reflections on a cringeworthy post

One of my most-liked posts now makes me cringe. At the time of writing it, I was overjoyed to have reconnected with an old flame. I felt inspired to share the role I’d played in our breakup, and express my gratitude for having him back in my life. Our relationship had ended years before that, and I’d had other love interests since then…but I’d long held on to the secret wish that he and I would someday end up together. So when we reconnected, I had some pretty high expectations.

We disconnected shortly after that, and I was crushed. And then, a year later, we reconnected and disconnected again. It was dawning on me…this relationship was probably not going to happen. I had to let those last tenacious strings of hope disintegrate.

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That post makes me cringe because I can now feel how damn hard on myself I was, for so long. Yes, I behaved badly at many points in our relationship. But I had no ability to see myself as innocent, hurting, and capable of anything different. I was ashamed of myself while we were together, and blamed myself long after we parted. Self-compassion was not on my radar.

I desperately wanted forgiveness, but I was seeking it externally. Eventually I realized that I couldn’t wait for someone else (including God) to forgive me. I had to forgive myself first; only then would I allow myself to be forgiven by others. (And be okay with them not forgiving me at all.)

In letting myself off the hook, I have to let others off the hook. I can’t proclaim to know why things do and don’t happen, what the bigger purpose is, or what’s to come. At a certain point all I can do is be okay with not knowing why. My ego hates not knowing why. It doesn’t want to love this other soul, and love myself too. It wants to create a power struggle, and it wants to win. It wants analyses, justice, closure, and completion. But those things don’t necessarily bring peace or freedom.

I do thank this man for being a catalyst for my self-growth; no one else got that deep. I do believe that our relationship was divinely orchestrated. But now I must focus on all that is good and true about me – not what needs to be ‘fixed’. It’s time to release him (and anyone else) as an excuse to not move forward with my life.

Funnily enough, this post wasn’t supposed to be on relationships. I’d intended to write about my blog being a platform for my shifting perspectives – the cringeworthy post being one prime example. My ideas are never meant to be static, but rather expressions of my consciousness at a given time. The act of writing itself often elicits new insights…and these will surely change as I learn and grow.

So, having written all that, and re-reading that post…it doesn’t make me cringe anymore. I feel softness for it. Those words still ring true, and they’ve led me here, to this new vista. And even when my ego’s fighting it, I know that here, love rules the day.

Namaste.

the heart is not what i thought

After publishing my post on the heart I didn’t know what to blog about next. Everything I attempted to write seemed conceptual and slightly pretentious – ironically, coming from my head and not my heart!

My mind has been my albatross, but for the most part it’s felt more comfortable than my heart or body. The torture of the mind is strangely safe, familiar. At least I know what to expect, and its endless analyses make me feel like I’m in control of my experience. Shifting the power to my heart is venturing into unknown territory. It’s a blank, open space in which the rules are totally different. (And I can’t know the rules in advance.)

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Of course living from the heart is about love. But so many of our ideas about love are bound up in the emotions. Most of the time, I don’t walk around in an emotionally loving state. I get highly triggered on a daily basis. And for a long time, I felt bad about this. But at some point I accepted that I just wasn’t capable of more. So I started to take the pressure off myself in situations where I felt upset. Spirit, I can’t feel loving right now, so help me be neutral. Neutrality is the best I can do.

It’s like I thought being neutral would take me into a more ‘loving’ state, i.e., it was step two of three. Trigger – neutrality – love. But through my yoga and meditation practice these past few months, I’m wondering if neutrality is the loving state. Perhaps the heart, at its very essence, is less emotional than I thought.

A neutral heart-space is the gateway for spirit. Divine love can enter more easily when we’re not jammed up with habitual thoughts and emotions (especially self-judgment or self-blame). We have more room to be the vessel for service and healing. We are purer channels of consciousness when our minds don’t hijack the process with ideas of how love ‘should’ look and feel. Neutrality allows higher truth to flow through, and the heart is the portal.

