The last weeks the song below has been on repeat. It was only recently that I actually looked up the meaning of it, but when I finally did shewwwwwww boy does it now vibrate through my entire being on a whole new level.
Sondela Forever by Muzi. In Zulu the word Sondela means, to draw close, to approach, or to come closer.
The Journey I didn’t See Coming.
Recently, each day has seemed like somewhat of a Sondela to something very true that has been buried deep inside of me for what seems like lifetimes. I can relate it to following a map to a buried treasure that only I was born to find. The tricky part is that the map can only be revealed moment by moment and only when I have the right super power lens on to see it all clearly.
Since completing my breathwork training and arriving back from Guatemala in May I sense myself drawing scary close to the treasure. Some days it feels like utter bliss and other days it’s so damn painful to continue to follow it. But on I go, trusting that it’s bringing me to the gold I was born to find.
I haven’t written and honestly shared outwardly since January of this year because to be quite honest I don’t know how to talk about things I still don’t fully understand myself. Guiding others deeper into themselves through breath and various modalities is beyond rewarding, but when it comes to guiding my own self it’s a whole other ball game.
The last year breath has taken me on a journey I can honestly say I did not see coming, the journey back to my feeling body and complete readjustment of my personal numbness bar.
The De-numbing Process.
As I become more intimate with these places inside of myself many of them I am meeting and feeling for the first time. Each day I am challenged to bring forth a whole new level of radical acceptance, patience and compassion with this little girl inside of me who has been begging for my attention for years. I consider myself a pretty self aware person, but holy crap the blind spots are real especially when it comes to seeing this little girl.
A new level of honesty is arising in me and it scares me. I find myself questioning so much, like the little hidden agendas behind what I say why I say it, what I do and why I do it. The questions and agendas only leading me to more questions.
It can feel overwhelming to discover AND ACTUALLY FEEL little truths in ourselves that have never been brought to light before. It seems each day reveals something new that has me breaking down and breaking open again and again.
Some days the ground feels shaky, the things I used to find comfort in no longer do the trick.
Yep. Welcome to the journey back to the feeling body. Adjusting my personal numbness bar has revealed a whole host of new coping mechanisms that used to work oh so well in helping me get away from little emotional truths in my body I didn’t want to acknowledge for fear of being seen as weak, “less conscious”, a burden, hypocritical, or immature.
The more I uncover the harder it becomes to hide, to pretend.
That’s the great awakening… thought it would be oh so much sexier than this. I guess this is what you find when you ask for real growth, a messy chaotic ecstatically beautiful Sondela.
Before finding breathwork, running at the end of my workday was and still often is my outlet. Usually 1-2 miles in I would find myself sobbing or feeling absolutely enraged. At what? I didn’t know. I’d punch the air as I moved through the forest or bawl my eyes out.
“What was wrong with me?” I would often think to myself.
What I realize now and remind clients of often when they embark on this journey of connecting back to the body after years of disassociating and coping is this;
Nothing is wrong with you. You are simply coming back to life.
Emotions are energy.
Energy wants to move.
When stuck emotions cause stress, it’s the energy asking you to help it move!
Running, moving, breathing deeper, flooding my body with oxygen through movement and breath brings me out of my mind and in touch with my body again and again. This was a body I hadn’t trusted since I was little, a body I rarely felt safe in growing up, a body that produced emotion and feeling that I would psycho-analyse myself out of, bypass with spiritual concepts to make myself feel good again, safe again.
The more I learn about breathwork, trauma, the nervous system and its affects on our behavioral patterns, the more I begin to piece together in myself and also fall utterly apart.
And holy crap can falling apart be absolutely liberating because falling apart means that something else can be built in its place, something more aligned, more self serving, more true. Breaking down everything you once knew to be true means creating new rules and letting old ones go.
The breakdown is the breakthrough. Yes it’s cheesy and true.
Returning To Safety & Rewriting Rules.
Old rules I’m currently rewriting:
- When I feel the raw expression of painful emotions it hurts others, makes other angry.
- I can think my way into more positive feelings.
- Feeling unpleasant emotions means I’m being ungrateful and unappreciative of what a good life I have.
- Emotions are unproductive.
- People will only love me, want to be around me if I’m positive.
- Never drag other people into your stuff. People will feel burdened or see you as weak.
These are the agreements and rules I used to live by, the ones I have spent the last year reprogramming daily. Something very important here to grasp;
Constantly trying to change your feelings is an act of abandonment toward your current self. If you constantly tell yourself you shouldn’t feel the way you feel you’re telling your body’s natural intelligence that it’s wrong. Wonder what that does for your overall health and wellbeing? 🤔
- “Feel your feelings”
- “Allow all emotions in and through”
- “Your body knows, trust it!”
