The places that scare you

When we protect ourselves so we won’t feel pain, that protection becomes like armour, like armour that imprisons the softness of the heart. Pema Chodron

I wake early and sit on the verandah of my little Balinese bungalow. The ocean roars below. Dawn is breaking. A pair of small bats flap around and through the rafters of the row of huts. They pelt past me, ducking and weaving through wooden pillars and trees. I watch in awe.

Blind as a bat, that’s how the saying goes and yet they navigate with apparent ease. I’m pulled between feelings of admiration and a mild fear that one will come crashing into my head.

This torque between awe and fear captures my experience in Bali. Quite possibly it epitomises my reaction to life in general.

There is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. Alan Watts

This place is beautiful but a little unsafe. No, not really unsafe. Unfamiliar. There are imagined disasters at every turn. Can I leave my son in the bungalow for an hour to go to yoga? What if something happens to him? What if I get hit by a scooter? What if we get sick? What if I lose all our money? What if there’s a tsunami? A volcanic ash cloud? What if we get stuck here and I run out of money? What if I chose the wrong place to stay? What if we are too isolated here? What if…?

These thoughts have plagued the early hours of the morning. Waking me from a blissful tropical sleep into heart-pounding anxiety. It is said that the body doesn’t differentiate between a real or an imagined experience. And here I lie in paradise traumatising myself with imagined disaster scenarios.

The human ego prefers anything, just about anything, to falling, or changing, or dying. The ego is that part of you that loves the status quo – even when it’s not working. It attaches to past and present and fears the future. Richard Rohr

This same torque exists within me, a strong need for security coupled with an adventurous and inquisitive spirit. There is absolutely no way to quell these needs simultaneously, there are always choices that serve one but not the other. And I feel ever pulled in different directions. 

Anxiety is a strange beast. It’s been with me forever and yet I am only just starting to see its pervasiveness. I think in the past I had a host of coping mechanisms – not good ones it has to be said, but temporarily effective. 

These strategies seemed to mask and divert my anxiety into manageable, material things. I felt anxious but I had a solution, I just needed a drink, a drug, a man, a family sized tub of Haagen Dazs…

The desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet. Alan Watts

Then there is the strategy of control and micromanaging. It goes like this, if I keep my life small, contained and manageable, if I stick to the list of things I can’t do because they scare me, then I keep anxiety at bay. Well, that’s the theory.

Except I discovered none of these things actually works in the long term. Like a hyper-resistant virus, anxiety soon finds a way through all my defences. “Ha ha it says. You can’t beat me!” It’s like the ever confident poker player always willing to raise me one more until I fold.

So what to do then?

Nothing goes away until it teaches you what you need to know. Pema Chodron

So what does my anxiety have to teach me? Paradoxically I think it teaches me to be brave. I know that sounds crazy but bear with me here.

When every day, all day, every little decision, every action scares you, it means you are constantly overcoming fear. Unlike someone who lives in the illusion of security, an anxious person is only too aware of the unstable nature of life, inherent is suffering, misfortune and ultimately death. 

The trick is to be at peace with this awareness. It is how we react to the anxiety that makes the difference, not trying to get rid of the anxiety itself.

What lies beneath this anxiety about seemingly trivial things is the fear of no control, and ultimately the fear of suffering and death. Anxiety is borne of a lie that if things were a certain way, then I’d be okay. But in reality things are in constant flux and mostly out of my control.

The places that really scare us are within and not outside of ourselves. That’s the ruse. Anxiety makes us feel that the threat is out there, that there is safety and security to be found if only we manage well. 

Coming to Bali, leaving my son to go to yoga, all involves acting in face of these fears. The fear turns out to be an illusion. This acting in spite of my fear strengthens me for the next bout of fear. It teaches me to be present in the fear and act with integrity and courage anyway. It teaches me that although I have no control, I do have choice. 

The more we witness our emotional reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain. Pema Chodron 

Here I have none of my defences. I wear little clothes, no make-up. I have no job, no profession, no role. There is no schedule, no timelines. I am without my armoury. Without my anchors of familiarity and routine. In this free flowing unfolding of life my anxiety runs around like a headless chicken. “What if… What if… What if…”

After centering myself, reminding myself gently that I came to Bali to revisit my spirit of adventure, I say “Wouldn’t it be lovely to walk to yoga in my favourite studio in the whole world, knowing my son is completely safe and so am I.”

And that’s exactly how it goes.

Now I’m not saying bad things don’t happen. That’s not the point. The point is worrying and anxiety are not going to stop bad things from happening. And mostly those things are the ones we never see coming anyway. Like the coconut that fell from a tree missing my head by inches as my son and I walked to the pool. Didn’t see that coming! I didn’t wake at 5am worrying about having my skull caved in by a falling coconut…

The point is not to let fear poison and dominate my life’s experiences and choices. To as Pema Chodron says go to the places that scare you. Be present there, and live heart-fully in spite of fear. To accept my vulnerability in a world where quite possibly anything could happen. To be invigorated rather than petrified by this.

When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation, and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment. Pema Chodron 

All this has emerged as I feel the shift into my heart chakra. This year I have been allowing myself to flow through my chakras very slowly and intuitively. Last month I was enjoying the fiery energy of Manipura. And even as I finished writing my last post I could feel the shift into the heart centre.

The alchemy of surrender is a term used by astrologer Sarah Varcas. She uses it to describe the power that comes from embracing the state of unknowing. She talks about the shift that happens when we stop trying to think our way through uncertainty and begin to feel into it.

Over the past ten days I have remained present through my varying states from mild panic to complete calm and peace. Having just been attuned to reiki, I practiced this on myself and tuned into where the nervous energy was stuck in my body.

Anxiety is awareness without presence, just as fear is excitement without breathing. Russ Hudson

Anxiety is just energy. When you think about it, there’s very little difference between anxiety and excitement except the story the mind tells itself.

In yoga class, the teacher led us through pranayama breathing exercises. He reminded us that without proper breathing the energy cannot flow. Yoga asanas, or any energy raising practice for that matter, without breathing will raise energy but not move it, creating blocks and imbalances.

Anxiety is an energetic charge created by our mental perception. Breathing into the anxiety. Focusing on where it is being trapped in the body – both subtle and physical – allowing a compassionate observation of our thoughts and sensations, creating space for them, is a powerful way to transform anxiety into a mindfulness practice.

This is not something we do once or twice. Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening the heart is the work of a lifetime. Pema Chodron

Anxiety and fear is a call to arms. Without it would I have pursued a spiritual solution? I doubt it. If not driven by my discomfort, what motivation would there have been for me to investigate meditation, yoga, Chakradance? That’s not to say that anxiety is all that motivates me, I have a connection to the spirit world that is precious and wonderful to me, but it was desperation that got me started.

For those of you who haven’t experienced anxiety it begins with a feeling of something running on a mouse-wheel in your chest. There’s a feeling of panic even if there’s no real sense of what the panic is about. It’s like feeling scared. 

People – the ones who don’t experience anxiety – will say it’s all in your head. Yes. Like real fear. That’s in your head too. And your body doesn’t distinguish between the two. For someone in the midst of an anxiety attack, they may as well be tied to the train tracks with the 4:32 fast approaching.

Anxiety certainly gets your attention. It’s hard to ignore that freight train rocking through your chest, the dry mouth, the pounding head, the urge to run. Maybe that’s the point. Anxiety wants me to pay attention. Like a parent who has asked politely twenty times for their child to come to dinner, anxiety ramps it up a notch just to get their attention.

