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Loving Kindness & Compassion
‘When love has carried us above all things . . . we receive in peace the Incomprehensible Light, enfolding us and penetrating us. What is this Light, if it be not a contemplation of the Infinite, and an intuition of Eternity? We behold that which we are, and we are that which we behold; because our being, without losing anything of its own personality, is united with the Divine Truth.” Ruysbroeck
The darkest week of the year marked by the Winter solstice has arrived along with Mercury retrograde, this is always a time of truth, when communications seem disrupted and misunderstandings are rife, misunderstandings themselves are part of the truth of being human. Mercury is retrograde from 19th December – 8th January, giving us a chance to address short comings and mistakes and correct the course of events.
The experience of darkness, shadow or Dark Night of the Soul, is necessary in order to feel the emerging light as celebratory, many people want to avoid the darkness. There is something fearful about the absence of physical light because it evokes the dark side of the psyche; your fears and depressed moods, your envies and secret longings.
Ask yourself; ‘What truth does this reveal to me, and why have I needed it revealed in this way at this time?’
In the darkest part of the year when the days are shortest, Mother Nature reminds every body to slow down, enjoy time with loved ones, to be open to listening. A time to move towards the vibration of compassion to become more effective in your relationships.
The days after the winter solstice begin to lengthen, shifting from the darkest part of the year back into the ever increasing light, is a perfect time to clear the old to make room for the new.
Many people feel unsettled about the global changes taking place, this has been accompanied by low vibrational emotions such as anger, blame, self-judgment, hopelessness, frustration, fear and worry, that do not serve consciousness nor good decision making.
Distress is alleviated by attending to yourself and your inner turmoil.
Everything you do and think affects the people in your life and their reactions to you. The choices you make have consequences. Each of us carries within the capacity to change the world in small ways for better or worse.
Every single effect within the world, upon the earth has a cause, an original starting point.
All paths have an original first step and from that first step comes a chain reaction of events with further offshoots spanning out in all directions and so on duplication and replication takes place.
All your thoughts and your behaviour and movements affect the entire universe according to the law of cause and effect.
When was the last time you were truly kind to yourself? Not just rewards and gifts, but true kindness?
Only when you have established a kind relationship with yourself can you begin to be truly loving with others; love is generated and experienced from within. In this state you are able to really open your hearts in our treatment of others.
Learning to treat yourself with kindness, to open your heart to yourself and others is the first and most important step in cultivating loving-kindness and compassion;
The passage of Mercury retrograde is a gift from the heavens giving you an opportunity to reflect, take stock, review, and correct mistakes you may previously have made in the rush, take your time to make conscious choices and plant seeds of new perspectives.
When you experience the true depth of the darkness of despair, tears might well up spontaneously, it can have a soothing effect. It changes your physiology from sympathetic nervous system defense and denial patterns into parasympathetic relaxation states. It improves your perspective on the world, especially if this disclosure is shared with another person. When you give into the exhaustion, you might fall into a restful and healing sleep, a sleep that could last a few minutes or hours. You can awaken feeling loving kindness compassion renewed and rested.
Being in contact with your bodily sensations, hidden rage towards a current or past injustice, an unexpressed desire for fulfillment or failure is not about acting on them but simply about feeling them. When you do this, what you have hidden from yourself in darkness can now be revealed in the light of awareness. You can become more completely yourself, more confident and more fully alive.
If then, we would indeed restore mankind by truly botanic, magnetic, or natural means, let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores. Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor, but endeavor to become of the worthies of the world.” Henry David Thoreau
Sometimes the “life” you need to take in feels like a retreat and a loss. Nature herself waxes and wanes, grows and recedes, lives and dies. In the midst of this shifting and change is one certainty.
The inner eternal light will naturally follow the dark time of the soul; it’s the way of the earth and of all her creatures.
By practicing the relaxation techniques on a daily basis, you learn to let go of the unhealthy emotional states that lead to the physical and emotional tension. Meditation includes a strong element of bodily relaxation.
