What is the Path to Freedom Here?

the path to freedom

What is the path to freedom here?
The answer is clear the moment
that I ask. At every fork in the road,
there is a conditioned response
and one that is unpatterned, bold,
and free. The old known way is
more comfortable, but the other
path holds mystery and wonder.

~ Danna Faulds

What a wonderful question to ask ourselves when we are facing struggles and resistance in our lives… When deep down we want to change, but keep being pulled back into the old ways.

What is the path to freedom here? … Opens up a bigger context that can shake off the smaller conditioned responses that we have become so attached to.

Ask the question, be bold and step towards the freedom that awaits.

Namaste

Life’s Stepping Stones

life obstacles

Obstacles are the stepping stones of life.

To a younger mind, most obstacles are seen as problems that prevent us from getting what we want. Or worse, blocking our vision for our future.

What if each obstacle is there so we can recognize it and face it, rather than avoiding or wishing it away?

What if this is the opportunity to look at the struggle we are feeling and bring a new perspective and understanding?

What if this will bring you closer to a future that is right for you?

What if this is the gateway to real growth in our adult lives?

When we place our foot firmly on the stepping stone, and then the other, we can find our balance in uncertainty.

Stepping forward with awareness and readiness takes us along the path.

Embrace the discomfort and the growth that is to be revealed.

Trust.

Breathe.

Love.

 

 

The Angel of Struggle

sculpture gold golden angel

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

This story comes from Swami Kripalu. Let it bring some understanding to all of you who are struggling in life right now.

“This world is a battlefield. Anyone born has to be a warrior, whether you’re a boy or a girl, man or woman, young or old, king or beggar, literate or illiterate, saint or sinner, our major dharma or duty in this world is to fight.

The compassionate Lord has one special Angel to help with our fight. This is the Angel of Struggle. Just as our food wont digest properly without exercise, so too our life wont develop properly without struggle.

The outward form of struggle may appear cruel, but its inner nature is not malicious. She enters our life without invitation and does whatever she please, but she blesses us with true knowledge, the knowledge we each need at that time in our life.

How skillful she is! What a beautiful sculptor”

~ John Mundahl “Poems, Prayers and Stories to End a Yoga Class”

True knowledge lies deep within the struggle. When we are struggling we are wrapped up in our pain, and in our mental anxiety.

When you notice this inner turmoil, instead of feeding it with more catastrophic thinking, find a way to listen beyond the pain.
Talk it through with a friend or counselor, or perhaps journal about it. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion.
Take time out without distraction and allow yourself to be with the situation, knowing that there is an important message for you from the Angel of Struggle.

Listen ….  It may be a call to be true to your own intuition instead of fitting in with other’s expectations.
It may be a demand to care for yourself and change your lifestyle.
It may be a plea to let go a past that no longer serves you.
It may be a cry to free yourself from a toxic relationship or job.

Become the warrior that you were born to be, and honor your true self with kindness.

Namaste

Refection – Being Strong

strong woman

I have become a Strong Independent Person. Its something that others admire. I also admire in others… and in myself.
This knowledge assures me, and it feeds this part of me. We have become quite attached to each other, SIP and I.

As long as I embrace this persona, and default to it in times of difficulty, then I find it hard to be vulnerable and dependent on others.
The dependent part of me I still judge as “weak”. I am also too ready to judge others who appear dependent and “weak”.

We all have a shadow side, which can be masquerading as our “good side”.

The ego is like that. It creates a story about what we want to admire in ourselves, and therefore what we see in others.

Yet, when the ego is in charge, it blocks off the heart and our ability to empathize and be truly compassionate.

My heart tells me to not be so strong. To allow myself to open more to others and trust in them and their goodness. To let go of trying to control with strength and will. To open to the inevitable.

May we all find acceptance of the shadow and the light within us, and find inner harmony.

* Hyper critical

mother daughter conflict

Are you being hyper critical right now in relationship to one or more people?
Take a moment and consider… Are others consistently irritating you and annoying you?

When we become hyper critical it is usually because we are repressing a feeling … which is usually of resentment towards someone.

Are you resenting someone’s behavior towards you?

Has his or her behavior triggered you and touched a tender place where you don’t feel appreciated or loved? Perhaps there is an unmet need for respect and appreciation.

As human beings we all have basic needs: to feel safe, express ourselves, belong, feel loved and appreciated.

Perhaps you are playing the “martyr” game, a tactic of pretending that something is all right with you while subtly signaling that it is not, and possibly trying to make others feel guilty for their behavior.

Most of us are unconscious of this … its not something our ego is likely to acknowledge.

Taking time right now to acknowledge that this may be the case, will open up compassion for yourself.

See beyond the resentment and anger to the hurt and longing to be seen and loved for who you are. You are worthy of love and respect.

It takes courage to say what you really mean and put your feelings on the line.
Yet this is the only way to heal and move past the struggle.

