Finding pleasurable moments in everyday life is a big part of having inner freedom and living fully alive. Life has many flavors and layers, and I believe that part of our purpose here on earth, is to experience the exquisiteness of it all.
But, it can be challenging to step into this space of becoming deeply connected to yourself and your life force energy. Our culture certainly doesn’t make things easier. Getting caught up in a vortex of self-shaming makes it almost impossible to live as our true selves.
We have to be deliberate in changing our habits and conditioned responses so that we can live in a way where we honor ourselves, where we make space for everyday pleasure and have access to our rich inner world.
In today’s episode I’m sharing:
- My definition of living a life of inner freedom and aliveness
- Why it is so essential to be in integrity with yourself
- How the habit of avoiding undesirable feelings and pain causes us to become numb
- 3 Reasons why it’s hard to live as our true, authentic selves
- The 4 key principles that are foundational to us living from a place of inner freedom and aliveness.
Resources and Episodes Mentioned:
Prefer reading instead? Here is the transcript.
How To Start Living From Inner Freedom And Feel More Fully Alive
Hello and welcome to today’s show. So, we have a small stream that runs through our backyard and something that I love doing is I love making myself a cup of tea and sitting next to the stream, just listening to the sound of the birds in the trees. I kick my shoes off and I feel my feet in the grass. Sometimes I get bitten by ants, but mostly it’s a very pleasurable experience. And a few days ago I was sitting next to the stream, reflecting a little bit on and thinking and feeling into some of the things that I wanted to share and I realized how different my workday is now to what it used to be when I first started working. So in the very first few years of starting my business, I was so disciplined and focused and there was no space for pleasure during my working hours.
And today it’s one of the first things that I focus on doing: how can I bring pleasure into my workday today? So I was thinking about this while I was sitting there next to the little stream. And what I realized is this, this ability to allow myself to bring pleasure into my day, that to me, is part of what it means to have inner freedom and aliveness. And I want to talk a little bit more about that on today’s show.
Hi, and welcome to the untamed and embodied show. I’m your host Tertia Riegler, feminine embodiment coach, and here to help you cultivate a life of radiance, everyday pleasure and unapologetic self-expression. Join me every week as I share how you can tap into your feminine flow so you can come home to yourself and live your life from a place of inner freedom and aliveness.
So before we dive into how you too can begin to cultivate a life of inner freedom and aliveness, where there is space for pleasure and ease, let’s just take a moment to dip into the body here. So join me in taking a breath and just feel into how are you doing today? How is your body feeling today and what do you need to feel a bit more pleasure in your day? What can you do for yourself? Or what can you give to yourself so that you can have, or feel more pleasure today?
What I feel when, when I dip into my body like this, is a desire for crunchy food. So for lunchtime, after I’ve done this recording for lunch, I’ll make myself a nice, crunchy, fresh salad. That’s what I feel like. I think that’s going to give me a big amount of pleasure.
So in this episode where we are going to be talking about cultivating a life of inner freedom and aliveness, what I’d love to do is take you through my definition of what inner freedom and aliveness means to me. And then I also want to look at a few of the barriers that stand in the way of us really opening ourselves up to feeling more alive and living more fully. And then finally, I’d also love to share with you four key principles that I feel really is foundational to us beginning to live from a place of freedom and aliveness.
So to me, living from a place of inner freedom and aliveness means that you are in integrity with yourself. You are living in full integrity. And I often think about this as a bucket. So when you honor, what is true for you when you are in integrity, imagine that you have a bucket. And when we dishonor ourselves, when we don’t speak up for our own needs, when we deny and suppress what is going on in our internal world, it’s as if we are punching holes in this bucket and our life force energy, our potential and our aliveness, which is contained in this bucket, as we are punching holes in the bucket, it starts to leak out.
So when we are not in integrity with ourselves, when we don’t honor ourselves, when we aren’t present to our full spectrum of feelings, we are effectively leaking out our own life force energy. And of course, this is not conscious, and there are many contexts and situations that, that cause us to show up in this way. And that’s some of the things that we are going get into in this episode. So just getting back now to the full spectrum of feelings: now in episode one, I shared with you a little bit of my journey, and if you haven’t listened to episode one yet, then you can go and take a listen to that. I’ll put, I’ll put a link in the show notes to that. So I was what I would call the queen of suppression and denial. And I really avoided feeling my own pain.
