new shoots in the dark

In my part of the world, summer has taken a while to show up. It’s now here in full force: temperatures are high, and wildfires are burning all over the province. A smoky haze envelops my city, where there should be blue sky. Tonight is a full moon, and later this month a total solar eclipse, partially visible from where I live.

What does all this mean? Nothing, maybe. At one time I would’ve written about this as a chance to burn away what no longer serves us individually and collectively. The heat is kicking up tension, the smoke obscuring the path, the full moon marking the opportunity for completion.

Perhaps this is true, but I can’t say anything with certainty. On one hand it seems things are too unpredictable, on the other I feel completely stagnated. I’m noticing a chronic, underlying disgruntlement, triggered more often these days. I am impatient and anxious much of the time.

a smoky, hazy sky

It’s been on my radar to write an updated ‘About’ page. Mystic, wanderer, tantric, yogi… would I still describe myself this way? Possibly. But these words have formed an identity, an image, that no longer fits. Defining myself as ‘spiritual’, however earnest and sincere my intentions, has also – in some ways – disconnected me from others.

For a long time, I perceived the dominant, external reality as negative, and feared that focusing on this negative would only reinforce it, thus bringing more of it into my life. (The Law of Attraction.) I didn’t watch the news, and I unplugged from most social media. It was important to focus on the light.

But did it make me a happier person? No.

Because resisting something only strengthens it.

Because fearing negativity, and suppressing that fear, takes a lot of energy.

Because we are all connected, and living in a bubble doesn’t work.

Thanks to Leigh for sharing a recent Oprah interview with author and speaker Charles Eisenstein. Oprah and Charles discuss that hate is a ‘bodyguard’ for grief. The low-level suffering many of us experience is due to profound disconnection from our communities. Everything that’s happening to the world is happening to us….and we’ve numbed ourselves to the feeling – the knowing – that we’re all connected.

If we are evolving into a more conscious and empathic species, it’s important to know what’s going on with the rest of humanity. I want my feet on the ground, aware of what’s happening on (and to) the planet. I want my eyes opened where I’ve previously shielded them. We hold light where we can; but we also allow ourselves to feel the darkness. This can open the doors to empathy.

We’re all co-writers in this planetary script. Oprah and Charles discuss that we will hold on to our stories the hardest just before they completely collapse. This is happening on a mass scale. Where do I see my own beliefs playing out on the global stage? My stories have shaped my life, and it’s difficult to let some of them go. But they hold a me-against-the-world slant, and I don’t want to tell that tale anymore.

No matter who we are, we’ve inherited ancestral beliefs, religious conditioning, tribal fears and shames, and a collective worldview that for the most part stems from division and separation. Creating a new story is a massive undertaking.

I know so many kind and caring people who do their best to live in integrity and harmony with the natural world. They work hard every day to live by their values and take personal responsibility for their actions. I am inspired by them, and want to learn more from them. They give me hope that seeds of empathy and compassion are being planted in what appears to be the darkest of days.

Perhaps this moon is indeed a fortuitous time to end one chapter and begin writing the next.

the pain of bliss

Soon after I posted on the joys of mantra meditation, a dear friend emailed me to ask what I’ve been up to “besides being blissed out”. Her question made me smile, and pause to reflect.

Kundalini yoga and meditation have certainly given me a newfound sense of spiritual connection, hope, and yes, bliss…but I’ve mostly been spending time in solitude and contemplation. I’m continuing my shadow work, diving deep into feelings of darkness and limitation to touch the underlying fear, grief, and sense of separation.

seawall-tagore-watermark

Many people are scared of experiencing, or talking about, deep emotions. Some fear that focusing on negative feelings will manifest more of them. Especially in the spiritual community, we say affirmations and practice the Law of Attraction to avoid what we consider negative. But it’s really our unconscious programming driving the show. And we can’t delete that with positive thought alone.

For me, bliss can only come with feeling and releasing painful emotions. This pain has accumulated over lifetimes, in my childhood, in my ancestry, and in the collective. Bliss is the authenticity of feeling all my feelings, without self-judgment. Bliss isn’t about being ‘happy’ all the time. That is a precarious place to be, because we fear losing that happiness. Bliss is freedom from the fear of feeling.

A few months ago I wrote about my move to a new location. I can see now that much has shifted for me in my short time here. It has been a challenging time on many levels. But I’ve needed to be in a place where I could consolidate my energy and prepare myself for something very new.

