What Patterns Keep You Awake At Night?

BeautifulBrain02
BeautifulBrain02

My 11-year-old son Ian doesn’t speak and with my husband and younger son out for the evening, a quiet peaceful state spread through the house. I settled in to read a book I’ve wanted to read for oh, about a year! The fireplace radiated delicious warmth on a freezing cold December night.

Ian sat down on the couch next to me and his sweet little hand pushed my book away several times until I put it down and gave him my full attention.

“What do you want Love?” I asked.

He looked at me and said (not with actual words) "Thanks, that's all I want, for you to be here with me." 

We sat together for a few minutes. My hand rested on his chest over his heart and he gazed at me with his big green eyes, open and present saying, “There you are, I see you.”

He relaxed and sank lower into the couch with his head resting on one of end and I started to feel sleepy. I decided to lay down too with my head on the opposite side facing him. He’s now over five feet tall and it’s not a huge couch so it took a few minutes with our legs stretched out to find a comfortable position. Once comfortable we dropped into a deep, peaceful state.

I listened and became more aware of all my senses. His breathing slowed down. I observed his angelic face, with his almond shaped eyes closed, resting peacefully; his little turned up nose that he uses to express his affection by touching his nose to yours. I heard high-pitched hum in my ears (that wasn't the refrigerator) and noticed where my body ended and his began.

Then at some point I lost the sensation of my body, the couch, his legs and it felt as if everything melted and dissolved. It was a sensation of oneness and several times I felt an electrical buzzing sensation that’s hard to describe. It felt like a surge of energy and when the sensation would pass, Ian would take a big breath and let out a sigh then return to slow, rhythmic breathing. The stillness expanded out everywhere. Nowhere else existed in that moment of peace.

I had no idea how much time passed in this deep meditative state when Ian shifted into an awake state and sat up, then stood up and I felt he wanted something. He looked at me and in my head I heard, “I need to use the toilet.”

I walked with him and helped him sit down and for the first time, when he began to pee he looked down at the water as if to make the connection that his body was making that sound in the water. He stopped and looked at me. Then started again and looked down to check it out again. I’d never seen him look down to see what was happening.

For the past year, I have asked Ian to show me the way he experiences the world around him. For many years, I’ve also been inviting him to join me in this world of physical density, people and movement and have promised to support his journey to feel comfortable and safe in his body.

When I chose to put my book down and connect with the present moment, he was right there with me ready to show me his experience. It felt like connecting with Ian in his world (the unseen) created a connection for him in this world (the seen) and we were creating new energetic patterns of connection together. Wise teacher, he is. My little Yoda.

What is an energetic pattern?

Energetic patterns form the foundation of our relationships with the world. We live and express ourselves in patterns. You will find patterns in your thought, feelings, beliefs, behaviors and actions. A pattern is the energetic expression that informs the way you show up and communicate with the world around you on a non-verbal level.

From the moment you entered this world, you are conditioned through what you repeatedly observe and experience. As you experience different events and conditions in your life, you make choices and take action based on your perceptions and interpretations and what you make an event or circumstance mean.

Why might this be interesting?

When you’re suffering and hurting, of course make appropriate efforts to improve the situation and consider this may be a sign you’re cycling in a pattern. A common response when in pain is to point fingers at the external world to find someone or something else to blame, which creates issues in relationships and makes it hard to identify the pattern and take action.

You may spend many cycles in a pattern before you notice and it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. You likely haven’t discovered the pattern yet. Without labels of good or bad, right or wrong, fixed or broken, perfect or not, there is no judgment, only observation, exploration, connection, honesty, integration and peace.

What I’ve learned about patterns is they will hang out playing their role waiting for you to notice them. And once you identify a pattern that creates disharmony and discomfort, the nice thing is if you choose to, you have the ability to actively create new patterns.

Example of one of my old patterns

The condition: Ian does not use verbal language. Thought pattern, what I made it mean: We didn’t have a meaningful way to communicate because my patterning included a heavy emphasis on verbal language for communication. Emotional pattern, my feeling state: sad, frustrated, confused Behavior pattern:  Exhaustive, focused search for answers and solutions to fix him. Not being present with him and missing what was right in front of me; my beautiful son wanting to connect and communicate.

Then in 2009, I began working with horses and explored the world of non-verbal communication. I learned that only 10% of what we communicate is through verbal language with the other 90%, non-verbal.I focused so much attention on him talking that I missed the other channels he used all the time. Not anymore.