We’re all very familiar with the experience of fear escalating, or the experience of running away from fear. But have we even taken the time to truly touch our fear, to be present with it and experience it fully? Do we know what it might mean to smile at fear? Pema Chodron

Meditation helps. It helps because it is a practice which disciplines us to let thoughts go, to not attach or overly identify with them. It helps because it brings awareness on to the breath, and breathing can become shallow when anxious, and breath moves energy through our subtle body. 

And it helps because it teaches us to just observe whatever state we may be in with loving compassion and a little detachment. In meditation I am present, aware, but not a slave to my thinking.

Someone once told me that the problem it not how we feel, it’s how we feel about how we feel. So when I’m anxious I have the choice to feel anxious about my anxiety – can you see the snowball effect of that line of thinking? 

Or I can choose to accept that I’m anxious, without reacting to it. This was a strategy I first encountered in Russ Harris’ book The Happiness Trap, but essentially it is the basis of many religious and contemplative practices. Begin in the now, with what is, accept it, breathe, refrain from judgement or reaction. Be an impassive observer of your own inner workings. Create a space between the feeling and the observing of the feeling.

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. Pema Chodron

I know it sounds so simple, but it’s also really hard to unlearn years of habitual thinking. So I have found I need to be very gentle and compassionate with myself. Sometimes I react to my anxiety, that snowball starts rolling and I’m out of control.  And that’s okay. It always comes to a head and then I regroup. I meditate, I dance, I run, I do yoga. I sit on a stationary bike and pedal until all the nervous energy has burned out of me. I begin again.

I am sure much of my anxiety comes from a defensive self-protection. I want to be open to life, to explore, to love, to experience. 

Yet part of me feels that in the past when I have opened to life, to love, it has been a Trojan horse, which seemed at first, like a wondrous gift, but once within my walls, once it had me vulnerable, it attacked. After charming itself into my world it let me down in the most spectacular way. My heart hurts from this disappointment and betrayal. 

As much as I wish to be rendered new, these scars linger. But what if that’s the point? What could be more brave than keeping my heart open knowing that pain is inevitable?

A dark night of the soul is some of the most transformative times that we go through in our lives. They are sacred initiations. Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson talks of the modern tendency of pathologising of normal human suffering. Pain and suffering are part of life, we are built for it. As well as a physical immune system we have a psychic immune system. After a physical injury or illness we allow time for the bruises and scars to heal. The same goes for our psychic scars, after loss or sadness or disappointment there is a time when we feel bruised, and are healing. Time and self-compassion and acceptance is the way through this process. 

The thymus gland relates to the immune system in the body and is the gland that is located in the area of the heart chakra. Is it possible that this psychic immune system is also located in the heart centre? 

Just as our physical immunity strengthens from exposure to allergens and bacteria, perhaps our psychical immune system strengthens through these times of fear, pain and grief that so test our hearts.

Marianne Williamson maintains that much of what is diagnosed and medicated as anxiety and depressive disorders is actually the very sane reactions we have to the world we live in. Bombarded daily with images of violence, poverty, disease, only the hardest of hearts could not feel pain. 

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller

Spiritual malady is often called the ‘dark night of the soul.’ As Buddha and Christ demonstrated suffering is at the core of the spiritual experience. Indeed the need to be happy – that we are so bombarded with – is a set-up for disappointment and despair.

When what we really need is to develop acceptance and resilience to pain, compassion for ourself and others, by understanding and accepting its intrinsic role in our human experience.

The energy of the heart is simple. It is love. It wants to love. To radiate its light. To bring warmth and healing to others. To open to the radiance of life. 

In Sanskrit, Anahata means unhurt or unstruck. 

The heart is always unhurt and unstruck. That sacred centre cannot be scarred. The scars are energetic memories of past suffering. They are not bad, just products of the mistaken belief that closing, hiding and shielding the heart will prevent pain when of course the opposite is true.

Jung described the heart chakra as the beginning of individuation. The place where we begin to experience something beyond our ego-self, something we might call spirit.

When we begin to heal the heart chakra, we create a softening of the heart. This softening stirs the energy of love and compassion and through awareness we can begin to dissolve the hurt we so often bury in our hearts. As our heart awakens to its own loving potential we begin to experience genuine connection with others, and our relationships grow healthy and radiate love. Natalie Southgate 

The heart Chakradance is a dance of integration, of uniting the masculine and feminine energies, the energies of the more dense chakras below, with the more etheric above. As we dance we honour Father Sky and Mother Earth, day and night, light and dark, yang and yin. We experience that beautiful space where all is united and integrated, where all apparent opposites move together in harmonious dance of love.

I remember the last time I led the Heart Chakradance, it was close in time to an experience that had hurt my heart. I was more than a little afraid to be going there, especially leading a class. ‘What if I break down?’ I worried, knowing the pain was just beneath the surface.

Yet in the dance I didn’t experience my pain, I held the space for the dancers, and what I found was the essence of the heart energy, endless, unfathomable, bottomless waves of love and compassion. The room was bathed in emerald green light, as I shifted the energies that people released, yes, there was sadness and grief and disappointment, but it paled in the face of this infinite supply of love. 

When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space. Pema Chodron 

The recent years have marked a shift for me into setting my sights high and acting with self-belief. And while the fear and anxiety are often there, they no longer dictate my actions. Often I see anxiety as an indicator that have stepped outside of my comfort zone, into new territory and I remind myself this is a good thing.

After returning from Bali I met with the leader of my Druid grove and she guided my through walking the wheel. The Druid wheel is both a calendar for the eight seasonal ceremonies of the year and like the Native American medicine wheel, a sacred symbolic and archetypal map for the stages of development and the energies we are working through at a given time in our life. 

As part of a grove or Druid community, it also suggests the ceremonial role that we should hold for that year. While we work through the energies of an aspect of the wheel, we can also hold and represent those energies for the group during ceremony. For me the wheel guided me to stop just North of West, at the position of the knight. 

Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move. Osho

It a curious position, archetypally the Knight is a young male, still adolescent, who embarks on a spiritual quest, the search for the Holy Grail, if you will. He represents the spiritual warrior. While it seemed strange for a woman at my stage of life, somewhere in the mother/queen realm to be guided to this energy, it also makes perfect sense.

This year I have been guided to make my spiritual journey a physical one, with my pilgrimages to Bali and India, and next year to Ireland. I have very much been called to get on my horse and physically seek. I have also been guided to do so alone. For the first time in my life I am not looking for a partner, if anything I feel I have no space for one right now. I’m the knight on his holy mission and it’s a path I must travel alone.

And how interesting that at a time when anxiety over my life choices has reared up, this warrior energy has emerged for me. It feels like a beautiful integration of the solar plexus warrior energy into the heart. Where my will and passion is channeled through my heart centre. 

It’s exciting for me to see spirit guide me in this way, it’s validating. As I march into the unknown, I have unseen guides alongside me. 

And like the turning of the wheel, my time as the knight won’t be forever, only until I have worked with these energies, gained their wisdom and I am ready to integrate this and move on.

The most courageous thing we will ever do is bear humbly the mystery of our own reality. Richard Rohr


Bless!

Advertisements

Overwhelming abundance

Alain-Delorme-totems

Once we make our decision, all things will come to us. Auspicious signs are not a superstition, but a confirmation. They are a response. Deng Ming-Dao 

Six months ago, I was feeling flat, and a little lost. Despite my best efforts to give my all in this race of life, somehow I had tripped over on a lumpy patch of ground and fallen flat on my face. Not only that, I really couldn’t find the energy or motivation to get back up.

Something had to give.

So I started this blog as an experiment to see what would happen if I put my intentions “out there.” To be honest, I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what I even meant by that, exactly what was I putting out where? But as the saying goes, ‘when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.’

Or maybe, as I said to myself, maybe, you could even end up like Elizabeth Gilbert, when she wrote her book Eat Pray Love… Just without the trip to Italy, and India, and, well, any exotic locales.