Neutrality can be very uncomfortable. Emotions want to rush in and fill the space, because being ‘empty’ can feel almost cruel, like we’re robotic or don’t care. We’d rather have a negative emotion than no emotion at all! But neutrality is not boring or apathetic or lacking feeling, as I long thought. It’s not suppression or avoidance. Neutrality is the willingness to fully feel all our feelings and let them work through our body and psyche, so that we become more clarified. From there we can access more refined states of compassion and empathy.

Emotions don’t disappear…they are beautiful. But the intense waves subside.

I think we need to be as clear, neutral, and calm as possible these days, in this volatile world. There’s a bigger picture at play – the shadow of humanity is being unearthed, and it’s easy to get swept up in the highly charged fears and emotions. Playing into the collective drama of separation only feeds the perpetual game of duality.

I don’t want to dissociate from the game, but I try to remember my limited human perspective. Staying neutral, while seeing our own shadow reflected around us, is perhaps the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and the planet.

your consciousness is your best friend

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There’s nothing which can be more precious in you than your own relationship with your own consciousness.

follow the excitement

After my powerful women’s circle a few weeks ago, I had a conversation with my good friend L. about our individual ways of knowing.

There’s no doubt that within the circle, I’d felt very connected to who I really am, to my essence. Moreover, it felt clear that my life’s work does not involve sitting behind a desk all day in a windowless office, coordinating processes and procedures that have little personal relevance to me.

But where in my body was I feeling this clear connection to self, this resonance with my truth? I didn’t necessarily feel it in my heart, or in my mind, or in any bodily sensation. It was just an overall feeling of…rightness. It was an absence of resistance, rigidity, and tension. It was Me, stripped of any outside roles.

I used to think that my intuition must speak to me in some really obvious way. I’d try to feel things in my heart, or in my third eye, or wherever else I thought I ‘should’ feel something – usually based on what others felt. And when I didn’t, I figured my intuition wasn’t very strong.

But as I told L after the gathering, maybe those aren’t my ways of knowing.

When I initially saw the women’s circle advertised in my Facebook feed, I just knew I had to take part, in the same way I immediately knew I wanted to enrol in a ‘Foundations of Conscious Leadership’ course offered around that same time. There was no second-guessing; my desire to participate in both was like a laser-beam. Sharp and focused, bypassing my analytical mind completely. No room for doubt. Yes.

These things excited me. There was a sense of aliveness and intrigue. And this excitement is my knowing.

Excitement moves things and shakes the universe up, irresistibly compelling it to work with us.

In a recent post I mentioned that, by total fluke, I’ve become the organizer of my high school reunion. (Let me be clear – I was not the party planner high school!) What literally started as a joke a few months ago has now become a hugely fun side project for me, sparking an interest I had no idea existed: I enjoy event planning!

I love making connections and seeing things come together. I like making s*** happen! I’ve been using my creative faculties in ways I wouldn’t have anticipated, and it’s because the universe put a cleverly disguised opportunity in my path – one I could’ve easily ignored.

***

So whenever I find myself saying ‘I don’t know what I want’ – and I’ve done that a lot, especially when I feel stuck in situations that don’t seem to be moving – I will remember these events of late. And know that I didn’t have to do anything to make them happen. In fact, I couldn’t have done anything, because they just kinda showed up unexpectedly.

I must follow my excitement and be open to things looking totally different from what I’ve been conditioned to believe is possible or likely. Opportunities can show up in the most random of ways, if we only have the curious eyes to see.

And we can trust that the universe is merely showing us what is already within.

 

Image credit: Rob Scharein, with my modifications

my lucky urban rabbit

A couple days ago I saw a rabbit in the most unlikely of places. I was walking my usual route to work, when I spied something scurry into the bushes at the foot of the bridge I always cross. I only saw its ears, but they were unmistakable. How could this be? As I got closer, there it was. A black rabbit.