What I’ve discovered is he’s always communicating and when I tune in to listen with all of my senses, I “hear” what he’s expressing. Would it be great if one day he started talking? You bet! I would celebrate in a big way. And if he never speaks, I’m grateful for the expanded awareness of what’s available for all of us.

New thought pattern: There are so many ways to explore with communication and listening beyond words. New emotional pattern: Curious, playful, joyful New behavior pattern: Relaxed, slower pace, present, engaged, kinder and patient with myself.

A way to create a new pattern

  • Set the intention to be a pattern explorer.
  • Get curious. Life is a big, giant relationship and once you start exploring you will discover patterns everywhere.
  • Identify any pattern that creates discomfort or where you feel stuck.
  • Explore the origin of the pattern. See if you can identify a thought pattern.
  • Use The Work on the thought and if you don't find the thought, move to emotion.
  • Observe and be with whatever emotion comes up without trying to stop it, change it or fix it.
  • Allow the emotion to move through you. Imagine the sensation moving through your body and out valves at your fingertips and toes.
  • Explore what new pattern wants to be created and integrated. Ask yourself “What do I want.”
  • Define a practice to integrate the new pattern.

Some resources for you

Neuroscience shows that you can consciously use the mind to re-pattern the brain. Dr. Rick Hanson wrote the book “Hardwiring Happiness” that goes into great detail about this and he makes it very easy to understand. He shows how to use your mind to rewire your brain and create new neural pathways. You create new neural pathways, you feel differently, your energetic pattern shifts and you express yourself differently. Very cool material!

For the areas where you feel stuck in your thought patterns, The Work of Byron Katie is my favorite tool to get unstuck and her book, “Loving What Is” goes into great detail how to use her method.

For stuck emotional patterns, I recommend exploring "The Presence Process" by Michael Brown. It’s a 10-week process that supports emotional and energetic re-patterning. I also like Karla McLaren’s book, “Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You” as a reference guide to understanding the messages from your emotions.

If you have a child with autism, I highly recommend exploring the work of neuro-psychologist, Dr. Svetlana Masgutova. Fundamental to the MNRI (Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration) Method is the understanding that automatic primary motor reflex patterns do not disappear, they integrate. Her method focuses on re-patterning primary motor reflex patterns which serve as the foundation for motor and cognitive development.

What I share with you comes from my own personal journey exploring and integrating new patterns. At times when my journey gets challenging, I reach out and ask for support. If you're struggling and feel stuck, I encourage you reach out and ask for support. And if you're willing, please share your perspective and experience with patterns in the comments below.

With love, Your fellow pattern explorer

Proof of Heaven

I recently had the opportunity to hear Dr. Eben Alexander share the extraordinary story of his near death experience at Sofia University in Palo Alto. He spent 7 days in a coma and wrote about what he experienced in his best-selling book, “Proof of Heaven.” It is an amazing, compelling story of consciousness and healing that resonates with many as it has been on the NY Times Bestseller List since the first week of it’s release. I highly recommend it.

SOUL SCHOOL

Eben used the term Soul School to describe the human experience. I LOVE this! We ask to be here to learn, practice, integrate, play and experience love and joy in our physical bodies…to live “in joy.”

As Eben spoke, my body responded in the space of being. It laughed and smiled. It sat in wonder. My hand reached out to hold the hand of a friend. My body leaned forward to catch the eye of my husband. A constant buzzing sensation moved through me.

Vibration.

Beingness.

Love.

Soul School is so very cool.

If you’ve been taking a heavy course load in Soul School, this past year was likely packed full of challenges and the feelings and emotions to go with it. What Eben shared, and I completely agree, is that we learn the lessons in this life by feeling them. We entered our bodies to feel and we feel in the present moment. As a collective, we are ready to listen and connect with our hearts to reach higher levels of consciousness.

Some emotions for many of us feel painful and scary and we use patterns of control and suppression as a method of protection. This sets us up like a pressure cooker. The emotions under pressure eventually get expressed with a hiss, moan and screech igniting reaction and that just gets messy.

If you’re done with the mess, I offer below a different way to feel emotion that I learned from Dr. Rick Hanson and the intention for this practice is to provide a method to respond rather than react to emotions that come up in any given moment. You do this by feeling them move through your body rather than act them out or react to the emotion.

PRACTICE TO FEEL EMOTIONS: GET STILL AND FEEL

1. Settle into a comfortable meditation posture. Sitting or lying down, whatever is most comfortable.

2. Breathe normally and bring your attention to your emotions and ask yourself “What am I feeling?” Answer may be “I am ….(fill in whatever emotion comes up)” Stay just with the emotion and don’t go into the why and the reasons.