And yes, I know that I am not unique in this. This is something that is so common. We avoid pain. We don’t want to feel these uncomfortable and undesirable feelings. So we distract ourselves with social media. We distract ourselves with food. We distract ourselves by over-tending and overgiving to the people in our lives, or we overwork. So we keep ourselves busy so that we don’t have to go inside and feel what is here. We also deny that anything is wrong and we suppress these feelings and in the process we become numb. This is what happened with me.
And, and a small example of how we avoid feeling pain is when you receive some upsetting news, for example, and you don’t allow yourself to feel it. So you receive upsetting news, something that disturbs you and immediately you want to take action. How can I fix this? How can I solve this? How can I make it better? How can I improve this?
And we skip the little bit in the middle, which is being present to the full spectrum of feelings, even the painful ones. Now, what happens is if we suppress our feelings on the one end, the uncomfortable undesirable, painful feelings and emotions, unfortunately, we also suppress feeling the more pleasurable, desirable, enjoyable alivening feelings. And when you are feeling numb, when you are dried up, essentially from the inside, out like this, there is no sense of inner freedom. There is no sense of aliveness. Now at this point, I also just want to say that being or living from this point of inner freedom and aliveness does not mean that you are happy all the time. And in fact, if, if anybody promises to you eternal happiness, if you follow their three-step process, then you have to run away.
I see that life has so many flavors and layers. And part of the reason that we are here is to experience the exquisiteness of it all. So being free and being fully alive does not mean that I’m going to be happy all the time, but it does mean that I am honoring what is true to me. I am in integrity with myself. I’m honest about my own feelings and experiences. And I show up in the way, which is the truest version of myself. And in that space, I allow in pleasure. I open myself up to receiving. I begin to magnetize into my life, all of my desires, and I come into alignment with the experiences and the people and the situations that, that resonate with who I am being.
Alright, so let’s take a look now at why is it so difficult for us to live as this fully alive version of ourselves? And to me, I would say, I really see that there are three main reasons.
And the first reason is the fear that so many of us have that we are not enough. And then the counter to that, that we are too much. So we fear that we are not enough, but we also fear that we are too much. And both of these cause us to play small. So the underlying thought here is that there is something wrong with me. And so I need to hide this “flaw”. I need to pretend, and I need to not let anyone see. I need to protect this secret. I can’t let anybody see the real me because there is something wrong with me.
So how this effectively then shows up in our lives is that you may find that you have a very harsh inner critic that is constantly judging you. That is constantly giving orders. That is constantly reprimanding you. I do believe that our inner critic is part of our moral compass. And it does serve the purpose of keeping us safe. But this inner critic can get out of hand. It can become overactive where it begins to run your life. And it sabotages you because it continues to make you believe that you are not good enough. That you need to hold yourself back, that you need to keep yourself in line so that you don’t get perceived as too much.
And you keep on putting yourself down all the time. You keep on apologizing for what you are feeling or thinking. And ultimately you are dismissing yourself. You are dismissing your own worth. And we dim our own lights. We don’t want others to feel uncomfortable around us. We don’t want others to feel bad.
We dismiss compliments, or we counter them with negative remarks. And these are all small ways in which this fear of not being enough or this fear of being too much, how this shows up.
Now, the second reason that we find it so difficult to live fully alive is because we are so afraid about what others will think of us. We care so much about the opinion of others, and often we put their opinion above our own.
And you may recognize this as continuing to replay conversations and wishing that you see something different or wondering while you are at work, speaking to your colleagues, wondering the whole time, what are they thinking about me? And are they judging me? Do they have an opinion about what it is that I’m saying? And all of these are things that I’ve experienced in my own life.
So what I’ve learned though, is that often we overestimate how much time other people spend thinking about us. And that’s quite a humbling thought. We don’t really play such a big role in the minds of other people!
