- TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I contemplated lightness.
The week was mainly about levity, about feeling light, unstuck, laughing and doing slightly scary things and (aha!) watching shadows disappear. Showing up.
This week I contemplated what happens when you “Just Start” or “Just Go” or “Just ask” or “Just Breathe”
I noticed a turning toward light, a heliotropistic maneuver as I sought out what I needed — allowing myself to watch a cloud through a window at one point during a social event, making time for stringing popcorn (<= I have always enjoyed quiet during this time of year.)
I hesitate to mention this but I wonder sometimes if I am not alone in feeling unsettled by what is imposed on us versus what our bodies yearn for at this time of year? I also greatly hesitate putting this forth but I very much feel that it goes beyond one spiritual tradition. This time of year feels quite deeply to be one of contemplation and meditation.
“Heliotropism, a form of tropism, is the diurnal or seasonal motion of plant parts in response to the direction of the Sun.”
“There would not be worth for lightness without darkness.” ― Kamaran Ihsan Salih
“Let me give you a wonderful Zen practice. Wake up in the morning…look in the mirror, and laugh at yourself.” ― Bernie Glassman, in The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges
Laughing and crying can both bring a sense of lightness — Do you agree?
“As a parent soothes and quiets a crying baby, dopamine is released in the parents’ brain, making them feel good. “We have developed a positive reward association to the cry,” Haley explains. When baby cries, parents soothe them until all is quiet, bringing sweet relief. Do this enough times and a positive feedback loop is created, making the parent crave another dopamine hit from comforting their child.”
(also from The Nature of Things)
Laughing with others releases endorphins
in the brain, a natural painkiller hormone that makes you feel great. It also activates the release of serotonin, the same brain chemical that helps to lower depression.
How do you acknowledge the pervasive dark and yet turn toward the light?
How do you acknowledge what you need, even when it’s not what you are “supposed” to need?
What do you need? How do you get what you need?
What if there were a balance between noticing what other people need and noticing what we need?
What if we quietly moved through our week ensuring that our needs were met?
Ages ago, a lovely therapist introduced me to the concept of actually writing down my needs — explicitly. Every day, each week, etc, what do I need, how much time does each need require, etc.
Try it: Take a sheet of paper, make a couple columns, and list your needs for the day. Eating, sleeping, exercise, time with friends, time alone, etc. next to each need, allow time
It’s both a liberating and infuriating process.
Do your needs meet these emotional needs?
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
It’s a theory of mine that when our needs are met, we feel lighter. It’s an intuition I have that this tension of unmet needs occasionally swirls around and wreaks havoc.