The theme which emerged for March classes is self-love. Not an easy subject for many of us to look at, certainly not for me. Which is exactly why I chose it.
Sometimes I become aware of to the language I use to correct myself. I wonder why I’m so much harsher to myself than I would ever be to anyone else.
My business coach Allison Rapp says, those voices we hear inside when we slow down and become quiet enough to listen are parts of ourselves we created as protection, often a long time ago. We actually created them out with love. We took care of ourselves, got ourselves through difficult situations. We got ourselves this far.
Now we may not need those voices. In fact, they may be holding us back; however, we’re mostly not aware of them. If we do take the time to listen and begin to hear those voices, instead of trying to silence or argue with them, we can thank them for protecting us. And, when we’re ready, let them know they’re no longer needed.
It’s exactly what we discover when we work with ourselves during a Feldenkrais® lesson. Old patterns which were useful at one time which are no longer necessary. That stiffness, for example, in the ankle you sprained as a child. You tonified the muscles around the injury to protect it. And you’ve kept that tonification for years afterwards, not even aware of that unnecessary, parasitic effort.
Sometimes those inner voices speak up during a lesson. Have you had that experience? Heard yourself thinking something like—
- “Everyone else can do it.”
- “I’ll never be flexible enough to do it.”
- “I’m too old to do that.”
When you notice that voice, how do you respond? Do you push through resistance? Find yourself holding your breath or clenching your jaw? Or could you be curious about what you encounter? Like:” oh, wow! When I roll toward my left side, it’s so easy, I’m already rolling before I know it. When I try to roll right, I feel stiff. Even my ribs seem to have a different shape. Cool. Could I use that shape to find a different way to roll right? Because it’s probably good for something, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.
I have begun taking the time to look for and listen to my inner voices. And to talk with them. First as an occasional exercise, approached as a skeptic: fake it til you make it, basically. I’d imagine what I might hear if a inner voice were to speak to me. Because I trust my coach: her advice in other arenas has proved excellent.
Recently, I took a plant medicine journey in which I spoke with at least three different parts of myself. For hours. They spontaneously manifested during the journey. The only conscious intention on my part. Each voice came from a particular part of my body. Had different tones. One was situated in my abdomen, at the hara area. She was wise and kind. She took care of the others. One voice was about four years old. She felt herself sitting on the floor. She was making herself small, was afraid to breath. She wanted to be unseen. She was located behind my sternum. She was clearly associated with the anxiety pattern I’ve long been aware of, a holding in my sternum and front ribs. Another voice was my “uber” mind. She would say things like, “Don’t waste this.” Or, “You’re wasting this experience.”
The voice I continually returned to was the kind, wise one. She felt like she was holding the others, supporting them, letting them feel safe to express their fear and know that they were seen, listened to, and loved.
I’m wondering, what would that my harsh inner voice need to hear or know to feel she could be gentler, less critical?
What comes up for you when you contemplate “self-love?”