One More Time, with Empathy

Because of my decision about writing this unedited, I’m not even going to read what I wrote yesterday. It left me with a feeling, or a series of feelings, that require me to jump in with empathy, which I am feeling wasn’t particularly present towards myself, towards society or towards the process.

Between my family, society, timing and natural proclivities, I quickly and fully became immersed in the idea that my way to receive reliable love was to do something, to do it well, to do it with distinction (whether speed, creativity, or whatever else) and to “check all the boxes” that my parent/teacher/boss/friends/etc might require of me. I strove to achieve that doing so that I could feel valuable and deserve love. I’m not alone in this. It’s pretty common. The details of the stories vary, but literally hundreds of millions of us bought the line that the way we’re valued by the world is measured by what we do, our impact and the world’s response. Consequently, we’re in a race to be worthy, trying to meet the markers and always watching those markers move. That’s because they’re just outer reflections of the single marker within us, the thing we’re really supposed to pay attention to and the thing we already have, we’ve nothing to achieve.

Now, it’s not particularly easy to transition to “Inherent Worth” in a society not only based on “doing” but on “fast” and “flair” and “fancy.” For me, it has taken more than a decade and I’ve still only got a fragile hold.

It’s also pretty common to blame the old person and the old mindset for being wrong. Not a whole lot of compassion in that view. We’re growing, changing, evolving beings. In order to evolve and grow, we have to change states. it’s the natural process. And I’m pretty sure there’s not a tree in the forest that thinks the sapling was an embarrassment.

So this process of slowing down, this process of valuing life itself as it arises, this process of recognizing patterns that don’t serve and releasing them – it’s a process that is best served with a double helping of empathy, of self-compassion, of gentle kindness: that’s the productive method, that’s the natural method, that’s the method I want to realize, embody and express. But sometimes I fall behind. Sometimes for decades, sometimes for blog posts. Six of one…

I am infinitely glad that my life has forced me in a few directions I never would have gone by my own mental propulsion. In the experience of these changes, I recognize underlying mindsets I blindly followed in my old pursuits. Kindof like Josie notices now that wearing cat ears everywhere is kinda weird, whereas at 7 it seemed pretty darn cool. To judge the 7 year old doesn’t make much sense. What a sad and backwards habit. And in recognizing that, maybe we laugh and quit judging and move on.

This flawed human? This person who thought multitasking would earn me love? This is the same person who resented being alive – who felt it would be better to be on some other plane without the general mullarky of life on earth. who felt that the body was just something to cart my thinking mind around. That my thinking mind was what was going to lead me out of the wheel of karma, of samsara, of the miseries of human life.  My faulty assumptions and cultural understandings were mindnumbingly misguided. It makes me so sad. But mostly, it makes me want to develop a culture that steers young souls clear of such misunderstandings. That offers young souls a view of life wherein they are whole and the universe is friendly and we are all One, with each other, with the earth, with the many opinions in our own mind.

Unity. That’s where it’s at. And it’s a travesty that we teach anything else. The sheer volume of kids who feel lost, unloved, that there’s no path forward. If I could do anything, if, of all the many ills facing our society, I could impact one thing, that’s the thing I would hope to influence. That the truth of the love of Life Itself is pulsing through each of us all the time, and that we have the opportunity to express our own unique take on it, and lots of other good things I don’t even understand yet.

way past time. but this is going to get more attention.

 

No More Multi-tasking

I started multi-tasking well before there was a term for it, and I took enormous pride in my ability to engage in multiple projects efficiently. I looked down my nose at people who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) run several channels simultaneously and complete them successfully. I am so sad to admit it, because it just shows me what an arrogant jerk I can be. But there is no mistaking my old approach and the smug joy I took in it.

Which is probably why it got taken away 😉

I don’t multitask anymore. For lots of reasons, most involving forms of decreased capacity.  I am super slow, right, so I can’t run 10 errands in 10 minutes anymore. I’ve also got diminished mental capacity. Not sure if it’s age or brain fog or what, but it takes me a minute to access information. Given that my quick mental processor was a huge part of my sense of identity growing up and through my first adulthood, this was hard to get accustomed to. What I valued was gone; I no longer contained what I valued about myself, prided myself on. There may have been a crisis. But for the most part, once again, I find myself appreciating the turn my life has taken that has slowed me down, even if I had to change my values to get it.

