•••••••••••START WITH YOURSELF•••••••••••
EVERYONE NEEDS TO HEAL
At first, I’ll admit, this sounds like an admission of collective misery. a group bummer. But let me begin by saying I don’t make sweeping statements about universal generalities unless I throughly test-drive the theory looking for a breach. Having done so, I am now ready to stand behind my statement and claim that indeed, everyone needs to heal something. I believe this is important because there is this idea that some people have it made. They did it right, their parents were amazing, their self-esteem was forever in tact which allowed them to make good choices and thus they floated through always feeling good, and looking damn good doing it, too! The lucky ones. And the rest of us? Well, you know… shitty parents, no money, not a cool kid, not that smart, too sensitive, too fat, grew up in the city, grew up in the country. Too black. Too white. Misunderstood. Had divorced parents, mean boyfriend, alcoholic father, lunatic of a mother. You name it, we’ve got a reason.
Welcome to the humanity. Welcome to life as a human being. I have certainly worked to “fix” myself. To overcome my “flaws” and repair the damage done by the misinformed and insensitive people and institutions I’ve had the unique misfortune to encounter over and over again throughout my life. I’ve spent 20 years trying to catch-up to all those shiny, successful types who never had to jump through the hoops I did, in order to prove that I CAN WIN TOO!
We love the underdogs. However, what if that is all a big lie, propaganda even to keep you feeling inadequate, an outcast, fearful (for a number of sinister reasons, but that’s another story :) ). What if we all are born with a path stretched out before us full of challenges and tests. A path with limitations to overcome, boundaries to be set, outmoded beliefs to release, self-empowering choices to be made, strength to cultivate, fears to transform, family myths to debunk. What if you are meant to sculpt a self out of raw materials like experiences, imagination, feelings, desires and intuitions, in order to consciously craft, an evolved version that was never intended to resemble the one you began with. What if that is the truth. Undisputed, universal truth.
If it was, then how would life be different? Let’s start on an individual level, something was can manage. If a person, you, knew that changing and choosing was simply expected human maturation, just like getting taller and growing body hair, then maybe we wouldn’t fight it so much. What if saying no to something that no longer fit was as easy as recycling last year’s fashions—maybe we wouldn’t stay immersed in damaging situations far longer than what makes sense. What if emotional and mental changes were seen as necessary as haircuts and toenail clipping? It’s all maintenance and self-care, right?
I realize it may seem that I am over-simplifying what we like to consider our problems and issues, but maybe we allow those burdens to seem more complicated mostly because we are collectively in denial about how necessary change and evolution really is. How natural it is. I say, everyone needs to heal, in order to bust up the myth of perfection, and debunk the idea of imperfection and failure. We all have things to reconcile in our past, we have all been treated poorly, abused even. What if the reason is not because we deserve it, we are not good enough to be loved like the shiny people, but because obstacles necessitate solutions, innovation, growth, and evolution. Resilience and adaptation comes from the opportunity to solve problems and experience ourselves as strong and ingenious. It goes against every law or pattern in the natural world to remain stagnant and unchanging. Why do we see that as failure? Instead, life is a ongoing series of opportunities to choose who we want to be, and how we want to feel by saying no sometimes. It’s an opportunity to do it differently because it feels good, or because it feels bad to do it the same. It’s just being alive, actually. Push. Pull. Float. Heave. It’s all part of it. It’s acceptance of the nature of all life. It’s healing that which is wounded or hurts. Healing is a therapeutic path towards restoring health, beauty and well-being. The concept is universal, the path and stones are individual. If we can accept it individually, imagine the compassion we might have for our friends and family, for struggling strangers? Imagine how we might parent, not believing every difficulty or perceived pain on our child’s face was evidence of our inadequacy at shielding them from heartache or “imperfection”. Now imagine communities of support based on acceptance of change and decision-making as a natural process, allowing and encouraging each other to expand and streamline based inner truth, rather than tradition, social norms, or obligations. If it was globally accepted that life’s path was always one toward restoring one’s innate beauty, health and authenticity, can you imagine the collective sigh of relief?
SEE YOURSELF DIFFERENTLY
I am here to update the data. I am going to breathe fresh air into misinformation humanity has perpetuated for eons. I will not deny that when you look into the mirror you do in fact, see a familiar face. And when you talk, you have a perspective based on your version of your life’s experiences—BUT! underneath and inside of that thin veneer is nothing but the raw material of our universe, pure energy. This energy is limitless, expansive, creative and loving. And my dears, my loves, my brethren—This is YOU. You are not outside of this energy as it makes up everything we call reality. So and thus, if you are in fact, of this energy, by definition you find yourself possessing all qualities therein. Lovely! Simple! Right? What about the parts of life, of self, that don’t seem like they reflect this exalted definition of everything? Well, in a way, that’s simple too. It’s not an absence of those qualities, it’s the resistance to them.