Our ancient survival technique was to stay in the goodwill of the tribe, because it was a very dangerous world out there. If you were to be rejected and in the modern world today, even though we won’t get out thrown to the sabertooth tigers that are living out in the wilderness, we still value the opinion of others above our own. And this leads to us feeling shame for ourselves. We begin to feel ashamed of ourselves and it can even turn into disliking ourselves. So there’s this cycle of wanting others to like, or approve of us. And in the process, as you come out, wanting others, to like you wanting others to approve of you may seem needy or insecure, and this drives people away.
So it’s the cycle that we find ourselves in. And then ultimately we don’t speak up for ourselves. We don’t express our desires and our needs because we don’t want to rock the boat. We fear putting our relationships in jeopardy.
And then the third barrier that I see often, and which I believe is really the reason why we don’t live fully alive is what is, what is often called a good girl syndrome. So this is really a stereotype of how we’ve been socialized to please others. And we learn this from the people in our lives. It’s often modeled by the woman in our lives as we are growing up. And so we’ve internalized many of these behaviors to be a good wife, or to be a good mom or a good sister or a good friend.
You have to behave in a certain way. So you have to be nurturing. You have to be caring. You have to put others first and you dare not do things that can be labeled as being selfish or self-centered. You can’t feel more of the darker emotions. There’s a lot of lightness and pleasantness, but there isn’t space for darkness like anger and rage. So in this, where we don’t want to disappoint others, effectively it means that we are holding poor boundaries. So if you go back to that bucket, every time that we don’t uphold our own boundaries, we are punching more holes into that bucket, allowing that life force energy to leak out. Also how this shows up is when you change yourself in response to criticism, no matter where it comes from. And I have firsthand experience of that. When I was much younger, I had a boyfriend and one day he sat me down, there was something about me that bothered him.
And if that conversation happened today, I would tell him he is totally out of line. But back then, when he told me about this, I was so shattered. I was ashamed and I immediately changed so that he would continue to like me. And of course I wasn’t honoring myself. The relationship didn’t work out, but this is often something that happens.
We become someone else to keep something or to get something. But in the process, we are betraying ourselves. We keep on playing out this underlying barrier or limiting belief of there is something wrong with me. I have to become someone else in order to be loved and to be accepted. So I want to invite you now just to pause for a moment and reflect on how these barriers, these limiting beliefs, these conditionings, how this may be showing up for you. And do you recognize any of these playing out in your life?
Okay. So the question then is how can we move beyond these conditions?
How can we begin to live in a way where we honor ourselves and where we have access to our inner world? Where we have access and we open ourselves to experiencing this whole range of feelings and sensations that are available to us? And where we can begin then to develop a deep self-trust and a deep knowing of our own worthiness?
We have to be deliberate in changing the habits and the conditioned responses. And this is where embodiment becomes such a powerful tool because when we decide to live more embodied, when we really drop from living predominantly from a thinking level, from a mind level, and we connect more into our bodies, this is a deliberate response. This is a deliberate action. So through being more embodied, this is how we develop that deep self-trust.
This is how we get access to our inner world. And I see that there are four pillars or four conditions that need to be in place for us to successfully navigate this, to successfully get into this place of being open, to pleasure and being more radiant and feeling more fully alive.
So the first condition that needs to be in place is that of safety. So there are many reasons why we don’t feel safe in our bodies, and we don’t feel safe in ourselves. And to me, as we continue to reject ourselves, when you are really in this habit of not showing up for yourself, betraying yourself, punching holes in those buckets, through the conditioned responses, we continue to feel it’s not safe to be me.
So the key to start feeling safe is to learn to dip into your body, to learn, to become sensitive to the language of your body, and also to unravel the tensions that are alive in our nervous system.
So each time that we numb ourselves, we’re adding a little bit of resistance and tension into our nervous system, but the thing is, this doesn’t go away. It doesn’t disappear. It continues to sit there and we continue to pack on layer upon layer, and this effectively blocks our energy flow.
So as we begin to unravel these layers and these tensions that are stuck in the nervous system, we allowing that life force energy to begin to flow, to begin to express ourselves, we start feeling more and we can then build our own safety trust. The more we do of this, the safer we begin to feel within ourselves. And I’ll be talking more about the nervous system and how we can unravel some of these tensions and share some practices with you around that in future episodes. So be sure to keep a, would you say a, ear ou, a lookout for that?
