technology & the divine search

It occurred to me that I deactivated my Facebook account around this time last year. How does it feel to be Facebook free? It’s still working for me. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-Facebook. It means I know my tendencies, and must limit social media for my own peace of mind.

Technology is a double-edged sword. While it’s mind-bogglingly cool to have this worldwide venue to express ourselves, the open-forum Internet easily becomes a platform where many react from defence and ego when their beliefs are challenged.

Using social media responsibly requires conscious attention and self-awareness. If we are not wise to our own projections, we might attack the other instead of looking within.

from my trip to paris, centre pompidou: františek kupka, ‘around a point’

I speak for myself more than anyone. For several years, I followed a woman on YouTube who regularly posted on spirituality and emotional healing. Her videos were targeted to sensitive people, and they brought me much comfort and guidance.

But in recent months, her channel has changed direction. She now posts exclusively on Jesus Christ and the Bible as the (only) true path to God. Her messages have included warnings to not practice yoga, for example, as it is ‘Luciferian’ in nature and invites demonic spirits in. Having studied many forms of new age spirituality throughout her life, she now views these as the ‘false light’.

I was very triggered by all this. I didn’t even know this woman, but her previous teachings had been deeply healing for me, and I felt an odd sense of betrayal and emotional pain. I began to doubt my own spirituality, including my views on yoga and ascension.

I was angry…but at who?

When I’m feeling threatened, it’s usually not about the other person. If I’d been truly secure in my own beliefs, maybe I wouldn’t have been so upset by this woman’s new messages. I’d understand that others have free choice to believe whatever they want, and it can be truth for them. I’d trust that there was room enough for all, in a way my linear human mind couldn’t comprehend.

I’m not contesting the Bible or the life of Jesus here, and I mean no disrespect to this woman. But I recognize that her new content had activated my old feelings of guilt and shame for rejecting the religion I was born into, and for pursuing a more ‘new age’ path. And I felt fear. Paralyzed by the ancient notion of God watching, judging, and waiting to punish me for one false move.

It is my responsibility to deal with my reactions and responses. So I’ve been asking myself: What do I truly believe? What do I know? I’ve previously written on honouring the inner authority, yet here I became so invested in another’s experience. When it comes to God and spirituality, have I taken others’ word for it, to the point where I don’t even know what mine is?

Am I allowed a direct relationship with the divine? Do feelings of unworthiness block me from receiving this? Can I be unshakable in my faith, but not so rigid that I proclaim my way as the only way?

My spiritual search has been about undoing the ego – a constant, likely never-ending process. And with that comes humility. The ability to admit that I don’t know.

Here in the west we have so many philosophies, including yoga, to choose from. But does one or the other make me more ‘spiritual’ or ‘ascended’? Perhaps I don’t need to do so much, to try so hard. (I’m reminded of my trip to Italy, where I felt very connected to God while taking a break from all things I considered spiritual.)

On this planet of limitless preferences, I would think that there are endless ways to express and embody love. If God can feel this frequency in us, this sincere desire, maybe little else matters.

And here, technology becomes the blessing. Through sharing perspectives, it raises questions that – with conscious awareness – bring me deeper into my own truth.

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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verona love

I am in beautiful Verona, Italy and am so happy I decided to spend some extra time here. I love it.

It’s hard to believe I have only one week left in Italia; it’s going so fast. I’ve been in the country for about four weeks now, and each city I’ve visited has been so different and unique. Since I last wrote, I’ve travelled to Lucca, Florence, Venice, Bologna, and now, Verona. Tomorrow, I head to Naples for the night, and finish the Italian segment of my trip on the Amalfi Coast (Sorrento and Positano). Then to Switzerland for a week, and four days in London – then home!

i'm a sucker for a colourful window display

i’m a sucker for a colourful window display

I could describe each city I’ve seen, explaining its cultural and historic significance, showing photos of the art and architecture, describing the churches and museums…but that’s not really my style. It’s more about the insights I’ve received and the interactions I’ve had. And there have been many. And it’s been challenging, and blissful, and awkward, and sweet, and funny, and…it’s been a lot.

I’ll probably write about a place or situation as something comes to me, as a memory is triggered. And what I’ve been thinking about a lot is JH, who I met at the Lucca train station on my way to Florence.

chiesa (church) san michele, lucca

chiesa (church) san michele, lucca

I thought I would love Florence, but after a calm and wonderful couple days in Lucca, the crowds were a little, um…intense for me. (I know, I know…what did I expect? It’s Florence!)

It was pretty cool to visit the Uffizi, and to see so many of the paintings from my Art History university days. And to walk across the Ponte Vecchio bridge, knowing that two of my dear friends (family, really) became engaged there. And to eat the most amazing pear ravioli at a restaurant recommended by two sisters in said family. But overall, I felt a little lonely and frustrated in such a huge, always moving (though at a snail’s pace) crowd.

best ravioli ever!!

best ravioli ever!!

And it made me wonder how JH was doing. JH is an older British gentleman, someone who (from what I sensed) has been quite successful in life, financially and career-wise. In the train station, JH asked me where the platform to Florence was located. I told him I would be back to show him in a few minutes, but he was gone when I returned. We re-connected on the platform, and he sat near me on the train.

JH told me he was going blind due to macular degeneration. I have always had a high sensitivity to anything surrounding blindness. I feel it in my gut. As if I’ve known it. Experienced it myself. I felt empathy for this man who, day by day, week by week, is progressively experiencing the loss of his vision.

When we disembarked, I helped him find the taxi platform. The queue was huge so, his hotel being quite close to the station, I walked him there. My heart was a bit heavy when we parted. I felt compassion and helplessness.

As I explored Florence over the next couple of days, I felt such a mix of emotions. It was challenging to be solo amongst so many people. Ask anyone who knows me; I don’t do so well in crowds. (And I am definitely not a market shopper – I need a girlfriend to guide me!) Try as I might, I go into major sensory overload in a mass of people. But every time I felt overwhelmed in Florence, I thought…how is JH handling all this? Can JH even see the Uffizi? How could he possibly navigate this place alone?

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post. Only that a few other things came to the surface for me in Florence, in such an intense way, and now…I feel a little raw, and humbled. Something powerful happened there; I know and don’t know what. My ego cracked. I vowed and prayed to never forget how good I have it and how much love I am capable of giving and receiving. And it’s up to me to live this way.

I hope this feeling of humility survives any attempt of egoic damage control. As a human being, it happens all too easily.

rubbing juliet's bosom for luck, as you do

rubbing juliet’s bosom for luck, as you do

And so, to be sitting here in a cafe on a warm, sunny day in beautiful Verona, at the harvest moon, having this morning rubbed the statue of Juliet’s left breast for good luck (something even the most jaded of tourists must do), knowing that people back home are going through the roughest and most tragic of times…I feel the utmost gratitude. Not because this experience will last and that I’m ‘lucky’ and ‘happy’. But because right now is precious and fleeting and beautiful, and I’m feeling my joy and their pain, and allowing all of it, because it’s all part of me.

I’m blessed to be where I am. And I can’t wait to see my loved ones.

The waiter must have sensed something was happening at this little table, as he just brought me a little glass of limoncello, on the house.

It tastes extra good.

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. 🙂