Waking Up Waking Down Blog

Perfectly Imperfect Body
February 17, 2010, 11:45 am
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Lisa says:

I love my body.  I really do.  It always tells me the truth.  It never lies, it never hides how it feels, it never plays the martyr -“oh don’t worry about poor needy me.”   It just is.  In real time.  My body says “this is what’s going on for me, this is how I feel.  No matter whether you care or pay attention or dismiss or berate me , I’m just being and doing me.”

It took me 45 years to say that first line.  More accurately,  It took me 45 years to FEEL that first line and even imagine saying it.   For many years that first line was so NOT my reality (probably not really 45 years because pre-teenagehood it didn’t occur to me if I loved my body or not, I just lived it and felt it and moved it.) 

Let this sink in – it’s mind-blowing:  my body never lies to me.  My body is never in the future and it’s never in the past, it’s always now.  It’s the most dedicated, loyal, honest, trustworthy and hardworking part of me. 

At younger ages we are embedded in our bodies.  Our minds haven’t developed enough to mentally stand outside our own bodies and see ourselves.  There’s freedom there, but it’s an “unknowing” freedom, an undeveloped and innocent freedom, and yet we have to grow up.

In early teenagehood – to me it feels like 7th grade – this mental function develops more fully and we can discriminate our bodies from our minds.   Not a problem until the process runs off the rails into hypermasculine dissociation – the spirit matter split.    The mind rages like a frustrated despot and our cultural conditioning stokes the fire.  “Oh that body,” the tyrant fumes, “such a problem!   Too fat, too thin, not the right color, it’s speckled instead of smooth, curly instead of straight, sick instead of invincible, wrinkled instead of tight, clutsy instead of athletic,  changing instead of perfectly plastically perfect.”

I’m learning more and more to FEEL my body in this process.   And the more I feel ME, the more astonished and grateful I am for this living, changing body.   Even when I’m sick.  Even when I notice new stretch marks and funny dark hairs sprouting where they never sprouted before (“goat hairs” my sister calls them), even when I do the best handstand I’ve ever done – for 5 seconds, and even when my tummy hurts, my feet ache, and my eyes need those damn reading glasses (now where did I leave those?) .   Yes, even then, my God, what a miraculous body.

Too long…
February 6, 2010, 11:14 pm
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Walt says:
Too long wandering the mind’s labyrinth, disembodied, and afraid to feel. Too long wandering the spiritual path, trying to get somewhere else, somewhere “better”. Too long trying to fix, control, improve, enlighten. Too long on the road. Too long. 
Is there a better place, free from pain, gone from sorrow? When will I get there? How will I know it? Maybe I will have arrived at this place when I finally get that there is no arriving–that there is only the journey, a journey that never began, and will never end.
I was on a delivery job this week, and while driving I felt very tangibly that I was already where I was going. I was both on my way and, already there. This helped me to grok the simultaneity of the Infinite and the Finite. Being both is neither rational nor irrational. It is non-rational. It seems to flame forth from the heart and expand more and more as I lean into it until nothing is excluded.

I am beginning to glimpse a wisdom of the Heart that the mind cannot even imagine. And the more I feel into this wisdom, the more I trust it. It tells me I have felt this deep yearning, this aching nostalgia too long for a home I never left. It tells me that I must be this “better place” for myself, that the one I am looking for is the One who is breathing me, and that I must wake up to the One so I may truly celebrate the Many.

It feels good to breathe all this in. I am emboldened by this heartful daring to include all my feelings, every piece of the puzzle, no matter how jagged or seemingly out of place. To take them all in and say, “Yes, you are the dark part of me which will reveal the light that shines through the broken places. I will include you too, and in that including, my broken wholeness will be revealed.” 

Babying My Body
February 2, 2010, 3:20 pm
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Lisa says:

“Sickness can be wonderful experience for the body,”  Saniel said to me.   Double take.  Wait, what????????????

