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The Chronicle Sessions - Self Love

May 2017

At the start of this month I committed to completing a cycle of self-healing after taking my first level of Reiki training. A good friend explained to me that it takes 21 days to cycle through a process for something to become automatic and a part of who you are. You first transition from being consciously unskilled to comprehend what’s going on around you, to becoming more consciously competent in those areas… all in hopes of someday becoming subconsciously skilled in anything life might bring your way. It is here where you don’t have to think; you just do and you arrive in a state of flow. It is a place where no thought is required to achieve your goal and attain what you want in life. One of my goals going through this process was to accomplish the latter and become more self-aware. It was definitely an interesting process that helped me gain new perspectives and insight into who I am. The first day I started, I found I had the misconception that I had to approach every day with the same techniques. About 5 days in I discovered that any approach that allowed me to become more self-aware was fitting and considerable.

In an attempt to be vulnerable and transparent about this process (even though it scares me to share some of these thoughts with all of you), I’ve written each days experience below:

Day 1 (May 8th)

Body Scan for 35 minutes. Felt like energy left in the areas of my chest and abdomen. Felt refreshed when finished (and it’s also a beautiful day out).

Day 2

Youtube guided video of a self-reiki scan for 40 minutes. Felt the most with my hands on my stomach and sacrum simultaneously (definitely zoned out).

Day 3

Focused on my heart chakra for 10 minutes. Very strong reaction-tears filled my eyes and I felt a heaviness in my chest leaving. I left feeling more open.

Day 4

Self-Reiki body scan for 35 minutes. Started at eyes, to the heart, to the throat and stopped there. I felt the release come in the form of a heavy exhale. I continued to my digestive system-it was active today (lots of gurgles and releases). I started this session with anxiety about a conflict in one of my friendships and I was feeling uneasy and began overthinking. Afterwards, I felt better more relaxed, but still slightly nervous. My head was more clear and I felt like I could rationalized and approach the issue with less emotional attachment.

Day 5

I met some new friends for a small music show at a friend’s house. We went on a nature walk later in the evening and we climbed up this wall of rocks and talked about random things. I also witnessed someone climb some not-so sturdy trees like Tarzan. It was quite impressive. It was a dark night, but it was calm and there was peacefulness to the air. I take a few deeps breaths and sit in the moment; I feel grateful for great friends who share their music with all of us. Walking back to the house I noticed the full moon; it was trying to peek out from behind the clouds to say hi (it had been cloudy all day). The clouds seemed to be everywhere but was clear in this one area right above us. I looked at the stars and immediately saw the Big Dipper. We laid down and looked at the sky for what felt like hours, but were only there for a few minutes. It was a moment that allowed me to slow down and be aware of the good that was around me. With the sounds of birds chirping in the early morning hours, I felt happy and content; my soul felt full.

Day 6

Focused on breathing…a s low inhale and a mindful exhale to calm my heart and mind.

Day 7

I’m feeling anxious this evening. I was lazy today and procrastinated around the house. I watched too much TV; it was heavy, emotional shows too, which didn’t help. I end up at the grocery store to try and get this feeling to go away. It helped a little. I called a friend to talk and it made me feel better.

Day 8

Body scan (10 minutes) before bed-focused on the crown chakra. I cleared energy related to past resentment and brought in forgiveness.

Day 9

Body scan for 15 minutes…what is my head saying? I’m overthinking and worried. What is my heart saying? Think bigger than where I am now. What does it mean to be “great”? I realize I don’t have to be doing the same thing in the same way my whole life. I need to be more creative with the knowledge and skills I have to create a life that I absolutely adore.

Day 10

Another 15 minute body scan. I’m feeling anxious, worried and worn down. I felt more calm and at peace to finish my day after this session. I left feeling more clear headed.

Day 11

I was grateful to be taking a Craniosacral course to further develop my skills as a therapist. I had some amazing and wonderful people allow me to stay with them over the weekend. Incredible hospitality and kindness to someone they have never met. I sat in their hot tub by myself this evening; the sounds of trickling water and the quiet hum of the tub around me. My music is distant in the background. Looking up to the sky I notice the Big Dipper; satellites and planes glide by as I become aware of how light my body feels in the water. I close my eyes and begin to float. Not just in the water, but in my mind and soul as well. I became more self-aware about the sensations in my body and in that moment I felt connected.