Looking at it now, and in honesty, I wasn’t multitasking for the innate enjoyment or service of accomplishing the tasks in which I was engaged. I was multitasking to show off what a badass I was. The accomplishment held little joy in and of itself. The speed, the efficiency, the ability to look down my nose at whomever I just came in and rescued. Oh, Lord, it is hard to look at, and I guarantee you I didn’t see it that way at the time. And maybe I’m being a little hard on myself. But, the truth of the matter is that I had a lot of pride and hubris and I wouldn’t have been able to dig myself out of it without the utter breakdown of the systems that upheld it. My blinders were on, and ultimate success was the only goal. No matter how spiritual I was – and I have always had a primary interest in spiritual principles, literature, traditions and potential – my own spiritual objective had to do with the accomplishment, not the peace it brings. Eric Klein at Wisdom Heart talks about waiting for the “spiritual limousine” -you know, walking the spiritual red carpet, waving at people, stepping into or out of that spiritual stretch that acknowledges accomplishment/achievement. Yikes. And I couldn’t have seen it on that path I was on. It took a profound lifestyle upset to right my misguided values.

I am sad to frame this stuff this way. I don’t like what it says about me, and one of the things I often notice about people who talk about how flawed their “old way” was are typically still living all sorts of flaws, and have a tough time going back and acknowledging the people who had to endure said “old way.” The truth of the matter is I was a normal person who wanted to succeed and who valued the markers of achievement from personal satisfaction to societal approval. Having to deal with physical breakdown and societal meaninglessness, everything has changed. In my enthusiasm for the path that has resulted, I maybe look at my old patterns with not just remorse but frustration, pity, embarrassment and, from what it sounds like, resentment and some disdain. Those emotions and perspectives aren’t particularly helpful, but sometimes they’re there. That’s what I’ve been experiencing here. What started as thoughts about slowing down, changing from multitasking to slow, focused attention turned into an embarrassing rant about myself. And this is unedited.  Which is sometimes a drag. And I could just delete it, but this whole thing is about sharing process, and yucky as the picture of myself I’ve painted here, these changes and my perspectives on it have some level of truth -though no picture is complete or entirely accurate – and shine the light on how much this new set of practices has transformed me from who I was trying to be into who I am.

I intended to be more upbeat

I think I’ve written before about not being so good at routine. It typically eludes me. However, in the last 6 months or so, I have somewhat reliably gotten up in the morning (not exactly at a reliable time, but…) and brushed my mouthpiece while reciting balancing sentences for each meridian. I hadn’t done that yesterday because the phone rang or something else happened, and it did seem to impact my effervescence. As in, I had none.

Today was much better, having begun with my meridian balancing, but in the last hour or so things took a turn. Now, how to deal with that turn. The first turn was Josie actually wanting to talk about what to do about work and school (which was great) exactly as I should’ve been walking out the door to listen to Swami Yogeshananda give his very private and second to last talk about the enlightened beings he had the privilege to know. Sorry to miss it! And Josie and I really didn’t come to any good resolution, but it was nice to have her talk. And learning to be ok in the midst of uncertainty seems to me a pretty important skill in this day and age. Being able to talk about it without needing immediate resolution. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. “Fixing” things doesn’t seem realistic. Being with things, being able to take our time with them, seems to me much more practical.

And then, I read an article about ethnocentricity, nationalism and white supremacy and it’s meteoric rise in the western world not just in the past decades but in the past 2 years, with it continuing to climb and gain support even while the liberals in the world shake their heads in disgust with Trump’s imbecilic behavior. It was wildly depressing to read.

I know that stuff is going on. And there are even individuals I know and love who I am watching devolve into angry, finger-pointing blamers. And I have to watch myself as I contemplate the paradox of tolerance (that the tolerant can tolerate anything but intolerance, which must not be tolerated if tolerance is to succeed), looking within to the still grandiose, protectionist, flailing parts of me that want to point my own fingers, whether at myself or my past or the “bad guys.” Bringing the light of awareness into ever more subtle aspects of myself I wish I had matured beyond. That’s the technique. Feel the feeling, apply love, be. repeat.

