This is both one of the areas around which I received coaching from Reba Linker – a wonderful friend who I met online – on Paint Yourself Into the Pictureand, quite literally, what being on the show and posting the link to it here means to me.
Despite a great deal of personal work on my patterns, and an overwhelming desire to share my story in a public forum so that my experiences can reach and encourage as many others on a similar path as possible, it is clear that I still have some internal resistance to being seen…
Well, as many masters have said, this is a lifelong journey.
And, as the late Susan Jeffers said, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
(Please click to open it in a new window and view, as my plan doesn’t support videos).
In it Reba and I discuss how I can reframe reaching out to people as connecting to make it something that feels more in alignment with my values, and also talk about the process of creating a unifying theme – a “bumper sticker” as Reba calls it in her blog – to aid in the process of writing a book.
I hope you all enjoy the show and get as much out if it as I did. Don’t forget to subscribe on Youtube for more of the same.
What does stepping up into being more visible mean to you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
The universe is an indivisible whole in which all things are interconnected - Eckhart Tolle.
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep – by Mary Frye
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die.
Wednesday saw me clawing my way up a shrub-covered cliff and back down again, holding onto tree branches and clumps of grass to stop myself from hurtling down helter-skelter and out of control.
Walking up the river, gingerly stepping from slippery rock to slippery rock, almost losing my footing on more than a few occasions.
Wading knee deep, grasping onto a conveniently-placed rock to keep me upright and my head above water when I slipped and fell.
It was like something out of an action movie.
Only I didn’t get to play the part of a hero.
To my sorrow I wasn’t able to bring my beautiful and loving dog back still breathing.
My first impulse was to keep this story – the circumstances of my beloved dog’s passing – quiet.
To only tell the few who I had called asking for help – before my phone got wet and gave out on me – what really happened.
Not that I was planning to tell any lies. Just not to tell the full truth.
“Pimo died on Wednesday,” I practiced saying, not filling in any of the details.
At first this impulse arose from an instinct for self-protection.
I knew that in retelling the story I would relive the events and feel the pain – especially the self-recrimination – all over again.
I think there was also a fear of people’s judgement mixed in there.
“What a bad dog owner,” I could imagine them saying. “Who in their right mind would take an aging dog to such a place?”
Well, they may be right. I have mourned my apparent foolishness.
But as my former partner said, as he sat with me by the body and we lit candles and incense, it is that streak in me, that makes the usually sensible and responsible person I am do something so lacking in good sense and judgement that afterwards I wonder what on earth I could have been thinking while – at the time of doing it – being sure that it’s a good idea, that made me the prefect parent for Pimo.
It usually is a good idea to be honest.
It’s just that sometimes they backfire and go wrong.
Maybe what I am lacking is foresight.
But I’m glad I allow myself to listen to the whispers of my heart, and don’t automatically list up everything that could go wrong.
This streak in me represents a love of freedom; for Pimo as much as for me.
It is this streak in me that gave her richness of life; a richness encompassing both good and bad.
It is thanks to this that she spent hours roaming the hills leashless when she was younger. Going where she pleased when she pleased, as I sat with a book open on my lap in the shade of a tree on the mountain road calling her name from time to time to let her know where I was.
It is thanks to this that she got to revel in rolling around in a rotting fish by the river one time and animal feces in the mountains another; completely ignoring my calls for her to come, absorbed in her delight.
It is thanks to this that she continued to get let off her lead at all – even though I knew that she was the one calling the shots once she was out there and couldn’t be trusted to reliably respond to my “commands.”
It is thanks to this that she returned to me once with balls of ice the size of my fist attached to the fur on her stomach, completely unrepentant for having been “missing in action” for seven hours as she chased animal tracks in the snow.
And it is also thanks to this that she fell to her death on Wednesday, slipping on legs that were old and tired and no longer able to fully grasp the Earth.
The day started off in an uneventful way. It was hot and humid and I woke up not feeling inclined to do any of the things I had planned. I’d been missing my time in nature recently and thought how nice it would be to go somewhere and rejuvenate by restoring my connection to the Earth.
Somewhere with water, I thought. What could be nicer than sitting by a river on a hot summer’s day?
For some reason I decided to take Pimo with me, even though I’ve been leaving her sleeping at home more and more in recent weeks.
I thought she could do with the time in nature, too. And maybe I was harking back to former days when we’d enjoying exploring the outdoors together.
So into the car we got, with windows wide open so she wouldn’t overheat. A secluded place where we could get down by the river had sprung to mind, and it was there that we headed.
She made it down to the river on her old and tired legs quite well.
She tripped a couple of times, but I only had to carry her in one place where the steps were gone and there was a steep bank. I carefully made my way down, feeling each step. We arrived at the river edge without incident and I was enjoying the feeling of being out in nature with Pimo again, though it did cross my mind that we were rather unprotected if a bear should chance to come along.
We sat; me with my feet in the river, Pimo cooling down in a shallow pool of water.
At one point a bird appeared from between rocks taller than me, that formed a narrow channel through which the river ran downstream. I wondered if it was a message, and felt a slight sense of unease. But not being sure what it could mean we stayed a while longer until Pimo seemed to get a bit restless and I carried her back to the road above.
If only I had left it there, my day would have had the sated feeling of an afternoon spent in nature I envisioned when I left home. But I thought it would be nice for us to sit a while longer, and we carefully made our way to a rock that overlooked the river. We didn’t stay long for Pimo seemed restless again. I carried her back to what I thought was a safe spot, put her down on the ground and we had hardly walked a few steps when she slipped and fell.
And the rest of the story you pretty much know.
We were too far for anyone to reach us easily, and nobody I managed to call was available to come.
There was only me and the wilderness, and the glimpse of her collar halfway down the cliff.
And that is where I made a terrible mistake.
Instead of trusting myself to be able to get down the cliff to her, I ran down the steps and tried to make my way up.
But I’d misjudged the place and found myself back at the top too far downstream, having wasted precious time. By the time I got to her collar she had slipped through it, and nor could I find her anywhere as I stumbled and slipped the rest of the way down the cliff.
As I continued to search I struggled with blame and self-recrimination:
What on earth was I thinking to bring her to such a place?
Why did I put her down when I did?
Why didn’t I carry her for just another minute? Or all the way back to the car?
Why didn’t I go straight down the cliff to where I could see the red of her collar? If I’d have done that, I probably would have been in time.
Why do I always make the wrong decision at such critical junctures?
Why didn’t I take the time to pause and center and ask for guidance before I decided on my course of action?
Why didn’t I ask my guides and the angels for help sooner, rather than nearly an hour later when I finally came out of the river still not having found her?
Why hadn’t I been more loving with her, more understanding of her condition?
Why did I let her feel my impatience when she stepped in her food and smeared it all over the kitchen floor that morning? Why wasn’t I gentler with her; kinder; more patient?
Why didn’t I leave her safe and sound at home?
How could I have done such a stupid thing?
And so it went on.
In the meantime, someone I had called had called someone else and he arrived on the scene in his truck.
When we finally found her in the river, she was no longer breathing. Her face wore the same gentle and peaceful expression as usual, and if you didn’t know any better you would think she was sleeping.
I brought her home and wiped her down with a towel. I almost expected her to give a little cough and start breathing. But some things cannot be so easily undone.
I spent the first 24 hours blaming myself, interspersed with moments of being more mindful.
