How to Reclaim the Power to Write Our Life Story from Love not Fear.
Updated: Aug 5, 2021
Update: Blog relevant beyond 2020. Information shared in this blog is relevant always when we find ourselves guided by fear rather than love. Read on to find out how to reclaim the power to live a meaningful life from a place of true love.
2020 is a year of heart. 2020 is a year 4 according to numerology. 4 is associated with Heart Chakra. Therefore 2020 is a year of embracing the wisdom of Heart Chakra, healing our hearts and stepping into life lived from a place of true love and compassion. When we look at our physical body, we notice that our heart center is also a space where our lungs reside. Lungs are in fact affected by the state of the Heart Chakra. According to a Daoist view, which Traditional Chinese Medicine is rooted in, lungs are associated with the emotion of grief and sadness. I find it fascinating that the pandemic that put the world into a halt in 2020 attacks lungs...
Illustration: Anna Ryan (Moonoroo)
Unprocessed grief can have a negative impact on our lungs and therefore the ability to live fully.
A shallow breath is not very energizing, actually it’s not very nourishing at all. Notice what happens to the posture and the way we breathe when we feel sad. The posture tends to close in, limiting our ability to breathe. The shallow breathing activates the sympathetic nervous system, the “fight, flight or freeze” response, contributing to increased stress level. When we are stressed, we breathe fast and shallow and we are stuck in a vicious circle. On the other hand, a full and deep breath relaxes the body and ushers in a plethora of new air, that literally is our life force. When we inhale, we nourish our body with oxygen. With every exhale, we flush out carbon dioxide, removing the old and stale, to make space for the next influx of fresh, life giving air.
The quality of our breathing determines not only how we feel, but also how much of the old we can eliminate, so the new oxygen/life force/energy/potential can come in.
The breathing also helps us to connect with our body. Focusing on our breath we can anchor our awareness in our body. Breathing makes us present and centered in our body. Being fully present and embodied assists us in experiencing life more fully. Our body is our portal. Our body is the vessel that allows us to sense the world around and within us. Through the body we feel, smell, hear, see and taste. Hence it is important to be in our body, rather than just in our mind surrounded by not always supportive thoughts.
The fuller we breathe, the more relaxed we become, as well as more present to experience our life with all our senses. It can be intoxicating.
Our capacity to breathe fully and deeply helps us to open ourselves up. Quite literally, as we cannot take deep breaths with a collapsed chest and rounded shoulders. Changing our posture to accommodate and improve the act of respiration, helps us to change our consciousness. Our body posture becomes open. By opening our chest to allow ourselves to take more air in, we unconsciously allow ourselves to take more space in life. We start to stand tall and confident. We give ourselves permission to live more fully. We give ourselves permission to have dreams and desires, and very importantly, open ourselves up to receive our desired reality with all the joy, fulfillment and abundance we dream of. And it all begins with changing our body posture to invite more air in.
The way we carry our physical body reflects and affects the way we carry ourselves in life.
However, there is a shadow side to the story. The intoxication can have a bittersweet flavor. By allowing more air in and opening ourselves up, we may start to get in touch with unwelcome memories buried deep in the cells of our body. And not just memories, in a form of dry facts, but rather the emotional imprints of our life’s experiences. And it can be unpleasant at times. As with breathing, in order for the new, oxygenated and nourishing air to be able to come in, the old, toxic one has to be removed, the same is true for our experience of life; we need to get rid of the emotional imprints that are no longer relevant and may be even sabotaging us, to make space for the new ones. Before the old is exhaled, it has to be processed. This is why we always feel sluggish at first when on a detox diet. When all the crap is being dislodged from our cells, it weighs us down and makes us feel sick. There’s an image that comes to mind when I think about it. I see a stirred up pond with the mud spread throughout the water. All messy and murky. However, given time, the mud settles and the water gets clear again. In the same way, if we stay with the detox process, the body will be able to handle the mess and as a result, we will be able to enjoy the benefits of the detox, feel healthier and lighter. Plus the mess will not just settle, but will actually get eliminated from our body. Similar things happen with our memories and emotions attached to them. If we can sit and witness with love and compassion the rise of emotion triggered by a particular memory, the emotion will get discharged. Emotion is energy in motion. Emotions don’t have meaning, we attach the meaning to them. If an unprocessed emotion is trapped in our body, every time we experience a situation that resembles the memory associated with the emotion, the emotion gets triggered. And rather than responding to the situation at hand, we often unknowingly react from our emotional body. We react from the place of our memory, not our current state. Once we are able to process the emotions associated with a particular life event, we can look at the event in a different way. We can’t go back in time and erase things that happened to us. Trying to suppress them is not a solution either, as the memory is likely to be triggered in the most unexpected way and moment, bringing up the emotional reaction associated with it. The only way to release the emotional charge of the memory is by allowing it to come up and be experienced in a safe and supportive space. As it may not be an easy process, we may need the support of a trusted person or a professional. However, in giving ourselves the permission to feel without judgment and witness with curiosity all the emotions we may have suppressed, we create environments for the transformation to take place.