It was so random.

my morning surprise

After my powerful women’s circle last weekend, I met up with my dear friend L, who is an amazing life coach. (Actually, life coach doesn’t begin to capture what she does.) We talked about life being a dance with the universe. About not trying to force and control things – actions which seem so natural to most of us, when we really want something.

I’ve always thought – how will the universe know what I want, if I don’t act in ways to show it? I’m beginning to feel – it doesn’t always work like that. I’m getting more comfortable trusting that the universe’s plans, intelligence, and love for me are beyond my mind’s capacity to understand.

Ok, I’ve known this for a while – I’ve been studying it forever – but something is softening inside. It’s subtly moving from a mental concept to a bodily knowing.

Sometimes there’s a sense that if we don’t ‘do’, we are vulnerable to the whims of the universe, where anything (unwanted) can happen. We feel the need to control, but it comes from a limited place. And this rigidity becomes habitual.

I haven’t been working with the universe, not really. I’ve been giving it lots of information…but assuming it will forget, or think I don’t want certain things, if I don’t keep reminding it. This isn’t total trust.

L also reminded me that the universe has a great sense of humour, and this is often how new and unexpected opportunities enter our life.

Perhaps this is why I currently find myself planning my high school reunion – something that originally started as a joke, but I’m now having fun with. Those who know me are surprised to see me in this role…but I can totally see a new career as an event planner! (Not weddings though.)

***

So, what does my random black rabbit mean? I started some Internet searching into Rabbit medicine, but then it dawned on me. Expect the unexpected. Watch for synchronicity. Keep letting go of the reins, unclenching your fists so that magic can flow to you, finding you in strange places.

Actually, when I woke up that very morning, I decided that it was going to be a lucky day. I even chose to wear a pair of lucky underwear. (TMI?) I didn’t know what that luck would look like, but I think my rabbit was its representation. An affirmation from the universe: Yes, I hear you. I’m going to show you want you want, but it might look a little different. Maybe you’ll even laugh at my ingenuity!

I like the idea of the universe always trying to tickle my funny bone. Surprising me. Being creative with me.

Thanks, Rabbit.

 

the need to justify

As I’ve been exploring the idea (ahem, fact) that I am the ultimate creator of my life experiences, I’ve become more aware of my habit of justification.

In my last post, I wrote about my tendency to seek the permission of others when making life decisions.  I’m noticing that in giving others authority, there is underlying need to justify myself and my actions…a sense that I must explain why I want something, my motivation for doing it, and why I’m deserving of it.

I haven’t let myself just want what I want.

new dawn

When we constantly justify why we want something, we’re saying that our own reasons for wanting it aren’t enough (or aren’t ‘good’ enough).  We thus have to show why we want certain things.  We have to prove why it should come to us, why we are worthy of it.  We have to work hard for what we want, so that others (god/the universe/whoever) can see that we’re serious about wanting it.

And it’s not enough that we just say this once.  No.  We have to keep repeating it, just in case the universe forgets, or thinks we don’t really want it.

The emphasis is on the doing over the being.

Once I became aware of it, I saw the need to justify operating everywhere in my daily life.  It’s at work, when someone requests something I’m not able to do.  Or in personal relationships, when I’m invited to something I’m not interested in.  A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on my part won’t do; I must offer an explanation of why I can’t do it – and often after much careful deliberation of my words.

Underneath my need to explain there has been fear of what others will think, if I don’t do what they want.  Fear of disapproval.  The logic is – if I explain myself well enough, they won’t be upset or think negatively of me.   Their opinion of me affects my opinion of myself.

All this is so exhausting.

It’s so much wasted effort to prove ourselves and our motivations to others.  It’s disheartening.  It drains the spirit.  We’re essentially telling ourselves that our own approval isn’t enough; that we need external sanction before we let ourselves move forward.  But is this really moving forward?

When you’ve gone through life explaining yourself, it can feel challenging to break this pattern.  One question I’ve struggled with is, How can I change the rules at this stage of the game?  How will others react if my behaviour suddenly changes?