Actually, being “down” for awhile was a surprisingly pleasant experience for me.   I lounged in my pjs, watched a few movies, caught up on a pile of reading, slept in late.   The not so “wonderful” part was the mountain of used kleenex, the restless sleep, the vise squeezing my head and chest, and teaching yoga through a coughing fit when I couldn’t find a sub. 

Being sick gives me a whole new appreciation for all the systems my body keeps in balance every day.  And, because I can feel the energy drain, how hard my body works to return itself to health.   It is nothing short of miraculous. 

After leading a class of hatha yoga and relaxation, I always offer a short seated meditation.  The current theme is loving and appreciating your body.   Students have told me how difficult this meditation is.  Our culture is awash in body-hating and body-denying messages.  It is horrifyingly normal to feel disgusted, ashamed, disdainful of our own innocent bodies. 

For 2 minutes at the end of class we focus our attention at our heart and then flood our bodies with feelings of love, gratitude, appreciation.   For 2 minutes we release any negative thoughts about our body, any criticism, any desire for our bodies to be in any way different from how they are right now.   For 2 minutes, an itty-bitty fraction of the day, we love ourselves.  Do you know how rare that is?

I AM the Core Woud
February 2, 2010, 3:02 pm
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Lisa says:

As I move through the readings on the First Triad of the Human Sun Experience, one that struck me as “odd” was the experience of the Core Wound. I can “see” the Core Wound, but the idea of “being” the Core Wound seems too bizarre to me. How can I “Be” the Core Wound?

I got my answer today. I sure as heck AM the Core Wound. I AM that feeling of limitedness, separation, alienation. And I AM that dilemna of wondering – is that really all there is?  There’s gotta be more, but it feels, today, like there is nothing but this, Core Woundedness.

I’m tired of trying to escape this feeling. And though it doesn’t feel “good”, I don’t know what else to do but just Be it.  Just be who I am right now.  Not particularly hopeful.   Not very excited.  Pretty much resigned to Being what I am.

So here I am. Being the Core Wound and chopping wood and carrying water.

Face to Face with the Core Wound
January 25, 2010, 2:02 pm
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Lisa says:

Once upon a dark and fitful night, I woke up feeling very afraid.  The night was womblike, and there were no disturbances I could discern, yet my heart felt physically “sore” afraid.    My mind must have been AWOL so I had a tiny sliver of quietness.    Almost immediately I saw my mind jump back to it’s post and begin labeling the causes of the fear:

 lack of a partner

future money worries

business challenges

impending empty nest syndrome

But here’s the beauty – in that shiny little moment of quiet – maybe a 1/2 second – I saw that the fear existed PRIOR to the labels my mind slapped on.  The fear was there all along.  It was existential.  Now I know,that fear was the Core Wound; the anguish of being a finite body in an overwhelming physical world and wondering if this is all there is of me – how scarey. 

Oddly, I felt reassured.  Oh, I’m not really frightened about “something” – all this crap that I have to do-something-about.  It’s just scarey being alive.  It’s hard to be here.  Every body has an anxious heart.  

When I read Saniel’s book Great Relief (the 2 sentences above are take from it) I recognized that I’d felt the Core Wound.   It’s wierd that it’s a great relief, to know and see these things about myself.  But, it’s worse to feel that there is no reason for feeling frightened of just living.   And it’s worse yet to strain and toil to repress feeling a Wound that is inescapable and undelete-able.

Been there, done that, what’s next?

Walt here…present and unaccounted for….
January 23, 2010, 4:19 am
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What do you write about when the rambling rumblings of consciousness won’t let you sleep? How about whatever’s keeping you awake?

In our reading the question was asked: How do you register the core wound? Alienation. Separation. Loneliness. Rejection. ABANDONMENT. Despair on speed. That’s a start. And how might the wound sound? Like a screech rending the heart of another sleepless night–another innocent caught up in the winged talons of darkness and death.  No small wonder that I keep looking for a way out of all this.  I keep looking to feel better instead of just looking to feel.


