Resiliency

Do you like riding Roller Coasters?

I admit it – I love roller coasters and I have since I was a kid.  The absolute thrill and adrenaline rush of the momentary uncertainty facing the wild unknown.  The ups and downs combined with speed and curves create the thrills – the unexpected – the screams and the excitement of putting myself into an uncontrollable (yet controlled) environment.

Life has it’s own ups and downs – they are normal.  I often wonder if my adventurous, roller coaster-riding nature was a precursor – a kind of foreboding – preparing me for the reality of a life consumed with uncertainty and twists and turns in the road.

So many times, especially younger, I fought the reality of life trying to manage it all to stay in the higher emotions.  Worked tirelessly to control and avoid the rocky reality of living.  Looking back, I know now that this focussed behaviour ended up stressing me physically and emotionally aggravating my health.

On a great roller coaster there’s always the anticipation and expenctancy of being scared and pushing the adrenaline rush to the edge by choice.  It’s a tactical way to live on the edge in an environment that won’t last forever.  And, in that type of situation, the adrenaline coursing through the body can be corrosive and damaging to your nervous system if it isn’t balanced and dissipated.

Building resiliency in our body, mind and spirit takes practice and a willingness to live consciously in the realities of this life acknowledging all of it, not just the highs.  When you are fighting life’s natural flow, you are actually stimulating a stress response in your body,  making it even more challenging to create optimal health, to find calm or to slow down.

Sitting here today, looking back over the Theme Park of my life, it’s easy to see and assess the roller coaster rides I’ve taken.  In the throws of living day to day, with little awareness, life seemed fair and unfair – sometimes at the same time.  I found myself trying to control situations and relationships to reduce my anxiety and calm the ride from mountains and valleys to rolling hills.  My strategies were often less than optimal and sometimes damaging to myself and my relationships.

When life is stressful and busy, whether we create the scenario or it shows up for us, the Sympathetic Nervous System allows our body to cope and meet life’s demands by increasing our heart rate, raising our blood pressure, dilating the lungs, and preparing us to take action.

As a counter balance, the Parasympathetic Nervous System—via the Vagus Nerve—decreases our heart rate, lowers our blood pressure and allows the body’s energy to focus upon rest, digestion, elimination, and healing.

To build resiliency and opportunity for greater health, we must find ways to build reserves within ourselves to enjoy more of this ride in life.

Here are Some Strategies I use to build resilency in my body and my life:

  1. Spend time Alone. I make sure I can re-charge my batteries with plenty of downtime. This builds my physical, emotional and spiritual resilency.
  2. Do some Yoga (or conscious movement). I practice yoga, stretching, fascial release almost everyday. Be consistent.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of time – just make it a practice.  This can build reserves on all levels of your being.
  3. Dance (or move) to some uplifting music. I put some 80’s music on or anything I’m in the mood for and I dance around to dissipate some energy and feel wonderful from the inside out. This builds physical and emotional resilency for me.
  4. Drink lots of water and non-alcoholic beverages. I drink 2 glasses of lemon water upon waking up and then I drink Fruit & Veggie Smoothies everyday – sometimes more than one to hydrate my body.
  5. Read a good book. I always have 2-5 books on the go so that in the evenings, I can read before bed (limiting the amount of artificial stimulation via screentime or TV).
  6. Practice Gratitude. I have a practice that when I’m driving, when I see an expensive vehicle, I always say to myself what I am grateful for in my life. It helps me immensely in building reserves that I can tap into as I need it.

Face it, life is going to take you on a ride.  You get to choose whether you ‘white knuckle’ your way through holding on for dear life or take some action to build healthy resiliency.  By taking steps forward, you let the ride offer you a broader perspective and the potential for a more expansive life experience.

How do you manage your roller coaster ride in life?  What strategies work for you?

Roller Coaster Ride lover,

Brenda Dowell

Scouring – Cleansing Inside & Out

Scouring – cleansing from the inside out!

I attended a Fascial Stretch Therapy training the end of September.  Part of the focus of this level was to get deep into the joint capsules and scour it to loosen and break up adhesions – to mobilize places that are stuck or rigid.  Little did I know that as an extension of that physical practice, there would be psychological and emotional cleansing to balance out the whole!  How did I miss that?

This year, and particularly the last couple of months – my life and my journey has pushed, pulled, challenged, uplifted, flipped upside down and righted itself many times.  What a wild ride it has been and continues to be.

I work to continually to ride the waves – to find calm in the storms – and to consciously return to what my intentions are & what my heart feels.  I look compassionately (most days) as I go deep to excavate what is limiting me in stepping forward fearlessly and authentically for my soul’s journey.

The scouring of my old ways is both incredibly empowering and it brings me to my knees.  Working with old patterns – old beliefs, & moving through all the built up energy, expectations and rigidity that I’ve lived with surrounding who I am and what is expected of me is humbling.