So, as someone who recognizes, as Buckminster Fuller described, “the future of humankind is an all or nothing proposition: either all of us will live and thrive or none of us will” it’s really disheartening to see not just the existence of hatred, but the growing momentum of it. And the most natural thing in the world is to blame the hatred, but of course that won’t solve anything.

I want to do something great to forward the agenda of the loving. I want to be instrumental in turning the tide towards cooperation and brotherhood. I have a ridiculously small circle of influence, and at this moment in my life, no real prospect of extending my efforts beyond it. I’m not scientific, I’m not a technological genius – I have no idea what my contribution could be beyond my absolute commitment to love, my utter surrender to life itself, and the application of the tools I know when faced with love’s opposite.

I used to run/kick/scream. Now I turn to the breath, and/or the mantra, and/or tenderness. This move from reactivity to calm intentionality has made a vast difference in my life and daily experience. I can only hope it can tip the scale…

All the Days

Today has been a low energy day for me. Low physical energy and low mental energy. Lately I’ve had an easier time accessing good thoughts and feelings, but today everything seemed out of reach.

It’s hard to maintain OKness with one’s value in the world when one hasn’t done anything of substance. But, that’s this whole lesson, isn’t it? That our worth and value in this life does not come from accomplishing things, but simply by being. and by being the most authentic self? And so, even on days when I can’t quite make anything happen, I have to be ok with myself. It’s hard, but it’s coming more easily.

I cannot completely quiet the part of my mind that would like to list off all of the reasons people who do not accomplish the many things that are to be done simply suck. I also tell myself the story that I need to be vibrating at the highest frequency available to me, and that a low energy day is irresponsible when I know how deeply the world needs as much love as each of us can muster. It’s a bit of work to remember these are stories, and to simply be.

Speaking of what the world needs…. Holy canoli’s. I watched cable tv for about an hour today. Saw commercials for products and other shows. I hadn’t realized exactly how far we’ve descended. If I was low energy before seeing that, I was crushed energy afterward. I am not much for TV, but between the honey boo boo lady, the ‘made famous by murder’ series that really does make these people (even more) famous, the drugs that cause suicide and depression — seriously, how can a people create a functional society when we are so fascinated watching the train wreck? It was crazy. And depressing. and nauseating. I’m so glad I don’t often watch TV. And then there is the statistic about kids watching several hours per day. Ugh.

So, yeah. Not my best day on many counts, and a really unfortunate window into the culture. But, I am surrounded by kindness and grace, and I may not be able to celebrate it actively today, but I sure can be grateful for it, recognize it, not look for it to improve for me to be ok. I am going to do my evening sitting and go to bed, quiet but appreciative, and see what tomorrow brings.

Ever-Evolving

I don’t know where I got the idea that one grows through childhood and adolescence and then becomes an adult who is then relatively stable from first cocktail through death. That is most definitely not the case in my experience. Indeed, I would venture to say that my young adulthood was far more transitional than my adolescence. And my 40’s are profoundly evolutionary. I felt like the same person from the age of enlightenment, or my memory, well into my 30’s. I do not feel like the same person anymore.

I am thrilled with the changes that have transpired in me. Even though I am only in the very baby steps of my journey through forgiveness, surrender and the experience of all as God, this is so much better than my journey to prove myself, demonstrate my worthiness and try to get a really good tan.

The life of constant dissatisfaction is slowly ebbing away. Trust is really taking its place. I feel like I always wanted this kind of transition, but somehow it is only recently that I can feel and sense and be in the space of trust and the flow of life itself. Is it maturity? Is it a change in the collective consciousness that is making it easier for people like me? Is it grace?

My kids aren’t particularly spiritually inclined, and my hope for them is that when they do turn their gazes to the stars, that the quickening of spirit uplift them. That experiential interaction with life itself moving through you as it moves the stars is enough to dawn a new journey in their experience.  And just like women’s rights stands on the shoulders of those who went before, and the struggle goes on but in ever-widening circles, may my children and all the children be lifted by the breakthroughs of , well, everyone who cares.