Sometimes when you’re overwhelmed by a situation – when you’re in the darkest of darkness – that’s when your priorities are reordered. Phoebe Snow

AlainDelorme_Totem15

It was a bold move, I admit that, I was pulling no punches, from my very first post I rather optimistically asserted:

I intend to blog my way through the experience of manifesting my seven intentions. Me

It was a kind of challenge to the universe – to God, to the gods, goddesses, angels, Higher Power, whatever you wish to call it or them.

I was standing my ground, saying to whatever it is ‘out there’, “Show me how to create the kind of life I yearn for. I mean it. Now’s the time to put up, or shut up.”

Yeah, I know you shouldn’t really talk to supreme beings like that. I mean I did all the respectful things too, candles, incense, pretty words, but my intention was clear.

It was an experiment, the hypothesis was that by focusing my energy on my intentions through a variety of techniques, I could create positive changes in my life. And if it didn’t work, well, I was no worse off for trying, now was I?

AlainDelorme_Totem10

When you follow your bliss… doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else. Joseph Campbell

So I just acted as if there was some creative intelligence, and tried to hold my intentions up to it. Like a little girl with a flower in her hand. Is it looking? Is it listening? And does it want to help me?

I had heard about the law of attraction, but I didn’t really want a Ferrari or a multimillion dollar business, I just wanted to be happy, to be useful, to be whole.

So, I articulated my intentions for my life, I listed them, I wrote about them, meditated on them, chakradanced around them…

And?

Well. Something definitely happened. I went from a sense of nothingness to a sense of everythingness.

Lots of everything, an abundance of everything, everywhere. Abundance coming out of my eyeballs. It’s a little overwhelming. I don’t wish to complain or be an ingrate but…

My life has become so freaking abundant, I don’t know how to fit it all in. It’s all very well having it all, but where are you supposed to put it?

He was swimming in a sea of other people’s expectations. Men had drowned in seas like that. Robert Jordan

totems01

Let me break it down for you. I’m a mum, I work, I have ageing parents. I’m starting a business, I’m a freelance writer. I’m doing a course. I just started a new relationship. I have lots of friends.

These are all wonderful things. It’s just this week I was also filling out paperwork to register my business, my domain name, applying for a grant at work, commissioning a graphic designer for my business, negotiating quotes on freelance work, finalising my business plan, preparing for running a chakradance session, clearing out my studio space…

Yes, all gloriously abundant things, but they all take time and energy. And it is as easy to get overwhelmed by the good stuff as any other kind of stuff, it’s all stuff…

Not to mention driving my son to sporting commitments, helping with homework, going to work. I’d say housework, but seeing as my house looks like it’s been ransacked by Vikings. Perhaps not.

And all this mindfulness stuff. Meditation, yoga, chakra healing. It all takes time. It can stress me out, trying to make time to be mindful. And I’m pretty sure that’s missing the point.

AlainDelorme_Totem12

Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we’re taking on too much, but because we’re taking on too little of what really strengthens us. Marcus Buckingham

And the more I race around worrying about getting things done, the less efficient I get and the more time seems to pass without me achieving anything.

Well. That’s not true. It’s just my to-do has doubled so I’m only getting through half of what I’m supposed to.

I was laughing to my friend about my first world problems. But really stress, the kind I’m describing, does seem to be a first world problem. Many countries with far worse living conditions have far better mental health than we do. Maybe it’s the difference between abundance and accumulation. Abundance is a mind-set of receiving great blessings, accumulation is a mind-set of do more, be more, have more.

On top of all this day-to-day stuff, I have a deep compassion fatigue. It feels this week as if the sorrows and ills of the world have been paraded across our eyes daily.

The result of seeing this horror playing out in the world is we often feel emotionally shut down and become desensitised or depressed and disillusioned – where to even begin? The problems of the world seem too big to make a difference in anyway. And then our little victories can seem shallow, insignificant and pointless.

Business planning reminded me of the beauty of combining long term goals and producing short term micro actions. So I decided to commit to doing one thing a month to make a difference in the world, then once I’ve incorporated that, I can bring in another new thing.

The faster our lives spin, the more things tend to fly apart. Richard Paul Evans

www.alaindelorme-13-e1338385195978

One of my greatest assets is my deeply probing, ever-churning mind. But it can also be a liability. I’m always trying to figure stuff out. Or worry – it’s a fine line.

I think it was Marianne Williamson that said all we can really take from the past is the love. Our experiences, while meaningful to us, are subjective and circumstantial. No two points in time can ever contain exactly the same ingredients of people, places and things, and even if they did, the possibility of variable outcomes is, while not literally infinite, close enough. Thus trying to generalise our experiences into greater principles to live by can be problematic.

For example, if your life experience has been one of trauma and hardship, it would be reasonable to assume that is the nature of life. Literally, you will be primed for more of the same. And you could say the same for someone who’s life has been pleasant and abundant. One person expects difficulty, the other none. Does this change our perception and therefore experience of life?

Try to love and live the question itself. Don’t search for the answer. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Rainer Maria Rilke

This is where a daily discipline can be helpful. A morning routine of prayer or meditation will cleanse the mind and reset it for the day. It gives the mind a base point of calm and openness. And focus.

Intention requires focus, yet my mind sends thoughts in 20 different directions, diffusing and scattering my power, sending out contradictory intentions, which is obviously not going to be effective.

alain_delorme_2-z

To me, a large part of opening my life to abundance is the perception that I can have these things I desire, even if I haven’t in the past. Despite failures or difficulties in the past, there’s no reason I don’t have exactly the same possibilities open to me now as anyone, except what my perception tells me.

Now I’m not trying to be ridiculously fluffy here. I know there are some realities that are not merely perception: war, famine, poverty, disability, there are real obstacles in this world. But I don’t have them. And I think sometimes these physical barriers are not what stops us, it’s the mental patterns, the old repetitive ways of thinking about the world and what is possible.

It is this very thinking, now that I have all the things I wanted flowing into my life, that experiences this abundance as merely more problems to be solved. “Once I get my business set up, once my love and I settle into our relationship, once I have more income…”

Then I will be happy.

Nope. I see it now. More stuff in my life doesn’t actually change my attitude about life or how I feel about myself. The more abundance I get, the more of whatever I have already I get. If I have fear and worry I get more of that, if I have love and gratitude, I get more of that.

It’s time to let go of my mental baggage!

1551607_789853314364753_1530559025_n

Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground. Anonymous

For me, feeling overwhelmed and stressed leads me to a place of mental exhaustion. I literally cease to function. I can’t be around people, I can’t enjoy anything. The stress becomes the main attraction and I stop seeing anything else, it’s all I can focus on. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that it’s not an enjoyable place for me.

Relaxing is one of the hardest things to do when you’re stressed, but ironically, it works like magic. As soon as I relax. As soon as the stress response in my body subsides, I can see life in perspective again.

When we are stressed and overwhelmed by life, all our energy goes out in our thoughts of what we have to do. As such our energy is not in our body, and not in present moment awareness. This has a depleting effect on our energy levels. We may operate reasonably successfully on adrenal stress for a while, but this will eventually lead to exhaustion. Far better is to spend 5-10 minutes reconnecting with our body and the present moment.

Grounding is a fantastic exercise to achieve full body and mind calm. Try this wonderful guided meditation to reconnect with your body.

Somehow, when I reconnect with my body and my connection to the earth, everything slows back down to a manageable pace. Overwhelm occurs in my thinking, yet my body has its own rhythm, aligned with the earth itself, which I can tap into any time I choose.

Affirmations for calming the overwhelm by Che Garman:

A quiet mind oversees everything I do.

All my muscles are becoming more and more relaxed.

All negativity is evaporating from my body and my mind.