Easier said than done.
These phrases and concepts I have PREACHED from the mountain tops this last year. These are also concepts you cannot convince your way into doing. Believe me I’ve tried.
The problem is that a lot of us have very solid reasons why we don’t feel our feelings, why we stay in our minds all the time and why we don’t trust our bodies.
There are often deeply traumatized parts in each of us that live in our bodies disguising themselves as physical tension, sickness, fatigue, disease, most often low self esteem and lack of worthiness showing up in all that we do and who we relate to.
Unknowingly, many of us wake up with the same suit of armor day after day. A suit of armor we put on ourselves years ago and now no one can take it off but our own self. We wear this armor in fear that we might be hurt again. Most of us don’t even know we have it on because we’ve lived with it our entire life.
Of course we want to trust our decision making, our feelings, our emotions, our body, but we have valid reasons why we aren’t fully connected with this earth suit of ours.
What to do?
The human being is an organism of self protection. Everything we do is for our survival.
You’re not self sabotaging, falling back into or remaining stuck in unhelpful behavior patterns because you hate yourself, or because you’re lazy, or worthless. It’s quite the opposite actually. You’re doing these things because on some level these unconscious patterns help you feel safe.
Go At Your Own Pace… But KEEP GOING.
If you’re struggling to connect with your body, listen to it, trust it, make aligned decisions, then there is probably something deeper you aren’t addressing, feeling, acknowledging. There is a reason why you still don’t quite feel safe in this body that is meant to feel like home. But this doesn’t mean we put our lives on hold forever until we figure it out. The more we give ourselves permission to fully inhabit our lives versus cutting ourselves off from those we love and the world around us, the more safety slowly finds its way back to us.
Things that I share with clients and have personally helped me safely come back to my feeling body the last year
- somatic experiencing (more on this later but basically a form of mindfulness for the body)
- spending more time with people that feel good for my nervous system and spending less time with people that don’t.
- any forms of embodiment practice such as ecstatic dancing, yoga, quigong
- replacing coffee in the morning with cacao
- hiking in nature
- hot baths
- cold plunging
- doing things that allow me to surprise myself despite the fear
I hope you choose to experiment with some of these or if you already are for this to be your reminder that YOU’RE DOING IT and to KEEP DOING IT!
There is no rushing this sondela back to safety, no 8 week program that will fully heal you, not even mine 😉 Because your sondela back to you, back to finding a safe place inside of yourself is a non linear, squiggly, messy line that has no arrival. We musn’t wait to live our lives to full capacity until we have it all figured out because let’s be real we probably never will. Living our lives to the fullest WHILE “figuring it out” as we go can be the fun part… if we let it be.
I know you want a destination point but there isn’t one. However, there is progress along the way and the progress can be just as liberating.
Know that when you’re ready your breath and body will guide you back to trust, back to your full aliveness again. This takes a willingness to go into the unseen, to meet these hidden parts of yourself you have yet to spend time with and to venture back out there into that big bad world ready to go at it again.
The good news is that on the other side of all of that which you’ve been suppressing is a whole new experience of you and your aliveness just waiting for you to recognize it and to LIVE all up in that stuff. The energy that you allow yourself to tap into that has been lying dormant in your body is nothing less than liberating.
You’ll begin to notice a sense of lightness even as the natural ups and downs of life continue occurring. Watch it, notice it, feel it move through you. I like to call this Modern day enlightenment baby.
Everyone has their own timing. I get it. For now it may feel safer, more productive, easier not to feel, to cope, numb, to keep that armor shining, or maybe to feel but stay hidden and attempt to “figure it out” on your own.
But, in the end it wears on you, that suit of armor you carry around from place to place, person to person, thing to thing, it somehow gets heavier and heavier the longer you choose to carry it all by yourself.
Radical honesty brings radical awakening and as painful as recognizing past traumatized parts of ourself is, as painful as it can be to de-armor yourself, it can be EQUALLY as freeing.
You’re not being over dramatic, making things up, ungrateful, a burden, or selfish. All things I’ve told myself and believed at various points by the way. Your experiences are valid, you can handle what is hiding beneath the surface of it all and you don’t have to do it alone.
I promise you were given this life because you are capable of living it.
To all of you who are feeling alone, waiting to fully inhabit your relationships, the activities in your life, waiting to have it all figured out, hiding yet hoping to be seen, not because you want to hide but because you feel like you have to, I hear you and I see you. And though we may hide in different ways for different reasons we all do it.
To the discomfort
To the joy
To the love.
Lean in to your life.
Come with me on this Sondela back to safety. We’ll take baby steps I swear ❤️