Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to Deal With a Breakup

Breakups can be really tough. When you break up with someone you were really emotionally, mentally, physically, and maybe even spiritually attached to, it can feel like half of you is missing. You can feel lost and confused and drained. You can feel anxious and tired and you can feel extremely hurt.

Dealing with the pain of a breakup is a delicate task. Breakups put you into a pretty fragile position- you may feel overly sensitive or you might try to hide your sensitivity by doing the total opposite and pretending that you don't care and overcompensating by "living it up." This fragile state means that you really need to care of yourself and be gentle and easy with yourself. You also need to exercise clarity and focus as to getting back on your feet and walking the path of happiness once again. Walking this path means that you must partake in a great deal of inner confrontation, healing, and release. I hope this article helps you with that.

Asking Yourself Why It Happened
If your breakup came as a sudden mystery, try to think clearly. Did your partner give you a reason as to why you two broke up? Did your partner ever repeatedly mention his or her concerns about the relationship? Did you ever repeatedly mention your concerns about the relationship? Did the relationship enhance your life and your partner's life? Were there any signs that pointed to the idea that the relationship had run its course and that it was time to move on?

I'm not going to ask you not to ponder the nature of your breakup- I know that doing so would be an exercise in futility, and rightly so. It is perfectly normal for us to get stuck on this question for a little bit. All that I suggest is that you help yourself get unstuck as thoroughly and cleanly as possible. This means that you need to first accept that closure is something only you can grant yourself, no matter how much you analyze the situation or the past or no matter how thoroughly your partner explains (if they do explain) their reasons for breaking up.

If you were the one who initiated the breakup, know that feeling regret is normal and almost expected of many breakups. If you're having trouble dealing with a breakup, you probably miss your partner to a certain degree. Major breakups cause big changes in our day to day lives- we suddenly have all this space that used to be filled with another. Trust yourself.

Emotional Pain and Reliving the Memories
After a harsh breakup, your memories will be even more vivid and visceral than usual. Every thought you think and every feeling you feel and re-feel regarding the relationship will be amplified. Know that this is normal and know that this amplification does not mean you need to pursue the path of regret. Accept the fact that your mind and emotions will tend to replay memories of your relationship, possibly on repeat. This is totally normal and ordinary.

I suggest you keep a journal with you at all times. When you start feeling really emotional, write down how you are feeling, what you want, and what hurts. When you find yourself in a happier, clearer state later on in your day, you can go back and read your journal, then write down any bits of insight you pick up on. This constant conscious system of feedback really helps you tune into your moods and emotions and allows you to experience them with more balance. Balance will certainly get you out of a rut.

I suggest you also partake in a hobby that really brings you into the moment and keeps you there. Try working out with a buddy or joining an exercise class with a fun instructor. Pick up some yoga sequences and really get a feel for your body and your breath. Hang out with some friends who like to play sports and join in on their pick up games. Hang out with some animals and spend time spoiling them with love and attention and allowing their happy aura to heal you. Spend time in nature and try gardening. Volunteer for a group and meet people. Try out a few activities that will help you feel like your time and attention is being used towards a purpose. Having a purpose during this delicate time helps your emotional and mental well-being tremendously.

Taking Care of Yourself
Go ahead and eat that carton of Ben and Jerry's and watch half of your Netflix queue. Just promise yourself that you will go out tomorrow and do something really healthy for you. If you really feel like pampering yourself and cutting yourself some slack will do you good, go for it! Just don't get too easy on yourself to the point that you neglect your health. A few days (less than a week hopefully) of moping around is the norm, but beyond that, really try to push yourself to start one healthier habit. When we go to easy on ourselves for too long, we begin to confuse convenience for ease. We blur the lines between going with the flow and stagnation. Your health will not flow when you are stagnant, so allow yourself to move out of that slump.

When we are under mental and emotional stress, our bodies become weaker. Really be gentle with yourself at this time. I know it feels good to get out anger and sadness with really intense workouts, but don't get too carried away. Now is not the best time to injure yourself. Balance is key.

