Jane Arie Baldwin

Personal Tools for Living at the Highest Levels of You

Simple Guidance for Getting On With It

 

From a very early age, those in control told us to, “Hold it in.” “Don’t take everything so personally.”, “Act like a man!” These phrases were programmed into us during our early imprinting, teaching us to ignore our emotions and numb any sensation of feeling.

KNOW THE SCIENCE
Feelings and emotions once touted as the realm of hippy-dippy, touchy-feely types, are now part of the neurobiological research mainstream. The science is clear. Neuroscience research has identified the limbic system in the brain as the place that processes incoming information and outgoing reactions. The amygdala is the information hub that receives messages and stimuli from our five senses and organs and also, in part, determines our emotional responses.

Our brains are exploding like fireworks with all of the outside stimuli we absorb and process daily. We’ve been programmed – for lack of a better word – to “Hold it all in.” When someone asks us how we feel we say “fine.” The truth is, we don’t know what we feel.

TRACK YOUR EMOTIONS  

We play a game of avert and pivot, looking happy so others will keep their distance. Meanwhile, we crave connection. When we do unload, we dump onto our nearest and dearest confidants, asking the ones we love most to help carry the heaviest of our loads.

A standard response when emotions get triggered is to stuff them and keep them inside you. When they get stuffed, they get shoved deep down like the batting in a bear at Build-A-Bear Workshop. There is no room for emotions happening in real time because we are still holding on to those from last week, last year, or even as far back as childhood.

Those emotions and reactions then trigger and activate many different areas in our brains, traveling through our bodies affecting millions of sensory responses from body sweats, to stomach cramps, to eye twitching. Notice what happens to you physically and mentally next time your emotions surge. Follow them. Notice where you hold anger and anxiety in your body.

REMOVE YOUR ARMOR

We wear the armor of protection against having to feel. How can we feel, after all? There’s no space. We’re like voodoo dolls that have been poked and prodded by life’s unavoidable circumstances.

 

At least at Build-A-Bear, they remember the love part, having a child kiss the little red heart before inserting it into the bear’s chest.

 

Acknowledge the protection you once needed, the reason you put the armor on in the first place, and then get on with it.

The key is the breath. Like a pinball hitting all the marks and lighting up the board, the breath moves through the body and activates places in you that have been dormant. Notice, how is my breath flowing? Is it evenly going in and out of my body? Or choppy? Do I have a deep inhale and exhale? Or is it shallow? The breath, like wind patterns in the weather, moves with the currents that guide our day.

A thick shell of armor keeps us from being vulnerable to attack. We wear masks or develop elaborate facades that we hide behind. We create these metaphorical expressions of ourselves to help us cope. The thoughts and internal images we build guide how people perceive us out in the world. We wear around so much of this armor that we’ve even, for the most part, forgotten how to feel.

What is the armor you wear?

It took me many years to recognize my armor and to see how I hid behind its cover, averting people or any deep, meaningful connection. I could not see it clearly until cervical cancer reeled me into myself. Then I saw that the person I projected into the world was an imitation of the person I left behind at about the age of thirteen.

BE BRAVE! PRACTICE VULNERABILITY

 

Vulnerability, feeling your feelings, is a vital power center, a key to experiencing the kind of authentic connection that deep down we crave, even as we deny love because we tried it and it didn’t work for us before, in the past.

We need to brave feeling the vulnerability so that we can shed our armor, take off the mask, tear down the façade that we created in the past. There is so much to feel that is good, full of love and joy, hope and happiness. Herein lies the key to your power.

 

 

 

EXPERIENCE YOUR AUTHENTICITY 

Now is the time to see the internal connections that have been there all along. Empirical evidence is coming forth to substantiate claims that were discovered long ago by many ancient cultures. Updated ideas in neurobiology research prove these claims and continue to show us how much more we have to learn about our bodies and minds and their inextricable connection.

At the heart of these what we are now learning from science is to experience authenticity by being true to yourself. Know yourself, and you will not have to dump your troubles on your best friend, you will not have to remind yourself and others of the pain you suffered as a child and continue to suffer. You will feel your feelings in real time, in the moment, and you will be free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Love Still Conquer All?

Flower-Gun

DOES LOVE STILL CONQUER ALL?