All the muscles in my body are releasing and relaxing.

All the muscles in my body relax and let go.

As I relax my body immediately feels better.

Being calm and centered is one of the top priorities in my life, and I practice this feeling every day. 

Being calm and relaxed energizes my whole being.

Calmness washes over me with every deep breath I take.

Every breath I take fills me with harmony and peace.

Every day I allow myself a few moments just to be.

Bless!

Images:

Totems Series by Alain Delorme

Looking for love in all the wrong places

LOVE-LIFE-2

Where there is love, there is life. Mahatma Gandhi

To the particularly observant reader, it may not have escaped your attention that I got as far as my seventh intention, love, made a brief foray into self-love, and with a deft magician’s sleight of hand went back to the first chakra.

Like many, I have had a tumultuous relationship with romantic love. I have far too active an imagination to ever really see another person as they are. As such I fall for the most beautiful Narcissus I can find, and try to heal his wounds with my love. (As a side note to those who haven’t tried this yet, it doesn’t work.)

The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person. Chuck Palahniuk

In the past I have been severely burned by this weakness in myself. My last love broke my heart, not by any misdemeanour of his, but simply because he could not live up to the Mr Darcy fantasy I held in my mind. I kept waiting for the revelation to hit him that he had it all wrong, and could I ever forgive him enough to allow him to worship me forever. (I blame Jane Austen and the Brontes entirely for this blind spot of deluded thinking…)

In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. Jane Austen

Aw! Jelly legs… Right, where was I? Love.

The events of this week have illuminated a gnawing concern in me. A concern that, as a society completely consumed with sex and romance, we have forgotten how to love.

This concern resurfaced as a result of the violent rampage in America, committed by a young man – who shall remain nameless – apparently as a result of his feeling ‘rejected by women.’ There are so many issues here, there are gender issues, gun issues, possibly mental health issues. I do not intend to add to what has already been written about these. Beyond all these issues, what is common to this crime along with so many violent crimes, is the hatred, powerlessness, and alienation felt by an increasing number of young males in our society.

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings. Anaïs Nin

You only need read the comments about this rampage in online forums to see the plethora of support for this perpetrator, by men who seem to connect with his pain at being ‘denied’ sex, which these (note NOT all) young men seem to equate with their divine right as men, and as something being ‘withheld’ from them by women.

The perpetrator was a young man who had grown up with every privilege money could buy, and yet obviously felt deeply alone and unhappy, with a complete inability to form meaningful relationships with women.

I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing. Neil Gaiman

It is becoming apparent that the spoils of Western culture are not inherently satisfying. At the end of the rainbow, the pot of gold leaves the bearer with a gaping hunger for meaning. It is achingly apparent that those with great wealth, but without love and compassion for their fellow humans, are desperately unhappy. You need only look at the richest woman in Australia, Gina Rinehart. For all her money, she has alienated her family, and has the demeanour of a rather miserable woman.

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. Elie Wiesel

A disclaimer here, these are my mental meanderings, my thoughts. I don’t pretend to have any definitive answers, only musings and more questions. If you don’t like what I am saying, don’t read it, write your own blog, or punch a pillow. On the other hand, if you have any constructive feedback or input, I’d love to hear it.

I picked up Naomi Wolf’s book, Vagina: A biography, yesterday. It’s a fabulous book, I’m loving it. I have found myself laughing out loud in identification with Wolf’s experience. The point of the book is that the vagina is not just a sex organ, it is intricately linked to a women’s nervous system and brain, and to her spiritual and creative self. Her ‘Goddess’ energy as Wolf coins it.

Having just investigated my solar plexus chakra, the seat of personal power, and uncovered a disturbing trend in my life to have this power subverted in a myriad of ways, I am becoming convinced that many of the ills of this world stem from our subversion of the natural dance of our sexuality and creative fire. Oh God, I sound like Freud!

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. William Shakespeare

One of the beautiful things Wolf writes is how many men talk with endearing fondness of the privilege of feeling ‘welcomed’ and ‘accepted’ during sex. It made me think of that boy who went on the killing spree, was that what he so desperately sought? And had our society somehow instilled in him that the problem was, not that he needed to develop himself into the kind of man who could be ‘received’ and ‘accepted’ by a woman, but that he was being ‘blocked’ by the women he objectified?

Now, please don’t misunderstand, I am in no way justifying his actions, I am merely trying to understand, not just the actions of one man, but the stream of male supporters who came out in his wake. There seems to be a serious problem with the perception of sex and power going on with young men, and possibly young women, that I am desperately trying to understand.

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life. John Lennon

You see, I view our human interactions as a dance, so there is no way one partner can be out of step without it affecting the flow of the whole dance. And of course, this delusion of entitlement for and denial of sex, that some young men seem to feel, affects other young men and women too, of course it does, they get emotionally, verbally, and physically abused as a result of this. As we have so tragically seen this week, they get killed.

You may be asking, what this has to do with seven intentions? Well, everything really. As I become more and more convinced of the interconnectness of absolutely everything, I realise I can’t turn away from this stuff, as much as I wish to. It affects my sense of the world. How can I manifest my glorious intentions in a world where we can’t even stop people from hurting one another? Peace and compassion are things I desire far more than a home or more money.

I guess it brings me back to a place of questioning everything. If there is a universal energy of love, light, and connectness, why do such awful things happen? And in order for me to continue on my quest, I have to try to make some sense of it.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Martin Luther King Jr

What I keep coming back to is, a strong, intuitive belief, that by raising my level of thinking I do have an effect in the world. That by addressing my negative, fearful, judgemental, angry thought-forms, and by transmuting them into prayers of love and light, the flow-on effect of that energy is THE most powerful thing I can do. And if by writing this, I help someone else shift from fear and anger into compassion and love, then the power increases.

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold. Zelda Fitzgerald

Well, now they have. The Institute of HeartMath has demonstrated that the electromagnetic field around a human heart radiates out in a radius of several feet. Given that this electromagnetic energy connects us all with everything else, it makes sense to me that if my heart is radiating love, I can have a profound effect on the world around me. And if a decent sized chunk of the population is radiating love at the same time, then bada bing bada boom.

Just look at the Intention Experiment conducted recently on a veteran suffering from PTSD. I was part of the first experiment where you could watch live as this man’s brain levels shifted from anxiety to calm, as tens of thousands of people around the world meditated for his healing. It was truly awesome.

The heart produces by far the body’s most powerful rhythmic electromagnetic field, which can be detected several feet away by sensitive instruments. Research shows our heart’s field changes distinctly as we experience different emotions. It is registered in people’s brains around us and apparently is capable of affecting cells, water and DNA studied in vitro. Growing evidence also suggests energetic interactions involving the heart may underlie intuition and important aspects of human consciousness. Institute of HeartMath

In my humble opinion, the Western culture is based on a lie about love. The lie goes something like this: I am incomplete as a human being until I find my one true love who will fulfil me in every way, especially sexually, and make my life complete. Sorry to burst the bubble folks, but that’s not love, it’s love addiction and codependency. It is only by becoming a whole person that we can love ourselves and ever hope to have meaningful, loving relationships with others.

Romantic love is an addiction: a perfectly wonderful addiction when it’s going well, and a perfectly horrible addiction when it’s going poorly. Helen Fisher

Check out this fascinating TED talk on The Brain In Love:

 

On balance, there is always more love than evil happening in the world. I know this is not what the mass media tells us, but it’s true. Even in a war zone there are people helping their neighbours, loving their children, creating beautiful art and music, and making love. I wonder what would happen if we could all hold this thought together. That the world and its people are more loving than hating, more loving than fearful, more loving than hurtful.

