soul

Depth & Facing the Shadow

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At times I feel frustrated with the depth I own in my life.

I wonder, can’t I just switch off this part of living? I’d like to be ignorant and numb to my depth for just a day. Skate along the surface and be able to focus on small talk, popular culture, or climbing the ladder like much of the rest of the population? It seems so much easier to live in that world. At least, it appears easier. And I have tried. Tried to shut off my emotions and depth in order to live on the surface.

This resulted in numbness and disconnection rather than ease and joy. I lost touch with my values and motivation. And I know I cannot reject that part of me (my truth and the depth of my heartspace) because while it can create a lot of pain, it also produces love and joy. Therefore, given the choice, I intentionally choose on a daily basis to live in depth and introspection rather than floating along the surface, numbed out and disconnected.

So I tune into my heartspace fully. I accept my depth as a gift.

The gift comes with pain and joy which at times are inseparable. I reach the plateau of a growth spurt and drop down again to face another shadow. Each time I drop down I notice my resiliency and strength has grown and it becomes easier. And when I rise up again to the next enlightened plateau I feel more at ease knowing I will drop again. The death and rebirthing process cycles, each time bringing more knowledge, contentment and balance in the uncertainty of the future. My depth is a welcome teacher and I know the ache of growth will result in the joy of knowing.

This pattern resonates with many of the women I work with. I find especially those in helping professions experience the constant death and rebirth cycle central to their spiritual and mind-body growth process. It is the work of all women, the feminine calling, to grow out of the mud like the lotus flower and move through the DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL*. When we arrive on the other side there is stability and wise mind knowing.

I invite you to journey with me to embrace your depth and feminine calling to rise from the mud as the lotus flower, to fully connect with your heartspace.

To the divine feminine depths within us all,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows the shadow, light, and dark night of women in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

*Elkhart Tolle on the Dark Night of the Soul – https://www.eckharttolle.com/newsletter/october-2011

5 WAYS #BADASSWOMENRELAX

 

 

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For part two of my blog series on my favorite kind of women – the BADASS WOMAN – I thought I would write a little about how to incorporate relaxation in to the badass woman lifestyle.

Badass women are women who function highly in many different areas of life and career paths. If you are a BADASS WOMAN, you refuse to take shit from others and stand firm in your beliefs, ideals, and life choices. You are not afraid of climbing the ladder, telling someone what they think, and being successful. You know what the line between right and wrong and you make sure others follow in the lines. You almost never choose the easy road, you chose the road you want. You are polite and caring, generous, yet, no one can stand in the way of what you want. You may be in a high powered position or perhaps you have chosen an alternative career, but you are most definitely great at what you do and an invaluable worker.

For all you badass women out there, you know how difficult it can be to really take time for yourself to relax. You are set on “DO” mode and may find it a struggle to just “BE.” Perhaps you relax with TV series, netflix movies in solitude and/or spend free time socializing. Your socializing includes time out with friends drinking or using substances to relax and you feel like you have to be “ON” all the times, maybe even as if you are the entertainment for the crowd.

You wear a mask and seldom feel as if you are yourself while out with friends. In your solitude, you may fill the hours with entertainment and while it is relaxing to numb out in front of a screen, you feel as if you there is something missing. You may even try yoga, running or other sports and still feel disconnected from receiving benefits of the activity. You feel inauthentic, as if you are acting a part, a fraud. You want to DO SOMETHING, but you are not sure what. 

As you tune into your body, you come into the awareness that you often feel either angry or anxious. It feels like this fluctuation is present almost constantly. At times you may rage out, only later to come to the realization that you overreacted and likely regret your behavior. In times of anxiety, it is difficult to settle, to sitstill and think clearly. You hide from others the distressful state of your internal world and push through the day. You cannot seem to just relax anymore.

The real trouble is that you feel out of control of your internal world. You can’t believe it has gotten to this place and you are ready to do something to ease the pain and struggle. 

The great news is that you did not chose to create this internal world for yourself, it has happened over time and you can recover. Your behaviors, while no longer serving you, are protective in nature and have kept you safe.

Here are some places to start to relax. 

  1. Gratitude.  Thank your mind and body for protecting you. Anger and anxiety are animal defense mechanisms. When they arise, your mind and body are trying to keep you safe. Remember to be thankful for your body and mind’s protection rather than beating yourself up for having these reactions. Adding a layer of guilt and shame to your worries can further exacerbate your overall stress level.
  2. Breath.  Breathing is a powerful mechanism for turning on the self-soothing chemicals in your mind and body. Breathing in 3 counts and out 6 counts can turn on soothing chemicals in your body, turning off the stress response. Try breathing in the 3 inhale, 6 exhale count about 4 times and notice how it changes your body state.
  3. Progressive muscle relaxation. Before going to sleep, spend five minutes tensing and then relaxing each muscle group of your body, one at a time. Or if you prefer, just relax and don’t tense muscles. Start with your toes and move to the top of your head, relaxing one muscle group at a time with each exhale.
  4. Connection. Humans are wired to connect for survival. It is important to spend time connecting with people while doing calm activities. Yoga, meditation, hiking, making art, and attending religious services all can be very soothing. Spending a few hours of your week participating in these activities can improve your mood and help you feel relaxed throughout your week.
  5. Solitude. Spend some time in soulful activity on your own. Explore meditation, mindful walking, making art, dancing, or any other soul nourishing activity for just one hour a week on your own. Notice how that one hour a week can affect your week.
  6. Reach out. Because connection and relationship is such a large part of our functioning, reaching out for help and receiving help may be the most powerful tool for overall relaxation and mood stability. Often dysregulation of your mood and mind is a result of very old wounds in our relationships. Repairing these wounds with a therapist is powerfully healing. The great thing about this is that it does not necessarily mean sharing traumatic stories, instead the focus is on the limiting beliefs you may have.

