It was in my twenties when I realized that I was looking for love in others because I felt incomplete. I was looking for love from others to help me to feel whole. This realization didn’t just come to me. No, I had to go through great suffering first. Time after time, it had to be shown to me – how the love that I knew could be hurtful, jealous, critical, shameful, conditional. It was something that I was spinning in, unable to tell top from bottom. Love was my favorite roller coaster that would take me to the very exhilarating top and then drop me so hard and fast that my stomach was left somewhere in space. I lived for the highs and rolled in the mud of the lows. I got dirty and soared- AND… MANY OF THE FEELINGS I FELT WERE BASED UPON HOW SOMEONE FELT ABOUT ME! The wall I was banging my head against was hard.
Finally, bloodied and broken and down on my knees- I found it…the answer. It wasn’t outside of me, it was INSIDE of me. I AM LOVE! My true self is perfect. I am part of an amazing energy that I call The Universe. The Universe is divine, therefore so am I. As this realization came so did the teachers, Marianne Williamson and her book A Return to Love , Deepak Chopra, Timeless Body, Ageless Mind, Gary Zukav, and Clem Chang who taught me Qi Gong.
Since then, the teachers have been far too many to name. The practice continues. I am human. I forget easily. Through my meditation and mindfulness practice, regular affirmations and surrounding myself with positive people, I can see and feel the love that I am.
How do you play? What things bring you joy? For you, it may not be grand or outlandish things that fill your spirit but then again, it may be. Think back to when you were a child. What things were you drawn to? How did you fill your days with play?
For me, it was dress up and putting on plays (that is me, age 6, on the left). I loved to entertain people, talk with people and pretend. I loved to direct, to lead. If we played school, I was the teacher. I loved to climb trees and run. I danced. I played and listened to music. I rode my bike and explored different places. I loved the coolness of a cave in the summertime. I loved running through a sprinkler on a hot summer day. I loved libraries. I loved the smell of them and the feel of books in my hands. I loved to read.
These activities are still me. I am a teacher today. I do love to run, ride bike and dance. I love books! If I listen to my child self, I know what fills my soul and what I need to do more of in my career to share my given talents and gifts with others. My gifts are unique to me as yours are to you. There is NO OTHER YOU ON THIS PLANET! You are special!
Today – do something that celebrates your uniqueness!
I am re-reading “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson. I read it almost 20 years ago and it changed my life! Years went by, at times living life unconsciously, forgetting that in order to maintain my connection with SELF, my connection to the Divine or All That Is, I have to consciously work at it.
Marianne says, “When someone has behaved unlovingly – when they yell at us, or lie about us, or steal from us – they have lost touch with their essence. They have forgotten who they are. But everything that someone does, says the Course (she is referring to The Course in Miracles), is either ‘love or a call for love’.
This resonated with me. This is ME! This is my family, the people who I love. I have behaved in ways I wish I had not. But that action, that CRY for love, not love from someone outside of myself but for that love INSIDE, was my awakening. The negative behavior from others was a cry for love. Now the awakening didn’t happen overnight… but it comes around. Right now, the awakening for me has come at a price of loss. It is a struggle with my ego on a daily, no minute by minute basis to choose love and not fear. To forgive others for wrongful behavior instead of condemning them. To forgive myself. Back to Marianne’s words: “When we are shaking a finger at someone, figuratively or literally, we are not more apt to correct their wrongful behavior. Treating someone with compassion and forgiveness is much more likely to elicit a healed response.”
I choose LOVE. I choose to forgive. I choose to BE the change.
I imagine that this is what Essence/Love looks like.
Photo by: Carrie Garcia- 7/4/13 Circle Pines, MN
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
The dragon within us (CMG original)
I can easily get caught up in S.H.I.T. For me, S.H.I.T is this feeling of being overwhelmed with my life, an inability to control situations, thinking that I have to do it all and then making that happen, wondering if anyone that is part of my life will just get their SHIT together and make my life easier? Have YOU ever had this feeling?
S.H.I.T is an acronym that stands for Super High Intensity Thinking. And although I’d like to say I coined this phrase, I did not. An Al-Anon member who heard it from a speaker at a conference retold this story to me. I’m still researching the source and when I find it, I want to give this person credit because this acronym has stuck in my head and is useful.
Super High Intensity Thinking is something I bet many of you can relate to. I was just reading an interview of the author, Kelly McGonigal who has written The Neuroscience of Change, in the October issue of Yoga Journal and she states that “Neuroscientists have found that everyone has a default state that the brain shifts into when we’re not fully immersed in an activity. This state things about the future and past, makes judgments, and categorizes and compares everything.” Ahhhhhh…. What a relief that is! I thought I was just nuts! Our brains are really hard wired with this chattering state and if left to its own devices, it would continue to go on this rampage.
How do you know when you’re in S.H.I.T. mode and how can you get out? Ask yourself these questions: What patterns of your behavior tend to repeat themselves? Do you have a default mode of thinking? Is your default mode of thinking negative affirmations that sound like; “I can’t do it all,” “I am incapable, not loveable,” “I will always be alone”. Or maybe your voice speaks to you like this; “People are always trying to screw me”, “How come all the jackasses are on the road when I am?” “ Why doesn’t anything work for _________ (insert your name here).” It could be that S.H.I.T. not only sounds a certain way but may look a certain way. Are you running around to every crisis that isn’t yours? Are you fixing things that aren’t yours to fix or helping those that you think need helping? This is all S.H.I.T.!!!
How do we get out of S.H.I.T.? McGonigal states that “mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation can take us temporarily out of the default state of the mind and into an experiencing state.” It’s about compassion, compassion for yourself and for others. The brain will continually try and go back to its default stage. It will remind you how uncomfortable mindfulness or yoga is and try to get back to its comfort zone… S.H.I.T. mode. Knowing this, you can continue to focus on self-compassion and care. Know that the only way out of S.H.I.T. is the awareness of it and then back to self-compassion and care. AND once you begin to have compassion and care for yourself you can begin to see that everyone is just doing the best that they can given the tools that they have and you can start to feel compassion towards others.
With much love,