At the recent Befriending Yourself: Spring Meditation Retreat (pictures here), I shared with participants that to me the characteristic sensation of the spring element in Chinese medicine is discomfort.
It’s not the discomfort of hurt exactly. Nor that of an ache per se. It’s more the discomfort of having outgrown where you’ve been without quite being ready for what’s next. Not yet.
Many of us are experiencing such discomfort right now. The temperature goes up, then down. The winter coat comes on, then off. When is spring coming? Have we outgrown winter yet? When can I go out and play? This is so uncomfortable!!!
Perhaps when the decision has to do with whether or not to grab that winter coat, the stakes are fairly low. But when you’re pondering leaving your job, going back to school, having another child, taking on some new role, starting a relationship, moving to a new home, making a career leap… well, the gains and losses feel quite significant then.
How do we know when is the right time to make a move? To grow in a new direction? To leave what we have come to know and spring into the next… unknown… uncharted… big big step?
When discomfort arises, I like to remind myself that it's natural. It's natural to feel agitated, restless, and uncomfortable. This is a feeling tone that pulsates with a desire for change, for growth, to blossom!
So next time you notice discomfort, sit with it for a moment if you can. Tell the feeling you wish to know what it’s about. Ask it, “What vision would you like to share with me? What decision do you wish for me to make? What action are you pointing me to?” Listen intently and together you may find exactly when and how you grow.
May discomfort reveal to you the unfolding of your greatness,
-- Shira Oz-Sinai
Last week's email about how we replenish ended with this: "As we care for the water element in us, as we rest and repair on all layers of our being, we nourish the next element in the cycle--wood." In addition to giving our brains a chance to recuperate and our bodies a chance to destress, rest fundamentally nourishes our life force.
This is the vitality you feel after a good night's sleep. The pulsating sense of aliveness after a deep breath. The spring in your step after seeing a beautiful flower. It's also the renewed desire to grow, to express who you are to the fullest, and THRIVE!
As we make the transition from winter to spring, we still need plenty of rest and we may feel quite raw and vulnerable. At the very same time, that urgency to grow is beginning to thrum in our cells. What does your own power feel like? How are you wishing to grow? What do you need in order to stand fully in who you are and unabashedly proclaim to the world "I am ME!"? This is our springtime meditation, and here are two perfect places to explore these questions and more:
May rest transform your wildest dreams into reality,
-- Shira Oz-Sinai
If I tell you that I think the world is coming to an end or that I think people have a built-in ability to fly, would you believe me? It’s funny how when we hear someone else’s thoughts, we often consider whether to believe them or not. But when it comes to our own thoughts, we tend to automatically believe them, without even giving it—as the saying goes—a second thought.
Along with unquestionably trusting our own thoughts, we seem to attach great importance to them, as if they convey something more than mere ideas, as if the thoughts themselves reflect who we are. I don’t really think the world is coming to an end or that people can fly, but what if the thought passes through my mind? Am I responsible for it? Do I have to defend it? Am I what I think?
What if, for example, a thought passes through your mind about harming someone? Perhaps someone who has been annoying you at work or the person who just cut you off on the road. The thought pops in your head: “I hope that person gets a ticket” or “I wish that person dies.” This is not a thought-out, meticulous plan of how you'll harm someone but a random, out-of-nowhere thought.
While we would hate to admit that such a thought even crosses our mind, the truth is that this and others—perhaps more benign ones—do occur. The question is, are you a murderer for thinking this thought? Does the thought itself make you an awful person?
Despite the trending “Think Positive” slogan, which has led many of us to erroneously believe we can decide which thoughts to think (i.e. thinking only so-called positive thoughts), we can’t actually control our thoughts. If we could, wouldn’t we all just choose happy, pleasant thoughts all the time?
No, contrary to popular belief, thoughts apparently just happen. And, it’s not what you think that makes you who you are or determines your path in life, it’s what you do with the thoughts that show up. My recommendation? Make it a practice to notice your thoughts. Decide for yourself which ones to believe and which ones to leave. Don’t try to stop your thoughts; it’s a futile waste of time. Instead, intentionally develop the thoughts, ideas, and plans that are useful to you, those that align with who you truly are.
May you always experience the freedom of knowing your own thoughts,
-- Shira Oz-Sinai
P.S. Not sure what I mean? Need support with learning how to notice your thoughts or dealing with challenging ones? Contact me for a free consultation, schedule a private session, or leave a comment below.
What do you think?
Shira Oz-Sinai is a spiritual teacher trained in iRest® Yoga Nidra meditation and Soul Lightening Acupressure®, two modalities that share the common principle of noticing what arises in awareness as the foundation to living life with ease and in deep and loving friendship with yourself. These are her musings.