What Shapes You?


Have you ever held a piece of wet clay in your hands? Felt the sticky texture of fine-grained earth? Perhaps you've molded it, given it shape and form or noticed how the simple act of holding can leave behind your imprint - mark your presence - with every delicately etched line on the surface. 

Now imagine yourself as this piece of clay - your life the continuous process of shaping and being reshaped by forces seen and unseen. Each encounter and experience - every sound, sight, and point of contact - potentially leaving their mark, their indentation.

There is great responsibility in this point of view, if we choose to subscribe to it, for it places immediately into our hands the power we hold to influence, shape and co-create our environments. It also requires us to discern, for ourselves, when and where to be permeable, when to hold or release, when to apply our will to shape ourselves anew. 

Today, with all that is happening in the world and in your own life, ask yourself what is having the greatest impact on you...what imprint sticks most deeply? Take a moment to listen to how this may be shaping the way you feel, the way you think, the way you carry yourself in this moment.

According to social psychologists, negative emotions and experiences tend to stick more easily than positive ones. They cling like velcro whereas the positive, without self-awareness, are more likely to slip away. In fact it often takes 5 positive experiences to counter 1 negative, making it more important than ever to recommit to our wellness, surround ourselves with inspiring influences, choose practices that reorient our attention, and finally... remember to be compassionate...with ourselves and one another...this is BIG work!

One of the founders of the Open Floor, Andrea Juhan, speaks to a dance we call "velcro and teflon". It is the practice of gaining greater awareness of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual fixations (velcro) while learning to move toward greater fluidity (teflon). Through this dance, we can expand our emotional intelligence, strengthen our capacity to differentiate between what is ours or another's, and ultimately step out of drama cycles (victim/perpetrator) into sovereignty (creator). It doesn't happen overnight, but there are ample opportunities and innumerable ways to move from fixed to fluid. Here are a few ways you can explore:

  1. When you notice yourself stuck in a cycle, fixated on an idea, or acting out of habit, remember to be compassionate with yourself. This, too, is welcome.

  2. Pair your receptivity with choice! Explore adding gesture and sound to your mental chatter. Breathe into an emotion and make space to move it through. Soften your gaze, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, notice the beauty of a flower, the sound of a great song, the touch of a dear friend. Reorient your perspective not in attempt to avoid or dismiss the existence of something, but to practice shifting the 5:1 tendency.

  3. If you're still experiencing tension on any level, complement breath with imagination. Follow the movement of the ribcage, gently opening and closing like an umbrella. Imagine warm water pouring over the body, melting tension downward with every exhale.

Give these a try and tell me about it! This is how we learn...from and with one another.
Love, Teresa