The adhesions have created a lock down in my ability to flow with life – to let go and trust.  This is seriously challenging work for me and yet I persist.  I know I must in order to be free and live the potential of a more expansive and joyful.

How about you?  Have the shifts in energy this year brought up old ways of being and thinking that limit your life experience?  Are you recognizing some patterns and common outcomes over and over?  Are you ready to scour the inner landscape to find what is holding you back?

Here are some steps to help navigate this terrain that I’ve found helpful:

a) When you feel the rigidity and tightness locking you down, ask yourself what is this? What has triggered you?

b) Where do you feel it in your body?  What’s the sensation

c) Can you be with the discomfort/sensations/pain and let it move through you without stopping the emotion or judging it’s validity?

d) Chat with those you trust.  Ask for honest feedback.  Sit with the revelations to see what stirs.

e) Allow yourself to yell, cry, stomp, move the energy (no harm to yourself or others)

f) Journal, write, draw to continue to process the energy and the excavation

g) Let go of thinking that it is all sunshine & roses or that you’ve done something wrong …. life is messy –get your hands dirty

h) Allow yourself freedom to explore the potential that it can be different – that an alternate possibility can unfold.  (“If you always do what you’ve always done, You will get what you’ve always gotten” Jessie Potter)

i) In this whole process – be kind and loving to yourself as you navigate new territory.

To live authentically, honouring who we are and what we need and want – we need to know ourselves and our patterns (physical and emotional).  We must be willing to work from the inside out to heal the wounds that prevent us from living full out.

We are in this beautiful expansive journey together – is it time to scour the next layer.

Much love & light
Brenda

Fear

Fearless

You have nothing to fear except fear itself…

Very true words in my opinion but extremely challenging to put into practice in everyday life. Is the object of our fear truly what scares us or is it something deeper?

So often in my life, I’ve been afraid to do something, to say something, to just be myself in a situation. I’ve been afraid of failing, afraid of succeeding, afraid to rock the boat and upset someone and simply afraid of the unknown.

Fear is interesting. It can keep you safe or it can paralyze you in life. It can keep you humble or it can slowly kill that wild, wide-eyed curiosity and sense of adventure for all things new within you. Your relationship with this emotion will have a huge impact on your life and on the quality of your life.

This year my summer has had a lot of travel and I’m very grateful. Yet, I was surprised that the thought of traveling solo through the mountains of Alberta and BC really scared me – without a reason. Wow. I’ve always loved adventures and traveling but something was different this time and I didn’t know what.

As I faced each day, I decided to get really curious – wondering about how amazing and adventurous this day could be and what I could see, feel and learn. I breathed into the trepidation to see if it was my intuitive sense warning me or my mind trying to keep me and my life small. As time went on, I trusted myself more and realized it was imagined fear and scenarios that were never real (although they felt real in my body at the time until I sat with them and truly felt them). I came to realize that I was working with old patterns and thoughts that did not serve my life now.

It was a powerful experience to go through. I visited new places both within myself and within our beautiful country. It was amazing, thrilling and challenging all at the same time.

I’m not saying I don’t or won’t still get fearful about some things in life, but now I feel internally stronger to take a step despite being scared and trust myself to know. I also have an amazing community of family and friends that hold my hand as I run, walk, leap and stumble.

Here are some tactics I use to face my fears (real & imagined):
1. Acknowledge that I am scared (to myself & sometimes to others that I trust)
2. Breathe & Be Still
3. Feel the Fear in my body (Where is it? What sensations are present there?)
4. Ask from my Heart – Is this a real threat or am I imagining a scenario that might happen?
5. What is the next little step I can take right now to live as I choose and lessen my fears? Breathe and Believe.

What scares you in your life and is it time to sit with it and ask?

Love & Light,
Brenda

A Poem

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Here is a poem I have written and want to share.  I hope you enjoy.

Create a foundation & learn to ride waves
Clarity & compassion to see into the caves

Learning to surf and not just get by
Takes patience, perseverence & a willingess to try

Aligning your actions and words with your heart
Gives you strength and confidence for a fresh start

When you slip – & know that you will
Embrace the darkness and just be still

Open your Heart and Open your Mind
Be Curious, Discerning, Accepting and Kind

A light from within will begin to shine
Move into your heart and feel it –  align

The choices you have are truly vast
Embrace it all – the die is not cast

The challenges give you opportunity to grow
Sit with it all – & you will soon know

No matter what comes – any shape or size
Your inner strength & courage makes you more wise

Heal the past and let it go
Move into the Essence, the Divine Flow

Life is a journey and not something to get through
Live it full out, no regrets for you

Connect with others, Build a community to embrace
Take time alone – understand your base

Speak your Truth and Explore your Fears
Experience the Laughter, Joy and the Tears

Follow your Passion, Be True to Yourself
Who you become is your incredible Wealth

Love Brenda