Equanimity

I’m obsessed with equanimity. It’s an often sought out thing, but a little used word. And it’s the word I want tattooed onto my body because I value equanimity so much.

Equanimity is a mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.

For much of my life – until I entered therapy when I was 39 – I struggled with finding any bit of peace within myself. I was always in panic mode. Always dealing with low and high levels of anxiety. Always trying to control things outside of myself (impossible and so so so draining) in order to avoid feeling my troubling or scary feelings.

It took much work to find ways to nurture a sense of calm and composure no matter what comes my way. The waves of emotion did not disappear. I learned to ride them.

The less I implode or explode these feelings that I am “not allowed to feel”, the more of a moderate relationship I have with them. – Alanis Morisette

This is why I want a tattoo with the word. But where? My friend Christelle is very good at small freestyle tattoos. I will book time with her in 2017 and I’m sure she will help me find the perfect spot.

PS I wrote a blog post a while back on how nurture equanimity within myself.

Full – Core Desired Feeling

Over the next few weeks I thought I’d write a little bit about my Core Desired Feelings (CDFs) and how they came about. I decided to start with FULL.

The dictionary today defines FULL this way.

FULL
fo͝ol/

adjective
1.
containing or holding as much or as many as possible; having no empty space.
“wastebaskets full of rubbish”
synonyms: filled, filled up, filled to capacity, filled to the brim, brimming, brimful More
2.
not lacking or omitting anything; complete.
“fill in your full name below”
synonyms: comprehensive, thorough, exhaustive, all-inclusive, all-encompassing, all-embracing, in depth

The cool thing about discovering your CDFs and using them to turn inner clarity into outer action is that they are personalized and don’t need to follow the rules of grammar. The dictionary’s definition is the starting point. I use FULL as one my CDFs mainly as an adjective but it also means a little more than that for me.

Background

FULL as one my CDFs first began as NOURISHED. As I did the exercises last New Year’s Day – pondered my past experiences and envisioned what I wanted for my life going forward – I discovered that yes I wanted to feel NOURISHED inside and out, but I also had the desire to feel SOLID, GROUNDED and ADEQUATE. Essentially I wanted to feel that I take up space, stand my ground and feel good enough as I am in this world. FULL for me I discovered means that I’m sustained. I have enough. I’m not living with a scarcity mindset. I feel abundant with love, health, and resources. I feel stable. I take up space.

Taking up space physically and verbally is a challenge for many women. Our culture doesn’t support it and instead discourages it, even punishes it. You can read an essay by Jamie Utt that summarizes this very well here.

How I Feel Full

Here are few things I do to feel this Core Desired Feeling:

I nourish myself with healthy plant based foods (yep, NOURISHED became an action I take to feel FULL).

I feed my mind through mindful contemplation and learning. Lately that’s been through library books and podcasts.

I ground myself with daily meditation. I’m at 10 minutes a day each morning and I occasionally throw in a 5 minute session during my lunch break. I’m using the free version of the Calm app.

I surround myself with people who make me feel good about myself and the world – friends, family, colleagues and clients. I don’t have the time or energy to be with people who are passive aggressive or have a big hate on for the world at large. Anger and cynicism are things I do tap into, but I can’t live there all the time.

PS

Danielle LaPorte recently wrote about the difference between numbness and emptiness. I think it ties in beautifully with my desire to feel FULL. So neat when coincidences like that happen.

 

My Core Desired Feelings 2016

For those of you who visit my website with an eye for details you may have noticed a change in my Core Desired Feelings over on the sidebar. In January I did my annual Desire Map work and I got a little more precise and a little more descriptive on how I wanted to feel.

What I like about The Desire Map and Core Desired Feelings is that you do not need to obey the rules of grammar nor be sensible with the words you choose. If you want to feel like a Disney Character that can be one of your CDFs. If you want to feel spicy in whatever way you define spicy, you can choose that word. Neat.

What I went with this incarnation was compounding words. It feels right for me right now. It feels deep and detailed.

My Core Desired Feelings are Poise, Radiant, Purpose, Full and Whimsy.

I will explain in a future entry what these CDFs mean to me.

Love and blessings,

SESKA LEE

Chasing Goals VS Chasing Feelings

You want it and you want it bad. Aspiring. Hoping. Plotting. Recurring. Reaching. Bubbling beneath your surface. You crave it — and it craves you. So you make a plan to get it. A to-do list. The bucket list. Quarterly objectives. Strategy. Accountability. The goal. Except . . .

You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing a feeling.

We have the procedures of achievement upside down. We go after the stuff we want to have, get, accomplish, and experience outside of ourselves. And we hope, yearn, pray that we’ll be fulfilled when we get there. It’s backwards. It’s outside in. And it’s running us in circles.

Danielle LaPorte

I have experienced this myself. In my burlesque work, in my blogging, in my personal life. I thought I wanted that THING or that ACHIEVEMENT when truly what I wanted was to feel a certain way. Until I got specific on those feelings – my Core Desired Feelings – I was lost in a mess of dissatisfaction and confusion.

Does any of this resonate with you? If so I think my March 20th Burlesque Expressed & Embodied With The Desire Map Workshop is for you!

Let me help you discover and define your Core Desired Feelings so you can find INNER CLARITY that will transform to OUTER ACTION.

Register Now

All my best,
Seska Lee

PS I’m using burlesque as the stage for this exploration and development. It has so many powerful elements to it that will allow us to dig deep and play and grow. I can’t wait!