It is becoming increasing obvious that the primary reason I came into this world, into this body, is to feel. And that any way of being that blocks this intention from taking form, taking root, is just more gasoline thrown into the belly of a fire already raging like hell. It appears to me that feeling is the portal through which God enters into and becomes this world. And I wonder: Is it not possible for God to become embodied without generating the core wound? Is this the price that must be paid to give voice to the Unspeakable? I’m trying to reach beyond the possibility that our bodies are little more than a redundant sacrifice for Absolute intentions I will never be able to grasp. Ah, the heart-rending, soul searing, jagged edged rawness of it! I am the ineffable sweetness of Divine Mystery, and I am the cannon fodder required for its apparent actualization. For some reason I’m not feeling real good about this. 

I guess I can shift my point of view somewhat and say since it’s all God anyway, it’s only happening to God, so relax already and don’t take it so personally. But Jesus H. Buddha, I’m not a saint. If you’re methodically attempting to reshape my skull with a ball ping hammer, it’s going to be very difficult for me not to take it personally. I can only philosophize myself out of so many corners before I see that every step out of one is just another step towards another. “So stay in the center.” Yeah, there’s another one…. 

I long to just be, just be with the seemingly unbearable facets of Being and Becoming. But it’s really hard to just sit when my survival instincts are telling me to run like hell. It’s like I’m ensconced in a lazy chair while the house burns down around me. Good grip! what’s that smell? Why, my ass is on fire! Should I do anything? On this path, rhetorical questions aren’t so rhetorical anymore. And this chair used to be sooooo comfortable. 

Well, I’m not too sure what voice has possessed the floor tonight, but he doesn’t seem too pleased with the state of the union–or lack thereof. There has to be a way to integrate this little fellow so he doesn’t persist in painting horns on everything. “And what’s wrong with horns on everything?” Well, nothing, I suppose, until you start looking for a place to sit. 

Hmmm…reading over this thing brings a perhaps wiser voice to the floor, “Listen to yourself when you speak, and when you notice that you’ve stopped making sense, shut up.” 

I think that was Sunwolf. 

Journey well, dear Ones. 

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 

–Wendell Berry 

Thanks, Wendell. Now, let’s try this sleep thing again. 

My Welcoming Prayer
January 15, 2010, 1:01 pm
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Did y’all see Walt’s comment?  What a beautiful description of accepting/feeling/being the Rot.  Inspiring.  Go read it right now if you haven’t already……

I love Walt’s repetition of the word YES.  I often use the word OPEN – just to remind myself to relax my body and heart into whatever is going on with me.   I would say relax my mind, but it doesn’t feel that way to me.  My mind merrily romps along, cranking out it’s own contradictory thoughts, but I (attempt) to move my attention away from being swallowed by my thoughts, into more attention on welcoming what my body and heart are experiencing.

Walt’s story parallels a practice called Welcoming Prayer that I learned from Cynthia Borgeault’s books.  The idea is the same – put attention on the feeling in the body – tightness in the chest, churning belly, tense neck and shoulders, clenched jaw, lightheadedness, frozen toes and fingers – whatever – and then welcome it.  She suggests silently saying “Welcome fear” or “welcome anxiety” or “welcome sadness”, and just letting it be and feeling the feeling. 

Of course this can be done with more enjoyable emotions too.  “Welcome excitement”, “welcome happiness”, “welcome calm”.

So, you probably don’t need or want a new practice – especially if you’re in the Rot and sick and tired of all practices and the possibility of any practice ever getting you anywhere you wanna be.   But maybe a gentle WELCOME or OPEN or YES will ease the way down the path.

The Hyperfeminine Worldview: Dis-embedding
January 14, 2010, 1:18 pm
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At the last Human Sun meeting there was a question about the hyperfeminine perspective.  What is that?

Here is how I understand it based on what I’ve read of Saniel’s work and also what I know of Integral Theory, specifically Spiral Dynamics. 

