year of the jellyfish

It’s my 4th WordPress anniversary this week, and since we’re in a New Year month, it seems fitting to re-blog my very first post from 2013.

I had the sense, back then, that a new world was opening up. And now, 4 years later, with friends made around the world and so many stories shared, I have a newfound appreciation for those early words.

Reading that first post, it’s clear that I was feeling hope and relief in shedding some long-held beliefs; something had shifted within, and it was palpable. Looking back now, it’s like the stage was being set for me to discover just how deeply ingrained these beliefs were in me, and in my family, culture, and ancestry. These past few years have been about diving down, exploring, and uprooting.

I also see that my journey has taken on a new dimension since 2013: self-compassion, humility, and forgiveness have grown. I’ve learned that spirituality is not all ‘love and light’, and that spending time in the muck is an essential part of healing. Also, after years of resisting, I’m becoming much more comfortable with silence. Stillness speaks volumes.

Happy Anniversary, Happy 2017, and Happy Year of the Rooster! No doubt this upcoming year will be monumental. My intentions? To breathe, meditate, feel all my feelings, and remember I’m not alone. And oh yeah, to blog. 😉

Sat Nam, Namaste, Aloha. Thank you for reading!

alohaleya

jellyfish Image courtesy of wikimedia.org

a few years ago a relative told me i reminded her of a jellyfish.  i was confused and she explained: she saw me as translucent, a pearly bubble ready to burst with all the colour and potential and goodness inside me.  she said i couldn’t see it, but she could.  it was a sweet conversation and one i remember once in a while.

maybe it’s all the end-of-2012 talk, but lately i’m beginning to feel those colours emerging.

something has shifted. like i’m breathing a sigh of relief. like i made it to the other side of something. i don’t feel quite so intensely compressed, like i’m a tube of toothpaste and someone is trying squeeze every last bit out.   although everything looks the same, something unseen and profound feels to have taken place.

i can’t hold onto anything anymore. i can’t blame anyone anymore. i…

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full moon eclipse: lightening the load

A couple of weeks ago I received the results of an Ancestry DNA test I purchased earlier this summer. I was pretty sure the test would confirm I’m all Indian, but I was intrigued nonetheless. My family hasn’t actually lived in India for the past four generations, so it seemed possible that there could be a surprise or two!

The results estimated 95% South Asian DNA, the remaining 5% being a mix of Central Asian (2%), European (2%) and Native American (<1%). That last one is quite implausible, given that my family didn’t come to North America till the ’70s, but the test analysis does acknowledge that such trace percentages are likely due to chance.

Me, first day in India, 2010

Me, first day in India, 2010

Whatever the results or their accuracy, taking the test was yet another step in embracing my roots. As I wrote in my last post, this summer has been all about my ancestors. As I continue to read about the lives of Indian women, I see with more clarity and self-compassion why I’ve struggled with the things I have. It just makes sense. This has mostly to do with the denigration of the sacred feminine. Deep pain and trauma has been locked inside for generations…and no one’s had the key.

All this is somewhat hard to put into words; it’s largely an intuitive process. From the outside, my ancestors’ lives could not be more different from my own. It would appear that I have choice, freedom, and control that they could not imagine. But the internal programming does not change overnight. And clearing the ancient patterns held within my psyche has been my life’s work.

Having said that, there must be space for celebration. Life has always been so serious and I’m wanting to shift that. I think many of us on a spiritual path become so used to ‘the work’ that fun seems indulgent and frivolous – and unfamiliar.

Sensitive people especially can feel so responsible for clearing, healing, being accountable and in integrity. And while those are all good things, we also need to relax and acknowledge ourselves. (And let go of the gripping fear that as soon as we let down our guard, something horrible will happen.) The point of this heavy work is to lighten the load.

If my ancestors are watching me now…do they want me endlessly re-living their fears and traumas, their guilt and shame? I doubt it. I can feel them lovingly drumming their fingers. Okay…you’ve worked really hard. And we so appreciate it. You’ve done more than you know. Now please start having some fun. For all of us!

They want a new story: one of self-worth. They want me to take our rich history and do something even more beautiful with it. They want me to put my own creative twist on life, without approval-seeking or apology. They want me to stop seeing muck where it’s already been cleared. They’re prodding me to step out of my comfort zone of familiar old feelings, and stand on new ground. It’s safe here. You will not be abandoned. Trust us.

I am the living manifestation of my ancestors dreams and wishes. My life is not random; I am seen. The highest service to my ancestors (and to myself) is to continue to forgive and love, and enjoy life with gratitude. There is no greater gift to, and from, my lineage.

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.

mosaic rock

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 surprise return of the ex

Something totally unexpected happened last week. My ex-boyfriend contacted me after seven years of silence. I hadn’t heard from him since we broke up.

Our relationship was unhealthy (to say the least) and shortly after we parted, I did something stupid which completely distanced him from me. We were very much in love at one point, but our inability to deal with our demons quickly poisoned what we had.

It took years for me to accept my role in our destruction. I had played the victim with him, but I was anything but that. I was cruel and said hurtful things. I was jealous and mistrustful. I wanted to be the centre of his world, and whatever attention he gave me was never enough. I was angry.

It stung like hell when he told me he didn’t love me anymore. But eventually I realized that I didn’t blame him.  He had his own part to play in our breakdown, and he has to deal with that. But I can only be responsible for myself. And I see now that I had no self-love when I was with him. Whatever he did (or didn’t do) could only reflect that. We were doomed from the start.

A couple of weeks ago, I knew it was time to contact him. To take full responsibility for my own actions, and let him off the hook. The last I’d heard, he’d moved across the country, so I made a coffee date with our mutual friend, and planned to ask her for his number.

