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Let’s Cultivate Lightness

Hannah Massarella  |  Jun 14, 2017
Photo Credit: Merlas

Sometimes, life can feel heavy. The heaviness can be particularly evident if we are working in challenging environments or with challenging content. I remember when I used to work in the charity sector supporting women who had experienced some form of violence,  I’d take that heavy feeling home with me. The heaviness seemed to seep into all areas of my life. I’d try and run it off, or drink it off, but it followed me around and eventually took it’s toll and I felt I had to leave the sector.

Heaviness can come from all sorts of spaces; from being perpetually busy and stressed, from our own internal gremlins making life seem scary, or from the information we receive about awful events that happen in the world.

Heaviness shows up in some way at some point for all of us. 

But there are ways to move through the heaviness.

In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown talks about ‘guide posts’ that help us to live what she calls a Wholehearted Life. There are two guideposts that I think are particularly relevant in releasing any heaviness that we experience.

The first is ‘Cultivating Play and Rest’ and the second is ‘Cultivating Laughter, Song and Dance.’

As adults, we tend to get serious and forget that the simple acts of playing and laughing are essential for us. We get too busy to play, to sing, to dance, to rest into existence. We get too busy and too serious to cultivate our lightness.

Lightening up for me means dancing in my front room, it means making up silly words and phrases with those around me, it means actively letting go of the monkey brain nattering that makes me worry about stuff that actually I can just let go of. Lightening up is about remembering that life can be light, that life can be easy.

In a world of challenges, darkness and heaviness it’s up to us to step into our light.

About Hannah Massarella

Having spent much of her career in the not for profit sector, Hannah experienced first hand the toll front line support work can take on a person’s health and well being. Hannah believes giving your all to a cause or a desire to change the world, without taking due care of personal well-being, can lead to burn out. As a Certified Professional Co-active Coach, Hannah believes that self-development is not a luxury, it’s our responsibility if we want to have the impact we were born to have. She specializes in coaching female leaders by helping them connect deeply to their purpose, values and desires. She inspires them to use that connection and resonance to positively change the world.

What People Are Saying

What you write here is so important. Thank you! I would only add that there are many ways to lighten up.
And getting serious about the “right way” or a “good way” to lighten up, would only defeat the purpose. And yet, it’s not always easy to lighten when feeling weighed down by significance and old notions of what it means to be “responsible”. One gateway to lightness is to embrace the Absurd, the weird, the funky, and the strange within the self and out in the world. Perhaps it is because I am in my 60’s now (though I urge anyone reading this to not wait so long), but I care less and less about whether what comes out of my mouth sounds “appropriate”. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But with unconditional positive regard held towards the self and others, even if it comes out not only delightfully absurd but also a bit too….direct, or weird, or even offensive, it is received with gratitude for the willingness to not look good, but rather to be real. Absurd thought and actions open up a whole world of non-linear creative expression that are definitely outside the lines of appropriateness. Thank god!

Wow, great words Sam – really appreciate what you say about appropriateness – I often feel quite limited by appropriateness and so lose my authenticity, and when I lose that authenticity I don’t hold myself in as high regard. I’m excited about growing in my ‘inappropriateness’!

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