Everything, my pets, is subject to these simple laws. it is LOVE, or it is FEAR, and the vehicle between the two is free will—choice! Most people instantly want to argue and prove you wrong when you present such a simple concept for the nature of a seemingly complex world. The reason they (we) do that is because something simple, if true, puts the responsibility squarely upon US to apply the equation to all the parts of our life that don’t feel like love.
I offer you the possibility that yielding to an slightly different idea of yourself and the possibility for change in a given situation is a powerful way to release the hold the past—even yesterday, has on who you are today, and who you will become tomorrow. To put it bluntly, what is so necessary about lugging around a bunch of too-tight, antiquated, maybe even mean and belittling images and stories about ourself and our life? When you really take pause and question the “truth”—isn’t it only still alive because you keep replaying, retelling, reliving a personal version of reality that comes from your mind, your imagination, really. If that is so, then doesn’t it stand to reason that a little nip and tuck might be possible it that personal laboratory called your mind? Preposterous! Intriguing? Exciting!
I think there is a lot to consider here. This idea is the hub of many more grand notions and psychological overhauls, but for now—just check-in and see if you might be willing to see yourself differently...if only for a moment.
A vortex of learning/teaching has descended on me recently. I was advising my high-school aged son, who doesn’t always get great grades, to be willing to see himself differently. I was encouraging him to be open to enjoying, or at the least, not resisting expressing himself as a good student. I worry with my kids that when they bump up against an obstacle again and again, especially one that gets repeat counsel about efforts and expectations, that they might begin to allow that criticism into their identity. I find it a delicate balance between solid, parental directing, and age-old self esteem undermining. At some point shorty thereafter, after a certain amount of chewing on some inner question about the nature of my own frustrating ways, it was my own answer, too. The icing on the cake however was, when out of the blue (coincidence? I think not!) I remembered a couple of little illustrations I had done at least 15 years ago, about the same idea.
I really believe that much of our struggle in life comes from an often feverish needs to defend various identities we’ve accumulated through the years. From family lineage, to birth order and family roles, to the insidious ways we manifest our negative self-talk. We do become who we say we are, who we think we are. Here’s a question; is it true? Are these bought and sold identities serving our desire for expansion and personal growth toward becoming a happy person? Beyond our height, eye color and shoe size how much about who we are is really set in stone? How much of what you think is true about you is actually a habitual thought from a deeply embedded opinion or perspective, or even just popular consensus? Truth? Maybe not. How much of that potentially unreliable information is preventing you from becoming more because you have an identity around yourself as being limited in some way?
Below the hubbub of the brain, and it’s endless justifications, gossip, drama, and competitiveness, we all strive to be non-judgmental. Perhaps it is a way-off goal to someday become ‘better’, ‘nicer’—something elusive to aim for when we decide to commit to the higher road. I think it’s confusing and even unrealistic to expect ourselves to adopt a consistently accepting and loving position considering we all have many opinions and boundaries, and are, well... human. But what if there is a way to experience the full spectrum of others that doesn’t require we totally disregard our own biases and perspectives, yet saves us from allowing the actions and ideas that are incongruous to our own to drag us into an onslaught of negative rhetoric and righteousness, if only in our head? The phrase DIVINE NEUTRALITY recently crossed my path and got me thinking, got me feeling, actually, how I could corral my otherwise opinionated reactions to others to others in a subtle, on-the-spot, mental 180°.
DIVINE—meaning, beyond myself. Bigger than my rational mind. Intellectually I have patience and open-heartedness for all, knowing we are all right where we need to be, and actually doing our best in the moment, but then, very humanly, I get swept up in drama and my opinions in favor of indulging my superiority, my limited perspective. But divine instantly(!) instructs me that I am small and equal to all others. I struggle to understand and evolve too. We all work at our challenges, using the tools we have at hand, to the best of our ability. Divine allows for that and is peaceful, able to hold ALL of it without needing it to be different than it is.
NEUTRALITY—the still point. Center. Neither good, nor bad, but simply existing or happening because it is. We hold each other responsible for so much. We easily become disappointed when things or people don’t behave as we believe they should, fueling the fires of negativity with our rigidness. Neutrality blows in with such freshness and relief. In it we don’t even have to bear the burden of thinking we need to figure things out for others. Neutrality allows us to have respect for another’s ability to take care of themselves. To choose for themselves. A lot of judgment actually comes from a loving place, wanting more for someone, or the desire to lessen to suffering, but the judgment makes it aggressive (or passive aggressive,) and neutrality allows us to witness gently without demands.