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always. Mahatma Gandhi

So you may say I’m naive and impossibly romantic, but I am making an intention to love and love and love and love, more and more each day, no matter what. And as I believe we are all connected, at some level you will all feel this too, even if it’s just the lightest flap of butterfly wings along your cheek, that for one small moment makes you ever-so-imperceptibly smile.

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart). E.E. Cummings

Affirmations by Dr Carmen Harra and Louise Hay:

A river of compassion washes away my anger and replaces it with love.

Deep at the centre of my being there is an infinite wellspring of love. I now allow this love to flow to the surface.

Love fills my heart, my body, my mind, my consciousness, my very being, and radiates out from me in all directions and returns to me multiplied.

The more love I use and give, the more I have to give, the supply is endless.

The use of love makes me feel good; it is an expression of my inner joy.

Bless!

Title image:

whyloveactually.com

Living in the heart

crystals heart stick

Display a heart of boundless love for all the world. The Buddha

My dream life has been so vivid lately. Many writers keep a dream diary for inspiration and to record any recurring images or ideas that bubble up from the subconscious. Dreams are so hard to remember once consciousness snaps you back into daily business-as-usual mode.

That’s it! I am stating my intention to start writing a dream diary.

About a week ago I had a particularly vivid dream, and I remember it because I felt compelled to write it down. I dreamt about this book, The Heart Codes by Paul Pearsall. In my dream I was with a female relative, someone close to me but who’s passed over, I think it was my paternal grandmother. Although, she was really a composite of maternal figures from my life, in the way that can only happen in dreams. She said “Remember when we went to St. … (somewhere in WA) and saw the premonition stone?”

Okay, so here it gets weird – it is a dream after all. She told me the book was about a man discovering a block of stone, situated somewhere in the wilderness of Western Australia, which was infused with the powers of premonition. It was literally connected to the heart of the world. Maybe it was a talking stone? I had just been reading about Moses and the burning bush – maybe my subconscious was playing with the idea of spiritually incarnated natural objects? Anyway, I said to my ancestor, “I just bought that book!” Which I had, I mean, in real life I had just ordered it on Book Depository along with another book by the same author called Wishing Well. It was weird, this wise, old woman telling me about the heart of the Earth. I had also started reading Drumvalo Melchizedek’s book Living in the Heart. It’s a very kooky book, it is testing my powers of disbelief suspension, amazing stuff.

So what’s the point of all this? Other than a captive audience for my dream interpretation, that is. It feels – with all this synchronicity about heart books and heart dreams – as if I am being compelled to focus on the heart. These books are all about the wisdom of the heart energy. My dream was about the heart energy of the Earth, conveyed by the wise feminine archetype. And who am I to contradict her? This is my fourth intention: health and the heart chakra.

health (n.) Old English hælþ “wholeness, a being whole, sound or well,” from Proto-Germanic hailitho “whole, uninjured, of good omen” Old Norse helge “holy, sacred;” Old English hælan “to heal”. Online Etymology Dictionary 

Health comes from the word whole. Not just physical wholeness, but mental, spiritual, emotional, and energetic. I have connected my fourth intention to the fourth chakra, the heart chakra, which is about the energy of love. And, if you think about it, health really is the optimum expression of self-love. It takes love and commitment to self through nutrition, body movement, mental and spiritual health practices, to create health. I have to say I felt really miffed that as I move into my fourth intention, health, I feel really sick. Then it occurred to me that was the perfect place to begin. So often an intention comes out of recognising what we don’t want.

The wound is the place where the Light enters you. Rumi

It’s also a really interesting experiment in attention. I wrote in my last post that intention and attention are interrelated words. They share a common root in tendere, which is Latin for ‘to stretch.’ Intention means to stretch inward and attention means to stretch toward. In meditation this morning, I noticed how my intention was for healing but my attention kept going back to how sick I felt. My mind is very flighty at the best of times and when I’m feeling sick – phooey! I was trying to focus on sending energy to my base chakra to then radiate out through my physical body. After all, a healthy flow through that chakra is said to stimulate blood flow, which is essential to the immune system. My mind would focus on my base chakra for about a second then drift into thoughts of “my throat is on fire, my glands are like golfballs,”. Base chakra – focus on the red glow. “My face is hot and prickly, my whole body aches.” Base chakra. “Why did I get sick?” Base chakra, and so on. It’s easy to see the conflicting messages I am sending here, how can I expect to manifest a healing intention if I can’t keep my attention on it, and subsequently send such mixed messages to my body?

Our exclusive dependence on rational thought and language has obscured our natural ability to sense the flow of energy. Ichi Lee

It is said that the subconscious mind is completely non-selective and without discernment or judgement. It just acts out whatever messages we send it. If I tell it I’m feeling sick, it will provide, If I tell it I’m healed, it will oblige. If I send contradictory messages, at best, I’ll get a bit of both. My intuition is that this virus is a release of some kind. I believe I am letting go of something in my body to facilitate energetic healing and development. Before you scoff and cry “woo-woo”, I have some very powerful experiences of this. This allows me to surrender to the illness and see it as a means to further investigate my subtle energy system. Sometimes the best way to learn to see things in alignment is to observe them when they are out of alignment.

“If you desire healing, let yourself fall ill, let yourself fall ill.” Rumi

My son was diagnosed with autism at age two. He had just had a battery of vaccinations six months prior, after which his language and social development abruptly stopped and then deteriorated. At the time there was copious media stories claiming that there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Since then, those studies have been shown to be flawed, and the medical profession has not upheld this link. However there is evidence that giving this vaccination to children with compromised immune systems is dangerous, and I have yet to meet a child with autism who doesn’t have a compromised immune system.

Yes, I know, I should have issued a tangent alert! Anyway the point of this story is when my son was about six I began seeing a wonderful homeopath with him, who after she stabilised some behavioural issues, encouraged me to start him on a course of an homeopathic MMR treatment.

Homeopathy cures a larger percentage of cases than any other form of treatment and is beyond doubt safer and more economical. Mahatma Gandhi

Homeopathy is amazing, it works on the theory that ‘like heals like’. Basically a homeopath will give a microscopic does of a (usually) natural substance known to create the symptoms present, if it was given to a healthy person. Homeopathy is energy healing in the sense that the remedy is really only infused with the energy of the substance, so as not to carry any toxicity. You may have heard of rescue remedy, which is a combination of Bach flower essences used to treat shock and anxiety? Read more about it here.

The principle of treating “like with like” dates back to Hippocrates (460-377BC) but in its current form, homeopathy has been widely used worldwide for more than 200 years. Society Of Homeopaths

Anyway, my son went through a four dose course of homeopathic MMR – which was basically a homeopathic tincture of the vaccine itself. This treatment took many months, as we had to wait for the effects of each dose to settle before giving him the next dose. And boy was there effects!

Homeopathic treatment strengthens a person’s health, acting as a catalyst, stimulating and directing the body’s ability to fight infection as well as resolving any underlying susceptibility to disease. Homeopathy views many symptoms in its quest to treat underlying tendencies to ill health. In this context, mental and emotional symptoms can sometimes play an important part in understanding this susceptibility. Australian Homeopathic Association

After each dose he developed very high fevers and was sick with ‘flu-like symptoms for 4-7 days. The homeopath told me not to medicate his fever unless it went above 40 degrees – where it can become problematic – as fever is an important element in child development. (This was a shock to a mum who had bought the lie that children should be given panadol or nurofen when feverish). His fever hovered around 39 degrees, never quite tipping 40. The homeopath had told me that like a eucalyptus pod which will not sprout without fire, our developmental processes – including the development of the immune system – requires the energetic fire of fevers to ‘unlock’ its progressive stages. Childhood illness actually serves the function of advancing development and to suppress illness can be stifling this development.