You can learn how to directly affect your emotional and mental states, promoting calmness and contentment. Learning how your body/ mind interacts will help you to influence your emotional states by regulating your posture and breathing and lifestyle.
Restoring Mind, Body, Spirit Retreat can help you to become more aware of how to make conscious choices that lead to outcomes that are more supportive of your well being and happiness.
Communication in a relationship is incomplete without touch just like an eye contact or smile. In fact, touch can establish, repair or even ruin a relationship.
Your mind, brain, and body are not separate from each other. Touch is the first sense you acquire, it is the fastest way to create chemistry and bonding in a relationship.
Being touched and touching someone is a fundamental to a relationship. Even in its absence. Touch is a language you learn instinctively; and one you underestimate in your ability to communicate through.
It is more versatile than communicating vocally, through tonality, linguistically, or through your facial movements and other non verbal expressions of emotion.
Touch can communicate a myriad of emotions such as joy, love, desire, attraction, gratitude, and sympathy, as well as anger, fear, sorrow and disappointment. Touch is reciprocal you cannot touch without being touched. It is mutually given and received.
Oxytocin is a hormone that increases feelings of connectedness and wellbeing.
Chemistry between two people can be heightened by Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. It can create feelings of trust and attraction between people when released.
This chemical is abundant at the start of a ‘romantic’ relationship. The connection may not be based in a conscious realtionship but a ‘felt’ or ‘perceived’ one.
When you are touched, your body produces oxytocin, the hormone of love and attachment. The hormone oxytocin can help you to form and maintain a connection. Everyone needs touch, without touch you may suffer feeling disconnected, lonely or depressed.
People with low or insufficient oxytocin can become depressed and more susceptible to stress or vulnerable to addictive relationships, behaviours and habits.
When you are in a loving intimate relationship, physical touch can communicate and express feelings of love, tenderness, care, play, trust and respect. It is fundamental to creating a healthy relationship. Its absence it can create and communicate a lack of trust, desire or love, it can create distance and discord. Oxytocin is a powerful hormone.
When you touch or are touched your oxytocin levels increase. Your heart rate slows. It acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain playing a huge role in bonding and attachment.
Oxytocin gets released during light caresses, during sexual intimacy and orgasm, or when you share experiences through talking or being present or being in the presence of. When oxytocin is released it increases feelings of attachment for another person, as well as feelings of trust and empathy. It can decrease feelings of stress, fear and pain.
If your early childhood environment felt unsafe or you had difficult relationships with parents, you may find it hard to harness the positive effects of oxytocin and forming secure attachments. Touch is an important part of feeling loved and accepted.
Your response to oxytocin is affected by your relationships to your parents. What did you learn about touch? Was it reassuring? Did you grow up in a strict household? Were you punished with touch? Touch can very be confusing
If you experienced inappropriate touch or sexual or physical violence it may contribute to difficulties in forming healthy and loving relationships. It may have a negative impact on your romantic and intimate relationships in the ‘here and now’ until you shift through and gain some awareness and understanding. Long-term changes to your attachment and relational styles are possible. It requires a commitment and wilful intent to make a transition. Working with a skilled Mind Body psychotherapist can help you navigate through the opportunities for growth. If you had difficult relationships with your parents, your brain will have a tendency to react to relationships in a particular way. It creates a neural pathway.
Through awareness of your responses you have the power to take the first step towards transformation. Touch can reveal a lot of deal information about and the person you are touching. You can gain insight into their state of mind and being.
Are you open to touch or do you pull away? Are you relaxed or tense? Are you warm or do you feel cold or clammy? When you touch someone can you sense tension or relaxation? Do you disconnect? Or do you experience rage?
This information can guide your relationships, it can influence what you think, how you respond, or how hear what someone is saying. Each person you meet will have a different tolerance level for touch. Same-sex or opposite-sex touches have different implications. The type of touch its the duration, intensity and circumstances. Touch is something that develops in the context of a relationship.
