A Game Changing Reset
Internal integrity is a powerful tool. It’s at the heart of all a Badass is and does. However, it’s difficult to access this power when the body and mind are bombarded by judgment, criticism and cryptic thoughts. This 2-minute game-changing practice has been described as the “sideways” means to battle such demons and reclaim your own Badassedry. It is delivered here as an adaptation from materials offered by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. I want to thank Emily for serving to the world such formidable content found in her book Come as You Are (on amazon.com here). Emily is, among many things: an author, educator, scientific-minded Badass who has the degrees, sense of humor and “street cred” to talk to anyone about anything relating to women’s sexuality. Look her up, listen to her, read her work and you’ll be transformed.
You Have a Garden You Didn’t Plant
You were born with a little plot of rich fertile soil, unique to yourself. Your brain and body are the soil of this garden. You’re family and your culture planted the seeds and tended the garden, and they taught you how to tend it.
They planted the seeds of language and attitudes and knowledge and habits about love, life, safety, bodies and even sex.
Gradually as you moved into adolescence, you took on responsibility for tending your own garden.
As you began to tend the garden yourself, you may have found that your family and culture had planted some beautiful, nourishing things. They may even have surrounded this garden with a lovely or sturdy fence.
You may also find that your family and culture planted some pretty toxic crap in your garden. Maybe you don’t have a fence at all or maybe you have just a few stones marking the boundaries of your garden.
And everyone-even those whose families planted pretty good stuff will have to deal with invasive weeds be they negative or shaming stigmas. These travel not in the seeds planted by families but underground via their roots, like poison ivy, under fences, and over walls, from garden to garden. No one chose that they be there, but there they are nonetheless.
So if you want to have a healthy garden, a garden you choose, you have to go row by row and figure out what you want to keep and nurture…and what you want to dig out and replace with something healthier.
It’s not fair that you have to do all this extra work. After all, you didn’t choose what got planted. No one asked for your permission before they started planting. In fact, chances are, they just planted the same things that were planted in their gardens. None-the-less it is your garden and now as an adult, it is up to you to care for and nourish what you desire and need within your garden.
What Can I do About It?
- Start with two minutes. For two minutes a day, direct your attention to your breath: the way the air comes into your body and your chest and belly expand, and the way the breath leaves your body and your chest and belly deflate.
- The first thing that will happen is your mind will wander to something else. That’s normal. That’s healthy. That’s actually the point. Notice that your mind wandered, let those extraneous thoughts go – you can return to them as soon as the two minutes are up – and allow your attention to return to your breath.
- Noticing that your mind wandered and then returning your attention to your breath is the real work of mindfulness. It’s not so much about paying attention to your breath as it is about noticing what you’re paying attention to without judgment and making a choice about whether you want to pay attention to it. What you’re “mindful” of is both your breath and your attention to your breath. By practicing this skill of noticing what you’re paying attention to, you are teaching yourself to be in control of your brain, so that your brain is not in control of you.
This regular two-minute practice will gradually result in periodic moments throughout the day when you notice what you’re paying attention to and then decide if that’s what you want to pay attention to right now, or if you want to pay attention to something else. What you pay attention to matters less that how you pay attention.
This is a sideways strategy for weeding trauma, negativity, noxious weeds and the like out of your garden. It’s a way of simply noticing a weed and then deciding if you want to water it or not, pull it or not, fertilize it or not. The weeds of trauma, negativity, shame, ______ (fill in the blank) will gradually disappear as long as at least half the time you choose NOT to nurture it. And the more you choose to withdraw your protection from the trauma, negativity, shame and the like, the faster it will wither and die.
Mindfulness is good for everyone and everything. It is to your mind what exercise and green vegetables are to your body. If you change only one thing in your life as a result of reading this book, make it this daily two-minute practice. The practice grants the opportunity to “cultivate deep respect for emotions,” differentiating their causes from their effects and granting you choice over how you manage them.
Mindfulness, A Way Of Cultivating Deep Respect for Emotions by Siew and Khong.
Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by (see pages. 130 -131 and pages. 154-155)