I care a great deal. Especially in the last year or so I have a felt sense of my responsibility to vibrate at the highest frequency available to me by choice, so as to contribute to the upliftment of humanity.

I never realized at any other time in my history that rehashing an old wound or sitting in judgement of something that was obviously wrong/corrupt/pathetic, was a choice. An active choice of a pretty negative current, no matter how “right” my judgement may have been. And, let’s face it, even saying that I’m just fooling myself.

There is a piece of The Presence Process that validates everything you feel, but basically says, “So What?” Yes, that happened. Yes, it was hard. Yes, you can feel injured. But frankly, here you are sitting here, injured or not, be present. Take responsibility for your own being.  You can blame all you want, and that blame may be entirely valid, but it is still utterly meaningless in the journey to where you want to go. That just takes a decision. Full responsibility. And a practice.

I think I’ve heard that stuff thousands of times in my life. And I really, really wanted to integrate it. Why it didn’t start taking hold until recently, I do not know. But what I do know is that breathing, walking, meditating, reading, writing – doing these things slowly and methodically and as a practice, my life is changing. My thoughts are fewer and far more gentle. My natural facial structure is a smile. I worry less – I think less in general, and more of my thinking is appreciative. These are the changes I’d been hoping for. I have slowing down to thank.

But, I also have evolving to thank. A picture of myself as a growing, changing being. Adulthood was sortof represented to me in my youth as something you become and then sortof defend. Here’s why I’m right and everyone else is wrong, and if I’m not good enough, screw you. That was what I saw, whether or not it was what culture was trying to represent. A lot has changed since then. I’m really grateful for those changes.

 

Setting My Own Pace

I am extraordinarily lucky. I get to set my own pace in life. Sometimes I have guidelines, budgets, requirements, but always I have choices, preferences and opportunities. We all do, I think, but I am aware of this freedom in ways uncommon to the standard method of living that I see all around me.

That first fortress wall is really quite tight. Well-fortified. Culturally supported and personally sustained. It’s actually a lot of work to keep up with a pace of life not internally driven. Exhausting or boring, I think.

So these walls protecting our images of what we’re supposed to be doing are really strong, but once you start to question them, they fall. Hard and fast in some ways, deceivingly slowly in others. But once you start questioning “Why?” most of the reasons we live dictated instead of creative lives fall apart pretty quickly.

The biggest question, the sand in the timer, is what do you really value. I know people who truly value looking good and showing up in the world as physically beautiful as they can make themselves. That is a lovely way of being. It is of very little interest to me, but I can respect that’s what they’re into.

I know other people who want to be seen as successful, and some that want to have fun. Everyone’s got different motivations. Mine change around a bit, but they’re mostly based on feeling a sense of ease, peace between my ears, function in my body and care towards my family. It’s a pretty simple life I lead. Though sometimes I really want to show up differently in the world. Sometimes I want to be the understanding one, sometimes the smart one – but I’ve got to admit those days are waning. I don’t fancy myself such a smarty pants anymore. I went from thinking i knew everything to hardly wanting to contribute 2 cents to a piggy bank. It’s liberating in a thousand ways, but because I valued that aspect of my intellect and practical application for so long, it’s also a bit disorienting. How am I supposed to show up in the world if not on the rails of my old patterns?

Practices and Habits, right? My habits would have had me show up in what I now consider quite useless ways. My practice is to show up wherever I am as the most grounded and present version of myself that my energy allows and the situation calls for.

There have been a few instances in the last year when I overrode my own autonomy in managing my activities and pace. I felt obligated. I felt it was what someone important to me expected from me. TERRIBLE DECISION EVERY TIME!!  Hugely “punch in the nose” bad crap happened. Kindof a drag, but also remarkably helpful in deciding that no matter what folks think, even those dearest to me, I get to live in response to life at my own pace. I wish this freedom, the awareness of this freedom, for everyone.

 

You Never Know

It’s hard to know what other people are thinking. It’s hard to know what they want, or how to help them. And that’s ok.