There have been many tears…but there is a subtle, lasting, profound joy in their release. It’s hard to put into words, but I know that many others are going through this cleansing process, and for a purpose.

I am compelled to do this work and I sense it’s about something much bigger than me. I feel deep gratitude to be on this path. And from what I’ve seen in some awakened women around me, the journey through these darker places is well worth it.

In a universe of oneness, we are all carrying each other’s pain. In releasing our own pain, we release it for humanity. We become lighter and more free to create a new reality through feeling our way into it. That, to me, is bliss.

finding jewels in the shadow

A couple of weeks ago a dear friend sent me an email asking my opinion on something Abraham-Hicks related. Normally I’d respond right away, excited to have a discussion, but I haven’t listened to their teachings in months. I’ve been in a more…reflective state.

I was recently given these words of wisdom by another soul sister, who received them years ago from a wise woman elder: “Know your cycles.” Since leaving my job a few months ago, I’m really feeling this message. Quitting has had a domino effect; pretty much everything else in my life has shifted as a result. And all the energy it took to maintain an unfulfilling daily routine now has the space to breathe, to release.

I haven’t had the motivation to carry out many of the things that seemed so possible, so exciting, just a few short months ago. My body just wants to rest. Know your cycles. I can no longer ignore what my body is commanding me to look at. Stuff I thought I’d already dealt with, time and again. Memories from childhood. Buried emotions. The shadow.

I love Abraham-Hicks; their words have brought much comfort and joy into my life. But with Law of Attraction teachings, there can be a tendency to focus so much on the positive, that we mask our so-called negative emotions. We must be ‘doing it wrong’ if we’re feeling depressed. We fear that if we focus on the uncomfortable stuff, we’ll stay stuck there, and continue to manifest more of it.

jewelinshadow

There’s a term I’ve been hearing a lot lately: spiritual bypassing. Using spirituality to avoid dealing with painful emotions. We want to experience ascension and enlightenment, but not all the murky shit along the way.

Many spiritual teachers speak of the shadow – those parts of ourselves we long ago deemed unacceptable, and therefore denied and suppressed. In our spiritual evolution, we can’t avoid going into the shadow. If we haven’t integrated it – brought those buried parts of ourselves into conscious awareness – sooner or later it will show up. Even (especially?) if we’ve been on the spiritual path for years.

Personally, I thought I was so done with the ‘inner child’ stuff. I’ve wanted to focus on the present, think positive, move on already! But it’s largely my mind that’s been dictating the healing timeline. My body still feels the old pain and memories – and only through being completely present with them, staying with them for however long is needed, can they be released. There are no shortcuts.

In my last post I wrote that I’ve never developed a meditation practice, and I’m now being called to do so. For a long time I feared that if I looked within, I’d find nothing. And there was deep grief (and terror) in that. Those early experiences of feeling insignificant, not belonging anywhere on this planet, being disconnected, never really left me.

For most of my life, I haven’t been truly living. Yes, I’ve had moments of joy, adventure, and spiritual fulfillment…but it’s been somewhat surface. I’ve been existing, but not experiencing deep, vital, vibrant aliveness. I know there are many out there who can relate.

And for me it is no longer acceptable to half-live. I’m faced with all this in a very real way as an unexpected health issue has caught me a little off guard, throwing all aspects of my life into sharper focus. I know it’s the Divine’s loving way of getting my attention, nudging me to re-discover our connection. Books, teachers, tools can help…but ultimately it’s all within me.

I’m grateful for everything that’s transpiring. I’m getting that only by being present with my painful emotions can I ever feel truly alive in this life. The shadow taps us into our depths, and in those depths something far more powerful and brilliant is awakened.

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.

 

LA, my birthday, Abraham, and meeting blogger #2

Last week I spent an amazing few days in warm and sunny Los Angeles, celebrating my birthday, seeing Abraham Hicks live for the first time, and meeting up with the beautiful Katherine Starseed of A Blip in Time.  This is the second blogger I’ve connected with personally and, like the Shamanic Tracker (whom I met last Fall), I know I’ve made a lifelong friend.