Much love and gratitude to you in your journey,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensoriotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows badass women in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

STEPPING OUT OF THE STORY

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I know my old story.

It is :: I AM BROKEN.

And even before that it is :: I AM NOT WORTHY.

The stigma of having been divorced, the first of my friends and in my age group to do so, often bites at my heals, begging for me to pick it up and ride the downward spiral of WHAT IFs and SHOULDS. 

What if I tried harder to make the relationship work?
What if I wasn’t tolerant enough of my husband’s behavior?
What if I had staged an intervention?

I should have been able to see it sooner and leave…I wasted so many years.

I should have known, as a therapist, what my husband’s issues and my issues were.

I should have been able to help myself.

I should be married with children now.

And then the WHYs come parading into my brain in an endless stream of existential confusion.

Why have I been given this life?
Why must I go through these trials?
Why can’t I have the family I dreamed of as a child?
Why do they teach us fairy tales as children if that is not the script of reality?
Why didn’t anyone see what was wrong and tell me to leave the relationship?
Why can’t I get it right?

How long have I held this belief of unworthiness? Where did it start? Why is it so hard to shake?

I get lost in the story and forget to breathe. I look at the clock and I see how much precious time I have wasted trying to figure out an answer to the uncertainty of life. The unsolvable.

Then I melt into the embrace of unknowing and uncertainty, gratitude towards my path, trusting that I am headed in the direction I am supposed to be going. The anxiety and groundlessness ends as I sink into my feet, allowing the energy to disperse throughout my limbs and trunk, loosening my grip physically and mentally. I take a few moments to notice the peace I am currently surrounded by, the smell, the image, the sounds. I send an energetic bow of thanks to the universe for giving me the journey I am on, appreciating the highs and lows, the experience as a whole.

To say it no longer hits me would be a lie. I can, with strong conviction, assert that it hits me much less often and for short increments of time before I identify it, kiss it, and say goodbye. I trust my path. Only with time and practice have I learned to tune into this power, my power, my own intuition drawn from my feminine divine energy. 

I invite you to tune into your feminine divine energy to step out of your story when you can. To end the cycle of rumination over the unsolvable and unknowable and instead to tune into and be grateful for what you have now.

To tuning into the Divine Feminine in you, me & us,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute consultation for art therapy, talk therapy or sensorimotor psychotherapy to begin the process stepping out of the story, email kim@yoursoultherapy.com

Energy Warps

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Time is the only commodity at which I consistently grasp for. No matter how enlightened I am feeling, I still feel the nagging pull of precious time and the seconds passing before my eyes. As I fight for time to slow and bargain to fit in just a few more things before my heavy eyelids close involuntarily, I have yet to learn the secret to controlling time.

Today, I witnessed in full awareness as I entered a threshold and shortly after exited an energy warp where my soul was deeply met and felt in a psychospiritual way. No matter which lens I view this the words are not quite there to describe it.

Energy flew around in my mind and body as if unconstrained by my self-limiting structural beliefs or rigid goal focused thinking. Creativity bounced through my entire being and time did not hold me back. I made connections and conclusions on an intuitive and cognitive level at a speed exponentially faster than normal.  I have felt this before, though not with the same clarity or awareness as with this experience.

Curiously, I examined the trigger or source of this wonderful experience. Several precursors were in place: a weekend of learning and growing, self-care, and positive energy connections. I spent this past weekend learning a new way of working, in awe of the incredible experiences of the trainer and my cohort. Learning, growing, making new neural pathways. Additionally, I work hard to take care of my mind, body, and spirit.

And in the moment leading up to my energy warp, I was impacted, felt moved by and then resonated with the positive inertia of my client’s energy. She reveled in the progress she was making, and we celebrated her experience. We shared the savoring of her experience, enjoying the joy and exploring the new space it opened in her heart, her new free flowing energy.

The concoction of these three conditions consistently brought me into this state through the threshold into an energy warp, a period of soul enlightenment.

I invite you to walk with me and inviting this concoction into your own life. 

What is your experience of energy warps, spiritual states or similar experiences?

What precursors and conditions encourage this joyful and enlightening type of experience for you?

In exploring the expansive connected energy in you and me,

Kim Ottinger

Connect with me for a free 20 minute phone consultation for art therapy, psychotherapy, and/or sensorimotor psychotherapy by emailing me at kim@yoursoultherapy.com