Divine Neutrality is spacious. It has a great body feel of the universal acceptance the higher road promises. Yet, it is very do-able in the moment, no training required. Practicing divine neutrality doesn’t require you give anything up except a sense of righteousness, (which doesn’t feel good anyway.) But you don’t have to cross the aisle towards anything disingenuous. It is the right amount of love, compassion and integrity toward our own perspectives on life. We simply lay down the rope, in that gesture, we give space for everyone, which is needed in all areas of our lives, including towards ourself.
ELEMENTS of CHANGE
There is a conundrum we all face. It’s something so obvious, that we allow ourselves to be in denial about it, or at the very least we underestimate the truth of it, and it is that change is about allowing things to become different—as in, not the same. In no way do I say this with condescension, in fact it is hard to word it in such a way that it doesn’t smack of insult, but it shows up often enough in my own life that I decided to go out on a limb and state the obvious.
I, for one, have longed for, reached for, begged for, and endured A LOT of change in my life. A blessing and a curse, fo’ sure! As I reach for the next requirement of my evolution, which always requires change, I notice that beyond the idea of an improvement, I watch myself grapple with both the letting go of what is and the fear of the unknown that the changing requires. There have been times in my past when I had to admit that my addiction to drama and suffering was in some twisted way more comfortable(?) than the unknown. I had heard of this in reference to stubborn drama queens, embroiled in perpetual self-sabotage for the sake of attention—but failed to see what it had to do with me. But at some point I was able to stand back from my own dramas enough to see that I had to let go of them and change in order to have a new experience (seems obvious, I know!). Whether it was longing to feel more secure, or more independent, or to be less fearful about the future, it all required me letting go of control in some way, in order to let things flow in to a new configuration, of which I couldn’t truly know in advance. Maybe I had to change how I treated myself, how I spoke of my world, the boundaries I abided by in regards to everything. As I kept/keep going the nature of change teaches me that in order to embrace change—to really understand it, it starts at square one—letting go of thinking I can know what the change will be and how it will unfold.
The word change is both a noun and a verb. When we consider it as a verb we must acknowledge the movement in that. In plain terms, it’s important to take into account that the action, the movement of energy within the act of change can at times be painful and just not what we were expecting. To reject the present state of things for a change is a surrender to what it will take to become different. Oftentimes we are unclear about what the original discomfort is REALLY about, otherwise we might have consciously chosen to adjust it at will. But these deep places that feel stuck or rattle our bones with fear are very mysterious. Blind spots and traumas the little, vulnerable child within can’t bear the thought of facing, yet in that avoidance must face again and again because she is too afraid to......change, BUT maybe she doesn’t even know it.
We are comfort seeking, creatures of habit generally. I believe personal evolution and expansion asks that we examine these tendencies so they do not block the larger part of ourselves from directing us toward well-being and a truer version of ourself. What that means on the ground is that when things start moving and the old molds begin to break we can nurture the growing pains, instead of putting the breaks on the whole operation at the first sign of resistance. We might think, ‘Wait a minute! That’s not what I said I wanted....!’ Well, actually you did, but your limited rational mind doesn’t fully comprehend the factors involved in the point of current reality and the longed for reality, only that something is not quite right. Another basic denial often working against many of us is acknowledging the full cycle of life-death-rebirth, as constantly exhibited by the natural world around us. It’s a difficult fact that often something must die to facilitate new growth. It’s just the truth. Is it possible to be with the grief or sadness of letting go rather than halting the whole process? Can we acknowledge the fear and resistance with compassion and still keep walking forward?
For me, when I know what I’m dealing with I can flow with it better. My fear driven, analytical mind goes into hyper-drive when I can’t understand why something that doesn’t feel good keeps happening. It feels out of control and uncomfortable. I’ve come to learn that change often feels like that. The pushing and pulling of my sensibilities is a sign of movement and change—the thing I’ve been asking for. The stripping away, the cleansing, the moving beyond, the lack of excuses are doors opening into places I’ve longed to go, I just couldn’t from my small, merely human vantage point see the fixtures of my life as obstacles. It was all too familiar. Thank god for the uncomfortableness. How else would we know that it is time to break out of our too tight shells?
What I know is that it is a time of great change on an individual and global level. I believe it is all ultimately good, but I also know that it’s not easy. It’s important to have coping tools in place so one can keep doing the important work of dreaming, and being courageous in our honesty to ourselves, rather than slipping back into the “comfortableness” of chronic uncomfortableness because it’s what we know. It’s okay if that’s all you know so far, but if you think it could be better, then be encouraged to go ahead and open yourself to that possibility even if you’ve no idea what something else might look like.
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