success is in the heart

For the first time in my life, I have a job where people don’t say, “You’re capable of so much more.” After years of working in more junior roles at the same organization, a few months ago I accepted a management position in a field I’m passionate about. Finally, I thought. For the first time, I can be proud of what I do. I have my own office filled with plants and books – and business cards! I don’t have to explain my career choices anymore.

And yet, something feels off.

In my previous position, a colleague once said to me: “You don’t seem particularly career driven.” I don’t think this was meant offensively, but I was slightly triggered and pondered her words for some time after.

The fact is, she was right. When it came to a day job, I never wanted the responsibility that came with senior level roles. I was always content to serve in a more support-type capacity, because I didn’t want to carry home any unnecessary stress. I liked being behind the scenes. I took pride in doing a good job, and I could forget about work at the end of the day.

For the most part, I was always motivated by something else, something much deeper for me. It was a personal, inner – spiritual – search. This occupied most of my energy, and that was hard (and often pointless) to explain to those who were more outwardly focused and who questioned why I didn’t challenge myself more, work-wise.

Fundamentally, I also never cared about title and prestige. It was an interesting paradox to feel triggered by the opinions of those around me, yet know deep in my heart that it ultimately means nothing. I understood I was so much more than my career.

Now here I am poised for change yet again, and I ask myself (yet again): what do I really want? Can I feel and follow the beat of my own drum, unplugging from others’ notions of what ‘success’ looks like? Seeds have been planted, and movement in a new direction is imminent. This involves leaving the company I’ve been with for many years and starting over in a new organization.

As I previously wrote, my home environment is changing too. In these times of upheaval all around, some of us are moving back to our roots (as the wonderful Laura mentions in her comment on my post). I’ve been spending time in the very neighbourhood I grew up in and, more than ever, it feels like home.

For so many years, I wanted to live anywhere but there. I had visions of starting life over in a foreign country where I knew no one and had no shackles of the past. And now, the place I grew up is the only place I want to be. I’m seeing my childhood, and the awesome beauty that surrounded me, with new and appreciative eyes.

In a way, it feels like rewriting time and history.

My friends laugh at me for moving and changing jobs so much. And yes, I am feeling a bit exhausted and want some stability. But then, is anything really stable these days? Can we accept that flux is the new norm? Though this little birdy is looking for a place to nest, she will always be grateful for the ability to fly to new surroundings and expand her horizons.

For now, my new direction feels good and as long as I trust my heart and intuition, I can’t go wrong.

meditating beyond the mosque

It will take me some time to process what I learned about myself in London. I knew it would be an eye-opening journey – I was travelling with my mother and visiting family I’d never met before – but I didn’t expect to be so confronted by my own views on family and religion.

me being a dork in a london phone booth

me being a dork in a london phone booth

I was brought up within a minority Shia sect of the Muslim faith. This group differs from the majority of (Sunni) Muslims in many ways – too many to go into here (and I’m not an expert anyway). I remember going to mosque as a child and not really getting what was going on. My grandparents were extremely religious, my parents less so – but we still attended mosque somewhat regularly.

Being Muslim was my identity. Back then, I referred to all my white friends as ‘Christian’, regardless of their spiritual belief. ‘White’ and ‘Christian’ were synonymous in my little mind.

I always resented that I had to be part of a religion that didn’t get to celebrate fun things like Christmas and Easter. But I also felt conflict and guilt that I didn’t like my religion. My mother tried to make me see the positive aspects of the faith, but it never took. I didn’t understand any of the rituals (and wasn’t motivated to really explore them), and I’d get preoccupied by the dynamics of the people around me. At mosque, I was irritated by any gossiping I heard, or excessive dressing up. It was hard to see beyond those things.

My deep conflict surrounding religion was majorly triggered in London. Several of the family members I met have converted to the more traditional Sunni Muslim path in recent years. They view this path as more ’true’ and ‘logical’ to follow. Each family gathering I went to in London involved discussion of religion and over the course of my trip I was becoming more resistant, irritated, and yes, judgmental of those around me. I was also experiencing the old feelings of guilt, alienation, and fundamental wrongness. I am so different from these people! What would they think if I started talking about ascension and starseeds and blue rays?!