Okay. Moving on to the second pillar, and this is the pillar of self-intimacy. And to me, this means that we are in touch with ourselves. You feel yourself and you feel all of your feelings. I see it as an art. It’s an art of connecting with yourself, being open to everything that you discover in your inner world and holding your discoveries with compassion and with acceptance. II feel that this is how we can begin to show up in the world in full integrity with ourselves, is when we’re cultivating this ability to be intimate with ourselves. And we often only think about intimacy in terms of my ability to be intimate and vulnerable with another person, with someone who I have a relationship with. But I see that before we can even hope to be able to hold intimacy with another being. We have to be able to hold it within ourselves.
And through this intimacy, we begin to develop a solid conviction in our own self-worth. So no longer do we need to attach our value to the things that we do and achieve in the external world. But we feel ourselves to be enough just as we are.
We use so much energy to push away our undesirable and “shameful parts”, and really in this, this cultivation of the self intimacy, when we are holding ourselves with true and deep reverence for everything that we are, I really see that as patching up the holes in that bucket.
And part of how we get to this is through the third pillar, which is devotion. So according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, devotion is a deep love or loyalty. And it’s also an act of giving. Giving as in giving effort or time to something. So I see devotion as so crucial in this path of living more fully alive, living from this place of inner freedom and becoming loyal to ourselves.
When we devote to our own inner world, when we devote to our own integrity, when we devote to having compassion for ourselves, the small betrayals that continues to punch holes in that bucket, we begin to release those betrayals.
Now, just through the course of the day, there can be so many betrayals that happen and they can seem so insignificant, but each little betrayal is a punch in that bucket. And these betrayals can be things like going along with something or someone just to keep the peace, or when you laugh at someone’s joke, just to be polite, even though the joke goes against your values and it goes against what you stand for and what you believe in.
We also betray ourselves by not giving ourselves recognition or acknowledgment. And this is something that I’m still learning. I’m devoting myself to finding internal recognition and internal acknowledgment instead of looking for it externally.
And for me, it’s a continuous journey. So devotion is really this act of giving your time and your effort to continue to walk the path of feeling, to continue to opening yourself up to experiencing all that is alive in your inner world, and to hold yourself vulnerable, to be honest with yourself, and this leads into living then in alignment, living what you are becoming, which is the fourth pillar.
So it also means when we are living what we are becoming and living in alignment, it means that we have to release these limiting beliefs about who we are. We have to release the social conditioning that continues to make us show up in certain ways. Living in alignment to me also means that the beliefs that we hold around, how far we should be, or what we should have accomplished by now already, or what our life is supposed to look like, or how we are supposed to feel all those “shoulds”: when we live in alignment and integrity, when we are vulnerable and honest with ourselves, we can also begin to release these should beliefs that continue to break us down. And that continues to feed into the lie of we are not good enough.
Now, when we live in alignment, it really does take some heavy lifting. So even though it sounds quite easy, you may find that the first person that you need permission from to show up as your true self, to show up as devoting to your inner world and your internal experiences and your felt senses is you need to give yourself permission to begin to show up as that person.
So here is a question for you. What do you need to give yourself permission to start living from a place of enoughness? What is it that you need so that you can begin to live from there?
So these four pillars of safety, intimacy with yourself, devotion and living in alignment. These are the pillars that the work that I do is based on. And to me, these four things are foundational to live in a way where you can come home to yourself, where you can begin to get to know yourself in a deep and intimate way, and where you don’t need to live your life according to other people’s rules, according to other people’s opinions of yourself.
But you can really honor your own yes. Your own no. And you can live in unapologetic self-expression where you speak up for your desires, where you know what your desires are and all of this can come from a place of pleasure and ease. And I want to add to that wholeness, a place of wholeness.
Okay. Beauty. That’s what I have for you today. And I want to ask you a favor, please, as this is a brand new podcast, I need all the help. I can get to get it out into the world, and you can help me do that by leaving a review, wherever you’re listening to this podcast, when you leave a review, it does something to the algorithm. And so more people will be able to find me to be able to find my work. And I’ll appreciate that so much iIf you could help me out.