I’ve often been the first one to jump in and “fix” things for people, and I am delighted that time in my life is waning. For a lot of reasons. The primary reason is I have developed enormous trust in the universe, and so the idea of fixing just gets more and more ridiculous. Things are as they are and are developing as they are developing because they are replete with life lessons, skills, and opportunities that really couldn’t come any other way. So, who am I to jump in and “help”? I’ve done it before. It has been deeply helpful a few times, and not at all helpful most of the time. I think the odds on that definitely speak to considering new routes.

And so I’ve got some dear, dear people in my life, actively struggling with some eminently solvable problems. It is sad to see them struggle. I can empathize with the pain and uncertainty they face. It’s a tough spot.

There was a time in my life I would HAVE TO get involved. How can you watch someone you love struggle and NOT get involved? I would’ve been very disappointed in my future self for choosing to sit back in a silent support role. What the #$% kind of help is that?

Oh, my former self, I get you. I really do. And I would be happy to jump in and help ONCE SOMEONE ASKS. oooh – this is quite the distinction. Because you know what? People rarely ask for help. And in my limited experience, even when they do, they don’t really want it.

All of this to say: managing our relationships can be complicated. Managing our interactions with other people, and managing the thoughts and feelings associated with being in relationship, with basically every individual relationship we have.

And that is why focusing on Life Itself moving through All Of Us is so much easier. It strongly grounds a stance that Life Itself is in charge, that it is moving through all of us whether we know/acknowledge it or not. Life Itself is Life Positive, and so while it has a decay phase, it is always generating new life, new opportunities, new growth. Sitting in *that* space offers the view of the witness, who can see the beauty in it, smell the rose’s fragrance, and not go in with scissors trying to prune everything and bring it into control.

I am enjoying this point of view and approach to life.

We had a few people over for Thanksgiving. Things were said I didn’t understand. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel the need to go in and get to the bottom of things. I’m not trying so hard to control. I’m happy just being a participant.

Were those people trying to tell me something I needed to know? I have no idea. I trust that if I can be of service in any way, they’ll bring it up again, but in the meanwhile it is not my mental chew toy of days gone by. Oh, am I grateful for that. Embracing the present moment, dropping the fixations and needing to fix, it solves a lot of problems.

Now, I have no idea how the other people in my life feel about these new approaches coming through me. I am sorry if they feel neglected in any way. But I can’t know what they feel unless they tell me, and I am tired of guessing, trying to be pre-emptive, etc. I am so open to communication, but I am no longer open for mind-reading. It wasn’t my skill. I’ve never fancied myself psychic. And when a relationship, impression or feeling is up for question (someone said things I didn’t understand, and there was not forum for diving deeper at the time) I just am wrapping it in a pillow of light and releasing it to its highest good.

Ups and downs, periods of closeness and distance, appreciation and annoyance, these things are natural. But rather than trying to manage all of them, I’m now just managing my own presence, my openness to Life Itself, my own OKness with myself and Life Itself, which naturally translates to everyone.

Practices or Habits?

I don’t know where I saw it today, or what pieces of information came together to see that if you don’t have practices, you’ve got habits. If you’re not doing it intentionally, you’re doing it unconsciously. If I am not setting the direction and choosing, i am sheeple.

These past several years have been replete with new and valuable practices. From inquiry to Tai Chi, Ascending to Feminine Power, from Paul Selig’s work to health practices. I’ve got a lot of practices and it’s true, I am watching my habits diminish in the power of those practices.

Being that all of the practices are towards freedom, in love, it’s generating quite a bit of harmony in my experience of my days lately.

I can feel the judgements and stresses that have been habits. I can remember the energetic signature of certain feelings. And for a breath, I can coexist with all of it, noticing, accepting, feeling. maybe for another breath. and another. and maybe another. And the strings of moments are forming lovely little vignettes on the necklace of my life. Unedited. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense.

I do have a lot of slowing down practices. and looking for God practices, and being with God practices, and calming practices and anti-inflammation practices. But what use are they?