On some level, I always thought that ‘someday’ I would embrace my faith and make my mother happy by attending mosque more often. What I realized on this trip is that might never happen. I mean, I really got that. I also understood that my deep resistance, guilt, and judgment was showing me that more healing is needed. I know a part of me still views the faith through the eyes of an alienated child who wanted Christmas instead – and that’s the part that needs compassion and release. I will never find peace with my religion by running away from it.

I know that there are beautiful aspects of my faith, and I’ve seen the peace and kindness in my family members who credit their religion for helping them be better human beings.

I also know that my own inner truth is longing to be heard, and that it could be very different from the truths of my parents, grandparents, and the long line of ancestors behind them. This path is lonely, scary, doubtful and, at times, filled with grief. It has felt like a betrayal of my family, and of God. But my own truth, whatever it is, isn’t going away. I love that meditating in the mosque makes my mother so happy. But I want to meditate beyond the mosque.

It’s possible that my ancestors are jumping for joy at what’s happening within me, and on planet earth in general, as many of us are finding our own ways of connecting to God or Spirit (or not). Maybe those in my lineage are thrilled that I’m rediscovering my ancient Indian yogi roots! Maybe they’re excited that I and many others are taking it beyond religion, as we expand into something that transcends any doctrine, belief, or dogma.

London is one of my most favourite cities ever…even more so now. I can’t wait to go back for more.

some very deep questions on blogging

I started this blogging adventure about a year and a half ago, and have yet to tell the majority of my friends and family about it. I’m kind of dreading the day that someone shares it on Facebook and my mom mentions it at the next family gathering.

I’ve written about this before but clearly it’s still an issue for me – why am I ok with sharing my innermost thoughts on the INTERNET, but not with those closest to me?

please don't find my blog

please don’t find my blog

I recently watched some Teal Swan videos on privacy, openness, and boundaries. They got me really questioning my need to keep my personal life so private.

A few months ago a good friend of mine (the brilliant Eager Beaver) joked that I am “surrounded by an impenetrable cloak of mystique.” Though we laughed and laughed at her choice of words, I wonder if there is a seed of truth in there.

Is it an ego thing? Is there a feeling of power and control in not letting people have access to what’s going on inside me? Does being ‘mysterious’ mean I can comfortably distance myself from others?

Are strangers less threatening than loved ones, when it comes to expressing my truth? Do I feel vulnerable in sharing myself openly with close friends and family because I’m fearful of ridicule, feeling judged, not being taken seriously, being misunderstood, or triggering/hurting/upsetting them? What is this sense of being ‘open to attack’?

It is essential to have healthy boundaries. We all know this. But what does that really mean for me, and have I taken it too far? Have I told myself that I am ‘sensitive’, an ’empath’, prone to ‘absorbing other people’s stuff’, to the point that I’ve walled myself off from them?

Perhaps I’m holding on to previous grudges and resentments where my privacy was violated, and it now feels unsafe to share the deeper parts of me. While that’s certainly understandable, how do I reconcile that pain with my desire for self-expression and LETTING GO of that story?

And what about the fact that we can never really hide ourselves anyway, because we’re broadcasting our energetic signals whether we want to or not? We are all interconnected, so it’s an illusion to think that just because you’re not reading my words, you’re not affected by what’s behind them.

How much of an energetic toll does secrecy take? Sometimes I feel like I live a double life – my blogger life and my day-to-day life. These split parts of me want to integrate and live life more wholly.

What it’s coming down to is integrity. If I’m going to have a public blog, I can’t control who reads it or not. All I can control is my intention, motivation, and the words I choose to express myself.

I’m not really speaking my truth if I’m purposely limiting my words to some people and not others. Perhaps it’s time to get more comfortable with, and honouring of, my truth. And trusting others with it.

While this doesn’t mean that I have to advertise my blog to everyone I know, it does mean accepting that whoever finds it, finds it. And as long as I am writing in integrity, there is nothing to fear.

musings on blogging

Is anyone else experiencing time flying by at warp speed?  I haven’t blogged in a while, but a niggling internal voice has been reminding me daily…It’s time for your next post!