As some blogging friends know, I am a big fan of Abraham Hicks.  Having read their material, listened to their recordings, and watched hundreds of their Youtube clips over the years, it was totally surreal to be sitting in the conference room of L.A.’s Glendale Hilton, waiting for their seminar to start.

loving california palms...

loving those california palms…

I couldn’t stop smiling as I sat there.  The enthusiasm and energy of the crowd was infectious; we were all buzzing with excitement. The familiar intro music played; Esther Hicks came onstage; and three hours of uplifting, positive, and often hilarious messages ensued.

Say what you want about Abraham Hicks – and people have many different opinions – any philosophy that unwaveringly affirms messages of love, worthiness, expansion, joy, and appreciation, is good with me.

It’s so simple and we make it so complex – do whatever you can to stay in that feeling good, appreciative state.  Don’t beat yourself up when you slip from that state.  You are worthy of being there – it is your natural state.  I realize how many justifications I have made for not allowing myself to feel good.  Though all these explanations felt right at the time, most don’t wash anymore. (Karma is a big one.)

That’s not to say I don’t go into darker states, or that they don’t serve a purpose.  But I am fine-tuning those receptors that allow me to know, sooner and sooner, when I am going into excuse/auto-pilot mode.  I can sense when I am being attracted to the thought magnet I’ve been most familiar with, making it the ‘easiest’ place to go to.

I can therefore more easily discern alternate ways of perceiving.  I can catch when I’m able to make new emotional pathways, creating a ‘new normal’ for myself.

Being in a more consciously joyous state is not going to make me selfish (in the negative sense) – a fear I carried for some time.  It is not going to make me forget about those who are not in that state.  But it could open the channels for others to find that state of being within.  It could give me more energy, so that I operate from a place of joyful service, not fatigue or obligation. Joy powers up the world.

view of california coast sunset from pacific coast highway

view of california coast sunset from pacific coast highway

So one week later, these are the impressions I’m left with after the workshop:

Every question I wanted to ask Abraham, I already knew the answer to.  I realize that I can hear my own guidance and authority.  I am my own unique expression of Source energy – how could I not know what’s best for me? Do I really need to consult healers for the answers I already hold within?  And how can I know what’s best for others?

Why do I want what I want?  The power of creation lies not in analyzing the perceived lack or negativity in my current situation, but in imagining and visualizing what I do want. And this is often about cultivating feelings first (e.g., freedom and autonomy), rather than manifesting the physical specifics. The external ‘things’ will emanate from the feeling.

I can’t engage in conversations centered on complaining, negativity, or why things don’t work. And when I do, I feel icky.  I have previously indulged such conversations, thinking I’m not being polite or nice if I disengage.  I’ve thought that I was avoiding reality by not giving attention to certain things that other people find important. But I see now that this has drained and fragmented me. I don’t want to be sucked into a train of thought or emotional state I don’t wish to cultivate in my life, so I’m learning the balance between compassion and detachment.

Abraham often says that you have to care about how you feel more than anything.  Caring about how you feel also means not doubting or second-guessing how you feel. These days, if something feels good, I let it. I try not to analyze why it does, or why it shouldn’t.

It’s all about softening. Being hard on others means being hard on myself.  Not new information, but it’s sunk in at a deeper level.  Hardness creates rigidity and resistance, and inhibits receiving and allowing.  Cultivating more softness, ease, gentleness, and relaxation – with myself, others, and life in general – feels really good…like relief.  This past week I’ve caught myself sighing audibly (in a good way) more than a few times!

Fun is a priority. ‘Nuff said.  Driving up the coast of California was utter joy and freedom. Why do we view fun and freedom as the exception, and not the rule? Not me.  I’m going to seize the opportunity for fun whenever I can. Never too late!

I can say with confidence that I had the best birthday EVER, and I am very thankful to be ever-poised for creation – and yet know that there is nothing I have to ‘do’ to win the favour of myself, or anyone else.

Namaste.

not quitting my day job

If you’d told me a month ago that I would make the decision to stay at my job, I would have thought…there’s no possible way.

But what can I say?  Life is continually allowing me to refine my desires, and I’m just going with what feels right.

A little background: I’ve been working in administration for several years and, particularly in the last few months, have felt the strong desire to move on to employment that is more aligned with my passions and creative interests.  To that end, a few weeks ago I gave my official notice at work, and began arranging an upcoming trip to Europe.

finding the balance...

finding the balance…

I didn’t really have a plan in place, except to enjoy the art, culture, and wine of Italy, and let inspiration find me.  And, until recently, I felt relieved with my decision.  I felt quite proud for taking a leap into the unknown, and following my dreams.  For saying ‘yes’ to adventure and freedom and wanderlust. (Let’s face it, that sounds pretty cool.)