The essential point is that health is not merely the absence of illness, as conventional medicine presumes. Rather, it is the balance between acute inflammatory and chronic illnesses; when you suppress the first in childhood, you’re likely to get much more chronic illness in adulthood. Dr Philip Incao

Each time my son had a dose of homeopathic MMR, and then recovered from his fever, he had a HUGE developmental spurt. His language improved, his communication and social skills improved, his attention to tasks improved, his anxiety levels improved – and he has never again suffered the autistic ‘meltdowns’  from the complete inability to manage his emotions as he did before – and his imagination was finally ‘switched on’. By the end of that year there was a massive improvement which continued throughout his primary school years. At the end of last year he was tested as functioning within the normal range. Now, except for a few lingering issues like low-level anxiety, social development, and being a little immature for his age, his symptoms are almost gone. Now, I am not making any wild claims here, autism is a neurological condition and as such he probably isn’t cured of it, but his symptoms have been significantly reduced. I am also not saying you should not get medical intervention for a sick child, but it is worth finding a doctor who practises both allopathic and alternative medicines as they are less free and easy with the unneccesary pharmaceuticals.

There have been two great revelations in my life: The first was bebop, the second was homeopathy. Dizzy Gillespie

Since then I have noticed that when I get sick, it is often after dealing with some heavy duty emotional stuff. I felt this illness come on as I was doing inversion poses in yoga on Monday. I know what you’re thinking, how absurd! I was inverted, with my head below my heart, and I felt a wave pass through my sinuses and nasal passages. It felt like when you are swimming and get a wave of water up your nose. It was more energetic than physical, but I was left with the physical symptoms which (probably because I just powered through my week instead of stopping to rest and allow my body to heal) have developed into throat and head cold. Mind you I also have some issues of speaking my truth come up this week, so the throat stuff is not surprising.

Energy healing is based on the supposition that illness results from disturbances in the body’s energies and energy fields and can be addressed via interventions into those energies and energy fields. Jed Diamond

After that healing experience with my son, I avoid medication when we have cold or ‘flu symptoms, most of the time they just run their course, I use homeopathic remedies, vitamins and herbs to strengthen the immune system and alleviate the symptoms. I see a homeopath and kinesiologist. There’s frankincense burning and essential oils. My friends joke that my place like hippie commune, complete with prayer flags, wind chimes, buddha statues, and wafts of smudge smoke. Apart from the odd cold which he blows off in a few days, my son is extremely healthy.

Real medicine can only exist when it penetrates into knowledge which embraces the human being in respect to body, soul and spirit. Rudolf Steiner

I’m sure all this talk of dreams and healing viruses is hard to swallow for some of you, but the reality is that our body systems are highly intelligent and organised. They want to be healthy, and if you can tap into that force, it’s a pretty amazing experience. Words fall short of truly capturing it. And yes, I am open to the possibility that it’s all in my head, a massive placebo effect, but it doesn’t feel like it.

There is no way to tell if we are the pioneers of a visionary new age, whisking humanity into the high vibrations of an interdimensional love party, or post-modern Don Quixotes attacking techno-industrial windmills with our flimsy, rolled-up yoga mats. Jonathan Talat Phillips

And on the subject of hearts and love and healing, a lovely addendum to the idea of random acts of kindness, from a previous post:

I love that she honours the memory of her husband in this way! So heart and health. It’s all about love, loving ourselves, loving our fellows, loving the world. Healing begins within and radiates out. And it can be so simple, like this lady waving at children. She harnessed the love she felt for her husband and sent it out into the world through those children. It obviously had a profound effect on them. How many of those kids have absent parents or abusive parents? How many of them leave an empty house or a house without a word of love. Who knows the flow-on effect of a simple wave and smile, that made them wave and smile, and transformed their mood and sense of belonging in the world. 

The healing power of even the most microscopic exchange with someone who knows in a flash precisely what you’re talking about because she experienced that thing too cannot be overestimated. Cheryl Strayed

Here’s some healing affirmations for the heart called Loving Treatment from Louise Hay:

Deep at the centre of my being there is an infinite well of love. I now allow this love to flow to the surface. It fills my heart, my body, my mind, my consciousness, my very being, and radiates out from me in all directions and returns to me multiplied. The more love I use and give, the more I have to give, the supply is endless. The use of love makes me feel good; it is an expression of my inner joy. Yes, I love myself, therefore I take loving care of my body. I lovingly feed it nourishing food and beverages. I lovingly groom it and dress it and my body lovingly responds to me with vibrant health and energy. I love myself, therefore I provide for myself a comfortable home, one that fills all my needs and is a pleasure to be in. I fill the rooms with the vibration of love so that all who enter, myself included, will feel this love and be nourished by it. I love myself, therefore I work at a job that I truly enjoy doing, one that uses all my talents and abilities, working with and for people that I love and love me, and earning a good income. I love myself, therefore, I behave in a loving way to all people for I know that that which I give out returns to me multiplied. I only attract loving people in my world for they are a mirror of what I am. I love myself, therefore I forgive and totally release the past and all past experiences and I am free. I love myself, therefore I love totally in the now, experiencing each moment as good and knowing that my future is bright, and joyous and secure, for I am a beloved child of the universe and the universe lovingly takes care of me now and forever more. And so it is.

Bless!

Sharing your gifts with the world

wishing fairy star crystals

Do what you love. Share your gifts with the world. This is your purpose.

Although I believe it really is that simple, what does that actually mean? How DO you live like that?

I have often felt that I needed an owner’s manual for living life. I mean what am I REALLY doing here? It always seemed that there should be more to life than birth, death, and some filler in between. It felt like there should be some purpose to it. Why else would you study philosophy? Or literature? Or history? Or theology? If there was no big purpose behind it all, the humanities department wouldn’t exist, right?

Other people seem to have some internal navigation system they follow that leads them to their purpose, their dreams. But not me. I hid in books and music for the first 16 years of my life. I was a closet writer and artist – I mean literally, I sat in my closet and wrote. Then at 17, I followed a cute guy to the pub and stayed there for 10 years. Sometime later, after I was done with partying, I followed another cute guy to his house and kids and stayed there for another 10 years. There was no lack of chutzpah in me when it came to risk-taking behaviour with men and ‘partying’, but when it came to following MY dreams. The risk of really putting myself out there in the world. My chutzpah evaporates. Gone. Vamoose.

The problem is doubt. You can set yourself a purpose, but what happens when doubt comes in? For me it’s like a black hole that sucks up all my energy, passion, and resolve. It leaves me feeling deflated and lethargic, and thinking “who am I to be a force in this world?”

Part of the reason I wrote this blog – a big part – is to commit to examining my purpose, my dreams, my passions, to create thoughtful and authentic intentions. Alone I could lose faith in myself, in this process. With you reading, I may still lose faith but I am compelled to carry on regardless. You, kind reader, are my dutch courage. Because you are reading, and I want to continue writing, I keep going back to my intentions, like a dog with a bone.

“Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” Henry David Thoreau

This is my third intention: purpose.

The word purpose has its etymological roots in the Old French and Latin words meaning to plan and propose. Modern usage of the word seems to have propelled it from a proposition or plan, to a feeling of resolve or determination, and the idea that there is significant meaning or reason behind the something that is being planned or done, a sense of intelligent, thoughtful design. It’s a lofty word, for me anyway, that evokes a requirement for ethical thought, as if the things we do must have a benevolent and beneficial purpose.

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” Buddha

Purpose, to me, asks the question, what I am here for? What do I bring to the world as the result of my existence? What is the vision of the world I give my whole heart to? It makes sense to me to start with what I love and what I am good at – these must be my gifts, surely.

The inner critic in me will say “Does this actually matter, or should you just be content that you have a job and a roof over your head?” Certainly material needs are important. I’m not about to do a buddha and renounce all worldly goods to pursue my dharma. Possibly because I’m not even sure what that is yet.