Actually, I don’t know if ‘niggling’ is the right word.  Blogging has been an awesome addition to my life these past few months. So maybe it’s time to reflect on this wonderful WordPress world, and muse on the questions it’s raised for me.

First: Why does a private person want to share their innermost thoughts so publicly?  I consider myself quite introverted, so it’s interesting that I’m relatively comfortable expressing myself so openly in this forum. Sure, there is some detachment on the web, in that it’s mostly ‘strangers’ reading my words.  But even this is changing as friends and family discover my blog, and strangers become friends. As my worlds merge, I question why I’m not very forthcoming with those supposedly closest to me. Why have I been resistant to them knowing the ‘real’ me?  I guess I can’t hide for much longer!  The word is spreading.

the blog station

the blog station

Inspiration strikes when I’m not near a computer.  And that’s ok. I like to walk.  Everywhere.  And ideas often stream through me during this time.  I’m not one to whip out my iPhone to take notes (it majorly interrupts my flow), so I’ve come to enjoy the feeling of being inspired, and allowing it to imprint upon me…trusting that I can tap into it when needed.  When I stress about losing ideas, it introduces resistance to the whole blogging process. And then it becomes less enjoyable for me.

Blogging makes me accountable.  But not too accountable. There’s something about declaring your hopes and dreams to the entire world that makes them more real.  This is a great motivator, but also requires patience and compassion for myself.  If I change my mind, or don’t follow through with something I write, it’s okay. Things are always in flux and, especially as I refine and tweak my desires, I must allow myself that flexibility.

Redefining blogging etiquette.  For example, how often should I blog?  There are lots of great blogging resources out there, many of which stress the importance of regular, frequent posting.  But I need to develop my own protocol (i.e., one with no rules).  Some weeks, the inspiration flows mightily and I have so many ideas I can barely keep up. Other times – I got nothing.  I know this is pretty common amongst bloggers…but I personally don’t have a stockpile of posts ready to draw on when my writing well runs dry (as the experts recommend)!

But there are dry spells, and there’s procrastination.  Even when I have a great idea in mind, and time to write, I’ll sit on it.  Why?  The possibility – the potential – that something amazing is within me is sometimes more preferable than attempting to articulate it, and not properly capturing its essence.    In other words, it’s the fear of failure – a pattern I see operating in other areas of my life.  Thankfully, this tendency is shifting as I shine more light on it (with some help from Abraham-Hicks, of course).  But it prompts me to ask:

Who am I writing for?  I started this blog as an avenue of self-expression.  I’m happy others have discovered, and found resonance with, my words.  But at times I’m very aware that others are reading.  And I have to remind myself of the primary reason for my writing: to authentically express myself.  Not to write what I think will make me likable, not to gain stats, not to make sure the post is the ‘right’ number of words so as to not deter readers.

this has nothing to do with this post; i'm just obsessed with taking pictures of ducks

this has nothing to do with this post; i’m just obsessed with taking pictures of ducks

I sometimes view blogging as a conversation between me and my higher self (something I read on another blog), which has its own value on my journey of self-discovery and speaking my truth.  As soon as I stray from authenticity – when I slip into ego, when I make it about others and not me – I’m not in integrity and alignment.

And yet – it is undeniable that the interaction with others is what makes blogging so great!  Which brings me to…

Why I am I doing this?  Quite simply, because it feels good. And it’s fun.  After years of over-analyzing/processing/questioning, and generally feeling very stuck, I’m learning that life is about cultivating more fun, joy, and lightness whenever and wherever I can.  And when I focus on all the amazing people I’ve ‘met’ all over the world, and the ideas that have been generated and shared, I see blogging as one creative means for achieving these positive states.

***

I imagine Earth as a globe with little points of light everywhere, more being lit every second, with like-minded bloggers connecting and networking and charging up the whole planet.

Consciousness is exciting.  Writing is exciting.  Connection is exciting.  Self-expression is exciting!

I’m so glad I took the plunge and wrote that first post (almost) six months ago.

Thank you for reading!