Monday, 1 August 2016

Dancing Through Life's Lessons: Soul Loss

     “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

      In our day and age, there is a mysterious phenomenon known as Soul Loss which happens in people of all ages, genders, races and backgrounds. Soul Loss has been around for millennia and is understood as the result of an inner fragmentation caused my unawareness, a traumatic experience, or an intense shock to the mind and body. People who have experienced Soul Loss, as I have, often emerge stronger than before with a newfound knowledge about themselves and a stronger will to help others. 
      When we experience Soul Loss, a part of our Soul - or living essence, hides (or shuts away), hindering us from living as whole human beings. Often times entire aspects of our psyches are completely repressed. It's kinda like the body going into a coma after an intense shock to the brain. The body shuts down, a bit like a computer going into sleep mode, and then it repairs itself. It won't come back until it feels safe and secure. This happens so that our Soul can survive the experience.
      But don't despair, Soul Loss is temporary and with the proper work, we can retrieve these elements and reintegrate them into our lives.

What is Soul Loss?
      We experience Soul Loss, not only when we experience trauma such as being raped or the death of a family member, but also when we begin feeling weakness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and emptiness. We just know that something is missing from our life - but we can't figure out exactly what that is. To understand Soul Loss as a loss, or disconnection, from the most vital parts of who we are, is known in psychology as dissociation or removing your soul from reality.
      One example of this that I decided not to take dance classes during my first year of college. Throughout that year (excluding factors like stress, diet etc) my OCD, anxiety, and depression kept getting worse over time until I ended up being in a 10-day suicidal phase (now I know it was due to medication withdrawals and changes). But during that year, I also knew that something was missing from my life. And that was dance. So three days after I got new meds (which are working very well) I got my butt back into dance classes and I couldn't be happier. Here is a dance I've recently choreographed about the phase I was going through. It's called "This House Is Empty Now". It's honestly the dance I'm most proud of to date.

The Psychology Behind Soul Loss
      Think of your Soul or consciousness as an intense ball of energy. Anything that reduces this energy will result in listlessness, moroseness, and depression. If we create an imbalance within the psyche we are allowing individual parts of the personality (i.e. shadow self) to come forth and escape the control of the conscious mind. It is imperative that we go to great lengths to keep our soul happy. Some ways of doing that are doing what we love, whether that be dancing, acting, playing sports etc. Also, we must lower the stress in our life through being organized in school and work as well as taking the time to meditate for at least ten minutes, twice a day. This will allow us to remain as calm and centered as possible for as long as possible.

Signs You Might Be Experiencing Soul Loss
      There a myriad of symptoms pertaining to Soul Loss, from physical to psychological to spiritual. The loss of energy we feel when we loose a part of our Soul prevents us from living healthy, fulfilling and creative lives.  Sometimes this can last for a whole lifetime, resulting in the development of a self-destructive person who we often refer to as a lost cause.
      To become whole again, we must first identify the symptoms of Soul Loss within us. Here is a list of the most common symptoms:
  1. Memories and parts of your life have been blocked out.
  2. You experience strong periods of depression.
  3. Parts within yourself feel missing or broken.
  4. You experience a general numbness to life.
  5. Constant feelings of fear or anxiety plague you.
  6. You go through long periods of insomnia.
  7. You feel lost or incomplete.
  8. You feel like a 'different person' after a shocking or traumatic life event.
  9. You feel stuck or incapable of overcoming a certain issue in your life.
  10. You feel disappointed with life.
  11. You feel as though there are multiple "selves" within you.
  12. You try to escape by turning to alcohol, drugs, sex, television, or excessive busyness.
  13. You feel unworthy of being loved.
  14. You are experiencing a dark night of the soul.
  15. You want to find your purpose and meaning in life.
  16. You feel like your daily life is meaningless and task-driven.
  17. You avoid feeling vulnerable and keep others at a distance.
  18. You long for wholeness and a sense of belonging.
  19. You sometimes feel that you're not in control of yourself.
  20. You constantly feel mentally or physically fatigued for no medical reason.
  21. You thirst for authenticity and complete acceptance of yourself.
       To be healthy, you must recover the vital lost parts of yourself by learning how to live a life of balance, authenticity, and self-compassion. To slowly reintegrate the lost elements of your Soul through the practice of Involution is to live a life of mindfulness and body alignment.
There are seven paths of Involution. The key is to figure out which paths we exist in the most and the least. Discovering this will help you see what you need to work on the most. Here is a list and a brief explanation of those paths.

