love school with sumi: your life energy is your superpower
hello love schoolers. if you're reading this you probably know that the blue full moon is in leo this week, and because i am leoine (sun), it feels especially auspicious. from what i understand, this moon means revisiting whatever we initiated during the total lunar eclipse in leo last august. for me, it was all about loving who i am, inside or outside of partnership. getting clear about what i need and getting more practice in asserting that. and in these past five months, i've really worked those lessons. these blog writings have been a love child of that work, but most of it has been in private moments where i had to dig through the throws of feeling (grief, anger, sadness) and find my way back to self. find my way back to personal power. (note: moana was a key player in helping me remember who the fuck i am!)
i have declared 2018 the year of self-respect (not universally, but i'm happy if that resonates with you). for me, it's the year of cultivating safety and security within. the year of putting less of my attention on what's happening outside of me, and more on the small-yet-mighty things i do to earn my self-trust. (it's also the year of healing my relationship to bread and chocolate, for similar reasons.)
to support this declaration, i've begun meditating. for 3 minutes a day. i was introduced to the world of meditation apps and less so recently been made aware that apps are more than just social media and gps tools. they are moon cycle trackers, yoga lessons, and intuitive dating sites (tinder lol). blending my love of new technology with my interest in mindfulness, i started using an app called headspace which offers guided meditations. is it a product of capitalism? are my ancestral gurus hanging their heads in shame?? wouldn't it be cuter if i said i was waking up at sunrise and sitting by my shrine in front of my elephant gawd doing ritual while dressed in humble white cloth???
well i'm still working on being that cute. in the meantime, allow me to be a little basic, no?
why meditation is the anti-dote to your loveproblems
first of all, please know that you are reading the advice of someone who power searches images of brown womxn with wolves for inspirational wall art purposes. are you really gonna critique this as hashtag facts? please don't do that! take what quirky truths work and leave the rest.
ok, so why meditation?
my predicament: i notice that i leave myself when i'm with other people. it's hard to trust myself when sometimes i feel like i betray myself thru small acts of not speaking up, asserting my big or little needs, or avoiding confrontation. what to do what to do. i heard my therapist's constant reminder to get curious, rather than self-shaming.
so i began by paying attention to the quality of my interactions in public. you know those filters on instagram which fade out your features and make them all ethereal looking? well, sometimes when i'm with others, it feels like that. like a fog or brightness is covering our exchange. it's as though i have squinted my eyes the whole time i'm with them, only to soften them and allow the fog to dissipate when i'm alone. this is how i diffuse myself and detach from the present moment. and not only during hard encounters or conflict, but even during a casual hello. in the presence of another, i start to disappear.
i bet we both can imagine why that's a problem. what would it be like for us to feel our body as our home wherever we go? it would mean we feel belonging wherever we're standing. for me, a deeply satisfying life is an erotic one. erotic like audre lorde and gloria anzaldua taught me - which requires that i dig up this natural intelligence of home so it can flow out of me. that's why i decided to befriend meditation.
so what did i learn when i sat with myself?
during one of my 3 minute meditations, my australian accent app teacher said something like "this time, instead of the mind leading the breath, allow the breath to lead the mind." in other words, let your body be a body. something about their instruction allowed me to feel more into the texture of me. i feel kinda earthy. actually, i feel really good - i noticed. like a rich, dark soil. like black, solid ground. 'why would i ever want to abandon this?' - i thought. and isn't it curious that the feeling of deep presence and life energy is blackness (not lightness which is more common in the vocabulary of mindfulness)? i decided i want to walk with this life energy wherever i go. let it nourish me from the inside. i want you to meet it where ever you meet me.
but how is this applicable to loveproblems?
your breath is trying to tell you something. i believe it will tell you about your predicament, if you let it. if you're like me and have a very loquacious brain which jumps from thought to thought tangent to to-do list to past memory to daydream.....your thoughts can be intriguing but at times generate much hecticness. (i was happy to learn that meditation isn't about not thinking, but to notice ourselves in thought and lead the mind back to the breath.) so how could it help me make better decisions?
nayirrah waheed wrote a poem where she suggests we ask ourselves, "is your breath happy. here." in all our relationships. this line kept chanting in me and i created a practice based on it. i find it useful for when i am having trouble distinguishing the difference between my strong feelings/intensity for someone and if they are actually compatible with me:
think about the person occupying your mind. purposefully bring up the thoughts/feelings/memories you often generate when your attention is on them. allow this to fill you up. then, notice what is happening in your breath and your internal landscape when this person is evoked. i notice that someone who evokes strong emotion in me is not necessarily compatible with me if i am holding my breath and feel more covered in intensity or gloominess than before. often to contrast what i want connection to feel like, i imagine the presence of a good friend and find a smile on my face.
this practice may not be a perfect fit for you so i encourage adaptation. i will say, it's not about determining whether someone in your life is 'good' or 'bad'. it's about feeling inside yourself and noticing the vastness of your intuition and the precision of your knowing. is your life energy happy here? listen to yourself.