Take the time to prepare nourishing meals for yourself and your loved ones. Take the time to really listen to what your body needs. If you feel very tired, rest. If you feel very restless, go for a walk. Try wearing your favorite clothes that make you feel really attractive and good about yourself. Listen to some new music. Explore. Indulge your creative side more than ever. Be good to yourself and allow yourself to play like a child. Allow your inner wisdom to guide you while you recover from the strain and tension. Trust that you will find joy, peace, and ease again.

Forgive yourself and forgive your ex-partner for whatever issues you feel coming up. Relationships are learning experiences. Focus on what you've learned and what you've gained thanks to the relationship and  thanks to the breakup.

Dealing with a breakup is not about focusing on who was right or who was wrong. Focus on you and how
you are relating and interacting with the world now. Is this what feels peaceful and balance and good, or do you need to explore different ways of relating and interacting? This process is all about you now, so always remember that the relationship has ran its course and that its end does not at all define you or the way you live your life.

Spend a few minutes a day visualizing and/or writing about what makes you happy. Really feel yourself in the reality without getting too specific about the people in that reality- focus on you and how you feel. This will help you align with your personal drive and goals and this will help you reinforce your intentions on pursuing these possibilities. Trust that there are many great possibilities ahead of you and most importantly, that in the moment there is always the possibility to connect with peace and joy. All you have to do is allow yourself to find even the smallest hints and trails of that peace and joy. Allow yourself to follow it and make sure to take deep breaths as much as you can along the way.

All the best of luck and please feel free to leave any questions,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Deal With Feelings of Futility and Heavy Emotions

Sometimes we just don't see the point in doing anything, anymore. We assess our lives in a way that capitalizes the temporal, impermanent, and consumerist nature of our lives. We focus on our failures or lack of success or lack of satisfaction and fulfillment. This can lead us to feel lonely, hopeless, or especially fed up with how our lives have turned out. Feeling this way is perfectly okay; it is a natural mindset and mood that visits us from time to time, some more than others. These feelings can serve a purpose- they can help us align with a reality and way of life more conducive to total acceptance and inner peace. These feelings can also help us transcend former realities where we were existing in acceptance and peace but have outlived our stay. In order to allow these emotions to help us grow more into life, we need to learn how to interact with them.

Remember Even These Feelings Are Impermanent
Throughout of day to day lives, we often feeling a sort of "medium" level of emotion- a neutral point. This is how you feel when you are going about your daily chores or errands or are very focused/engaged in an activity or task. This is a meditative state which is completely adjusted to your settings. When we feel deep emotion, like feelings of futility, it often brings us out of our meditative balanced state and it has much more impact on us. Just know that you will sooner than later go back to your medium, balanced state of emotion where you will be able to move more easily to the point that you don't even have to think about moving easily.

Now, when we find ourselves outside of this ease, we can try to introduce ease. When we feel that heavy emotion of futility, we can try to "move" instead of allowing the feeling to render us crushed and immobile. Just like we can breathe through a difficult phase of our daily activities, we can breathe through this feeling. Don't try to consciously search for ease- just allow ease to come to you and allow yourself to receive ease. This won't make sense unless you've experienced this before or are in the moment experiencing it, but do try to remember to let ease in whenever deep emotions make you feel stuck and heavy. Release the tension and allow ease in, and the deep emotions will naturally dissolve and you can more easily get to their root and read their messages clearly.

Interpreting The Message
When we feel that deep sense of futility, it is often due to a lack of focus or clarity in life- a lack of alignment. We feel this sense of futility when we fail to nurture our true, natural expression. When our hearts our closed and our innocent, playful inner child is suppressed, we feel these heavy emotions. Maybe we need to nurture ourselves more. Maybe be need to stop bombarding ourselves with excess sources of stress. Maybe we need to create more time and space in our daily lives to explore our inner creativity, joy, and talents. Maybe we need to take the time to find beauty within ourselves and throughout the world and in other people.
This journey of introspection is best traveled with that same receptivity to ease and space. Allow your inner child to speak louder- allow that curious, playful, and shameless part of you to flourish once again. Just say yes to this part of you and allow yourself to make room within your heart and mind and attention to really nurture this aspect of you.