I remembered a talk I had listened to only a couple of days before about how animals know they are eternal beings and do not have the same feelings about death as we do. I remembered how fiercely Esther Hicks had told the gentleman in question to stop mourning the “bunny” he had run over, replaying the incident over and over again in his mind. I thought how similar that was to my self-blame and recrimination and resolved to stop punishing myself in this way. I could torment myself for weeks and years, but it still wouldn’t change what had happened.
And I know for sure this isn’t the legacy my beautiful and loving dog would have wished to leave me with.
Finally coming into my Higher Self, I recited the Ho’oponopono statements. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”
I just kept on telling my beautiful and precious (dog-)child over and over again how much I was grateful for her presence in my life, for all the many gifts she has given me.
I asked the gleaming full moon to clear both her karma and mine. I asked that this be done through this lifetime and all others; past, present, and future.
I told Pimo how much I loved her, and that that would never change.
I thanked her for continuing to be with me in Spirit.
I took comfort in the fact that if she is one with the Universe and so am I, then essentially we are one even though she is no longer a physical presence in my world.
I messaged a friend and spiritual teacher, Reba Linker , who I know has faced the passing of her own four-legged companions, asking if there was anything I should do to help ease Pimo’s passing. She wrote back to me with these words that continue to help me to frame this in a way that doesn’t make Pimo the victim and me the villain, or even both of us victims:
“The most important thing is self-forgiveness. There often are things we wish we had done differently and that is part of the experience. Self-forgiveness is what is needed and what is – absolutely – deserved. Things could not have been otherwise. All is as it is supposed to be. All is right. All is well.
Pimo left you in a way that felt right to her. Perhaps she did not need to experience, or perhaps she did not want to burden you with a more drawn-out decline of health.
She wants you to be happy, of course. She loves you, forever. And she is with you, always…
Mostly, take care of you. This just happened. It’s a shock, for sure. Be gentle with yourself.”
I have taken these wise and loving words to heart with gratitude. I have been gentle with myself. I have stopped my train of thought each time it heads towards and/or gets caught up in self-blame and recrimination. I have reframed the thought instead.
I have taken strength and comfort in my trust in the Universe’s divine plan. I have assuaged my pain with all that I know of the Universe’s perfect timing, and how everything in our lives is unfolding for our greatest and highest good.
I know that that includes for Pimo’s greatest and highest good.
She is a child of the Universe, too.
Doing this enabled me to stop fighting reality.
There is still a part of me that is in shock and pain, and wishes it didn’t have to be this way. But there is a greater part of me that trusts the Universe and all that has been revealed to me over the past few years.
That part of me tells me that everything is exactly as it should be. It reminds me to focus on all the things I’m grateful to Pimo for and the purity of the love we shared. When I do this I am able to be strong and feel cleansed inside. This is the lesson of self-forgiveness my friend spoke of. This is what I am here to learn: to love myself no matter what.
When I was feeling slightly calmer and more centered in my own energy again, I asked to be able to see the incident with the eyes of Spirit.
How much of it came from Spirit I can’t say for sure, but the next day after I had buried Pimo in my pottery teacher’s garden I came home and felt an urge to lay down where I had laid her the night before and where she so often slept. I was struck by the fact that all I could see were the brown speckled walls of my classroom and the clock ticking on the wall. It struck me that this wasn’t a place for a dog to live out her days or to draw her last breath. I wondered if she chose to go surrounded by beauty and nature. I wondered if she chose to go in such an abrupt and shocking way because she knew that otherwise I would find it too hard to let go.
One thing I am certain of is that she knew how much I loved her.
I am trying not to see her death as tragic. I am trying not to think of how I wanted to hold her to the end and help ease her passing, letting her know that she was loved and safe.
I am trying and succeeding in not letting this moment define me and my relationship with her. I know her life was richer for knowing me, as mine was for knowing her. That helps me not to condemn myself. That helps me not to get caught up in the story of how much I “failed” her.
I am remembering these often-repeated words:
“In the end all that matters is how much you have loved.”
I know that as a result of my relationship with Pimo I have known the beauty of love blossoming within my own heart. I am grateful for the unconditional nature of the love she gave me so abundantly in return.
I am remembering the many times I told her silently in my heart: “Pimo, you go when you are ready. You don’t need to hang on for me. As long as you want to remain here with me, I’ll treasure our time together. But you don’t need to stay beyond when you want to out of a sense of obligation. I love you dearly, but I’ll be okay.”
I’m hoping she chose what was best for her.
I’m certain that even though I couldn’t be with her, she knew in the moment of her passing how dearly she was loved.
I’m thankful for the time we had, and know that we share a bond that reaches beyond this lifetime.
Not only do I love Pimo, I also continue to love myself.
The self-recrimination resurfaces, comes and goes like a wave. But I love myself enough to know I did the best I could, mistakes in judgement notwithstanding.
I love myself no matter what my role in the incident may or may not have been.
I am choosing to actively demonstrate that love by giving myself the gift of self-forgiveness.
I am engulfing myself in love. Giving myself this gift of self-forgiveness as many times as needed, over and over again.
We have all done things that make us afflict ourself with self-blame and recrimination.
Guilt and the heaviness it encumbers us with is not what the Universe, (or our beloved ones who have passed before us), desire us to experience. It is time for us to put down that load; to release it and let it go.
I invite you to put down your burdens of guilt; engulf yourself in love.
Give yourself the gift of self-forgiveness. Wherever it is needed. Over and over again.
In a quiet forest glade where emerald light filtered through the foliage of graceful boughs and the air was still and silent but for the distant drone of bees, there grew a flower called the flower of life.
Few ventured as far this clearing, but those who did were touched by its magic.
One imagined the Ancients must have roamed here. The air was heavy with awe and wonder. It seeped into the soul and cleaved hearts open with the rich fullness of presence.
None who wandered here left the same person they were when they came. Softened by their encounter with the sacred presence of Nature they went back into the world purer of heart; carrying the silence of the glade deep within their being.
The flower of life stood in the center of the clearing.
She was said to be a mirror through which one could look upon the world.
To look on her was to look on beauty.
Amidst the cool green of the ferns and the dark undergrowth, she rose with a singular grace; each of her petals shimmering in a unique and lustrous color.
Crimson, emerald, sapphire, violet, apricot, amber, citron, rose, white, black, silver, gold. All of these colors and more. Each petal its own distinct color, coming together in a harmonious whole.
As she absorbed the emerald light that reached down through the trees the flower of life shone in a exquisite kaleidoscope of vibrant color, each hue enriching the others as she danced and swayed in the slight breeze that gently whispered to her.
Her beauty was sonorous, calling the light to her.
And as she absorbed the light she became still more beautiful.
The light wasn’t the only thing which responded to her resonant call.
Honey bees drunk on her goodness weaved about her gracefully. Hummingbirds and butterflies with iridescent wings flocked here and frolicked too, for her nectar was sweet and tender, a joy to all.
The morning dew loved to linger on her unfurling petals, and even the breeze seemed to slow its step so it could dance with her a while.
And in the midst of all this richness and diversity of color, the flower of life bloomed in an everlasting celebration of the richness and diversity of life.
the violet and indigo petals got together and decided they didn’t like the sapphire petal.
There was no particular reason. Maybe they were jealous that the darting dragonflies appeared to alight on her more, seemingly preferring her radiance to their own.
Maybe they were simply locked in their fear of this color that was – to them – unknown.
Whatever their reasons, bit by bit they staved off her nutrition.
