Today I hit my breaking point.
I've been bumping up against so many unmet needs recently. This process of confronting all my holes and emptiness intensified today. All the places in me where I feel empty. Places within where I don't feel nourished. These many places of malnourishment. The places in me that can't seem to get what they really need. This shows up as dissatisfaction, disappointment and loneliness. It is the part of me that feels separate from others and resists the nourishment it actually yearns for.
I took an unconscious, silent vow a long time ago. This vow has meant that I must stay in the role of giving and support. Support for my family and their needs; to be the caretaker in the tribe. I took this vow as a child in order to get certain needs met, to survive. I learned the duty of giving, yet I now lack the skill of asking for what I need, and the ability to fully receive.
Receiving is vulnerable territory.
I wasn't taught how to be in the role of receiving or how to ask for my needs to be met. As a result, many needs continue to go unmet. The malnourishment continues to emerge and the fear of being vulnerable enough to ask for what I really need, feels overwhelming.
My mother was a powerful giver.
She affirmed her love in extraordinary ways to me- daily. She showed up for me, spoke words of love and affirmation continually and constantly reminded me that I was loved and cherished, that I was a special part of this universe. Since her sudden passing several years ago, this void within me has deepened. It has felt impossible to fill my daily love quotient. So I have just about given up.
But these needs have not gone away. In fact, they are now starting to get louder. The emptiness is starting to be more forceful with me these days.
The painful emotions emerging recently have been helping me identify what it is that I truly need. There are many needs.
But today, I identified the biggest need right now: hearing words of affirmation; knowing that others see me and honor me for who I am, how I am. Part of me is still too terrified to really ask for these needs to be met in my intimate relationships. Part of me is still too afraid of being this vulnerable.
So I took these needs and these emotions with me on my evening walk. I tapped (EFT) on the pain- speaking aloud the story and the feelings, the emptiness, the vulnerability, the lack. I started to move these heavy emotions and the old stories; the wounding of always being in the support role and how uncomfortable it feels to fully receive. I tapped out this old story of my vow, my duty, to care take others and the weight of this responsibility.
On the other side of this story and these emotions, I found an opening.
I decided I needed to created a new practice. A practice to honor my needs and to actually practice how to express these needs. A way to actually practice how to ask for my needs to be met.
I invite you to join me in this practice of asking for your needs to be met.
It's a simple practice, but one that takes courage.
Every day check in with your inner landscape. Start with a four level check in. Notice what's arriving on the four levels of your being. Pay close attention to the emotional body.
If you've been following along with my posts the past few weeks, I've been sharing resources specifically for the emotional body. By now you've heard me say that the emotional body helps us get our needs met. Why?! Because underneath the emotion you are feeling is in fact a need. A need that is either being met- or not being met. Your job is to ask and inquire about the underlying need. What is the need underneath the emotion?
Identify what you need and find your words. For example say: "I need to hear that I matter." or "I need to hear that I'm cherished, loved and supported." Today, I actually needed to hear that "life is going to turn out OK." Stick to the statement "I need" for now.
Be as specific as you can. This is part of the practice. Identifying exactly what your need is. Notice how you want this need to be met- verbally, with an action, with presence, etc.
Vocalize what you need. The next step is to practice sharing your need with at least five close family or friends. People that you trust and feel safe with. Ask them exactly what you need and how you need them to show up for you. I encourage you to practice this daily. Check in with what you need, identify how you need this to be met, then practice expressing this need to others.
Pay close attention to the tone of your words as you speak your needs. Make sure you are asking from a place of loving kindness. You can also practice texting or emailing your needs to others.
Receive. The last piece is to receive the nourishment arriving. Allow yourself to be fed. When someone responds to your request with affirmation, presence or an action, allow yourself to receive it. How does it feel when your need is honored, when it is met? Where do you feel this in your body? Drop into the receptive and do so consciously. This is practice for arriving in receiving. A process of eating and digesting the nourishment of life.