Heavy emotions will come up through out life, but we can always breathe through them. Allow yourself to flow with ease and grace through these currents and you will be able to really hear the messages and wisdoms life and your body, heart, mind, and soul have to tell you.

All the love,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

How to be More Calm and Peaceful

Emotions and changes in emotions, as well as changes in our mental, physical, and spiritual states, are all very important and crucial to our human experience. We need to experience that change to grow and explore and expand, but if we only live in a state of volatile change, we will never truly grow and expand because we have weak roots. A tree without strong roots just falls over and is knocked out of the ground- it is uprooted. Without its roots securely planted in the ground, the tree loses its source of stability and nourishment- therefore it ceases to grow and dies. But a strong tree with deep roots can withstand the changes in weather and seasons and continue to stand tall and grow and provide its uses and beauty to the world.

I believe that a state of calm and peace is linked to a stable grounding. One with deep roots can withstand many changes in condition- but one with deep roots is also still enough to feel the tiniest changes and derive whatever needs to be derived from those changes. One constantly in motion is in too chaotic a state to experience the mild, subtle and often beautiful changes the world has to offer.

In order to deepen our roots and allow calmness and peacefulness to fill our experience and existence, we need to address tension. Tension makes us move unnecessarily, it makes us constantly uncomfortable. It drives us to keep moving and taking action when we really don't need to be, and it makes us unstable. There are multiple levels of tension we must address.

Physical Tension
Often we carry tension throughout our entire bodies without even noticing its presence. Is your face tense right now as you read this? Is your forehead relaxed or is it scrunched up? Are you creating tension in your spine by slouching over in a misaligned position? Is your jaw or fist clenched?
Often we carry tension in our bodies due to poor alignment and lack of support, as well as unreleased thoughts and feelings. A supported body is a body that can go through life and motion with ease and grace- in order to have a supported body, one must have a strengthened and nurtured body. Exercise regularly- whether it be walking, hiking, yoga, weightlifting, swimming, etc- the body was designed to move. Read up on proper form and do what feels good and comes with ease when engaging your body regularly.
We also carry suppressed emotions in our body. If you've been angry or sad or nervous for a while, your body will also hang onto those emotions. Give yourself the time and attention to address those issues with deep breathing and an open, forgiving mindset.

Mental Tension
Often mental tension ensues due to stress and unresolved problems our brain is constantly trying to solve. Tension also arises from living in the past or future- our resistance to the present causes tension. Journaling about our thoughts and feelings as well as reading/listening about other people's experiences in similar situations often helps us reduce that mental tension and connect with the present moment.
Often mental tension also arises from not thinking deeply about something stressing us out- in this case, one must address their problems instead of putting off confrontation.

Mental tension also results from obsession- this obsession comes from over-attachment. To combat over-attachment, one must cultivate connection with themselves and the present- thus cultivating self sufficiency and a sense of allowing balanced with decisiveness. This concept will be elaborated upon in a future post.

Emotional Tension
This is closely linked to mental tension- unresolved, over-attached, and unconfronted emotions plague us and cause us to create resistance to the present and to our inner flow. In order to combat emotional tension, we must address our suppressed feelings and also let go of the feelings we've been feeding. This process is greatly supported by journal writing, self nurturing, and a good physical outlet- like exercise. When embarking on this journey, just remember that one is not the sum of their emotions or physical sensations or thoughts. Be gentle and do not over-identify with any aspects of the journey and the calmness will find you quite easily.

Spiritual Tension
Spiritual tension is created by misalignment with our beliefs. Maybe you are practicing the beliefs of a religion you do not feel aligned with. Maybe you feel like you need to explore certain beliefs. Maybe you are over-analyzing certain beliefs. This spiritual tension often arises from dogmatic, extremist approaches to religion/ spirituality. You are not a bad person for not truly believing in what your family/community/culture is comfortable with you believing in.

Allow the Peace and Calm to Find You
Be receptive to peace and calm. Don't overidentify with the changes or your past or future or whatever notions are causing resistance to just letting the present moment be. Don't try too hard or too fast- practice finding the ease. Breathe into the parts that need attention and create space. This process is like a stretch for your entire being. Gentle stretch out the tightness and strengthen your roots in the process. Don't overthink the process- just allow it to happen and believe it will, and you will connect with the present more and more.