The sapphire petal, denied of her source of vitality, valiantly tried to continue to shine, to contribute her unique beauty to the magnificence of the whole. But cut off from her source of nutrition, it wasn’t long before the glistening sapphire petal slowly faded to a washed-out cornflower blue.
As more time passed she drooped and listed…
Finally, she fell to the ground.
It was a sad moment for the flower of life.
Not only had she lost one of her petals, but a darkness that wasn’t present before now imbued the violet and indigo petals, changing the way they refracted the light.
The intensity of her radiance had diminished a little. But still she shone brightly and the winged creatures continued to come, to drink deeply of her pure nectar and absorb her beautiful light.
Unfortunately, the tinge of darkness wasn’t content with being a tinge. It saw for itself a bigger future. In an effort to tarnish the radiance of the flower, it emanated spots of darkness that fell on the gold petal with its head upturned to receive the light.
The darkness encountered the light, and – for the moment – the darkness won.
The gold petal decided that it didn’t like the silver petal.
Saturated with superiority, it could no longer see her beauty as anything other than inferior to its own.
In a story that has told itself over and over again since time begun, the gold petal began to assert her dominion and power. She cruelly cut off the nutrition to the silver petal.
Before long the flower of life mourned the loss of another of her petals.
And how she mourned.
Now it was the apricot petal’s turn to devour the darkness and make it her own.
“If I absorb the radiance of the crimson, amber, citron and rose petals and assimilate them, I’ll be a match for the brilliance of the violet, gold and indigo petals,” she reasoned. “Then will I shine in splendor. The vividness of my color will capture the eyes and hearts of all.”
And so she began her own story of supremacy, drawing the essence of the other colors in to enrich her own.
In the process she acquired more of the darkness; for she was motivated by selfish gain, instead of a wish to shine brightly so she could contribute to and enhance the brilliance of the whole.
And as the crimson, amber, citron and rose petals all lent their radiance to the apricot petal, they lost their own. The flower of life was left a shadow of the flower she was before.
And how she mourned.
The birds, bees and butterflies stopped coming to visit, for they couldn’t stand the conflict and fighting.
Besides, the tinge of darkness that suffused so many of the petals had turned the nectar sour.
The flower grieved.
And then she grieved some more.
She missed the winged creatures who drank of her goodness and delighted her with their pranks and quirks and beauty.
She missed the gentle whir of their wings, and the way the air they generated fanned her petals, making them dance with unbridled joy.
She missed the radiance of her own beauty, its brilliant kaleidoscope of colors.
She missed the refraction of light as it spun its magic across her many-hued petals.
She missed her long, eloquent conversations with the dew that lingered in the mornings.
She missed cavorting with the wind on long and languid summer evenings.
She missed knowing herself as having value, contributing to the world with the sweetness of her nectar, with her beauty that uplifted all.
She missed the sense of knowing who she was, and of having purpose.
In her sadness she began to droop and wither.
Her life-force felt stilted.
She no longer knew who or what she was living for.
One by one her remaining petals fell to the ground.
Hours turned into days and they were chased away by the wind.
Finally, the flower’s stalk, too, was blown away.
All that remained of her was unseen and unknown.
The flower still grieved, taking her pain with her into the ground where she lay dormant.
Mother Earth cradled her in her arms, and tried to nurture her back to wholeness.
Weeks and months passed and the rain washed away the pain and the grief.
At times the rain ran in rivulets so deep they cleansed even the memories of pain.
And one day the wind blew away the last remnants of darkness, and the emerald light poured its goodness into the clearing again.
Restorative light which warmed the earth and extended its reach down to the the seed of the flower, who felt the life begin to stir in her anew.
After some days had passed she tentatively pushed a young, green shoot above surface.
It quivered in the wind, drunk deeply of the rain, basked in the sun; it loved it all.
It reached up to the emerald light, gaining ground every day.
The flower of life felt the joy in it all. Felt a deep urge to burst forth in flower again.
In her joy, she found courage.
From her stalk emerged a single petal.
A single petal that contained all the hues of the ones before.
The different colors merged together so you couldn’t tell where one ended and the next one began; their existence inextricably bound together.
Each one resplendent in its own beauty, each made more magnificent in its synergy with the whole.
A playful interaction with my friend involving my favorite Facebook Messenger sticker Tuzki recently led to me commenting how I could do with a bit of toning before “shaking my booty” in quite the same way.
My friend, in the way friends do, reminded me that we all have our own mojo and that “joy creates extraordinary sexiness in any body.”
Sending her another favorite Tuzki sticker – Tuzki blowing a kiss – I responded, “That’s so true, isn’t it! I’m actually really thankful my body is a beautiful shape. (Don’t tell too many people I said that!!).”
What I find interesting in all of this is the aside in brackets. As if I have to keep it a secret that, God forbid, I might actually like my body.
I mean really, what’s so wrong with that?
The sad fact is that to say we like our bodies has become somewhat a revolutionary statement, particularly for us women.
We are taught to be at war with our bodies; most of us absorbing this message from the influences around us in childhood. Young and too credulous to question if the information being given us is accurate or not, we unwittingly take on the beliefs of the women around us and society at large. Before we know it, the body that was supposed to be our best friend has become our worst enemy and we censure it relentlessly for being too this, not enough that; trouncing it with our thoughts and slamming it with our self-talk time and time again.
As women it is ingrained in us that if our body doesn’t live up to the perfect ideal then we are somehow intrinsically not enough.
I know because I (subconsciously) believed in this hogswallop for years.
In spite of being a sensitive, intelligent and independent-minded woman; despite the fact that l (and every other woman) am so much more than just my body – I am the consciousness, the intelligence, the love, the compassion, the determination, the vision, the passion, the humor, the gentleness, the fear, the joy, the life that pulse through me and the totality of all the experiences I’ve lived through – I was letting this reductive notion of who I am and whether that was “good enough” determine my worth; measuring myself against media images of perfection and incessantly finding myself lacking.
For years and years I hated the way I looked.
When I was young I thought my nose was too long and that my acne rendered me repulsive and repellent. I can laugh about it now, but I literally remember times when I wished I didn’t have to go out without being able to hide my face under a paper bag.
Not content with making my face the source of all my problems, I soon got to work on my body. I spent the first half of my teenage years on and off the scales, skipping breakfast and lunch as often as I could in my pursuit of the kind of weightlessness that could only be achieved in Space. That may come as a shock to a few because it’s the first time I’ve openly admitted it, but it was by no means an uncommon problem amongst us young women then and neither is it now. Eating disorders are rife in our society and it has more than a little to do with the unattainable images of perfection we are bombarded with day in day out, everywhere we turn.
A brief honeymoon period in my mid-twenties when the acne (finally!) cleared up was followed by the shock of discovering my first gray hairs, and – the after-effect of too many years of walking my dog without a hat or suncream – my new tormentor: sun-ravaged skin. All before I was even thirty.
I became obsessive – covering my forearms with long gloves and my face with a mask or bandana in my endeavors to “protect myself” from the sun; as if the sun was my enemy too, not the life-giving source of energy.
Throughout it all every time my body failed to live up to my ideal of perfection, I made it “wrong.”
I disowned and disclaimed it; cursed the DNA my ancestors gave me.
Longed for it to be something else.
Denied it (and me) the joy and pleasure of it simply being what it was.
It has taken me well into my thirties to even begin the monumental process of turning this around.
Now I am in the process of reclaiming my body. Staking my right to define my own relationship with my body, rather than having it determined by the status quo.