I know this probably sounds unbelievably self-indulgent, like I’m on a journey of self-discovery and it’s all about me, me, me. Its easy to be judgemental of this stuff. You may say, “oh you meditate for an hour a day, how lucky you are to have the time.” The truth is, I make the time, I make it a priority, and I don’t spend that time in the morning at the gym, as I used to. Don’t get me wrong, I exercise, but that fervent quest for the perfect body has been replaced with a desire to start living from within. I may be a bit rounder than I was, but I’m more peaceful. Maybe a little like the buddha after all…

I digress. The point is I do believe it’s worth asking ourselves what matters to us, and where can we make a meaningful contribution to the world. I’m sure that if more people did a bit of self-enquiry the world would be in a much more harmonious state. We wouldn’t all be running around trying to get our needs met by money, cars, jobs, perfect bodies, parties, and love affairs. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that stuff, it’s just a bit meaningless if all you have is external to your being). And seeing as I’m on this journey of intentionality, I figure I may as well really investigate this stuff once and for all.

So I started by making a little list…

I love… people, writing, travel, wellbeing, reading, learning, creative expression, sharing ideas, retreats, nature, yoga.

I am good at… research, compassion, helping people, communication.

That is all good stuff. So what’s stopping me from going out there and doing it? Good question.

Every morning I meditate on letting go of old ideas and releasing what is blocking me from living my highest good and deepest truth. During these meditations I have discovered many old patterns of fear associated with my concepts of work and purpose. These old thinking patterns are punitive, never-ending, and usually boil down to a few ideas. I’m not good enough. Life is not meant to be easy. Who am I to enjoy these things, this life? That’s for special people. Life is a slog, hard work. And so on…

I cringe when these thoughts come up because they are NOT what I truly believe. Well, obviously somewhere along the line I have believed in them, but now I see how limiting and destructive they are. I often use this device to challenge my thinking:

“Would I speak to a loved one this way?”

If the answer is no, I quickly realise I shouldn’t be speaking to myself that way either.

An equally valid, and far more useful line of questioning is: Who am I not to be love? Who am I not to share my gifts with the world?

Meditating on the concept of purpose, I get a lot of feedback, and I’m not always sure what are my head thoughts and what are my heart thoughts. That is, what are the old mental programs and what is my truth. I also get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things I want to do to make a difference in the world. I realise this self-reflection is not something you can do only once and get definitive answers. Over time, however, there are some simple recurring messages: nourish and honour your body, generosity, kindness, service to others in need, help where you can, and do not cause harm.

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” Henry David Thoreau

I quote Thoreau a lot, I know. But dang, he’s good! He’s basically talking about creating new neural pathways – in the 1850’s!

When I find myself overwhelmed in the day with so much to pray for – bush fires, wars, Tony Abbott – I set a ground rule of three things. Each day I can choose three things to pray for but if something or someone else touches my heart as it crosses my path in that day, I pray in that moment. Prayer of this kind can be as simple as visualising that person or situation and sending them love. Or using the Ho’oponopono practice of saying: “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.”

Today what touches my heart is the death of Luke Batty. I am sending out a massive prayer blast for Rosie Batty and all those impacted by domestic violence. Thank you for these words from Marianne Williamson.

Let’s all stop for a moment, close our eyes, and send love and peace to Rosie Batty and her son Luke and to all those affected in any way by his death. Tune in and send love from your heart to them. We send as well our peace and healing to Luke’s father who perpetrated this crime, and who has since passed away. May all people suffering from untreated mental illness and in deep emotional pain and at risk of harming themselves or another be brought to a place of peace, healing, and love.

Does praying like this make the world a better place? I think so. What’s the alternative? Feeding the fearful, negative thoughts that these events create? Hurt people hurt people, if we can bring more love into the world, isn’t it possible we can bring about healing and reduce violence and suffering in all forms? I think so.

Living your purpose or living with purpose? It’s a subtle distinction, isn’t it? For me, at this moment, it seems less about discovering my grand purpose and design, and more about living with purpose, that is, in a purposeful, mindful way – being present to what is within me and around me in every moment. It’s all too easy to get hell-bent on some wacky scheme for living my dream life and miss the signposts right in front of me. Instead I focus on being in a place of allowing and trust, of receptivity. This way I get to live well and let life unfold for me.

So it seems that this lofty idea of purpose can be simple in its essence after all. Love who you are. Be with those you love. (And like the old song says, “If you can’t be with the ones you love, love the ones you’re with.”) Feel love in what you do. Feel thankfulness.

Let’s see if I can turn that into today’s affirmation: 

I do what I love and I love what I do. I love and accept myself and others. I am in a place of allowing and trust, of receptivity. I am living well and letting life unfold for me. I am thankful and loving for my life now and to come.

That’s a whole lotta love! Bless.

Out with the old, in with the new

buddha 3 effects

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” Buddha

The tricky part about believing that our intentions create our reality is what to do when negative thinking or even a spectacularly bad mood hits.

I realise my last post was very upbeat, and that’s how I felt at the time. Inspired, in the flow, super-confident of my manifesting abilities. Since then, being back at work, back in the suburbs, preparing for, what quite frankly feels like, ‘The Onslaught’ of the year kicking into full gear, I just haven’t felt quite so zen.

This seems reasonable, surely one is not expected to maintain this positive frame of mind 100% of the time? A few stolen grumpy hours under the doona with 20 episodes of a trashy TV series, in complete panic about how to pay one’s car registration, that’s okay, right?

Reading further on into Wayne Dyer’s Wishes Fulfilled put an end to that kind of thinking.

“Never let your attentiveness to what you are in the process of manifesting be side-tracked by external pressures of any kind”

Never? Like, ever? Even when I’m super-hormonal? Geesh.

I don’t know about you, but I have great intentions when they are new, but then I waft and wane a bit. I get a bit over being ‘good’ all the time. I get lazy and well, bored.

All the writers I have read seem to agree on the importance of attention and consistency in manifesting intentions. Apparently you can undo all your good work with some inattentive thinking.

This makes sense to me. My thoughts have been running this show with a news-flash like stream across my mind for my entire life, I don’t ask for them, they’re just there, and the majority of them are not particularly helpful.

There’s a lot of old recordings playing,

“why did you do that? you did what? again? your writing sucks! who do you think you are anyway? they don’t like you, they think you’re a pretentious twat”.

Or just banal rubbish like “how does the windscreen get so dirty on the inside?”

I could go on, like my mind often does, but I won’t.

Now I don’t pretend to understand the mind, or where thoughts come from. I only know that I don’t make this stuff up, it’s just there. If I could choose my thoughts, they’d all be positive, because that’s what I want in my life. So I tend to agree with the concept that Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer talk about. That I may not create my thoughts, but I do observe them. I am the constant presence that hears and reacts to my thoughts. Which means I get to choose which thoughts I like and which ones I don’t.

Like the old story of the two wolves. You know the one. It’s an old Cherokee Legend. A grandfather talks to his grandson.

“There’s a battle that goes on inside of all humans.”

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

My friend also puts it this way, let your unwanted thoughts die of neglect.

It’s like positive parenting, focus on the good, ignore the bad, unless it involves fire or sharp objects.

Rolling along with the analogies…

Imagine your mind is like a computer, it has been programmed to act in certain ways from birth. However, not all of these programs are helpful. Some may have been encoded by well meaning parents or teachers who constantly told you that the world was a dangerous, scary place and you should value safety above all else. This encoded you to be fearful, worrying, ever vigilant of potential threats, adverse to risk-taking.

However, now you want to embrace the abundance of the universe. As the sage Norwegian eighties pop group A-Ha once sang “it’s no better to be safe than sorry”. You want to take risks. You want to be open and receptive.