All the love and all the peace,

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How to Stop Procrastinating

Procrastination is inevitable- it is totally normal for people to not want to start a project immediately. Sometimes we put things off until the last minute and hopefully, it is forgivable and not too detrimental to our jobs/goals when we do procrastinate. Still, some people are chronic procrastinators who always put things off until the very last minute. If you are a chronic procrastinator or would like to avoid the onset of chronic procrastination, this article is for you.

Why Do We Procrastinate?
There are many reasons to procrastinate and listing those reasons would be a valid excuse to procrastinate for some people. Yet the two most common and fundamental reasons I find are that people either don't want to do something or are afraid/unsure of how to approach it. 

You Honestly Don't Want to Do It
Sometimes we really don't want to do something. For example, some people really hate doing chores because they find them so mundane, so they will put off doing chores until they can no longer handle the consequences. Some people will allow the trash to pile up until their room smells like rotten fish and they can no longer differentiate their desk from their floor from their closet. Mundane chores like this are honestly things people really do have to do. People avoid these chores out of pure laziness and/or lack of consideration and/or lack of hygienic standards. To stop being so lazy regarding mundane chores, take the cold turkey approach and hype yourself up with motivation and clear out your room. Once you clean your room and reacquaint yourself with what a proper floor actually looks like, you'll probably want to keep it looking like a nice clean floor. Promise yourself that you'll spend at least 5 minutes a day putting things away- just five minutes. Amaze yourself with the results. If you're too unmotivated to take the cold turkey approach, promise yourself you'll spend 5 minutes a day putting things away or that you'll put away 5 items every day. 

These small steps are applicable to all mundane things you have to do- even homework. There are some subjects we really don't care about that we just have to get through. We could care less about taking away some deep insight regarding the topic because we honestly have better things to become fascinated with- apply the minimum daily rule for those topics. The point is that you spend a certain small amount of time everyday working on that task so that nothing piles up and that you don't become overwhelmed or bored. You might just actually find a spark of interest if you approach anything in life this way.

Sometimes You Just Hate It
In a soul searching kind of way, sometimes we procrastinate because we're conflicted. We don't care about what we need to do- it goes against our inner truth. We will procrastinate when we have to do something that isn't true or authentic to us because part of us knows that we aren't meant to pursue such goals. If this is the case, really let your intuition and subconscious speak to you. Examine your beliefs and thoughts- this is a huge topic that will be saved for its own post. But if this is the reason you procrastinate, explore the issue thoroughly!

You're Not Sure of What to Do
Sometimes we procrastinate because we honestly have no clue where to start, so we put starting off until some magical idea dawns upon us. The thing is that those magical ideas really start flowing in once you focus on the task and let your mind explore all of the possible ways. Most of us don't do this- we even procrastinate the thinking surrounding our task. If you let yourself really focus on and think about the task with an open and calm mind, letting your imagination, logic, and intuition work together regarding the project at hand, you will definitely have an idea of how to start and where to take things.

You Are Not Comfortable Enough
Stress is a huge distraction. If you're not comfortable, you won't perform well because you will function at a less than optimal rate and  you will also be distracted by the consequences of that sub-par functioning. This stress and lower functioning can be caused by any imbalances in your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual life. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Don't get into any crazy drama before taking on important tasks (don't get into crazy drama at all, really) and maintain consistent routines to lower stress and promote health in all areas of your life.

You Are Too Comfortable
Your environment might be promoting total relaxation and/or hedonism. Take a shower, release the bag of Hot Cheetos from your hand, turn off Netflix. Remember the balance mentioned in the section above? Yup, that is exactly what you need to focus on. If you want to start a project, help yourself by allowing yourself to be in an environment conducive to your goals.

It Is A Simple Choice
Honestly, procrastination is easily resolved. You either get up or you don't, you do it or you don't do it. You just have to decide to, and deciding to is all up to you. If you lack motivation and will power, you need to explore that issue. That issue will also be elaborated upon in a future post. Take things in baby steps if you know big changes aren't sustainable for you or if you know you won't adapt well! Know thyself and get it done.