They’re use is transforming my life by responding as if life is friendly instead of always being on the lookout of being judged or judging. I get a little tired of it.

I’d like to be a practices connoisseur.  A sommelier for tools to ease your process  – but i have no desire to be a psychologist. I like them, and i believe they need to be well trained and I am not in for the training myself. I don’t want to dedicate my time to that field of study, though I appreciate those who do.

I want to talk about evolving humanity. I want to live in evolutionary ways. I want to be signal amongst all of the static. at least if you tune in to my vibration it is a portkey to god. I want to be a portkey to God! How cool would that be.

I don’t know what is next for me, but I know it’s about showing up in the world. I know I am self-selecting as discussed in both Selig & Neale Donald Walsch books. I really don’t care about the stories and dramas that, had all these practices not come into play, would’ve owned me. I am happy. I enjoy open communication with a family that I truly adore and truly feel the love from. The universe keeps kissing my cheek. The practices help make sure I don’t miss it. Not missing it is full and fun.

Not Stopping

I’ve committed to these 20 minute unedited writings, and i’ve missed some time. But rather than quitting because I stopped, I am going to just accept the pause and move on. Because slowing down means sometimes you can’t get everything you want to get done, done. And that’s as much of a blessing as it is a curse. And the curse is only as permanent as i make it. and as far as priorities go: the proof is in the pudding.

And slowing down helps you determine just what puddings you want in your life, and build the habits that make *those* puddings count, and not the whole buffet table of puddings you “think you should” be/do/have/want/become.

THANKS GIVING

I am thankful.

I’m thankful i’m sitting down to write again, but also thankful for a really nice holiday. It went really well.

Just prior to everyone arriving, I sent a note to Eric Klein from Wisdom Heart thanking him for the Healing Family Karma program. I did my first run of that program 4 years ago, I think, and the energy dynamics in my body in relationship to my family and our patterns has shifted significantly and in such freeing ways. So, I thanked him. And then I thought, “probably should’ve waited until after the actually family got physically together” ala Ram Dass and “when you think you’re enlightened, go visit your family.” But I knew it was going to be lovely and loving whatever happened, so I didn’t feel I jinxed it, and if I did jinx it, it would just be an opportunity to infuse love into the pattern.

I didn’t jinx it.

In fact, I had a wonderful day.

We had a pretty organized set-up so there was very little stress. I used to organize and still stress, but with Tai Chi asking me to empty, empty, empty, as soon as I felt it I could ask if it was necessary (in which case what does it have to alert me to or have me take care of right now so I can go do that and relieve the stress), or release-able. Which it was. Nearly all of the time. And those few other times, the feeling of stress was timed with something I had to do, or at least check.

The turkey took longer than I expected. Dinner was late. I am sure I am the only one surprised by this. And I wasn’t really suprised, either. I had just tried really hard for it not to be. But the timing was fine, and everything moved along in its own rhythm that worked (if, albeit, late).

Anyhow, Thankfulness was very present and easy to maintain all day, in deep and happy ways. Reflecting back on the stress I would feel (and feel justified and. and maybe even be justified in, but still what a poor choice) and emit on holiday dinners. From doing the work (which I’ve always enjoyed, but used to be very short and stressed in – but thanks to Tucker that’s been on a path of loosening since we’ve been together) to having opinions on everyone’s life and reactions. Geez. That taxes the system! And it’s totally optional! Wow. I’m so glad my consciousness is developing away from stress and toward relaxation in the moment. These practices work. And they fill you up with yourself and life itself moving through you. And life itself responds in myriad pervasive ways. All that stress blocks it. Life is trying to kiss you through your armor and you just don’t have space to let it in. I never had space. Slowing down is creating the space. And life keeps rushing in. And it’s lovely.

Healing Family Karma was a great program. So have all the Wisdom Heart programs been. And this Feminine Power course is absolutely excellent. And Byron Katie’s work. And Yoga Nidra. and “Awaken the New Species Within You” program. And well.org’s work, and ‘the energy blueprint” podcast. and Paul Selig’s books. Ohmygosh, Paul Selig’s books. And Tai Chi. And slowing down. I like this path.

and I am thankful.