The year 2020 has been painful, eye-opening, excruciating, exhausting, and expansive. The lesson I’ve learned the loudest this month was to embrace exposure in more ways than one. For the first half of the year my priority was to reach people by creating content for my community serving their highest self. Exposing myself into the world as a mindful entrepreneur who is passionate about helping people love, heal, and grow through their experiences. I think exposure has always been a fear of mine waiting to be conquered, but I never quite knew how. When you set your mind to seeking something in life it has a miraculous way of finding you.
In April I began leading live meditations on Instagram, creating communities founded on self-development and inner work, and making resources to help people handle the issues I’ve overcome. Vulnerably sharing my journey as a means of connecting to those who are going through something too. This year had truly been about stepping into the role of a conscious leader, taking a giant leap toward my purpose on this planet. And while this type of exposure had it’s own unique challenges, overall it’s been a rewarding. Walking into the idea of exposure head on led me to leveling up my awareness of self and ability to serve my community. It’s been an incredibly personal journey, a true blessing and a dream come true that I will never take for granted.
Which leads me to the second half of the year, the time we’re entering where I’m provided a different opportunity to be exposed. This time it’s a much more intense, fearful, painful, and life altering experience. Opening my eyes and my heart to those who suffer the violent reality of oppression, racism, and injustice. I’ve exposed myself to the system that has been created to oppress, demean, and disrespect the black community. In these last fews days I’ve done something I never do and dove deep into the painful reality in my country today. Reading articles, watching videos, interacting on social platforms, and tuned into news outlets that are showing in real time people fighting for basic human rights, only to be met with even more violence and physical force.
While my heart aches over this type of exposure it fuels a different part of me than the first type does. The first type of exposure is an example of alignment, overcoming a limit I set for myself, achieving something I had set out to even though it was scary at first. It’s about me, my goals, my dreams, my purpose. That type of exposure is of personal gain. However this second type cracked me open entirely because it came from outside myself. It’s bigger than me. What I’m experiencing through a screen people are living with in this moment. The words I’m hearing on the news are someone else’s life circumstances. There is no comparison between the types of exposure, but there is a significant difference in the lessons I choose to take from them. One helps me believe I can create change when it’s necessary, and the second one reminds me just how necessary it is to change.
Healing and Serving
Empathy can only be felt toward another person. By empathizing with someone you become connected to that person through your understanding and compassion. That understanding and compassion is the bridge between a personal gain and a collective experience. But until we are able to experience that understanding and compassion within ourselves, we can’t cross that bridge and help someone else discover it. While achievement on a personal level is something to be proud of, it pales in comparison to create change on a lager scale. The second type of exposure is what cracks you wide open, it causes you to become overwhelmed and inspired. Exposing yourself to different cultures, communities, and all of the chaos surrounding you is how you REALLY help others.
Both types of exposure are important to me and so I’ve begun to merge them as one giant realization that by expanding my own knowledge I’ll inevitably be expanding the knowledge of the people who choose to tune into me. All I want to do is teach you how to tune into yourself. Teaching mindfulness is how I serve my people. It’s my duty and obligation to share resources, tools, guidance, and support. It’s my duty as a human being to advocate for the rights of others. And there’s never been a more powerful time to be the lighthouse for those traveling through treacherous waters.
Like all powerful educators, I have to consciously choose to be a student first. The best way to do that is to allow myself to feel the powerful energy that’s surrounding us all and choose to be with it rather than run. It is only through fully experiencing the life of those I’m trying to connect with that I can serve them with intentional compassion. Tuning into emotions allows me to open up to learning by surrendering the notion that I know the answer. Because there is no answer to know, right now is a time to experience emotions authentically. There is no right way to do that. The more familiar I get with the feelings of anger, sadness, hopelessness, and fear the deeper I connect to everyone else experiencing these emotions. Because we are just an extension of those experiencing those emotions. And now more than ever it’s important to make the effort to focus on the ways we are connected and not divided.
Truthfully, I want to scream and shake the shoulders of the people who are actively creating division in the world. The disgust I feel is strong enough to blind me, keeping my attention focused on the horrific events happening to innocent humans. The pain that must be coursing through the veins of the loved ones who are grieving for their babies, fathers, and sons. When I turn the controls over to my emotions there is no telling where my brain will take me. It’s not uncommon to be overrun with emotion, I’d even argue that most people are walking through life this way all the time. But it’s times like these that make it even more dangerous for our emotions to get the best of us. Especially when there are groups of people who aren’t empathetic and who are stoking the fires of the crimes and injustices of the world.
My goal isn’t to stop you from pointing fingers at who’s right and who’s wrong. My goal is to introduce another way of approaching your emotions at this time. Giving you the tools to shift your perspective long enough to create space for another way of coping if your way is hurting, not helping. To teach you to pause long enough and ask yourself if you’re handling this the best way you can. My goal is to start the conversation about the ways humans are causing their own suffering because their personal narrative has hijacked their senses. This article is to help you navigate the emotions that are distracting you, while channeling their energy into what matters most.
Even if you’re not outraged particularly by police brutality, racial injustice, or the horrifying media that’s been surfacing all weekend, there is still something in your life that elicits negative emotions. There are things that bring darkness out of you, have led you into darkness, or have forced you to become consumed by it all. Humans are running wildly unaware of the power resting in their emotional state. There is a large disconnect from the body and an incredible attachment to the narrative part of the mind, the part of you that creates the persona of who you are. As the division of mind and body grows, the story playing inside the mind becomes your primary focus. You focus so intently on the story of who you are that you forget you are an extension of others. The narrative in your mind plays so loud you forget it’s created by thoughts flowing untamed, and you begin to accept this as truth. With each repeating thought pattern and every decision that aligns with them, you are further separating yourself from what is happening to your body. But the stronger that narrative inside your mind becomes the louder your suffering gets, and the harder it is to see your connection to other human beings at all.
See, each time you experience an emotion it appears in your body in the form of sensation. Negative feeling emotions tend to show up as constriction, tightness, heaviness, and pain. Positive feeling emotions tend to show up as an openness, pleasure, lightweight, and allowance. Tuning into the body while you’re experiencing an intense emotion can introduce the power of the mindbody connection. The more present you become with how your body is responding to your thoughts and emotions, the deeper you can meet yourself. And as you begin uncovering these layers of emotion you can become aware of your choices, rather than being imprisoned by emotion.
You, like every other human in existence, has been driven to experience negative and intense emotional states. And although people experience these emotions for different reasons and triggers, the similar nature of emotional beings cannot be denied. I won’t ask you to understand the people who don’t understand you, I won’t even ask you to expand your awareness to others. Instead, I want to lead you within yourself because this is where all change occurs. Because even though what is hurting you is coming from outside of you, these intense emotions are all happening inside you.
My mind brings me into thoughts of revenge and retaliation, my soul cries out for understanding and love, while my body is the vessel that carries either of these truths out. That’s what I recognize in every other human being right now, emotions flooding their minds, bodies, and souls. When an emotion surfaces with enough intensity it can overcome you, blinding you of any other way of thinking or being. An emotion that is so intense it’s power is intoxicating causing you to act on those thoughts of revenge or act on your soul’s cry for love.
But if people are being taken over by their emotional reactions to the world, they are disconnecting from themselves and from each other. Please, let’s reconnect.
Love. Heal. Grow.