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Avoiding Pain

I have circled around this for a few months (actually years but very specifically more recently). Not pain but the various strategies I have used throughout my life to try to avoid pain, why I have tried to do so and why none have ever worked. It’s been interesting to unpack this deep-set of wounds. Challenging for sure, but interesting too.

Perfection

When I was a teenager and into my twenties I thought that if only I did such and such a thing I would be perfect and then I would not be in pain, that I would be happy. I thought pain was something to be avoided (more on how I came to that false conclusion below) and perfection was the best way to do that.

Of course, as a teenager I was still forming my identity and I looked to others for my idea of perfection. I looked to peers I admired – the cool kids who seemed to never mess up except to be the perfect rebels with perfect hair and skin. I looked to movie and TV stars. I looked to pop stars. I looked to fictional characters I read about in those 1980s ever-so-popular teen series about cheerleaders and beauty queens.

I have long known that this strategy was useless. It actually made pain all the more prevalent in my life because perfection is a myth and unattainable. Trying to achieve it is a struggle that takes so much time and effort. It leaves you hollow and exhausted.

Parenting

In her manifesto for Wholehearted parenting Brené Brown writes…

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

My parents did not teach me to sit with discomfort, pain or suffering and this led me to have many bad habits and significantly damaging strategies to deal with grief, fear, hurt and other challenging feelings.

This is not a blame game. I have come to terms with how my childhood experiences encouraged this type of thinking. I have empathy for my parents and their upbringings. For them vulnerability was not part of being resilient. They wanted to protect me from suffering (impossible). I do not think they knew there was an alternative – to learn to experience it and use it to grow and connect with myself, others and Universe ( all the energy that surrounds us, is in us and things – I suppose you could say it is what I call my higher power).

Being with these emotions is something I have learned to do in my 40s. Never too late, but I do wish I had figured it out earlier. In any case, I am much more comfortable with the uncomfortable now. I am better able to ride the waves of the hostile and scary emotions and not let them be destructive. The waves are there as always. They do not disappeared. They never will. I am just a much more competent emotional surfer.

My Answer

Now I sit with my feelings – pain with regards to this particular post but this is useful for all of my feelings. I observe the feeling. I welcome it with curiosity. I ask it questions. Where are you in my body? What are your qualities? What are you trying to tell me. I hold it. I embrace it with loving kindness. I have compassion with myself.

The less I implode or explode these feelings that I am “not allowed to feel”, the more of a moderate relationship I have with them.
– Alanis Morisette

Gratitude Practice

I so so so love my new gratitude practice.

10 Things

Before bed I make a list of ten things I’m grateful for. Yes, I count them on my fingers. I say them over and over in my head and then drift off to sleep.

Well, not over and over as I actually fall asleep before the second round. I don’t have insomnia, but I do have a busy brain and I need routines and rituals to help ease me to sleep. Otherwise, I toss and turn. I’m very restless.

While I am glad this new gratitude practice helps me fall asleep it is actually about so much more.

This practice is good for all three parts of me – mind, body and soul.

Mind – because it slows things down and makes me reflect in a positive way on the day. I do have a loop of all the things I found demanding, unsatisfying or upsetting playing in my mind. While I list in my head the things I am thankful for my busy mind stops rehashing the day in woulda-coulda-shoulda ways.

Body – My gratitude practice also helps calm my body. Being quiet and patient slows down my breathing and my heart rate. By being still and meditating on what I appreciate my body is better able to enter a sleep state. Sleep is SO IMPORTANT to health.

Soul – This one is obvious. Being thankful is good for the soul (however you define it) because it encourages empathy, reduces depression, and increases psychological resilience. All things I want and help me connect with the great unknown in a safe and inspired way.

Want to know more about the science behind the benefits of gratitude? Check out this article.

Clearing Space, Mindfulness & Sex

I have been doing much clearing this year. Of damaging habits, old strategies that were hurting more than they were helping. It is an on going process of internal, mindful recalibrating of the way I think, perceive and respond.

I have also been doing this in a physical way. If you follow me on Twitter you will have noticed tweet about shredding and purging.

One of the other things I have been doing in this recalibration is a mix of the mind and the body. I have created a new morning routine for myself! I was inspired after reading Be More With Less‘  Courtney Carver’s mini course How To Create a Meaningful Routine. I am going to apply the principles (slowly – you gotta do it slowly) for my evening routine.

Well, what does this have to do with sexuality, you ask?

Everything.

Because nothing we experience as human beings exists in a vacuum, in isolation. It is all interconnected. Practicing mindfulness allows us to be present in the moment. Not get lost in the past and simmer in regretful thoughts. Not Worry about the future or get lost in fantasy futures. Just the here and now. It is really all we have.

Mindfulness can be a part of all of our experiences – including sexual ones. In fact, as someone who had a tendency to (over)analyze, (over)think and (over)dramatize when it comes to sex I have found mindfulness an amazing tool to get out of the stories in my head and get connected to my mind, body and spirit.

This morning I read this passage from The 7 Lively Sins: How to Enjoy Your Life, Dammit  and it seemed rather relevant to sex as mindfulness practice.

Sex is just a sweaty form of meditation. Think about it. The best lustful sex is about being in the moment, not obsessing about the past or future… or if your thighs look fat in a particular position… and so this means that orgasm is not the ONE AND ONLY big lure of lustful sex. A less obvious secondary benefit is that feeling of supreme peace that comes after sex – and this peacefulness isn’t entirely due to reaching orgasm, but ALSO due to reaching one’s metaphysical spirit, by being fully in the metaphysical moment. SO when we feel good after a lustful sex, it’s partially because we’ve emptied our cluttered brain of its chattering.