You will have absorbed messages about being touched whilst growing up and developing as an adult. Many Religions, social and cultural conditioning teach that touch is ‘inappropriate’ or ‘sinful’. This will affect your attitudes towards touching and being touched. Is touch safe? Do you deserve to experience pleasure? Do you sexualise touch? Your tolerance and receptivity for touch can change and increase. Setting your intentions and putting into practice your learning, awareness and reflections with a skilled therapist can help you navigate the journey.
Ken Wilbur wrote in The Spectrum of Consciousness, “For every mental ‘problem’ or ‘knot’, there is a corresponding bodily ‘knot’, and vice versa. The body and the mind are connected Any conflict, feelings or guilt, shame, or unresolved grief can be held in the body. The body has a memory, when you are deeply touched through massage or manipulation or through body work it can release physical pain and previously make inaccessible or unresolved material accessible and therefore available for healing. The Body Knows Its Mind, it has an intelligence of its own, the body speaks when you do not have words for what you are feeling. A warm touch can be a healing balm for the soul and release held emotion freeing you up to experience life in a different way.
Living from The Heart works with your Life Force Energy, which is held in the body. To promote your health and wellness. Life Force Energy is known as Qi or Chi in Chinese, Prana in Sanskrit. It describes the flow of energy that sustains all living beings. I help people learn how to focus, use, and move this energy, by combining various breathing, meditative and energy awareness exercises for a wide range of benefits. This can facilitate your body’s healing process.
The higher your oxytocin, the higher your happiness and well-being.
The next Living from The Heart retreat will guide you through a process of deep restoration through mind / body techniques that will help you shift stress states into vitality and help you find balance to further cultivate your healing journey. Why go on a retreat?
Join me on Restoring the Mind and Body Retreat 29th – 31st January 2016 Early Bird Booking per person if you book before 31st November 2015 References: Wilber, Ken The Spectrum of Consciousness (Quest Books) Paperback 18 Apr 1996
Communication in a relationship is incomplete without touch just like an eye contact or smile. In fact, touch can establish, repair or even ruin a relationship. Images from stills from Shura Touch video
Awareness of your physical body can help you tap into your emotional self, shifting your focus from outside to inside.
Your mind / body is a direct reflection of your emotional body. Listen to your body and respond accordingly – if you feel tired take time out to relax. If you have an abundance of energy use your body, if you feel a creative pull go and create something paint, write, draw, and move.
Feelings are experienced in your body; an awareness of your bodily state can enhance your ability to identify your feelings.
Practice: Make a scan of your body, Sitting or lying down in a comfortable position (savasana is corpse pose lying flat on the ground arms by your side legs about hip width apart.), take a moment to consciously take in several deep breathes and relax. Close your eyes and bring your focus to this present moment and your physical self. There is no need to try to do anything – just be present and passive. If you need to move to get more comfortable do so if you feel the need to tense a certain body part in order to let go of tension then do whatever brings greater comfort and ease. Begin scanning your body by drawing your attention to any part of your body that asks for attention. Beginning perhaps with your head, face, jaw, eyes, ears, and skull. Tune in to what is happening here. What do you notice? Do your best to remain as passive and non-judgmental as possible. You are encouraged to become an objective observer of your experience. At the same time, carefully observe your head, both deep inside and on a surface level. If you notice tension, tightness or contracted muscles, consciously release and relax those areas.
As you feel ready, progress down to your neck, shoulders upper and lower arms and torso. Again, notice what is happening in your heart. Carefully observe your back, spine and chest area, both deep inside them and on the surface. Again, if you notice tension, tightness or contracted muscles, consciously release and relax those areas. Progress now to your abdomen and notice what is occurring here. From there, move on to your lower abdomen, hips, pelvis, buttocks and thighs. Next, focus on your legs and feet. Once you have finished focus on your hands and fingers. Finish this exercise by taking a few more deep breaths and turning your awareness back to your entire physical self, which includes all of the parts on which you have been focusing.
Living from the Heart:
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Aisha Ali is a much sought after relationship specialist. She is known for her intuitive insight, she is very skilled at getting to the core of issues and helping individuals and couples transform unwanted repeated patterns. Her clients experience support clarity, awareness and a sense of peace, balance and accomplishment.