I felt happy that I wouldn’t have to deal with the same old work scenarios, the same old dynamics, the same old…sameness of everything.

But as the weeks flew by, uncertainty crept in. Instead of feeling sustained excitement and adventure, I felt uneasy.  Was this too much change?  What are my dreams?  Will I be able to pursue them fully, and enjoy Europe, if I am stressed about finances and not having a job to return to?

I know many of us are facing ambivalence about our work.  How do we feel fulfilled and inspired in a career that, at times, feels like it’s sucking the soul right out of us?  How do we know when we’re finally done, that the universe is calling us to something higher?  When do we stay put, and when do we move on?

Having quit my job, I began to see more clearly, and deeply appreciate, its many positive aspects (including the best co-workers ever).  I realized that I’d been getting very comfortable with what I had, and taking much for granted.

I’d become so accustomed to focusing on the ‘negatives’ that I allowed them to completely eclipse the positives.

I started to observe: in which aspects of my job do I feel the most resistance, and how does this resistance play out in other areas of my life?  If I can transform that root resistance, will my experience of my job change?

For example, one of my beliefs is that I have no personal connection to the work I perform.  While this is somewhat true, I’ve put a lot of emphasis on this thought-form, and thus it has become a Big Problem.  I have over-identified with my job, allowing it to be reflective of who I am, when it is not at all Who I Really Am.  Moreover, I’ve felt that people are judging me for the ‘boring’ work that I do…when in reality it’s mostly me judging myself.  (There’s that ego again.)

I’ve also observed that I get emotionally triggered by certain people and interactions at work.  (Who can’t relate to that!?)  But interactions that push my buttons will follow me throughout my life, and in all scenarios, if I don’t find a way deal with them effectively, and in a way that feels good and empowering to me.

Every relationship is an opportunity to expand, and work peeps are no exception.  What energy/vibration/intention am I bringing to each interaction?  I’m going to be more diligent with this awareness, and I’m intrigued by the transformation that will undoubtedly occur.

I’ve also been carrying the mindset that I don’t love my job.  But the fact is, there are a lot of little things I do love about it.  And, in providing a foundation of stability, it enables me to do those things I truly love to do, even if I’m not doing them while physically at my desk.  It’s all about my own perspective.

Abraham-Hicks would advise that I continue to focus on these positive aspects, to get into a consistent state of gratitude that will align me with even more things to feel good about.  I have been practicing this in the last couple of months, and can honestly say that my life experience has changed for the better.  Things are happening – with my writing, with my trip, with a couple cool creative side projects I’ve been approached to work on.

do you think they ask themselves so many questions?

do you think they ask themselves so many questions?

So where does that leave my plan to ditch everything and hang out in Europe for a while?  I spoke with my employer and they were willing to arrange a two-month leave for me.  So instead of quitting outright, I’ll go on my trip and return to my job in the Fall.

This feels really good to me.  Perhaps I just need a grand adventure, something totally different, to reboot my system.  And I can then revisit matters when I’m back, with a fresh perspective. (Unless, of course, a handsome Italian whisks me away on his Vespa, which quite a few people think might happen…)

I really admire those that courageously pursue their dreams and, to be completely honest here, a small part of me feels like I’ve reneged on a promise I made to myself to do the same.  That little voice can’t help but wonder if my recent uncertainty reflects a lack of trust, a latent belief that I’m not worthy or capable of creating the life of my dreams. That by staying where I am (for the time being), I’m sending the message to the universe that I’m not serious about pursuing those dreams.

But of course that’s not my intent.  Let me be clear: my intent is to reframe my current situation (with gratitude), so that it allows the nurturing of my dreams – which are still evolving.  This is called appreciating, and maximizing, the best of both worlds.

Ultimately I am very grateful to have options to change things around if they’re not feeling right.  And as I tweak my desires, the universe responds with the support I need to make it happen.  I am the sole designer of my life, and I have complete creative control.

***

I’m off to a weekend workshop in beautiful Whistler, BC and am looking forward to the summer mountain air and connecting with kindred spirits, for what will likely be a very transformational couple of days. I’m sure I will glean some further insights there. 😉

Namaste.