I am here for this lifetime in this body. Why would I want to turn against the very thing that affords me the opportunity to experience life in all its splendor?
At long last I am learning to love myself, body and all.
That despite the wobbly bits; the cellulite; the plethora of stretch marks; the broken veins that traverse my face, that I still – if I let myself – see as marring my skin.
This is pivotal: I now refuse to let myself go there 99% of the time.
Instead I am accepting and honoring my body, inundating it with gratitude for its beauty and perfection and all it allows me to do and be and experience.
Far from it being shameful for me to love my body, it dishonors not only my body but the totality of my being and the Source consciousness that breathes life into everything every time I don’t.
So I am dedicating the rest of this blog post to singing the praises of my body and my physicality, and the myriad ways in which I love this most intimate part of me.
I love the gentle curve of my waist and the swell of my hips. I love my slender but strong wrists and ankles, and my long and capable limbs. I love the gracefulness of my neck and the way my hair cascades around my face. I love both the softness and the hardness of my belly, and the strength and power in my back muscles.
I love the way I can stretch my arms high up in the air and place my feet firmly on the Earth and feel how good it feels to be here now in a physical body.
I love the way this allows the power of Universal energy to course through me, so I know my strength and vigor.
I love the way I can consciously drain all the tension out of my body and give it to Mother Earth, allowing myself to feel the joy and ease of being in that ultra-relaxed place where I inhabit my body without tension.
I love the way I can stretch and expand the limits of my body and it rejoices in the challenge – the way it can climb steep hills and small mountains walking through the burn in my thighs and the fire in my lungs. The way it can open up into greater flexibility through gentle stretching working with the breath, and attune itself to hold balance poses for extended periods of time. I love the way my fingers rise to the challenge of dancing over the holes of my tin whistle faster and more fluently, and my body’s capacity to learn to do new things like snowshoeing, belly dance and making pots on the wheel at will.
I love my body’s tenacity and fidelity.
It is my staunchest supporter – it has seen me through everything. Wherever I’ve been; however much I’ve abused it or allowed others to, it has never spurned me. It has faithfully kept doing its thing, supporting me as I engage in the world.
I love its honesty, the way it tells me when I’ve been pushing myself too hard; neglecting or abandoning myself in some way. I love the way it can never lie, and is an honest reflection of my state of being if only I am attentive enough and aware enough to read its communications in this way.
I love my body’s capacity for restoring itself through sleep and rest; reenergizing itself for the following day. The way it’s always faithfully there when I wake, eager to walk into another day and its adventure with me.
I love the tangibility of my physical presence; the way it can soothe an anguished or frightened child; reassure my aging dog that I am there and she is safe.
I love the way my body is the vessel for me to experience joy and pleasure, delight in the sensory experience of the world.
The warm feeling of the sun on my back, the grass prickling my bare arms. The cool breeze by the river gently caressing my face and tangling with my hair. The feel of soft clothes or warm blankets against my skin. The first drops of rain on my face. The feeling of another’s arms around me, their tongue dancing with mine. The pleasure of touching and being touched.
The joy and fulfillment my tastebuds feel as they revel in the first sip of a Vienna coffee; or their delight in a berry dessert, the bitterness of wild mountain vegetables or the rich creaminess of a gratin or Quattro Formaggio pizza.
The fragrant scent of roses and lavender borne on the wind; the flood of feeling they evoke as I think of my mum’s rose garden out back of our house, and remember my granddad and his garden. The smell of a ripe peach or freshly baked bread beckoning to be eaten. The scent of rain in the air before a summer thunderstorm, and the rich scent of the Earth that has drunk deeply of it after it has passed.
The pleasure of music and the way it speaks to our soul. The joy of waking to bird song, and walking my dog or creating pots to the accompaniment of summer cicadas. The humming of bees as I walk the mountain roads or work in my garden. The orchestra of crickets rubbing their wings in harmony as I gaze up at the star-studded sky, and wonder what I did to deserve to live in a place of such rich abundance.
The marvel and beauty of the world that my eyes are witness to each and every day. The rich and vibrant red of poppies dancing on the river bank; the diamonds of light shimmering and dancing on the river herself. The ageless grace and beauty of the mountains rising up out of the foothills. The gossamer beauty of dragonfly wings as they flit and hover over the paddy fields. Nature unfolding herself before me in exquisite and unceasing beauty, each season holding a magic of its own.
I love the way my eyes are a gateway to my soul and when people look into them they can see the pure essence of me reflecting back their own pure essence, the opening to real and authentic connection.
I love my body’s capability and its capacity for self-expression. The wonder of creative expression through dance, and the marvel of my hands creating exquisite pots in harmony with the revolutions of the wheel. The joy of voicing and creating who I am through my words, and expressing my pleasure through song.
I love the amazing functionality of my body. The way my heart beats and my lungs draw in life-giving oxygen without me having to do a thing. The way my stomach digests my food, and waste matter is disposed of; and nutrients, minerals and vitamins are sent exactly where they are needed. I love the way my brain creates new neurons and neural pathways, and my body’s amazing capacity to heal.
I love and honor my physical body for helping me to heal on another level; for having been the repository for my pain all these years, storing my emotional pain in its depths.
I am grateful to it for this service; it deserves to be honored. And I am amazed by its capacity to release this pain and the memories of it from my cells as I work on myself and clear more and more from my energy field.
I love my body’s capacity to change – to renew itself and create itself anew, all the time coming into perfect alignment with my vision of who I am and reflecting this back to me.
I love the fact that in my body flows the blood of my ancestors; that I am connected to them and the love that has brought me forth through our shared DNA; that the gifts I have are the ones they have given to me.
I love the sacredness of my womb and the miracle of its nurturing and life-giving force; its potential to bring things full circle again.
I love the fact that the cells in my body are powerhouses of energy, that they store all the information that is needed for me to be the greatest and highest version of myself; that they are relentless in their pursuit of this highest ideal.
I love and honor my physical body in its totality for its sacred gift of life and its intimate connection to all that is and the life-giving Earth.
I love the miracle of life that I am.
I love the miracle of life that is in me and is me; that is embodied in me.
And when I walk the Earth loving my body, each step is a sacred one bringing me home to the joy and divinity that I am.
I’ve been thinking about what it means to be in “vibrational alignment.“
It’s often spoken about in terms of being an energetic match for your desires, but at it’s simplest I think it comes down to feeling good.
As Wayne Dyer said,
“The Law of Attraction is this:
You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are.”
What we give out (vibrationally) is what comes back to us.
If we want to create a joyful and fulfilling life, rather than focusing on the details, we need to make sure that the vibration we are putting out into the Universe – simply expressed the emotions in our energetic field – is predominantly one of fulfilment and joy.
Well, at times, it’s easier said than done.
In any one day, in any one life, there’s a beautiful medley of things the mind labels “good” coexisting side-by-side with things the mind labels “bad.”
That’s true for everyone; no matter how enchanted and trouble-free their life may seem on the surface.
One of the only things that is guaranteed in life is that we’re all going to face challenges.
So with challenges the great equaliser of the human experience, it becomes a question of how we respond.
When we allow our circumstances to dictate our reactions we become an out of control yo-yo on an emotional roller coaster; subject to every which way the wind blows, governed by the whims of life.
We might feel joy and fulfilment one moment; be mired in despair and despondency the next.
This way of being doesn’t necessarily present a particular problem when the going is essentially good.
But it certainly doesn’t make the grade when we find ourselves face to face with real and deep-rooted challenges that don’t just “go away” however much we wish they would.
