Today I want to share with you some musings and a practice to take in for when you are feeling discouraged. As much as I think we would all love to feel perfectly happy and on fire all of the time, life ebbs and flows like the tides, and sometimes we end up feeling a little discouraged, a little disconnected.

This is so normal. It has nothing to do with your status as a competent, worthy human. It simply means that you are, in fact, human. And as humans, we feel the full range of emotions, including sometimes the less that fun ones.

Whether you have feelings of discouragement at present, or simply would like some tools to work with it when it comes up, read on.

First, let’s have a quick etymology lesson and break down the word discourage. (Don’t worry, there won’t be a test)

Dis – Latin prefix meaning “apart”, “away”, or having a negative or reversing force.
In other words, “away from”.

Courage – Old French meaning “heart, innermost feelings, temper”; with the root cor coming from Latin meaning “heart”.
In other words, “the feelings of your heart”.

Put that together?

Feeling discouraged is feeling away from the feelings of your heart.

We become discouraged when our current experience of reality is out of whack with what we truly desire and know to be true in our hearts.

This feeling may be super potent and present based on something specific you are experiencing right now. It may also be more of a low level sense of discouragement throughout different areas of your life.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • Your heart knows you are deserving of deep, joyful, soulful love and partnership. But it seems like no matter what you do, you end up in messed up relationships or alone. You may decide you’ve simply had it with dating and love in general, feeling discouraged to keep going.
  • Your heart knows your body is designed to move pain-free, have thriving and healthy functions, and to look and feel absolutely amazing. But even if you’re doing “everything right”, you are still experiencing exhaustion, pain, or a messed up digestive system. You may get discouraged and resigned to simply living with what is right now, always wondering what’s wrong with you that you couldn’t figure it out.
  • Your heart knows you are a wildly creative individual and that those ideas you have for a sci-fi novel or a line of handmade jewelry are absolutely going to work and bring you joy. But after years of second guessing your creative gifts or being criticized by others, there is so much fear and doubt around simply creating them that you keep putting them off, utterly discouraged from creating at all and feeling a pit in your stomach every time you think about it.

These, by the way, are all examples from my own life at one point or another. And if any of that strikes a chord with you, I know how not fun it might be to look at this.

I also know that there is a way through it all to a different reality. A reality in which you are connected with the voice and desires of your heart. A reality where, if you do find yourself discouraged, you know how to reconnect to your heart and change your experience.

Because the opposite of discouraged?

Encouraged.

Which, broken down:

En – Greek for “within, in”
Courage – Old French meaning “heart, innermost feelings, temper”; with the root cor coming from Latin meaning “heart”.

Encourage – To be with and connect with the feelings of your heart.

And when we are encouraged, we can live WITH courage- we can LIVE from the truth of our hearts.

What does this all mean?

It means that when you are feeling discouraged or disheartened (similar etymology… away from your heart… see the pattern here?), the solution is to re-connect and be with the voice of your heart.

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By the way, this is something we are going to be diving into deeply in my upcoming March retreat. The whole weekend is devoted to connecting and communicating with your heart through yoga, art, meditation, writing, nature, exploration, and more. There are only a couple spots left- click here to check out the details and reserve your spot today!

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A practice you can do today and any time to change up feeling discouraged and connect with the voice of your heart:

1) Put yourself in the present moment.

Take a deep breath. Focus on your feet for a moment. Feel them on the ground. Feel your breath moving into your belly and chest. Soften your shoulders and relax your jaw. Breathe a few more times.

2) Acknowledge you are feeling discouraged.

Without facing it and accepting it, it’s reaaaaaaaally hard to move it and feel differently. You can do this by simply saying to yourself, “I acknowledge I’m feeling discouraged.”

Notice what sensations arise in your body around that. Notice if there are any judgements or desires to turn this into a problem or a reason you aren’t worthy. Breathe deeply through anything you notice.

3) Ask for support. As highly intelligent, driven women, this is an extra necessary step! You may be doing this on your own, but it doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.

If you are into asking the Universe for support, that’s a great option. You can also ask your body to help you and for your heart to assist you in connecting with her. That can be as simple as saying, “I call on my body and my heart to support me as I connect to the voice within me.”

Don’t worry about if it “worked” or not. If support is a big one for you, add, “I am willing to receive support.” (Even if you don’t know what that looks or feels like!)

4) Ask your heart what you need to know.

Bring your attention to your heart space (approximately where your physical heart is, in the center of your chest, between your lungs, between your spine and sternum). Keep breathing slowly and deeply.

Begin a conversation with your heart. Let her know you are here and listening. Ask her what you need to know. You can get specific if you want, asking what you need to know about a specific circumstance or person, or you can leave it more open and ask simply what you need in that moment.

Once you ask, breathe and remain connected to that space. Know that you may not get a clear and obvious answer right away. The voices of our hearts can be quiet and subtle. It can be a practice and a process to learn how to hear and interpret what she is saying. Breathe and be in silence for as long as feels right for you.

If you receive an answer, fantastic. If you don’t, also fantastic. Be open to the possibility that the answer will arise in its own time. Your job is to simply keep breathing and going with your life and show some attention and focus to your heart whenever you remember.

5) [Optional] Free write from your heart.

After you’ve been listening and opening to your heart for awhile, ask her to speak to you through writing. Get a piece of paper or a journal and simply begin writing. No filter. Trust that whatever comes out is absolutely perfect. It may be one word, it may be several pages. Allow it and receive it.

Sometimes a clear action will come through in connection with your heart. The opportunity then is to shift into living from your heart and taking the action you receive.

And, if you’re someone who tends to know what you need to do and the hold up comes in the actually doing it, I would love to see you in California in March. We’ll work through that and provide plenty of opportunities to express and act on what you need to do!

To recap:

  • Feeling discouraged doesn’t mean you have failed or are less worthy or deserving as a person. It simply means you are human and have gotten distracted from the desires of your heart.
  • We become discouraged when our current experience is not in line with the truth of what our hearts feel and want.
  • The opposite of discouraged is encouraged, meaning to feel in connecting and be with the voice of your heart.
  • To live courageously, to be in communion with your heart, make space to listen to her.
  • Allow her space and time to speak to you. Give your heart voice the stage and receive her messages.
  • When actions come through, take them. Movement creates change!

 

Lots of love,
Kate