Wag More, Bark Less
It’s a quirky title, but the words of this bumper sticker are as good a message as any for us humans right now. In this time of uncertainty it seems that our collective anxiety has gotten so big, and our defensive “barking” so loud that we can’t relax, or think straight, or listen…or feel.
Iraq, Barack, Ike…bark, bark, bark…Palin, Bailout, Burnout…rant, rant, rant… Tight, Squeezed, Broke …pain…
The problems are unrelenting and overwhelming of course. But so is our collective reaction to them: the spasms of worry and fear, righteous mudslinging, incredulity, despair…401k savings aside, imagine what trillions of polarized thoughts and emotions, pounding and gumming up the ethers and the airwaves every second, might be doing to all of us. As I’ve learned from a decade of clearing the energetic “clutter” in peoples’ homes, unconscious human “off-gassing” doesn’t just go away…or evaporate into some big hole in the sky. Depending on their intensity, highly-charged emotions have a way of sticking around, leaving behind a magnetic minefield of thought-guck for more negative thoughts and fears to land on. Not pretty.
Before you lose heart and order up another round of worry, consider that there is something you can do, like…right now. If you’re up for it, you can try this simple practice that I teach my clients and students to release some of the stressful build up. If this clearing technique doesn’t seem like it accomplishes very much, that’s because from the mind’s point of view, it doesn’t. This exercise is designed to access a deeper inner knowing that bypasses the mind altogether:
The first step is to close your eyes and notice how you’re feeling right at this moment. What’s going through head? How does your body feel? Do your hands feel hot or cold…tingly, sweaty, clammy…? How about your feet? Are both feet on the floor? Do you feel grounded? Do you feel tired? Weary? Energized? Curious? Bored? How about your breathing? Is it shallow? Is it full?
Now, think of an issue or a person that presses your buttons, or something that’s been bothering you lately: a fear, a burden, a worry you just can’t seem to shake. Give this experience your full attention for a minute or so without resisting or doing anything to fix or manage it. Don’t think too much. Just feel whatever comes up.
Okay, so what do you notice? What’s going through your mind? How does your body feel now? More contracted? Less? Do your hands feel the same as they did before? How about your energy level? Your breathing? Is it the same or different?
If you hang out long enough with any kind of emotional weather pattern and allow yourself to feel the charge that comes with it, you might notice a corresponding sensation in your body. You might feel jangled or rattled. Agitated. Teary. Congested…If you’re like me, just reading some of the “barking” words at the beginning of this article might make you flinch, or cringe, or elicit a pang of localized pain, or nausea, or sudden dry mouth and thirst.
No matter how your body processes information swirling in the ethers, if you can allow sensations to arise without resisting them, or personalizing them, or identifying them as “bad” or “good,” you may experience—by simply witnessing—a shift of some kind…a certain something that maybe wasn’t there before. Less intensity, perhaps? More breathing room? A greater sense of calm? Less charge...?
So what would happen if…for every time you caught yourself ready to snap at someone about something or go into a cold sweat of fear, you just stopped, took a breath instead and observed?
What would happen if…before you let your mind go on another bashing spree of all the reasons why things aren’t working in your home or life or the world, you took a moment to stop, breathe, observe, and allow (the good, bad and ugliness of it…)? And let it go at that.
What would happen to your sense of spaciousness (and your nervous system) if you opted instead for doing one thing that made your heart sing…?
Imagine what would happen to the world right now if you chose for peace every time you remembered you had a choice. Yes, one “wag” every time you think of it.
So how are you feeling at this very moment? The same as before? Different?
Awareness. It changes everything.
Stephanie Bennett Vogt
Learning to Unplug
If you’re intrigued by my clearing methods which are supported by simple everyday practices in tending your home, nurturing your self, and energizing your life, I invite you to read my book and/or consider taking my online course (BRAND NEW and hot off the presses! See below for more info)!
These resources will support you in clearing anything, be it the physical stuff, the emotional weather, or the thoughts that get in your way. Designed to cultivate what I call “spacious detachment,” these tools are your keys to the kingdom of living clear! To learn about the NEW goodies I’ve developed in the past year…keep reading!
Your Spacious Self — The Movie!
It seems that many good books these days are made into a movie. At three minutes long, maybe my movie isn’t exactly Hollywood or Sundance material, but it does have a soundtrack and it is designed to move and inspire you.
I wanted to create something uplifting and beautiful that would not only give people everywhere a clearing boost, but also to show how we can each make a difference in the world when we tend our homes and lives–one small step, drawer, or thought at a time.
Check it out. Tell your friends. Let me know what you think and ENJOY!
Take My Workshop at Home
Like artists who doodle all the time, my doodling is noodling. Noodling on the best ways to inspire and simplify; to create experiences that are alive and fresh and real.
After a year of major noodling (i.e. writing, developing, refining, uploading, recording, proofing, tweaking…), I’m pleased and proud to announce a clearing opportunity that is one of the best I've designed in over thirty years of teaching. Your Spacious Self Online Course is an interactive, multi-media experience that that meets you where you are and guides you on a gentle journey of clearing and self-discovery like no other.
As a longtime teacher, I wanted to make most popular workshop available to everyone: to expand it and create not just a class, but an experience.
A perfect companion to my book, this online program deepens the clearing experience. More process, less content; it includes among its many features: live audio meditations (with my voice) designed to calm the noisy mind, and a cutting-edge private journal space to record your insights and track your progress.
Learn more about this unique program, read what people are saying, and listen to a couple of short audios by me that will give you a sample of what the clearing experience looks and feels like.
Back by popular demand: I am offering another six-week Clearing Circle series for women at The Women’s Well in West Concord, MA. Monday evenings: October 13, 20, 27; November 10, 17, 24, 2008 (Note: There is no gathering on Nov. 3). Learn more.
Clearing a path to your true nature—
one step, drawer, or moment at a time.
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