Day 12

During the course, there was a point where we were practicing new techniques at the head and I felt like I ended up in some sort of meditative state. I felt deeply relaxed afterwards, and a sensation of expansion overwhelmed me. Before bed I did a short deep breathing exercise to help me fall asleep.

Day 13

I surrounded myself with like-minded people today and got into some great conversations about our philosophies with our practices in our work. It was nice to gain new perspectives and connect on agreements. With the empty and open road in front of me while I was driving to my destination, a sense of peace and contentment washed over me. Whether it was the sun shining brightly, filled with optimism, or if it was the music playing on my stereo that took me to another place, I couldn’t help but feel excited for the days ahead.

Day 14

We practiced some more skills in our Craniosacral course today. As someone was practicing on me, I felt like I again went into a meditative state and my whole body relaxed. I turned my attention to the areas of my body that were not feeling well (head ended up the priority). At the end of the day, we all gathered in a circle, held hands and gave thanks for a wonderful weekend together filled with love, laughter and learning from each other (definitely some hippy shit, but hey…I like it). I could feel some energy transfer between everyone else and myself while we stood; it was very powerful and I felt energized afterwards. Saying goodbye and giving hugs to the wonderful people I met made me slightly sad. I realized the deepness of the friendships I had created over four days and how amazing and awesome it was to be able to achieve those connections.

Day 15

It felt amazing to have a full night’s sleep in my own bed! I feel refreshed. I started today’s session scanning the body and ended up focused on a few specific areas. Gave some good energy to each chakra, but I had some trouble quieting my mind and relaxing my thoughts. My biggest takeaway from today was to have more patience and understanding. I also wrote a pretty cool poem that I think might be my best yet!

Day 16

I felt completely stiff almost everywhere in my body today; my spine and hips seemed the tightest. I figured I would try a yoga practice to help increase some mobility. As I moved through some poses I started to tune in and feel every sensation in different areas of my body. I think this was the first time I felt that intimately connected with my physical self.

Day 17

The rain was gently tapping outside today and its sound became a soothing rhythm. I laid down and began to give some gratitude for the day and I fell asleep peacefully. My body felt refreshed, but my mind was still tired as I woke; my body definitely needed a rest. I need to listen to my body more.

Day 18

I took a few moments to sit and really feel what my body needed at the moment. It ached everywhere and I could sense there was some inflammation present. I didn’t prepare well enough this week to maintain a consistent diet and I knew that I had not been taking good care of myself the last few days. I could feel my cells craving something green and Spirulina was apparently the answer. I felt way better the next day; guess it’s time to make some small regressions and adjustments in my diet!

Day 19

I witnessed something slightly profound today. Sparing you the details, I saw innocence colliding with a strange, harsh reality. As uncomfortable as it felt, I am grateful for these experiences and opportunities to connect with others in various dimensions. I feel like I get to be somewhat a part of all of it. Maybe my purpose is to just simply understand? (Does any of this make sense?)

Day 20

My energy is erratic today; my mood shifted slowly from positive to negative and I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been feeling disconnected with the people around me and feeling paranoid about being on the outside of the things happening in my life. Why do I feel like I am the only one who is present and aware of the bullshit that’s happening right now? I know I’m not, so why are so many of us afraid to be honest and truthful about these things? I ended up having to turn to myself because I couldn’t communicate these feelings to anyone properly for them to understand. Writing has helped immensely with this as it helps me take the energy of a million scattered thoughts away, transferring them from my head into another energy form. In a way it takes away my negative emotions that I tend to let build up and affect my well-being. Sometimes this process makes me feel alone and I want to know how other people notice this reality and not accept it as “just how it is”. We all know it’s just bullshit at the end of the day. Why do I continue to try and fit in when I know deep down I’m not supposed to? I’m really struggling to come up with an answer for myself today. My emotions are heightened and I feel like crying. I sit for a while before remembering I am in complete control of changing that emotion. No one outside of me is causing me to feel this way except for me. I felt self-conscious and invisible to others today and I found I was comparing myself to everyone around me. I started to question how others were actually viewing me as a person and if what they “saw” was positive or negative in their eyes. And then I had a thought; not an unfamiliar one, but one that I hadn’t come across in a while. Why the fuck does it even matter what anyone else thinks of me at the end of the day? I know who I am and all of the wonderful things I have to offer this world. And that’s all I need to know.