While it’s true that part of our purpose in incarnating here on Earth is to experience the full spectrum of human emotions, none of us likes feeling “bad.”
Over and above this, feeling bad takes us out of vibrational alignment with the truth of who we are and what we came here to discover and experience – the joy and peace that live at the centre of our being.
And – as like attracts like – the more we focus on the negative, the more of it we see in our lives.
So, how do we get ourselves out of this loop?
I first want to be very clear that I’m in no way talking about shunning or denying our negative thoughts, experiences and feelings.
Real healing and a sense of reconnection with our wholeness can only take place when we find the courage to explore all of ourself – the shadow as well as the light.
It is in the excavation of the darkest recesses of our being that we start to become more of ourself; to embody, authentically, all that we are.
But it’s not healthy for us to linger in the the shadows too long.
They key is to examine with fearless honesty our negative thoughts, experiences and feelings; to bring healing to them, and then let them go.
Fill the space that is left in their absence with love, light and joy; things that are in vibrational agreement with the truth of who we are; the joy and beauty that are our essence.
And it is only when we become the the conscious creator of our experience instead of letting our experiences control and have mastery over us, that we are able to lift our vibration into this kind of alignment.
So, how do we consciously create our experience?
It’ s a matter of mindfulness, and what we choose to put our focus on.
The more we focus on the good, the more of it we see in our lives.
As John Lubbock said,
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”
Or, as many before me have said, what we focus on expands.
Diving into this a little deeper, the way I see it focus hinges on three things:
Being in vibrational alignment means that each of these must reflect the reality we want to see in our life:
we need to be thinking, saying and doing the things that make us feel good.
It’s as simple as that…
and as difficult.
It requires great mindfulness and commitment.
It requires knowing who we are, what our soul longs to experience, and honoring that.
Although there are some similarities in what we long to experience the specifics will be different for each one of us for we all have our own unique soul blueprint; a “joy code” written only for us.
Being in vibrational alignment means bringing awareness to the thoughts, words and actions we’re choosing to activate in our life – focusing on the positive and uplifting, the ways we’re abundantly blessed, the things we want to bring more of into our life; releasing and letting go over and over again on deeper and deeper levels anything else.
In the domain of thoughts,
it means giving up our victimhood. Ceasing to feel sorry for ourself; withholding our tendency to wallow in the past reliving regrets about things we did and didn’t do and holding onto resentments about misdeeds committed against us.
It means invoking the gift of forgiveness.
Forgiving both ourself and others – not to condone what they (or we) did or make it okay, but for our own peace of mind and growth.
It’s an active commitment to transcend our past, give ourself permission to move on.
It means giving up our addiction to anxiety, worry and fear for the future. Releasing the habit of tying ourself up in knots over things we have no control over.
Learning to trust in something greater than ourself; accepting that everything is working out for our greatest and highest good, knowing we are always supported.
Learning to trust ourself. We’ve navigated our way this far through life; we have every reason to believe we can make it through whatever comes our way.
It means that when difficult circumstances arise we lovingly support ourself through them, being patient with ourself and giving ourself the time we need.
When situations that trigger one of our patterns enter our life, we interact with them mindfully. We look for the gift of love, compassion or self-knowledge they hold. We ask what they are here to teach us, instead of looking for someone or something to blame.
It means giving up our negative self-talk – our habit of comparing ourselves to others or some unattainable standard of perfection and finding ourself lacking. Of putting ourself down and making ourself wrong.
Relinquishing the inner bully and choosing instead to speak to ourself with words of love, understanding, acceptance and compassion.
It means learning to embrace our mistakes and celebrate the courageous self who makes them.
Realizing our mistakes are testimony to the fact that we’re putting ourselves out there, trying new things, expanding and growing, exploring the potential we’ve been given.
It means learning to live with our fear without letting it control us or hold us back from reaching out for connection or doing what we love.
It means that every time we notice a self-defeating thought coming up in our heads we refuse to believe it. We turn it around and tell ourself the reverse; replace it with something that nourishes us and enriches our experience instead.
It means that in any and all situations we focus on what we are (I am a uniquely beautiful being), what we have (I have a heart that sees beauty all around), what we can do (I can connect with others with ease and grace), what we can give (I uplift others with words of support and encouragement); instead of all the places in which we are in lack.
It means training our minds to look for the positive and joyful, the ways we’re being constantly blessed and supported. Training our attention to linger on the good, not the bad:
The things we’re grateful for.
The beauty in our lives and all around us.
The things we enjoy.
The things we succeed at – in the sense of improving on our one-time self.
The loving things others do for us.
The loving things we do for others.
We can actively train our mind to notice and appreciate these things if we get into the habit of listing them up at the end of the day – 5 things we’re grateful for; 5 moments of beauty; 5 things we enjoyed; 5 things we did well; 5 loving things others did for us; 5 loving things we did for others.
It means learning to reside in the Now.
Being able to pull your mind up short when it starts to spiral into the unresolved past or its fear of the unknown future. Noticing the serenity and peace of being fully present in the Now moment, breathing in that.
It means reclaiming your right to marvel; to delight and thrill in the world we live in with a child’s sense of joy and wonder.
Looking at the world with fresh eyes and a heart that is open to see the everyday miracles; the abundance that is all around.
In the domain of words,
it means actively refraining from using our words in ways that detract from ourself and others -gossip, complaining, criticism, judgements; anything that tears down, instead of building up.
It means having the intention of upholding and serving the greatest and highest good of both ourself and the other person/people present when we speak.
It means infusing our words with love and compassion; giving voice to that which uplifts and empowers; being gracious in our gift of words to others.
Not forgetting that sometimes fierce honesty with ourself and/or others is the most compassionate and empowering gift we can give, whether it’s seen that way or not.
It means not just going along with what’s being said when it’s negatively charged or brings your energy down.
When it’s not appropriate to voice disagreement out loud, simply say to yourself: “Cancel. That’s not for me. That’s not the reality I’m choosing to have in my life.”
It means learning the art of respectfully changing the subject; politely excusing yourself when conversations are stuck in a low vibrational frequency and don’t serve the highest good of anyone involved.
It means noticing the people with who this seems to happen with time and time again, and paring down the time you spend with them.
It means doing away with the need to talk just to fill the silence, consciously choosing our words instead.
Engaging in authentic conversations which feel good because they honor the truth of who we are, opening us up to real connection with others.
It means undertaking not to speak falsehoods, for how can we feel good when we compromise our integrity?
It means becoming aware of the kind of things we talk about that bring our vibration down – our problems, heartaches, illnesses, worries, lack and fears.
Learning to sidestep the need to explain these things to others, for the more energy we give what is “wrong” in our lives, the more it persists; the less energy we have to focus on what is “right” in our lives and makes us feel good.
When we cannot resist the urge to talk about our problems, it serves us best to stay conscious and do it in an empowering way.
Not “my problem” – for that leads us to take ownership; instead, “the (life) lesson that’s playing out in my life now.”
Not, “I hate my boss and my job sucks.” But something more along the lines of, “I’m learning a lot about what I don’t want in a job, which can only help me to make better choices in the future.”
When the people we’re with talk about their problems a lot we can help to empower them by refusing to be consumed by the story and the drama.
Instead, speak to their Higher Self, encouraging them to take responsibility for their experience.
Shift the focus from the appropriation of blame to how the experience makes them feel, what is it that they’re doing that allows or perpetuates that, how they could do something differently in the future to create a different and better quality of experience. All the time holding a space of love and acceptance so they can express themself and their feelings authentically without feeling judged.
