In our experience and in our seminars, we work to awaken our life energy in three specific ways. The first is through awakening aliveness in the body, the second is through waking up our natural sexual and sensual aliveness, and the third is waking up our spontaneous anger at repression, invasion, injustice, abuse, and betrayals of our being.
All three of these energies may have been profoundly repressed in our childhoods and we may still hold back this energy in all three of these areas because of negativity, fear of energy and aliveness, and/or judgment.
We will address each of these three areas in the following three chapters.
Perhaps the easiest and most reliable way to ignite our passion for life is through moving the body.
Our life negative conditioning and self-sabotaging thoughts exist in our minds, filling us with frightening thoughts of the future or painful and frightening memories from the past.
The body is naturally vibrant and present and as we learn to live with greater connection to our bodies, we can change our inner state.
There are three aspects of learning to bring life positive energy in the way we relate to our bodies and all of them are important for igniting our passion.
It includes how we move, how we nourish our bodies with food, and most importantly developing sensitivity to our bodies.
When Bruno came to work with us, he was overweight, struggling with his Ph.D., and he had been suffering from depression for two years, during which he had even attempted suicide, ending up in a psychiatric ward on anti-psychotic medications.
As he describes it to us, “The medication helped but what I think what helped me most was starting to run ten minutes a day on the hospital treadmill, and adding a few minutes each day.” After two weeks, he had sufficiently recovered to be discharged.
“But when I returned to the university to continue working on completing my doctoral thesis, sitting alone all day in front of my computer, was a killer for me. I slowly began to sink into that familiar state of depression. I went home to be with my parents because I thought it would help but the feeling of being a dependent child around them only made matters worse.”
“When I started doing seminars with you, I realized how closely my mood was connected to my body energy. The dancing and active meditations in your workshops inspired me to get back to running. I slowly built up to doing mountain bike marathons and triathlons. I lost all my extra weight, I managed to finished my Ph.D. and generally, I feel much more positive about myself and life in general.”
Inspiring people to introduce some form of regular exercise into their lives is one of the pillars of our work because it has so many benefits in terms of feeling positive about life and about ourselves.
Something magical happens when we start to include a daily ritual that involves moving our bodies.
It feels good for many reasons:
- We are proud of ourselves for what we are accomplishing and for motivating ourselves to generate energy.
- The physical activity releases endorphins in the brain and that combined with the new energy and vitality begins to change our self-image – how we feel and think about ourselves.
- And when it becomes a regular activity, it becomes a resource to help us through difficult times.
Susanna told us that she was depressed and could find no meaning in her life.
We asked her, “Susanna, is there anything that you were passionate about in your life?”
“Yes, when I was a child, I rode horses and I loved it.”
“How would you feel about taking that up again?”
“I am not sure if it is available where I live and also it is expensive.”
(We often will find excuses to move into a more positive alive state.)
A year later, we met Susanna again. She told us that she started riding twice a week and now was at the point of competing in dressage events.
“And how about the depression?” We asked.
“I can’t tell you how great I feel. I absolutely love being with horses and it makes me feel fantastic. That feeling has carried over to my regular life and I feel 100% better.”
A connection to our bodies’ vitality is deeper than simply doing something athletic or changing our eating habits.
It’s an inner sensitivity that comes from tuning into how the body feels each moment.
We have clients who are very vigilant about diet and exercise but it is coming from a place of compulsion, ideas, and stress rather than relaxation and consciousness.
Rather than being in tune with their bodies, they are pushing the body instead of feeling it and tuning into what it needs.
For instance, Diana continually stresses about her weight. She exercises quite compulsively and regularly goes on detox diets to lose weight. She recognizes that her eating habits respond to the level of anxiety she is feeling but tries to regulate herself with control. As a result, her eating swings between rigid discipline and binging.
Another client of ours, Philip, a physician, is also vigilant about what he eats and his calorie intake. He eats no sugar, drinks no alcohol or coffee and lives mostly on healthy smoothies. He doesn’t have an ounce of fat on his body and works out everyday in the gym. But discipline is his addiction. It shields him from connecting with his deeper feelings and distracts him from having to feel his fear.
Coming in tune with our bodies does not depend on how much we exercise or what we eat.
In fact, as in the two examples above, excessive focus on exercise and diet can be compulsive, addictive, and unhealthy.
Truly becoming sensitive and in tune with our bodies is an inner sense of flow in the body.
It is a sense for what the body needs moment to moment.
Exercise and healthy eating that is in tune with our bodies is the result, rather than the cause of being sensitive and aware of our bodies.
This inner sense of body flow is deeply connected to meditation, a topic that we will take up in the next section of this manual.
Spending time being with ourselves in a quiet way without the usual distractions, helps to develop an intimate relationship to our bodies.
We become acutely aware how our bodies feel from moment to moment, we immediately feel how our body responds to different kinds of relaxation, food, and exercise and this awareness naturally directs us to .
Body sensitivity grows with more consciousness and develops into a loving relationship to our body.
- “What is the inner sensation of my body this moment?”
- “What does my body need this moment? ”
- “How does the food I eat affect my vitality and self-esteem?”
- “How does my level of physical activity affect my vitality, and self-esteem?”
- “What could I do in terms of what I eat, how I exercise or rest that could improve my vitality?”
- “What am I ready to do right now in my life to raise the level of body passion?”