Day 21 (May 28th)

Today is the last day of my self-healing practice…and I haven’t gone to bed yet. I got home late from a trip, but wanted to see a friend for their birthday so I stopped in to see them. I talked with a few people but didn’t feel like I belonged in that space at that time; I was about to leave when someone else started talking to me. I felt comfortable and at ease with this person right away and we ended up talking until early hours of the morning. I felt like this person spoke my language and I had found a long lost friend from another time. As I was driving home I was surprised how energized instead of tired I felt. And that’s when I notice the sunrise starting to happen to my left. I pulled over to see if I could get to a better viewing spot. The sky’s energy began to draw me in and I ran up a hill to meet the most beautiful sunrise. I stood there for a while just appreciating the moment (sunrises are something I rarely get the chance to see). The colours were so vibrant and intense, but were contrasted by dark clouds and rain dancing in the distance. I took a deep breath and surprised myself as I felt an overwhelming emotional response to what I was witnessing and my eyes turned watery. I felt strong and assured in myself and felt proud of all of the progress I’ve made in the last year. Without a conscious thought I spoke out loud that I was ready for what was next in my life. I opened my heart and mind to all possibilities of paths that might life might take me on. In that moment I truly felt ready to come into a new version of myself and own it with every part of my being. Without realizing it at the time, I walked away from that sunrise a different person.

Photograph by Kirsten Toth

If there’s ever been anything in this life I’ve found the hardest to master, it would be the idea of having unconditional love for myself. There have been countless moments in my life where I let others opinions of who I am affect my feelings of self-worth. I would constantly feel worried about being liked and accepted by others to a point where I would feel anxious (even slightly paranoid) about how others saw me. I think it’s safe to say this is something everyone struggles with frequently as we go about our days. Even the most confident people I know can reveal their weakest part of themselves on occasion. It’s subtle, but with the right frame of mind, it can be easy to pick up on and follow. It seems as though no one ever finds it easy to admit when they are feeling insecure and unsure of who they are, especially to the people closest to them. I see it in almost every situation I find myself in. Although, it really doesn’t matter at the end of the day of what’s going on in someone else’s head. Their reality is completely separate from mine and they can be filtering all of the information they receive in a vastly different way. It’s realizing that neither way is right or wrong, it’s simply a difference in the perception of ourselves and others. I will never have control over what someone else thinks. The only things I will ever have complete control over are my own thoughts that are going through my head. That will always be the power each of us possesses. I feel like I’m slowly finding mine.

If we are all able to recognize that we all parallel one another with our human experiences, no matter how diverse we may seem, we can begin to notice others for their strengths and have compassion for the moments we all stumble and falter through. Something I’ve been intently focusing on lately is trying to recognize when others are putting on a face to hide how they are actually feeling on the inside. I try not to make it too obvious, but there’s a part of me that will always want to see the deepest corners of a person, no matter how dark it may get. It’s seems impossible to be able to achieve such a feat if I don’t possess love for myself. That concept ultimately needs to be present at the end of the day if I want to truly have empathy for others. I very recently experienced being present on the opposite side of this coin where I had to put a smile on my face and pretend that everything was okay, when in reality I was screaming inside, grasping for air as my inner world was shrinking. For a moment I felt absolutely alone and confused about myself and about life; I felt deflated. Everything that I had worked hard for was now gone, like a distant dream. My view of everything became distorted, bent in all directions and I didn’t understand living in this reality for a moment. It took me five days after what seemingly felt like the end of my world and who I was to discover my power. With one swift shove from the Universe I started to see myself in a different light.

All of the pre-existing ideas that others created about who I am slowly began to wash away, along with the judgments and fears from them as well. When this process completed itself, I found I was left with endless possibilities and opportunities for myself; and knowing that I could re-invent who I am at any time I decide (I decide). And I did…without even realizing it at the time. I literally manifested this change into my life by simply stating that I was ready for what was next and truly believing it. It was in this moment I had the clarity to recognize I fully believed in myself for once in my entire life. This concept had become so foreign and far away from me that it took an experience that felt like the weight of a freight train on my chest to push me forward toward the next version of myself.

It is this “self” that I’ve decided to have a limitless amount of unconditional love and compassion for.

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