I started this practice tonight. After receiving many offerings of love and gratitude, verbal nourishment, I feel full. My heart feels softer, gentler, more accepting and willing to surrender to life.
I will be continuing this practice of receiving. Let's practice together!
Share your experiences with me below. Remember when you share a comment here, you are connecting directly with me.
In love gratitude for your whole being,
I'll be sharing more resources in the coming days for those of you, like me, who are navigating the grief process- a lifelong journey of deepening your emotional body wisdom. Look for more resources, guidance and support coming in the next few weeks to support you with your healing and transformation through loss. I'll also be sharing a special offering for those of you dedicated to your spiritual awakening through grief. Follow Along
Perhaps the easiest- yet the most challenging- Self Care resource available, is the ambiguous, Drop It.
That's my way of saying, do you know when to let go? More importantly, do you know how to listen to your body's messages in order to hear when it needs you to stop, slow down or change your course of action?
The body is always giving us vital messages, yet the majority of the time we are not listening to them.
Can you hear your body talking to you?
As I consistently share with my clients, the four level check-in is really step number one. Make this your practice daily and get in a habit of taking the time and creating the space, to hear your body's messages.
When do you slow down or stop?
Do you wait until you are sick and you are forced to be in bed for two or more days? Do you wait until you are dragging and have no choice but to stop?
Do you let the mental body ramp up to anxiety level before you notice the red flags? Or perhaps you wait until full blown depression has settled in before you start to listen?
These are messages that one of the four levels of your being is yelling at you!
Here are some clues that you have pushed passed your vital messaging systems:
Physical Body: Aches and pains, fatigue or exhaustion, broken bones or limbs, nausea or vomiting, cravings, serious health diseases or disorders.
Emotional Body: Depression, malaise, anger and rage, anxiety, frozen or numbness, intense or amplified emotion of any kind.
Mental Body: Anxiety, worry, fear, over-active mind, heightened critic, any intense or amplified thoughts, stories or images.
Spiritual: Disconnect, inability to resource or find a connection to spirit.
Often we wait until we are having a huge physical, mental, emotional or spiritual challenge- or even crisis- before we really start to listen. But it doesn't have to be this way!
If often tell my clients- it's not a problem until it's a problem! Usually the problem is what forces us to change. However, what if we noticed the "problems" in the moment when they arrive? What if we were so good at tracking our internal responses that we could shift, re-direct or drop it right then and there?! I believe that's possible with awareness and is the key to prevention.
With daily and weekly self tracking and the internal harvesting of our needs, we can begin to make adjustments in our actions and choices. This is Self Care in action! Art, embodiment and somatic resources can help us do an internal audit- in very concrete and tangible ways. These resources help us deepen our listening skills and our ability to hear what the body's messages are.
Use this five step process to help you identify what your needs are:
Do a Four level check-in. Track the messages within on each level. Write them down in your journal if that helps you remember them.
Identify the loudest body. Is it your mental, emotional, physical or spiritual body? Which one has the loudest voice or is the most amplified? (You might also want to notice which one has the softest voice as well).
Let yourself enter a dialogue with the loudest body. (You can also do this with the quietest body as well). Go a bit deeper and see if you can track any more information. What does it have to share with you?
Then ask this body to answer these questions:
Pay special attention to what this body says it needs. The need is often connected to getting more nourishment or greater support on some level. How might you be able to meet the needs of this part of your body? What has to be shifted, changed or even dropped in order to give this part of your body what it needs? Are you resistant to doing so or are you open to asking for support and solutions?
Take the necessary action steps to get what you need. Often this requires change on some level of our life. Are we willing to make the necessary changes? Remember, this is truly a radical self care process. It's like a muscle that strengthens with flexing. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
Listen deeply to what your inner bodies are telling you. Resource from within. Then make adjustments or changes where necessary. Can you let go- in order to find deeper nourishment? What do you need to drop in order to lighten your load?
Use this alternative tracking process for deeper listening and healing + a podcast to walk you through the process.
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