In order to do this you can reprogram your mind with new thoughts and affirmations, like this one from the I am discourses by Saint Germain:

 “I am the almighty governing presence of my life and my world. I am the health, well-being and harmony, self-sustained, which carries me through everything that confronts me.”

I also find doing a regular stocktake of my thinking helpful. This is something 12 Step programs refer to as an inventory. You basically write out all your angry, fearful, guilty, negative stuff and then you ask yourself what made you think or act like that? Usually there will be these old programs running, that you may not even be conscious of. Things that, in the words of Mary A. Hall:

“you having been believing were the real you”

But they’re not! They are probably someone else’s thoughts that you picked up somewhere and just accepted as truth.

I believe these old programs contribute to addictive behaviours and depression, speaking as someone who has suffered from depression – since puberty tipped me over from being a sensitive child into a full-blown, hormone-fuelled nihilist.

Depression is exacerbated in me by a lack of speaking my truth, feeling disempowered, repressing anger, being inauthentic, fear of other peoples reactions, a lack of self care, and self-abandonment.

In other words, the complete opposite of Shakespeare’s adage:

“To thine own self be true.”

Lest we all feel the task is too hard, I’ll finish with two suggestions Wayne Dyer gives, which I think are very manageable and which should tide us over until we become fully enlightened beings.

1. Acts of kindness

Studies have shown that serotonin and oxytocin (chemicals that make us feel good) levels are increased when giving, receiving, and witnessing acts of kindness.

2. Five minutes before sleep

Spend the five minutes before sleep thinking and feeling into positive “I am” statements. This ensures you enter your subconscious dream state with the positive intentions you wish to imprint on your subconscious mind – as opposed to all your worries and concerns. This will ensure you wake feeling positive and aligned each and every day. It can also assist in physical healing as your body heals during restful sleep.

And finally, here’s an affirmation I love from The Book of Stones: Who They Are & What They Teach by Robert Simmons and Naisha Ahsian – for Rose Quartz.

I open my heart to receive and express the energies of love. My mind, heart, body, soul and spirit blend in perfect harmony as I manifest my true self.

Bless.

Further reading on Acts of Kindness:

http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-research/2153-elation-the-amazing-effect-of-witnessing-acts-of-kindness

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/priya-advani/random-acts-of-kindness_b_3412718.html

http://www.actionforhappiness.org/10-keys-to-happier-living/do-things-for-others?gclid=CLbB5LnXpLwCFQQwpAodVC4Ajg

Feeling your flow

flow

This week I found myself a comfy banana lounge by the sea and settled in for some serious research. Okay, serious might not be an apt description. It was actually pretty fun reading all about manifesting and the law of attraction, and there may have been some snoozing – also known as beta brain-wave processing, I’ll have you know.

I read about five books on the subject, some more speed-reading than research, but I think I have some key ideas that seem to pop up in most of the theories, and being the loving soul that I am, I’m happy to share my findings with you.

The first step seems to be gratitude and thankfulness, both for what is, and what is being manifested. Rhonda Byrne reminds us that “like attracts like”, positivity and thankfulness attract more to be positive and thankful for.

The second step is to use your imagination, but really focus on the feelings. Visualise your completed goal as if it’s already happened. Feel as you would if the thing you desire had already come to pass. Feelings are the pathway to the subconscious. By feeling the intention you imprint on your subconscious which then directs your conscious mind. Wayne Dyer always envisages a completed book when he writes, he knows he can write it because in his imagination it already exists. Sayonara writer’s block!

The third step is inviting ‘The Flow’, the divine, the source, spirit, God, the universe, all that is – whatever way you think of it – to guide you.

Think of it as designing a life, imagine it, feel it and assume that it is so. Be consistent. Do it all the time, let all your thinking be positive, thankful, and imaginative.

Try this exercise Wayne Dyer uses: recite positive “I am” statements. Say whatever you want to manifest. I am loving. I am joy. I am abundantly fulfilled. I am vibrantly healthy. I am working my dream job. 

Remember it’s ‘I am’, not ‘I will be’. The field of possibilities exist only in the present moment. ‘I will be’ is saying it’s eternally just out of reach. How frustrating would that be? Also only use positive statements. So instead of ‘I am not depressed’ say ‘I am depression free’.

The books I read so far were Wayne Dyer Wishes Fulfilled, Esther and Jerry Hicks Money, and the Law of Attraction, Joe Vitale The Key and Rhonda Byrne The Magic. These are the big names in manifesting and intentionality. I also read a book by Summer McStravick called Creative Flowdreaming. Check her website out flowdreaming.com.

The Flow is pretty much whatever your concept of life is. For me, it is living life with loving attitude and effortless actions. Allowing life to unfold and trusting it is all as it should be. You know, go with the flow. Summer writes that the Flow is always aligned with kind of person I wish to be, by imaging my intentions, then allowing the Flow in, I can be assured of manifesting the greatest outcome in alignment with the compassionate, loving, generous person I wish to be. And that the outcome will be for the good of all humanity, as the Flow is aligned with everyone’s highest good.

I was glad I read her book, it was practical and sensible. Some people say intention is all in the details, that you have to be really specific, I was relieved that Summer suggested leaving “the Flow” some room to move. I think now the pressure is off choosing the curtains for my dream home, I can have some fun playing with making vision boards!

After all that information and trying out some of the simple exercises, I started to see some serious synchronicity in my day today. During my tea break I read a blog I like. The blogger was off to Uganda with a children’s sponsorship project. Every morning since the typhoon in the Philippines I pray and send them light. I have donated money and often wondered what more I should do. I read this blog and thought “I’d like to sponsor a child”. So I followed the links to the organisation she mentioned and chose the option of ‘no preference’ for the child’s age and country – going with the flow. It came up with a child in the Philippines! So I now sponsor a little boy called Roque.

Back at work I saw a book whose title intrigued me Zero Limits: the Quest for Miracles Through Ho’oponopono. Ho’oponopono, what a great word, what’s not to be intrigued by? It was written by Joe Vitale (who wrote The Key) so I thought I’ll go with this flow. At lunchtime I was listening to a recorded talk and the speaker mentioned Ho’oponopono. Twice in an hour? I’d never heard the word before!

So what is it? I’m glad you asked! Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. Morrnah Simeona, a modern Hawaiian healer adapted the traditional hoʻoponopono of family mutual forgiveness to the address the broader social issues of the modern society. After Simeona’s passing in 1992, her former student Ihaleakala Hew Len, co-authored two books with Joe Vitale. The mantra they use is “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” It basically is thought to undo all karma, or consequences of cause and effect, in the world. (source: Wikipedia)

I can’t wait to play with that one! The day has just been like bada bing bada boom! In the flow, baby!

You may be wondering, but what about that house you were going to manifest? Trust me, this is all laying the foundations of what is to come. I’m a research girl, once I have my synthesis of theory down, I’ll get to some focused manifesting, but right now, I’m just loving what the flow brings.

The couple of days I spent at the beach, I was completely content in relishing the ocean, the feeling of swimming, appreciating the simple things, my happy dog, the sand, and the sunset that made everything pink-hued.

Awash with thankful awareness of simple pleasures, I experienced such joy and rejuvenation, reading, contemplating, enjoying nature, and taking photos. Connecting with the things I love in this process. It felt wonderful.

For now, it feels like the end-goals matter less than aligning with my higher self. Being myself. Loving being myself. Aligned with the nature of my being: Joy. Peace. Love. Childlike wonderment. Present moment awareness. Connectedness.

I am blissfully playing with creativity. (How’s that for an ‘I am’ statement?)

A quote from Henry David Thoreau to finish with: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”

Bless!