It means asking them (in advance) to do the same for us when we get bogged down in “our” problems. And when they comply with our request, having the courage and integrity to open our hearts and engage with the experience from a genuine desire to know what it’s there to teach us.
It means not reliving things from the past that caused us stress or unhappiness in the stories we tell unless it serves the greatest and highest good of us or someone else in the Now moment which we share.
Prying ourselves away from the love of drama, sympathy and our need to justify ourself that are so often inherent in this; choosing instead to recollect things that make us feel loved; worthy; happy; joyful; filled with love and enthusiasm for who we are and our journey.
It means being conscious enough not to create connection with others on the basis of shared victimhood and negativity; building connections instead that celebrate mutual growth, the journey into ever greater self-empowerment, the expansion into more and more of our innate potential, the joy and wonder of being alive.
It means not being afraid to own our talents or the vision of greatness that we’d like to grow into.
Not falling victim to self-doubt or false humility, saying things that undervalue ourselves; taking us out of alignment with our vision.
Instead, speaking the language of conviction and unwavering belief in ourself and others that supports us in fulfilling our dreams and embodying our vision of our highest self.
It means refraining from our need to prove ourself right. Eschewing our efforts to convince others of our point of view – with all the ensuing arguments and conflict that arise when we try to force someone to conform to and live our version of the truth instead of accepting theirs.
Instead, interacting in ways which show we honor the other for who they are, the light at the center of their being, whether we’re in accord with them on everything or not.
Exhibiting our respect for them as a sovereign being endowed with the right to make their own choices, plot the course of their life.
Coming from a space of sharing, not one of conversational warfare.
A space in which the focus is on having hearts and minds that are wide open. Willing to accept each other in all our glorious diversity; to be open to what we can learn from the experience instead of trying to bring the other round to our point of view.
It means making a conscious decision to be aware of what we choose to talk about and the way we choose to talk about it.
Expressing ourselves and building communicative acts with others in ways that make us feel good.
Ways that foster authenticity, genuine connection; forge mutual trust and appreciation.
Ways of interacting that permit us to drop all our masks and be vulnerable and real.
Ways of interacting that celebrate us (and the other) for who we are; granting us the freedom to be ourself.
Consciously choosing speech acts that empower us. Affirming our inner strength and capability; the power of choice that is ours.
Speech acts that affirm our sovereignty; the freedom this gives us to live our life in whatever way we choose without having to answer to or justify our choices to anyone else.
Speech acts that augment our confidence; expressing belief and trust in ourself and our abilities, highlight our unlimited capacity to learn and grow.
Choosing our words carefully to make sure they’re in vibrational alignment. Not, “I can’t” or “I don’t know how;” but “I know I can and I will learn how.”
Speech acts that make us “right” not “wrong.” Using words that acknowledge how far we have come; speak the language of self-love and self-acceptance. Words that affirm the magnificent wonder of who we are; attest to our strength and capacity to expand into the full expression of our potential.
Speech acts that joyfully celebrate the Life that we are and the life that we are choosing to create for ourself. Rejoicing in the things that are beautiful and aligned and going well in our lives; the ones that bring us fulfilment and happiness.
Talking about our joys; our inspirations; our passions; the people we love and admire; our creative ideas and projects; fun/uplifting/transformative experiences we’ve had; areas of growth and expansion we’re experiencing and the insights and wisdom they’ve revealed.
Speech acts through which the love that is our essence flows into the world around us, touching the lives of everyone we meet: expressing our appreciation for others; honoring their truth with words of love and kindness; uplifting, inspiring and empowering them with speech acts which celebrate who they are and affirm the invaluable contribution they’re making in the world.
Speech acts which remind them of the truth of who they are; (re)connect them with their power; (re)align them with the centered self that lies within; (re)unite them with the expansiveness of their being.
When we consciously give our words as gifts to others, we elevate not only their vibration but also our own. Love and light pour into both our lives, and the high vibrational energy is magnified.
It also serves us well to remember that each word has a particular vibrational value, in much the same way as different musical notes belong to different octaves.
Some of the highest vibrational things we can say are, “Thank you” and “I love you.”
We can also consciously incorporate high vibrational words like “gratitude;” “beauty;” “abundance;” “pleasure;” “joy;” “delight;” “freedom;” “choice;” “peace;” “serenity;” “generosity;” “creativity;” “kindness;” “compassion;” “wisdom;” “strength;” “integrity;” “value;” “aligned;” “whole;” “complete;” “one with all that is…” and so on – any word that evokes a response of joy and lightness within.
Commit to making high vibrational words your signature in your speech acts to both yourself and others, and watch your joy expand.
In the domain of action,
it means saying “No” to living for others, and “Yes” to living for yourself.
Getting honest with yourself and others about what you like to do and what you don’t.
Doing less of the things you don’t like, and more of the things you love.
If necessary, taking the time out to rediscover what that is for you.
It means bringing to light all the things you do out of a sense of obligation or a desire to “people please,” putting other people’s happiness before your own. Choosing instead to make your own joy and well-being your highest priority.
Toning down the “shoulds” and “have tos;” asking yourself instead: “What is that I want to do right now?” “What would make me feel good?”
It means training yourself to listen to the whisperings of your soul, and having the commitment-to-self and courage to follow through no matter what.
Having the integrity to be true to yourself. Not getting caught up in what everybody else wants you to be or do.
Understanding that being true to yourself is the best way you can add value and make a contribution in the world.
Understanding that some people will like it and some people won’t. Understanding that that’s okay.
It means bowing out of society’s illusion that in order to feel good you need to be and have more.
Locating your worth in your sense of your innate self; instead of in your titles, achievements or possessions.
Enriching your life with people and experiences; rather than getting caught up in the accumulation of more and more things.
It means practicing self-love and self-acceptance so thoroughly that you know – absolutely – that you are already and always enough, with or without a list of achievements.
It means immersing yourself in the spiritual practices that remind you of this time and time again; for this is a lifetime journey and there are no quick fixes or easy shortcuts.
It means giving up our obsession with perpetual busyness; whether that be at work, at home, or our personal life.
We have to be fully present with our experiences to enjoy them on their deepest level and excavate the riches they hold. That is so much more difficult to do when our life is always moving ahead at lightning speed, and we’re constantly sprinting from one deadline/task/engagement to the next.
It means consciously integrating pauses into our life.
Pockets of time-space in which our only goal is to take the all-important time we need for ourself.
Pockets of time-space in which we can unwind and relax; give ourselves over to rest, pleasure and fun, sustenance for the soul, with wild abandon.
Dangling our bare feet over the edge of life, as we breathe in the sweet fragrance and feel the caress of the gentle breeze…
It means accepting our own dispensability.
So often the reason we’re afraid to slow down or to incorporate the changes that living true to ourself would necessitate is a false assumption that the world – or our little piece of it – will stop turning if we’re not there to balance it like a spinning disc on our finger, ensuring everything is in its “proper” place and functioning smoothly.
Do you really have so little trust in the people around you that you think everything will collapse into chaos if you step away for a while, take some time for yourself?
It means refusing to be a slave to perfectionism, and letting go of our fixation with “destination” which turns all our endeavours into a race towards end product and results. Allowing ourself to put our focus on creative exploration, expansion, self-expression and enjoyment of the process instead.
it means dispensing with our habit of delaying our happiness until some elusive condition is filled. Waiting for such and such to happen before we allow ourself to begin living the way we want to or permit ourself to feel happy and fulfilled.
