Broken

God resides below. A cold and broken angel without wings. Flight stolen, eyes so dim. A knowing lost, a heart gone so dark. How to proceed with all hope and grace lost? Take a breath, stand up, keep your noble face. Courage is a word not quite suited or enough for this tormented place! To have no option, but to touch the abyss and enter in to it. Brought a flash of glory untold in the lore as I have learned it. The depths are a cruelty, I am uncertain of why it is a truth? The contrast of peace is my only worthy measure, the beauty from the ashes is divine and so wordless. A decimated body, a soul left with only questions? The answers are my mission, I’ll leave no door closed, no book left unopened. My seeking lead me down an unseen and stony road. To say I would have agreed to such brutality, I reflect upon further and believe it is without any question and nothing but a certainty! I take nothing off the table, to ensure a moment of ease to share forward. I am intolerant of pain and the loss that it causes. Peace is a given, the keys are within. You are beautiful and your birthright is freedom. To let go and let be, is a treasure you have stored. Close your eyes and empty the body, you will not fall. Divine hands are your guardian to bring mercy and carry your burden. A stripped down warrior, no shield or armor. The only weapon was deep listening to a silent rhythm from the depths so hidden. Fusion of the shattered pieces, the alchemy of the broken. A creation from shards, into a loving vision unspoken. Limitless and undaunted, to reach the summit over and over again. To imagine an opponent or barrier now, leaves little images or options left open? From a hearts devastation, to a wholeness just taking it’s first flight. Learning again, to soar above the old fight. The wreckage, a sense of in-pieces. My future is uncharted, the restoration is choiceless. The deeper knowing of my courage and inability to give in and back down. An eternal will, a test of the heart. To always remain powerful and hold my own. I don’t view horizontal, I see the sky without any limits. I will always find my way, I have overcome hiding from challenges. Grief has been my grail, the pain my purpose. The suffering is my source and longing my living. Even when hate snuffed my inner candle, I remained steady and kept my word to fulfill this million year soul mission.

The Sovereignty of Your True Nature

To reside within your true nature is the gate to loving freedom and living a meaningful and satiating life. It’s to contain emotional sovereignty from the constant difficult repetition of the grinding egoic thinking mind. To be resting in awareness and clarity with a deeper sense of ease and peace. With the practices of mindfulness and meditation, we learn to breathe and to embody silence and stillness. To take the time to deeply listen to the interoceptive emotional messages and signals within the body. To quell the nervous system from the continual movement and stressful pull towards never enough. To spend time in an easeful space, where there is a sense of calm, peace and having less strife. A balanced sensation away from the tension to deplete yourself of emotional energy beyond your bodies limits. This unencumbered place of freedom is where you find your true passions. A wider knowing and ability to hear your intuition and insights. A fountain of inspiration full of loving presence, potency and prosperity. The contrast is the familiar sensation of being over involved in old conditioned habits, the energy of being driven by fears or distressful thinking. The coping mechanism of survival and reactivity that we have utilized since childhood to strain ever forward, with little sense of satiation. When utilizing the familiar thinking habits there is a relentless sense of rushing, racing and uneasiness to get to a constantly moving finish line. The tension within the core of the body of frenetic stress, that is depleting and draining. A dwindling mechanism that overtime taxes the body and creates stress illness, decreased longevity, quality of life and well being. When we are in our ruminating mind we feel foggy and our experience can get into a whirl. This leaves little room for decision making and efficiency of planning. The practices of getting to know your true nature are restorative and improve accuracy and efficiency. They are preservative and potent and give a sense of being in the flow of occupation or the zone of clarity. There is a slowing of the pace and a realization that the body has been required to move at a much faster rate than feels natural, manageable or sustainable. Mindful breathing is the anchor and the always accessible gate to stillness and silence. You can practice mindful occupations including slow and accurate movements when completing daily tasks of washing dishes, folding laundry or anything that requires repetition of movement. To have a realization that you often contain a tension in the body to rush through your tasks, which then increases the desire to procrastinate and avoid, further draining your time and resources. To shift into the breath and look deeply at the textures and colors of the objects. To listen and feel the messages from the body, while in the flow of occupation. This practice can be valuable when participating in eating as well. Eating should be a time of rest and restoration. A gathering of family after completing the collective challenges of the day. To rush through the meal is to miss the opportunity to savor the rewards of your time spent. To look at the colors and textures of the food, to take in the smell and taste deeply. To listen to the other members of the family sharing the highlights of the successes and difficulties of their day. To possibly begin with a calming and orienting task of waiting for one another to share an experience of what they feel grateful for. A restorative space of deeper listening and looking, to take your loved ones in and to savor their beauty and unique gifts for a moment. To make the shared time experiential and to embody the meaning of why you all are privileged to share life with one another. These restorative strategies can be utilized during any purposeful occupation, including gardening, nature walking, crafting, movement tasks, pet therapy, cooking or baking, music listening or dancing. It is an immersion and embodiment of the current task with a deeper sense of purpose and the benefit of seeing it from a more refined and clear perspective. Away from the cloudy, strain of stress and race to get through everything, only to find yourself in a pattern of rushing on to the next and never truly pausing to enjoy even the most powerful of life’s moments. The practices of training the mind and body away from reactivity and towards liberation begins with small and frequent windows of time re-patterning the mind to stop, breathe, listen and take it all in. To have the increasing awareness that you have been lost in the ruminating thinking mind and time has passed without much realization. Over time you will begin to have an ever expanding sense of lightness and feel more safe and centered. Life’s simpler moments then come to contain a grand and noble sense. You will feel drawn by your inner voice that has been excavated to participate in your true purpose. Loving kindness and desire to serve is a natural overflow from being in this state of true nature and divine presence. To enter into the true self or the witness that has always been unchanged by time or experience. A space of having no argument with what is, no matter the level of difficulty. The lessening of the constant existential friction that is driven by evolution and survival, but steals autonomy and freedom. A decrease in the habit energy of repetitive thoughts without a drop of change in the outcomes. The deep sense of relief and a beautiful emptiness away from the massive burden of life’s demands. A sense of being resilient and containing the power to ever increasingly take on life’s challenges with greater courage and willingness to tolerate the resistance and to leap forward. To be more capable of overcoming again and again. To a build a deep sense of autonomy away from the feeling of once being adrift and just reacting to what ever came your way. A great well of emotional resilience and bravery. A potent realization of the pain you have endured and the great satisfaction of knowing you are a mountain of strength. The abundant place to get to know your true self, unencumbered by coping mechanisms. A deepening sense of autonomy and authenticity and true meaning. A place of truth about your unique gifts and gift of heart given to you by your birth. A well of inspiration to draw from that has been uncovered and accessible with every passing moment spent breathing and listening to your own song. A requirement for living your truth and then sharing this experience with your children and family. The most meaningful and purposeful occupation in life is to find and live within your true nature. To have emotional sovereignty and to share your own voice and gifts with your loves. This is the biggest skill to provide to your children, to teach them to always listen deeply to their truth and to lessen the external pull from the world that is a constant source of egoic strain and contains no true satiating wealth. Ease of being and residing within your true nature is powerful medicine and I believe is the source from which we will collectively restructure, heal and preserve ourselves and our home on this rare and beautiful Earth.