3. Find the emotion somatically. Once you detect an emotion, see if you can find its expression in your body. Maybe there is a feeling of tension, gripping, tightening, burning, twisting, throbbing, pressure, lightness, openness, etc. Notice the physical sensations in your body. Example: I feel a tightness in my belly that is uncomfortable, the tightness has a burning sensation, there is heat and I notice my heart beating faster and my breath is shallow like I can’t get a full breath and my lungs feel a squeezing sensation.

4. The cause of the emotion is irrelevant. The practice is to feel the physical expression of the emotion as completely as possible. Each time you detect an emotional body sensation, try to feel the sensation as completely as possible.

5. With each breath, now consciously breathe space into the areas of your body where you feel the sensations.

6. Let go of any ideas you have about why the emotion is arising. Return to the body sensation and feel the sensations that come up in your body without judgment. Continue until you feel the body sensation dimming.

Meditating on emotions is a traditional part of Vipassana practice in Buddhism. Rick Hanson references the above practice by American Buddhist teacher Shinzen Young.

If you try the steps above, I invite you to please share what you notice in the comments. Or if you have another method that works for you, please share in the comments too. I love learning from you.

Peace, Diane

Presence: Where Your Souls Wants to Play

Every moment. Awareness.

Being.

Feeling.

With you at all times. Ready to be felt, seen, heard, experienced, lived.

I'd like to share with you an experience with presence that includes a snake.

A couple weeks ago while out on a trail run, I intentionally practiced being present. I noticed the sights and sounds all around me. I frequently reminded myself, this moment matters. Then a few moments later, I came across the "matter" of a rattle snake!

I had heard rattle snakes graced the local foothills though I had never encountered one personally. This beautiful creature was about 4 feet in length and stretched halfway across the trail with about 3 feet of space on either side. I decided it wasn’t a good idea to try to get past her, so I squatted down low to the ground to just be with the snake.

I was fascinated and awed by the way she moved. Watching her filled me with wonder. As she slowly turned her body around and gently meandered into the bushes with no sense of urgency, I stood up and walked passed. There was nothing to fear.

Had I not been practicing presence I may have completely missed her on the trail and come right upon her perhaps stepping on her putting both of us in a good deal of danger.

The lesson I learned from this experience was presence is where life happens. When my mind veers off to review the past or to daydream or worry about the future, I completely miss what is right in front of me; in this case a beautiful rattle snake sunning herself in the warmth of the sun.

When I returned home, I looked up the meaning of the rattle snake as a totem animal and found this message.

In many cultures, the snake animal meaning is revered as a powerful totem representing the source of life.  When the snake spirit animal appears in your life it likely means change, important transitions, and increased energy are manifesting.  Snake energy is the energy of wholeness, consciousness and the ability to experience anything willingly and without resistance.  It is the knowledge that all things are equal in creation.

That fired me up. What a cool message to receive on an afternoon run.

I'll take the message a step further. All things are connected through the web of consciousness. I'll write more about that in the next post.

I would love to hear in the comments what messages you’ve received from your experiences with nature, animals, your fellow human beings, your body or whatever teacher has crossed your path to provide matter for your soul.

Playing with matter,

Diane

The Four Technologies of Magic and a Horse Named Max

With Charlie Morley, Martha Beck, Koelle Simpson, & Lisa Tran On December 3rd 2011, I had the opportunity to attend TEDx San Diego The World In Our Grasp to hear Martha Beck and Koelle Simpson share their stories.  

For those of you that know me well, you know how much I love them and value their body of work.

If you're new to my blog, these two ladies have played an integral part in my journey back to love.  They taught me and continue to teach me how to experience life in a loving, peaceful, playful state.

Martha released her latest book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World in December as well.  It's definitely one of my favorites.  Her TEDx talk provides a delicious taste for what you'll find in her new book about the four technologies of magic plus epic story telling.  I love her madly.

If you do not know Koelle or her work, one of the foundational messages she shares is leadership from within, from a place of love and compassion.  She learned this from horses and nature.  In her TEDx talk she shares a moving, powerful story about a horse named Max.

Please enjoy their talks and I'd love to hear your comments so please share below.

Martha Beck's TEDx San Diego Talk - The Four Technologies of Magic

Koelle Simpson's TEDx San Diego Talk - A Horse Named Max

With love, Diane