Life is lived Now.
If you want to experience more joy and happiness, start now.
Now is the only moment that is ever available to us.
And now is the pocket of space-time in which we choose the thought or word or action which leads us to experience a greater lightness of being, a deeper peace in our heart, an increased sense of joy and fulfilment.
One choice at a time. One day at a time.
Step by step by step.
It means taking the responsibility for our happiness off other people’s shoulders; putting it firmly on our own.
Seeing our happiness (or lack of it) as a sum of our own choices; not defined by someone or something else.
It means accepting our responsibility for the way we live our life and the experiences we create within that.
It means looking at the things you habitually do that make you feel bad – take my chronic lateness for a start. Proactively deciding to find a way to change it, or deciding, for now, to let your attachment to it go.
It means upholding our commitments; doing the things we say we will – including our commitments and promises to ourself.
How much easier is it to feel good about ourselves when we’re living in integrity, embodying our Higher Self?
All of the high vibrational words listed above are qualities of the Higher Self. Why not explore how you can activate them in your life, asking:
“What would it look like to be “compassion” now?”
“How can I embody “generosity?””
It means giving of yourself generously and doing things that add value to the lives of others.
At our core we are a deep wellspring of love. When we pour this love in to the world through acts of service that are aligned with our soul, we are filled with a sense of well-being – the joy that comes upon knowing we’re making a valuable contribution in the world.
It means using your emotions as a lodestar to guide you.
Does it evoke peace, serenity, joy, lightness of being, excitement, passion? Does it inspire, uphold, nourish, sustain, support, uplift?
If your answer is “Yes” to any of the above, find a way to do it more often.
Let the rest go, as far as you can.
Uncover your unique joy signature and pen your life with that.
Saying no to conformity, and yes to being yourself.
Give up trying to please everybody else.
See what happens when you turn your focus around and put it on doing things that nourish your soul, and make you feel good.
See how much more love and light you can bring into the world from this space of joy and personal power.
Some final thoughts on alignment: thoughts, words or actions it’s all about choosing the ones that make you feel good.
When we feel good, it’s a sign that we’re living in harmony with our soul.
Feeling good = alignment with the highest part of ourself.
Alignment with our truth.
Alignment with Source.
Alignment with our soul blueprint and all that we came here for.
Honor your feelings; let them be your guide.
“Do I feel good?”
“Yes” – Great, I’m in alignment.
“No” – Okay, how can I change my thoughts/words/actions? What would make me feel more joy and/or peace in this moment, bringing me back into harmony with my soul?
Can it really be that simple? you may ask.
Well, yes, it can.
Simple, but by no means always easy.
Which is why I’m halfway up the mountain, albeit with my gaze on the rarefied air at the top.
The first of January this year saw me having lunch with my two pottery teachers and a friend of theirs after a call the night before asking me if I had any plans for New Year’s Day.
After lunch one of them produced a set of Angel Cards – in English no less – that they’d been given years ago. “I’ve never used them. You have them,” he said, offering them to the friend. It turned out that she already had a set of her own that were exactly the same, so by default they were now mine.
I have to be honest, I didn’t think I’d have much use for them either. Pulling cards isn’t something that I’ve done before or something that I feel drawn towards. But it was the first day of a new year after all. “Let’s pull a card each for 2016,” said the friend. And so we did.
Mine felt like a bit of a let down. While one of my teachers got “play;” his brother “creativity” and the friend “inspiration,” the card I drew was “communication.” It felt boring and mundane compared to the others’, and on arriving home I put the cards on my chest of drawers where they’ve been sitting ever since.
It’s only recently that I’ve begun to see how apt the card I pulled was; what a big part of the picture communication (and miscommunications) are turning out to be for me this year.
2013 and 2014 were, for me, years dedicated to intense inner work. I traveled through the pain of solitude to discover on the other side the beautiful gift of that same solitude: the chance to reconnect with myself.
One of my friends on visiting me described my existence as “hermit-like,” and in a way she was right. I continued teaching so it’s not as if I was a total recluse or completely isolated. But it is true that I didn’t invite many people into my world, and the ones I did were all “safe choices” – people who saw me and accepted me exactly as I was, burden of pain and all.
That was exactly what I needed at that time, but they do say our greatest gifts of growth and self-knowing come from our interactions with others – difficult to experience when your lifestyle tends towards the reclusive.
Since early 2015 I’ve been opening up to more encounters with the world again; making new connections; expanding my circles of acquaintances and friends. Although the majority of these have been good encounters, since reentering the world communication has moved to centre stage.
During those years of self-examination, healing and soul-searching I gradually opened up to a greater acceptance of life as it is – including theimpermanence and uncertainties that it can be all too easy to forget are written into the small print.
It’s when we fight against life by refusing to accept it as it is, demanding that it should be different somehow, that we find ourself entrapped in suffering.
This is the place I found myself in in 2013. Little by little, as I released my attachment to the idea that things needed to work out in the way I thought they should in order for me to be safe, my suffering diminished. In its wake came peace. The peace of acceptance.
Relinquishing, bit by bit, my desire to control outcomes, I learned instead to trust that the experiences life presents me with are always in my greatest and highest good – exactly what I need to open up my potential for growth and allow me to expand into more of my truth and innate potential.
Slowly, slowly I leaned to trust that we live in a benevolent Universe; to see how much I am always supported. Learning to see with the eyes of Spirit instead of the eyes of my Ego in this way did wonders for my fear of the unknown and my unease and anxiety when brought face to face with the fickle and uncertain, unpredictable nature of life.
It’s not that my fear of the unknown or unease in the face of uncertainties disappeared; but each time I felt myself falling off the cliff face of fear I would bring myself back to the perspective of Spirit, remind myself that events in my life were unfolding in the direction of my greatest and highest good and that the Universe had my back.
I was managing this pretty well while I was living my semi-reclusive existence. Of course I still sometimes dropped into fear and the illusion of separation, but the insulating cocoon I had created around myself meant that most of the time the only major player in the picture was me. Of all the things in this world I am the one I have the greatest degree of control over, so (with the support of the various people and processes that have been and continue to be gifts of grace in my life) I could usually manage to bring myself back from the brink of fear and centre myself in the perspective of Spirit again.
Now that I’m inviting other people into the picture, however, I’m reminded that in our communicative act with others there is always a degree of uncertainty, an element of the unknown.
Our degree of control over ourselves may be tenuous at times; but it is ever-present if we choose to embrace and engage it.
Not so with the other people in our life.
Leaving behind the safety of my cocoon where, for the most part, I only had to deal with myself; the backdrop on which my patterns are choosing to play out has extended its parameters as relationships have moved to centre stage in my life.
The stage is the same – my feelings of fear and unworthiness and being unsafe exist only in my mind and have nothing to do with anyone else; but it’s as if the Universe is using the relationships in my life to reflect these patterns back at me 100X magnified. As a result, I’m finding my Ego mind is back in control more often – playing on my insecurities, telling me I’m not safe.
In the space between two people and the act of communication that takes place between them there is an inevitable haziness – a lack of clarity wherein lies the potential for misunderstandings- because the other is not a known entity to us as we are unto ourself.
It is this that my Ego is using to such advantage.
In one particular relationship my Ego has been having a heyday – aided and abetted by the fact that the other person and I are still relatively new acquaintances in a formal setting with pressure to perform well on both sides, the parameters of the relationship not yet clearly defined.