But who’s to say that this change must be negative?   In fact, the opposite is true. While playing ‘nice’ may appear to keep some people comfortable, it’s not in integrity.  When I am not true to myself, resentment builds up.   It only gets stronger and louder as I stifle my inner voice.  And then I project it onto others – regardless of what’s on the outside.  They perceive what’s underneath.

Imagine how much tension, holding, and resistance is created in the body when we need to constantly justify ourselves. And how good it feels to surrender it all.  To breathe. To release. To infuse the process of creation with more lightness and fun.  To give ourselves a break!

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I am ready for a new way.  One that lets myself want what I want, knowing that I am intrinsically worthy of whatever it is that I want.  That no other explanation is necessary.  Trusting that spirit knows what’s in my heart, and that’s all that’s needed to help me achieve it.  So I can start to relax, and let go of the effort in trying so hard.

While I don’t believe it has to take months or years or lifetimes to achieve this – change can happen in an instant – authenticity is key, as I evolve my thinking and being.  This means savouring the process of transformation, whether it comes quickly or is taking more time than I’d like.  Feeling every cell of my body adapt to this new way. It can be a delicious feeling, if I let it.

I also want to say a big thank-you to all those amazing bloggers out there who are having similar experiences…who have written about their own processes, and have left such inspiring comments here.  We are all learning from each other, and it’s truly awesome what’s going on.

Namaste.

end of stories

I’m finding that there’s nothing quite like blogging to make me more aware of, and accountable for, my thoughts and behaviors.  Writing something on the Internet, particularly when it concerns my so-called ‘flaws’, functions as my own personal self-magnifying glass.

After a recent post touching on judgment, I found myself more closely examining my inner judge.  I began to really pay attention to the various people I encountered on my daily walks.   And I noticed that, if left unchecked, my mind could fabricate a story about each and every one of them.

My mood + my memories + my projections + my fears + their appearance instantaneously combined to formulate a complex (and often unconscious) narrative about who ‘they’ were, and how I would or would not relate to them.

Judgment and story often go hand-in-hand, and stem from the ego – from fear and separation.  The ego constantly seeks to maintain control over a fragile and tenuous ‘reality’ it has created for itself through memories, beliefs, wounds, opinions, and external messages (to name a few).

Our personal narratives form our identity, and define our sense of ‘place’ – or not – in this world. The ego is terrified of letting these stories go.  Without them, what is left?  Who are we?  What do we hold on to?  The ego is constantly on the lookout for whatever does not conform to its worldview, and seeks to protect itself from any perceived threat. (Enter the story.)

The heart, conversely, comes from a position of implicit trust (love).    Not blind trust in everyone and everything we encounter – discernment is essential – but a quiet knowing that we are safe on a much deeper level than any fictional imaginings can provide.  Where my ego views a possible enemy, my heart sees a potential friend or ally.

I know that underneath all my stories, there is a deep longing for human connection.  A genuine desire to release all the opinions, thoughts, and judgments I carry around.  I know this because my heart immediately perks up, expands, warms, opens, and brightens when I receive an unexpected smile from a stranger.  In that instant, story doesn’t matter.

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It’s amazing, really, how simple yet profound a smile can be.  It neutralizes.  Erases poisonous thoughts and judgments just like that [snap].  It’s magic.

***

On my morning walks I often look around and think, Each one of us woke up today, ready to do it all over again. None of us is done yet.  We’re all still supposed to be here. 

I want to nurture this vision of you as a kindred journeyer in the experience of life, navigating the mystery in their own unique and appropriate way.  A divine being, masquerading as a human for a little while.

When I let go of my fixed notions of what ‘reality’ is, and how things ‘should’ be within it, I can approach you with an unclouded heart.  I can drop my armor, meeting you with receptivity and openness. In my friend Sadee’s words, with boundaries instead of barricades.

When I release my own stories, perhaps I won’t need to project any onto you. We can each choose to be whomever we want.  And we both walk a little freer.