This is part two of a five part series on a mind/body practice I developed a few years back called ‘Give Yourself a Hand.’ If you missed the last post in this series, check it out here.
In the first part of this practice we started by clenching a fist and reflecting on the limitations, relative usefulness and lack of sensitivity of that hand. We also used our bent thumb as a periscope – or a flashlight that only sees fear, consequences and opportunities.
This time we are going to start by pointing your index finger at an empty chair. Imagine, as you point your finger you are going think like a judgemental and authoritarian asshole. Pretend you are in an acting class and you are arguing with a friend, lover or child.
Feeling all righteous and judgey? Wagging and stabbing the air with your finger like a sword? Perfect!
So, why do we do that, as humans I mean? What does that wagging and poking finger really mean?
At its worst, I think that gesture is about judgement and control. If I were pointing my finger at my son and were using words like ‘LAZY’ and ‘DISRESPECTFUL’, I probably have lost my patience and am trying to get him to do his chores. (That would never happen, by the way). This gesture is a perfect embodiment of a lack of respect. If I were to call you a ‘this’, what I may unconsciously want is for you to feel bad about ‘this’ and start doing, feeling or being ‘that’. It is one of the most common and unconsciousness patterns of poor communication that people use to control each other.
Do you ever do use your pointy finger of ‘this or that’ on yourself? I know I do, and it sucks when I don’t stop.
What is strange and surprising, is that from a place of patience and wisdom that finger pointing habit can be experienced as wisdom, discernment and perspective.
So, try this. Point your finger at your imaginary person and imagine only asking them questions; kind, patient and helpful questions.
Of course, this is really all about how you communicate with yourself.
When it comes to the ‘Give Yourself a Hand’ practice, your index finger is really about developing a more conscious sense of discernment and perspective.
The Best Use of Sticky Notes…
Sometimes we each need to have a perspective pit-stop; a chance to re-assess how we see and how we judge ourselves. If you feel that this a good idea for you right now, TRY THIS…
Get two colors of sticky notes, let’s say a pad of blue and and a pad of yellow. Sit down in a hallway or in a corner if that feels more poignant. On the yellow notes write down every mistake you have made, everything bad thing that has happened to you and your biggest fears. If that sounds like 10,000 things then pick around 30. Let it be a random and free flowing experience. Stick each of those notes on the wall to your left.
Life is full of lessons.
On the blue notes write down every success, every battle won and your biggest dreams and fantasies. Write down the stuff you tell people to impress them with your experiences. Stick them on the wall to your right. Now, go and get some exercise, fresh air and sunshine.
Come back to this when you are feeling patient, kind and honest with yourself. Or, dive right in…
On the yellow sticky notes make sure you have written down each of your biggest wounds, your biggest mistakes and the things you can’t seem to change or accomplish in your life. Yeah, that part is pretty heavy, but it is absolutely worth it to take a good look at ourselves every once in while. Stick up any you missed to your left. Review your awesomeness wall. Can you think of anything else you would call a win or a cool cautionary tale? Up it goes on your right. Again, go for walk and let all of this settle. Or, keep diving in deeper.
Come back to this when you are feeling patient, kind and honest with yourself. When you are ready, sit down with the yellow and blue walls. Take a moment and connect with the yellow notes. How much of your life does that consume? This stuff is usually about fear, fatigue, resentment and shame. There is a lot more depth to this the more you practice it.
There is a saying I like. :”You don’t learn anything by doing it right!”
Take a look at all of the yellow ones. See what jumps out at you intuitively. Reflect on the meaning those experiences have for you and how they affect and effect you now.
Ask yourself, “Did I learn from this?” If the answer is yes then put those notes on the wall with the blue ones.
Now look at the blue notes. Intuitively pick them up. one by one, embracing what they mean to you. Check in with your sense of pride or arrogance. Do you need your past to make your future, or is the present enough? Which of these experiences has been a good teacher and source of confidence. Pick the ones that feed your ego more than your soul. You guessed it, put them on the other wall. That is where you are actually at in life. This practice all about shifting from judgment and control towards discernment and perspective. That is what that pointing finger is actually for. It reminds us to keep moving in a direction with awareness and purpose.
So, here we are together, looking at what we respect about ourselves and what we need to change. It is time to point your finger where you need your life to go… AND GO! With patience, kindness and forgiveness. Maybe even throw in some humor. It’s free and fun!
So, a Psychedelic walked into a bar and asked, “Where was the where of the Big Bang?”
The most recent research on using natural or pharmaceutical psychoactive and psychedelic compounds is having some stunning impact on mood disorders, addiction and PTSD. As a health care professional I cannot outright recommend that people take those compounds until they are legally licensed for use in some way.
As a person, as a patient, as a traditional Indigenous Healer and as a researcher, all I can say is expanding your consciousness is almost always a good idea. There are a few exceptions, but if you are feeling drawn to these experiences talk with someone ‘in the know’.
Consciousness expanding experiences, by their nature are unknowable, so I am not going to go into what to expect. Getting to know yourself is important. Really taking the time and taking the risks to journey deeply within yourself may just be what the doctor ordered. It is your birthright to be present and playful and fit and curious. Happiness always comes and goes, but curious is always there if you are curious enough to look for it.
Use that gesture as a Mudra, or a Mind-Body practice that helps you shift your state of being. Point your serious finger around until it becomes the curious finger.
Curious people always seem to have way more fun.If you can’t find your curiosity then reach out to a friend or a trusted practitioner of whatever feels right.
If you sit down with some sticky notes or choose to brave the frontier of Shamanic ceremonial medicines. I would love to hear what you learned. Comment below or connect with me through facebook.
PS. If you don’t have much experience with meditation and breathing exercises, check out this article.