Things that could be talked through, laughed off or put down to a quirk of the personality if the relationship had had longer to develop have been blowing themselves up from molehills into mountains; the ground-shaking reverberations that result causing me to lose my footing on more than one occasion.
For someone who is usually pretty well-balanced, generally speaking well-liked and trusted by the people I know, I’ve been doing a spectacular job of off-kilter clumsy communications; flailing around like the proverbial elephant in a china shop: worse, a bull elephant teetering on one leg in a circus tutu in a china shop, wielding a baton in its hands.
It’s like all my relationship patterns have come to the forefront in a head-on collision with the other person involved. I have to keep reminding myself that by the universal laws of interaction we’re acting as mirrors for each other, and it’s not just me smashing into him in such a brutal way.
Thank goodness that through it all, at some point I become present enough with myself to realise that the whole reason these deep-rooted patterns are coming up is to be given a chance to heal.
It’s then that I manage to embody my higher self; to look at what is coming up for me and trace it back to its root; unleashing the power of healing in full force in my life.
Tracing it back I see that, for my part at least, each and every time communication and/or interaction problems have arisen two particular circumstances have been in place. First, the communication has been taking place via e-mail so there’s the additional pressure of the fear of the unknown that comes with not being able to read the other person’s reactions face to face or get an immediate response from them. Second, I’ve given my Ego the reins: forsaken the relaxed, open, expansive, all-embracing energy of my heart space that trusts that as my intention is to be aligned with source consciousness then everything that unfolds in my life is in divine flow, for the masculine energy of striving and wanting to control situations and outcomes that my Ego so thrives on.
When I move into Ego in this way it throws up a veil between me and the perspective of Spirit so that I can no longer see things clearly. I lose my connection with the energy of trust and start to overthink things and worry, plunging into the energy of anxiety, creating problems where none existed, perceiving only lack. I start to grasp and grab to get what it is I think I need to make me safe and, from this blinkered perspective, I start to panic as if – going back to that bull elephant in the china shop – it knocked off a shelf-full of plates with its baton and accidentally startled itself.
Before I know it I’ve gone into full fight or flight mode and my adrenaline and cortisol are running high. It’s from this space of ungroundedness that I make arbitrary and unbalanced decisions, engaging in acts of communication that are fuelled by the energy of my Ego’s perception of lack and fear – no longer present enough to think and act from my calm and creative space.
Communicative acts taken from this space inevitably alienate the other person and dial up the stress in the relationship. It has to be said, though, that the stress created in the relationship is nowhere near as high or as intense as the stress I manage to inflict on myself during the whole process… Each time it feels like I’ve been run over by a steamroller and then some, taking me several days to recover.
The drama continues as my Ego refuses to let me forgive myself for ruffling things up and tries to overcompensate with a kind of masochistic impulse to apologise profusely. Too profusely. Unless I’m incredibly mindful, I end up taking all the blame for the situation on myself and, more often than not, apologising for being who I am as well as for the disruptive communicative act.
Tracing it back I see that this, too, arises from an Ego impulse to control outcomes. It’s a pattern of interaction leftover from imbalanced power relationships in which my Ego (mistakenly) took on the notion that if I apologise and debase myself enough I’ll somehow be able to appease the other person and prevent them from rejecting me entirely, thus abandoning the relationship.
Once again it all comes back to my Ego’s desire to keep me “safe.”
Making myself a scapegoat doesn’t actually serve myself or the other person though, and it certainly doesn’t keep me safe.
If anything it’s an act of self-harm, elevating the other person at the expense of myself. When this particular pattern is playing out I subjugate myself and my standing within the relationship so much that I devalue myself. Ultimately I erase myself and my right to equality within the relationship out of the picture.
A classic case of low self-worth if ever there was one.
What’s more, if every relationship is a chance for us to act as mirrors for one another, allowing us to gain more consciousness around the roles we play and the subconscious patterns of behaviour they are rooted in so that these things can come up to the surface for healing; then when I make myself the scapegoat and take all the blame on myself I seriously diminish the likelihood of the other person interacting with the experience in a way that allows them the opportunity to integrate the soul lessons it holds for them. This dishonours the other person as much as myself, and from a universal perspective could even be interpreted as impeding their growth.
No winners there then.
I know I’m emerging victorious from this encounter – and I don’t mean in relation to the other person involved. The whole experience has led me to look deeply into my Ego’s patterns of reactive interaction and gain more consciousness and clarity around them; opening myself up to the possibility of more mindful interactions in the future. In my willingness to face the encounters, the uncomfortable feelings provoked, to integrate the soul lessons as best as I can I am already victorious.
It’s only fair to accord the other person the opportunity to interact with the experience in a similarly empowering way, to garner the soul lessons it has for them.
So the question I’ve been asking is, “How can I engage in communicative acts in ways that ensure that everyone is a winner; communicative acts that honour both me and the other person and bring about the outcome that is in the greatest and highest good of all?”
I know it has to do with being in my heart. Interacting mindfully from this space of peace, openness and acceptance.
Trusting both myself and the other person.
Trusting in Divine flow.
Belatedly realising the significance of the angel card I pulled, after these encounters I made a list of ways to interact with others more mindfully: not being caught up in my own agenda; expressing my appreciation of others; finding ways to make the person I’m interacting with feel seen, heard and valued; seeing them with fresh eyes instead of through my judgements; taking care to ensure that what I want to say is clear and my language is uplifting and supportive…
I propped my list up on my kitchen table where – in theory – I would see it every day, and set my intention to be more mindful in my interactions.
The problem is that the times when I most need to be mindful in interactions with others are also the times when I’m least able to be present with myself in this way, or highly conscious about the way I’m communicating.
My interaction and communication problems tend to arise when a flicker of fear catches on then escalates like wildfire, plummeting me into my reactive Ego. The best that this reactive Ego self can do is to get its head above water and tread water furiously – gasping for air and latching onto whatever it thinks will make it safe.
Acting consciously is not high on its list of priorities.
I’ve found it more helpful to go directly to the root of the problem: the imbalance of energy in my root chakara that this pattern – thinking that I need something from the other in order to be okay instead of standing in my own power – indicates.
Spending time focusing on my root chakara and giving myself the gift of the three words “I am safe” has made all the difference.
Of course I’d still like to move into more mindful ways of interacting with others, but rather than getting caught up in efforts to self-improve – which inherently imply that I’m in some way lacking and incomplete, thereby reinforcing the grip of my Ego – I’ve been taking the short cut of simply loving and accepting myself where I am. Accepting my scared and fearful Ego-self that doesn’t feel safe and giving it what it needs: the reassurance that I’m here for it; the affirmation that it is, in fact, entirely safe.
Giving myself, at last, what my Ego has been trying to cling to, to grasp and get from others has gone a long way towards turning my communications around.
When I feel safe – when I give myself this gift; instead of trying to attain that feeling of safety through my interactions with another – I can literally breathe easier. A wave of relief washes over my body and through all my cells and I’m no longer in the energy of striving or grasping.
I spontaneously drop back into my heart space, recenter there.
Floating on the back of the wave of relief and following suit is the gift of presence.
I’m more present with myself. More present with the other person involved.
More present with the ways we engage and the space between us where our interaction takes place.
From this relaxed and open space my communication naturally flows in a way that is in greater alignment with Spirit and the greatest and highest good of all.
This is the gift of communication I want to give to myself and the people around me.
This is the gift of communication I want to give to the world.