Once we feel it, we can heal it.
And from that space we can give new meaning to our life events. We can see them in a new light and from a new perspective that makes more sense and supports our life story. This process is something that in Jungian psychology is called shadow work. The shadow in this case would be the suppressed emotion that could not only be limiting the expression of our potential, but also backfire by being triggered in them most ill-suited moment and wreck havoc in our life. However, an integrated shadow becomes part of our light and supports our life story.
I feel like the way we are being invited to heal our hearts in 2020 is by being presented with situations that trigger painful emotions, situations that make us face our shadows.
If we can offer ourselves the time and space to consciously connect with the emotions (shadows) and dig deeper into why we have a particular emotional response, we can find a greater level of self awareness that can lead to profound transformation and liberation. If not so much personally, on a collective level we are faced with lots of change, loss and uncertainty, that unconsciously affects everyone. When there is change, there is loss. Loss of the old, the familiar. When things change, we need to take time to mourn the loss.
A processed grief will no longer have an adverse affect on our lungs, which we need in particularly good shape in case of coronavirus infection. Also, it will enable us to see and appreciate beauty, which is hard, when we grieve or are feeling sad.
The connection this year to the healing of our trauma through giving space (hello lockdowns!) to grieve all the loss, hurt and change to ultimately return to love is simply mind blowing. When we process grief, we start to notice beauty. When we notice beauty, our heart opens. The sacred sound for the Heart Chakra is YAM (pronounced the same way as yum). Our heart expands when we can see and enjoy all the beauty and yummyness the world has on offer. What I also find interesting is that from the Daoist point of view, the ability to notice beauty helps to strengthen our Lungs. Similar thing happens with our heart. A strong heart is able to feel love more easily, but also a feeling of love can strengthen the heart. On the other hand, a weak heart makes us feel more fearful… and there’s a lot of fear going around the word at the moment.
So we need to be super aware of what we are feeding our mind and heart with. We can focus on love that will fuel our heart or we can give into fear that will weaken our heart. Whatever we do, it will be reinforced, either by sustaining or depleting us.
We can only enjoy life fully, when we live with an open heart, from a place of love. I believe that in 2020 we are being asked to trust in the wisdom of our heart. Its strength comes from being open and vulnerable despite the risk of failure or being wounded. The strength comes from the recognition that the heart in fact cannot be hurt. Anahata is Sanskrit for Heart Chakra and translates as unstruck. Our heart in its essence is unstruck. We may suffer and feel heart-broken, but with true love, forgiveness and trust, we will get over it. We are being asked to be courageous and vulnerable, and meet the fear and sadness with understanding, love and compassion. This is the way we heal. By embracing love. By embracing ourselves and our life with all its experience with love, kindness and gentleness. The same way we would embrace a dear one going through a difficult time.
I once heard that difficulties are gifts wrapped in strange wrapping paper. We have the choice in how we view life.
We can be victims or victors. All the archetypes, all principles, personality traits and characteristics are within us, within our psyche and it’s up to us to choose who we want to be, which aspect we want to enact.
I think that the time has come to both realise and reclaim this power. It’s time to become aware, step into our potential and consciously write our life story. Life story that will nurture, nourish and sustain us. Life story written from a place of love, compassion and trust in the wisdom of our heart.