He beat me to it.

I was stunned when I saw his name in my email inbox. It was surreal and wonderful to hear his voice when we spoke on the phone a few days later. I was able to say all those things I needed to say, and release the blame, sadness, and guilt I’d carried for years.

I no longer feel incomplete with him, and I am beyond grateful for the possibility of a new relationship. He is someone I truly care about and want to stand by in this world. I have compassion for him now, and want to be a great friend where I couldn’t be a great girlfriend. It feels like a miracle.

I’m convinced that human beings are deeply connected on a level far beyond the physical. We pick up each other’s signals and communicate in ways we’re not consciously aware of.

I’ve been contacting many friends and family members these last couple months, acknowledging messes I’ve made and cleaning them up. The universe is magic; it senses our actions of love and responds in kind, sending us even more opportunities to restore and create love. Sometimes when we least expect it.

on forgiveness

A few years ago at a yoga retreat I attended in Tulum, Mexico, one of the participants was inspired to create a special memory for each of us in the group. Towards the end of our time together, she asked everyone to write down two positive, memorable qualities about every person there.  A couple of weeks later, we each received a personalized card that listed those qualities.

I thought of this card a few days ago as I was on my way to visit a close family member with whom I’d been experiencing some tension. Or, more accurately put – I was feeling some major hostility and was very distressed that, no matter how much I thought I’d forgiven the (perceived) wrongdoings of the past, resentment had reared its ugly head. Yet again. With a vengeance.

In the days prior to this, I’d felt drained and depressed.  The same old conversations and injustices replayed in my head, as they’d done for so long, in a seemingly never-ending loop.

Why could I not surrender, once and for all, into lasting forgiveness? Shouldn’t ‘forgiveness’ – if it’s true and authentic – be a one-time deal? How can we decide one day that we’ve forgiven, and change our mind the next?

The morning of our visit, I thought, ‘I’m a slave to my anger’.  Immediately I felt the wrongness, the off-ness, in that thought.  That’s when my friend’s card popped into my head.  I remembered all those beautiful words used to describe me…my fellow yogis’ impressions of me.

There is a tendency, when other people are being kind or pointing out our positive traits, to resist.  We deflect, we brush it off, we think there is some ulterior motive.

Or we think they’re wrong, that we’re an imposter.  That we’re not worthy of it.  They don’t know the real me.

In remembering that card, some part of me – my spirit, my soul – was showing me what is, in fact, ‘real’. It was showing me that others see in me what I often cannot see in myself.

We get so caught up in our limiting self-definitions that our perception of who we are becomes totally skewed and distorted.  We box ourselves into unbearable constriction and pain.  Internally describing myself as a ‘slave to my anger’ was so disheartening that I was prompted to remember, and draw strength from, those elevating words. To trust them.  To allow a greater vision of myself.

Sometimes we feel a sense of power in withholding forgiveness.  It gives us a charge, or makes us feel like we’re in control.  But how can something so ‘powerful’ be so draining and painful? It’s a false power.

It’s getting too hard for my physical vessel to house anger and tired old resentments.  This doesn’t mean I negate my emotions, or suppress the anger that is temporary and useful to feel/express.  It means releasing the stagnant, hardened energy that keeps everyone locked in a state where no one can truly expand and be free.  It releases others (and ourselves) from the grip of our impossible standards of perfection.

I think about all the positive (Abraham Hicks) stuff I write about, and sometimes – often – I couldn’t feel further from that feel-good state.  The process of becoming lighter – more aligned with spirit, with love – can feel like the complete opposite.  Like going to the depths of extremely unpleasant emotions, unearthing them, and pushing them out.  Phew.

But then…a levelling off occurs. Something settles, and we are in a new space, with a new vantage point. Setting the stage for the next wave of expansion.

***

I want to thank my friend AM for having the generousity of heart to create those cards.  Mine showed me the kind of woman I want to be.  And it is the woman others see in me.

There is real power in that woman.  That woman is capable of forgiving, once and for all.

year of the jellyfish

 

jellyfish

a few years ago a relative told me i reminded her of a jellyfish.  i was confused and she explained: she saw me as translucent, a pearly bubble ready to burst with all the colour and potential and goodness inside me.  she said i couldn’t see it, but she could.  it was a sweet conversation and one i remember once in a while.

maybe it’s all the end-of-2012 talk, but lately i’m beginning to feel those colours emerging.

something has shifted. like i’m breathing a sigh of relief. like i made it to the other side of something. i don’t feel quite so intensely compressed, like i’m a tube of toothpaste and someone is trying squeeze every last bit out.   although everything looks the same, something unseen and profound feels to have taken place.

i can’t hold onto anything anymore. i can’t blame anyone anymore. i can’t make excuses.  i can’t tell the same old stories.

but instead of feeling ungrounded or anxious, i feel peace.

i know that:

-i’m not powerless.

-i don’t have ‘bad karma’.

-i’m not being punished.

-there’s nothing to feel guilty about.

-i’m not unworthy.

-it’s not about the money.

(to name a few.)

whatever i used to say to myself that stopped me from doing what i really love to do, does not work anymore.

and saying that ‘i still don’t know what i really love to do’ (my usual fallback) is also an excuse, of sorts.  maybe i don’t consciously know, but it’s there nonetheless, and moving within me.  something inside has cracked and there’s an opening…to something that’s been closed a very long time.  the hope that maybe i can create whatever i want.  maybe, just maybe, everything i’ve believed for 30+ years no longer has power over me.  it’s subtle yet undeniable.

just the act of putting pen to paper (or fingertip to key) shows that something has shifted.  why today?  why after years and years, did some part of me decide that yes, today is the day to write?

my story that’s not a story. 🙂