1. Self-awareness
       Self-awareness is the ability to observe the thoughts, feelings, and actions one carries out daily. A self-aware person is to identify what they are feeling but maybe not why they feel the way they do. A lack of self-awareness is an animalistic behavior, or behaving without thinking - normally called reacting. A self-aware person has the ability to introspect and the ability to be aware of their thoughts,  feelings, personality, and behavior. 
2. Self-exploration
       Self-exploration is the study of oneself, is the process of investigating and analyzing our inner thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and ideals.  Once we become aware of our internal processes (thinking, feeling, reacting and decision making), it is then beneficial to ask why we function the way we do.  Self-exploration is often a complex process that involves a lot of inner observation and personalized research. If you are a self-exploring person you explore how you think, feel and behave as well as gain knowledge and understanding of yourself through research (i.e. self-help books, courses, tests (such as the Myers-Briggs personality test), and mediation. 
3. Self-discovery
       Once you have done some self-exploration, a degree of self-discovery is possible. Self-discovery is essentially the act or process of gaining knowledge or understanding of yourself, whether it's entirely new information to you or some pieces of an already existing puzzle.  People who live in this level tend to discover the underlying mechanisms and truths upholding many of their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors towards themselves and the people around them. A self-discovering person has attained insight into what, how and why you feel, think and behave the way you do.

4. Self-understanding
       Self-discovery leads to self-understanding or the is the ability to know what, how, and why you do what you do.  People who live in this level tend to have a well-rounded understanding of the origins and reasons behind many of their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. A self-understanding person has a: thorough understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, attitudes, beliefs, motives, defenses, and reactions.
5. Self-love
       Self-love or self-compassion comes from finally understanding and accepting why you react the way you do to specific stimuli. Individuals who practice self-love realize that they are imperfect in different ways, but cease to criticize and punish themselves for these imperfections.  If you are a Self-Loving person, you: accept all parts of yourself, stop punishing yourself for your imperfections, develop self-esteem and self-forgiveness, show self-nurturing behaviors, and respect your needs and desires.
6. Self-transformation
       Once we have become self-aware, done some self-exploration in order to discover some things about ourselves as well has finally come to an understanding about ourself in order to be self-compassionate we have come to experience a true inner self-transformation. Self-Transformation can be understood as the transcendence of our previous limiting and destructive identities or ego selves.  The self-transforming person: experiences changes in the way they live life, as well as perceive themselves, other people and experiences increased harmony with the world, other people and themselves.
7. Self-mastery
       The final goal of the involution process is to attain self-mastery. In essence, the self-master is an observer of his or her thoughts and feelings, letting them come and go without identifying with or reacting to them. The self-master knows that nothing is permanent in this cruel world and that negative emotions have no business being in our life. After all, the self-master realizes that he is not his momentary thoughts or feelings.  In this way, the self-master transcends himself, living his life with peace, wisdom, and spiritual wholeness. 
     Self-mastery is not to be confused with "being in control", as these imply reaction to thoughts and feelings by avoidance or repression.  The self-master is not affected by anything and doesn’t feel the need to control, repress or restrain. Self-Mastery is rare, and includes: the ability to simply observe feelings and emotions without identifying with them, the ability to realize that we are not our thoughts and emotions, the ability to stop reacting out of hatred, anger, embarrassment, jealousy and other harmful emotions, and the ability to live life with peace and wisdom.

      I hope this post has given you a lot to think about this summer. I will definitely be working through these seven paths on the way to control my emotions during panic attacks or breakdowns. One last tip of wisdom is to remember that Involution is composed of distinct, yet interconnected paths, in other words, each is dependent on the other to achieve the rest which is why you should start from the first path and work your way down.
      If you enjoyed this post, please give this post a +1 on Google+, follow me on all my social media sites and leave me a comment below if you found this post helpful. I hope you all have a good rest of your summer and that you enjoy the coming school semester. See you all next week!

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  1. I am in awe of your writing. I didn't know I needed this until now. I don't believe I have experienced this on a large scale, but possibly a little more minor. Something personal happened to me that pushed me over the edge that I've never spoken about and after, it felt like a part of me that had been so prominent the past few months had gone. It left me empty, but this post has highlighted some of the things that I can work on to combat this!
    Thank you so much, You don't know how this has enlightened me!
    Also sorry for the huge comment!
    Chloe xx

    1. I'm so glad this post helped you Chloe. Means a lot to me.
      Make sure you read last months post on Shadow Selves as that post is in connection with this one.
      Keep me updated on your progress (also next months post will help you a lot too).