Monday morning, I took my time waking up. I’d spent the weekend in the Sierra National Forest of northern California outdoor adventuring with my friend Corrie. As I peeled off my eye pillow and arranged the comforter on the couch I noticed Corrie standing over me. She was announcing the horrific events that took place in Vegas the night before.

The more I tried to make sense of the tragedy, the more uncertain I felt. None of the pieces fit together. The gunman didn’t fit any preconceived profile. The reason was not clear.

This feeling of uncertainty seems to be becoming more familiar, on a grand scale. Natural disasters seem compounded – hurricanes, earthquakes, one after another. Sometimes it even seems as if uncertainty is the only thing we can be certain of anymore.

If this is the age of uncertainty, how can we be sure that we are living in total freedom? How can we trust that love will conquer all?

Uncertainty is in the head. Freedom is in the heart, the seat of love. There is no uncertainty where there is love. Ask the heart. The heart knows this truth and reminds us with every pulsation, at 30, 60, 120 beats per minute, an inner reminder with every beat. Tuning into the heartbeat and the breath is the key to connecting to what is certain, to the stillness inherent in the pulse of life itself.

Enough empiricism, head meet heart.

Evidence-based experience is all the rage. You WANT to know, you NEED to know exactly, How does reiki work? Why do I get goose bumps? Where does the breath begin and end? There are endless questions that do not have the kind of answers that logic can neatly categorize in your head. You feel as if an experience is not viable if it’s not processed through the left side of the brain and thus set in concrete. I know this because I experience it every day. It is how we are trained from day one on this planet. Believe in a God that you cannot see but everything else must have sensory evidence.

Bealutiful Mind

What do you need to generate the engine of intuition that is alive within you?

Thinking empirically and needing to know every little detail of function has its downfalls. On a physical level, constant thinking without a way to disengage the thinking process — such as meditating or spending time unplugged — triggers stress, which activates the limbic system and sends chemicals and nerve signals to the adrenal glands. When the adrenals are activated the system goes into high alert, the emotions get activated and then the body’s energy – yes, that part of you that you cannot see and must feel to know – focuses on stabilizing you. See how I just fed your empirical brain the information it craved? Did you feel any relief knowing that? I sure did.

Another important point is to acknowledge the questions that you are listening to inside of your head. Are these the questions of a doubter skeptic? Because if they are, that’s fine. I’m not making a point about what’s bad and what’s good. I’m asking you to become the observer of your thought process. If you sit in one place and look at different things – a chair, the sky, something on the television – is there a line of questioning that happens because your brain wants to figure it all out? If so, can you just let that be without any kind of resolution?

Like a ship in a storm full of sailors hobbling about with knives and oil lanterns and live pythons, your body must focus on keeping the knives in their sheaths, the oil in the lanterns and the pythons in their cages as the sea rages and the boat tosses.

My point here is, your need for empirical evidence in all things affects your health. For to constantly heed the call of the doubter and the skeptic takes more than just your brain to make happen. It is a full-time job for your entire body involving many parts of your brain – the amygdala (emotional center), hypothalamus and pituitary (transporting systems of chemical and nerves to kidneys/adrenals), the hippocampus (center for forming new memories about past experiences). These changes in turn affect your digestion, libido, sleep, yadda yadda, so forth and so on, in an intricate connection of infinite bodily connections.

THE HEAD IS CONNECTED TO THE HEART

Reliance on evidence-based experience has eclipsed the other half of our knowledge symmetry, leaving us out of touch with our own intuition. From the right brain perspective, the need to know requires acceptance of the mystery of life, that you are never going to know EVERYTHING. If you can accept that truth then you can open the door to the wealth of information available by using your intuition.

The biggest shift that using intuition requires is away from the idea that information is either right or wrong. Intuitive information expands beyond known parameters into the worlds of finding patterns, discovering possibilities, and exploring creatively the ideas and questions that are at the heart of every intellectual need to know. Without the additional stress of the illusory right or wrong dilemma, much of the worry generated through the limbic brain that leads to health problems can be alleviated.

Many of us are convinced that we are not intuitive, that it’s a lost art once practiced by your grandmother or the palm reader down the street. I say no. If you have a heart that beats, intuition is within you. It WANTS to be of service to you, employed by you.

What do you need to generate the engine of intuition that is alive within you?

Knowledge symmetry matters because without it you are only operating at half speed. When you bring the heart to the table and give it equal footing with the head you operate as a whole being.

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