The hyperfeminine is an evolutionary worldview, a way of BEING  that predates the worldview of ego identification.  So we’re talking about a long time ago here, thousands of years.

According to Spiral Dynamics it’s the tribal or purple meme.  Consciousness was thoroughly embedded in the tribe, the group.  There was no sense of an individual “I” separate from the group.   It’s difficult to even imagine that from our highly-developed egoic sense of self, but just try. 

Hyperfeminine identification is the individual merged with matter, earth, nature, others, the world.  No ability to separate out  from the world as a specific, autonomous body, mind, soul.  I guess the “hyper” in the hyperfeminine is the embedding is so strong that humanity is Stuck. 

Every meme is important and useful, the point is not to get STUCK in it, but to continue growing.  I heard Don Beck say that the only place in the world we still find the purple meme is very isolated tribal cultures that, by a quirk of geography, have had almost no interaction with the outside world, so again, it’s difficult to even imagine/remember what that embeddedness in nature must feel like.

Somewhere along the evolutionary timescale, humans grow an ego.  Progress!  We are no longer so engulfed in nature/matter.  The evolutionary development of an ego, the sense of a strong, separate individual self was a great leap forward – red meme in Spiral Dynamics.   And, the ego, as an operating system, is included ever upward.  However, humanity is now embedded in egoic/small self identification.  Doesn’t it feel like we’re STUCK here?  I am nothing more than my body, thoughts, emotions –  a little, vulnerable entity in a big impersonal world. 

The goal  is now to transcend and include the ego/body/mind small self identification so we continue to grow.  (I sense the hypermasculine creeping in here, but forgive me, I’m a product of my culture.)   

The beauty of Waking Down is that the feminine – the body and its feelings are included and valued on the journey upward, but we’re not “swamped” in it.   And the masculine, egoic, independent and agentic aspect of self is included and valued, but parts of our Being are not  “dominated or shunned” in it’s stranglehold.   Embodied consciousness, the feminine and masculine in it’s healthy aspect, is the name of the game here. 

But then again, as Dennis Miller says….I could be wrong.

Rot Rot Rotting on Heaven’s Door
January 12, 2010, 5:38 pm
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Tired. Confused. Scared. Excited. Scared.

I am taking seriously Saniel’s recommendation that we do “as little as possible” during the rot. I lay in bed at night and allow myself to feel feel feel with as few distractions as possible. I do my best to relax my body into the bed, luckily my yoga practice helps me do this easily. Then there IS nothing to do but feel….and then sleep…fitfully.

Rotting can feel quite painful and scarey and overwhelming. I feel very lonely at times. I feel like a little bitty cog in this giant universe machine. And I sometimes feel like every cog knows his/her place and understands their function – except me. Except my little befuddled, anxious cog-self.

My latest Rot symptoms are lethargy, fatigue – oh yeah, that lack of interest in past practices and disciplines. I mean, my God, I almost ordered a hamburger at a diner Saturday night!

But I like the title of this blog (oh, how I love Eric Clapton) because the Rot is evolutionary progress, right? I mean, right? Yeah, it is, right? It’s a comforting thought when I’m laying in bed just allowing the feelings I’ve spent my whole life repressing to surface and express themselves.

What a Predicament! Again!
December 15, 2009, 1:16 pm
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I was talking with a close friend last night – trying to explain The Predicament – the anxiety, fear, insecurity of feeling limited, vulnerable, separate in this human body. I was telling him that for me it manifests as fear. And I’m tired of being afraid. I’m tired of being afraid of life. I’m tired of trying to protect myself against life.

He suggested that I needed to get “comfortable with uncertainty.” Afterwards I realized No, I don’t need to get comfortable with uncertainty – I’ve been trying that for years. I need to BE UNCOMFORTABLE with uncertainty. In otherwords, I need to surrender to that feeling and not try to fix it, or pretty it up, or make myself feel better. I need to feel The Predicament.