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You are not alone

Do you ever feel lonely or isolated? Maybe it’s when you’re byIllustration: silhouetted person looking at a night mountainscape with full moon. yourself, or feeling sad, anxious, unwell, or beating yourself up.

We want to love ourselves, but sometimes we feel like a dog chasing her own tail. “I know love is there, but I can’t reach it! What’s wrong with me?”

If your inner critic chastises you for not loving yourself (“You are so messed up for not feeling better about yourself, you stupid twit!”), you’re looking for love in all the wrong places.

Spinning down the trail of self-yuck

When you’re in an “I’m bad” spin, it’s like you’re driving a semi truck with bad brakes down a steep hill. You’re trying hard to get to safety. But trying to make a U-turn… all by yourself? Pretty impossible.

You may feel alone, and the American bootstrap mentality supports the “me against the world” point of view. But what if you didn’t have to do it all yourself?

The answer is: You don’t.

Instead you can look for support, remember your resources, and both feel carried and able to make incremental changes.

Yes, it’s hard to remember resources when you’re stressed out. And when you can feel them—whether it’s practically in real life, or sensing resources in your body and your imagination—your whole sense of self changes.

When you remember resources…

Downhill highway with runaway truck ramp Let’s say you’re driving that semi coming down the hill, panicked. But if you knew there was an emergency brake, or a runaway truck ramp around the bend, the whole process would feel more do-able. You respond better knowing you’re not alone.

Remembering or even imagining your resources helps you do the same.

For instance, remember how it is to go hiking in the woods or walking in a park. Notice how that feels in your body.

Or you may remember the sensation of being held and loved—in utero, eating a good dinner, leaning against a tree, seeing a beautiful sunrise or even a painting of one.

When you do that, your mind, emotions, body, sense of self, release a bit into those resources. Your autonomic nervous system shifts, and helps you think better, love better, and move through life better.

That damned skeptic

It might sound good, but some of us still have an inner skeptic. When it arises, the words might be: “Imagining isn’t real, this is stupid, or you’re living in la la land.” Well, I’ve been there.

It helps to remind your inner skeptic that inner truths change with practice. As you remember or imagine resources, you feel your nervous system operate better, then you’re more open to allowing resources in both in your mind and IRL (in real life).

I’m also guessing your inner skeptic doesn’t question you when you’re anxious about things that might happen. Aren’t those scary stories not real, feel stupid in hindsight, and box you into a scary (not fairy) land?

Just saying, if you can imagine disasters that haven’t occurred, you can learn to also feel resources.

Feeling your true resources

Take a moment now to practice feeling your resources again. Start with a gentle breath, and touch into your senses, real, remembered, or imagined:

  • Feel your back leaning against the living bark of a cedar tree.
  • Remember the color and taste of the nourishing food the Earth gives you.
  • Feel gravity hugging you to the earth.
  • Imagine hearing the Divine saying, “I love you.”
  • Remember the love you give and get from your friends and family; feel it surrounding you, embracing you.
  • Smell the briny air near the ocean.
  • Imagine healing elves paving recovery in hurt parts of your body.
  • See your favorite real or imagined vacation spot—the colors of the sky, the waves, the trees, the city hubbub,
  • Read/ listen to David Whyte’s poem, Everything is Waiting for You. “Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation.”

Notice your body relaxing into the source of this truth: You are present and loved.

When you don’t go alone, your grounded self brings in your creativity, courage, patience, and compassion so you can experience life more fully. We all can, together.

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