 

TOP 3 WAYS TO GET UNSTUCK

If you are struggling or perhaps feeling stuck right now, take heart with this post from Dear Human Sheri 💛

DEAR HUMAN


You may be struggling. You may even be suffering. YOUhowever are not stuck. I promise.

Life is designed so that no being need be defined by what has, is, or will happen to you. Everyone has been given everything needed to rise up to the richness that resides inside. The is a grandness that can be lived out in any life because it is not material like the rooms you wake up in.

Remember that you are not limited by circumstances, hardships, suffering and pain. Know without a shadow of doubt that the only limit to living a fantastically free life is that which you allow your mind to attach to it. Above all, accept responsibility for the thoughts you have. Your mind, under the supervision of your spirit, can at anytime and under all circumstances be directed by the forces of love, kindness, compassion, gentleness, forgiveness and peace.

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* Struggling to be Happy

rainbows and bluebird
How can we be happy when we are struggling?

.. When we are in emotional turmoil and pain?
.. When our thinking and our body feel burdened and heavy?
.. When we withdraw from others and the world because we hurt inside?

We can’t…

If we think we can turn on happiness like flicking a switch…
If we expect someone to come and rescue us…
If we think things will be better – if only…
Then we have joined the storybook world of fairy tales, rainbows and bluebirds of happiness.

Yet most of us do it all time. Its part of being human and our ego’s way of dealing with pain. Our ego is the survivor and protector part of us. It would much rather escape into wishful thinking than have to face being vulnerable or feeling more hurt.

No wonder Walt Disney is so popular with grown ups!

So we focus on all the things we wish could be different. We wish this suffering would go away. We dream about how things might be or could have been.
And in doing so, we deny this moment and create more stories to keep us exactly where we are – still wishing for happiness.

The only moment for living is now. And now is the time for accepting what is alive in us … and to start to take small steps towards being happy.

The first step is to accept what we are feeling. By acknowledging and accepting that negative feelings are a part of life … and its okay to have them … we allow ourselves to begin the unburdening and the healing. The more we resist these uncomfortable feelings, the more resistance and tension builds up within us – mentally, emotionally and physically. Until it is released and healed, we will find ourselves getting caught up in cycles of inner struggle and the world of Disney, and we become physically weak and ill.

pause

Sit comfortably. Take a few moments to breathe fully and connect with the sensations in your body…. What is alive in your right now? Your thoughts? … Your feelings? 

Give these feelings… thoughts… and sensations…  space.

Notice where there is tension or contraction.

This is resistance to what is.

Breathe into it.

Allow it to soften and expand.

Give it space.

Embrace it.

It is real.

It is you.

Do not reject it.

This is a precious part of who you are.

There is nothing wrong with it.

Give yourself tender care for this vulnerable part of you.

woman alone

Ask – what does this part of me yearn for? … attention … recognition … understanding … acceptance … tenderness … love 

Let it show you what it needs.

That feeling is deep within you.

Connect to this living energy and embrace it all.

Trust that in doing so you allow the loving energy to flow and release whatever is ready to be let go of.

Wishful thinking and waiting for rainbows and bluebirds may make us feel better for a while … but our body and soul know that it is fleeting.

If you are experiencing one of life’s lows, perhaps it is time to reconnect to your very being and really feel all of the aliveness within you, instead of rejecting it and wishing it would go away.

Acceptance opens up real steps towards happiness.

Namaste

* Change What You Can …

 

woman alone

We all face difficult situations and emotions that make it hard to come to a decision about some of them. Our analytical brain goes into overdrive and we seem to go round in circles! I’ve written about finding our middle ground, calming our mind, letting go and dealing with incessant thinking.

I have taken inspiration from the Serenity Prayer  all the way to Stephen Covey’s first habit in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Recently I came across a great question from master coach Marshall Goldsmith. It stopped me in my tracks and I saw how valuable it was in moving through the highs and lows of life.

Before jumping to the question, take a moment to consider a situation that you are struggling with:

  • Perhaps you are complaining about your relationship with a family member
  • Perhaps you are struggling with an action of  a colleague
  • Perhaps you didn’t get much sleep last night and are at the end of your rope at work

Now ask yourself this question:

“Am I willing at this time

to make the investment required

to make a positive difference on this topic?”

With thoughtful consideration …

If your answer is Yes – Then it may be that you do have the time, energy, resources and ability to bring about positive change in this area.

If your answer is Not Now –  Then recognize that this is not the best time to deal with it. We often feel we should take action, but don’t have the resources or time. Or sometimes we are unsure if a positive difference is even possible. Put it on the back burner and re-visit it later.

If the answer is No – then let it go. Yes – let me repeat. Let it go!

Read this again and again and you’ll see how each of the 3 parts of this question can bring you to clarity and help you deal with some tough decisions.

* Don’t Turn Away

inner courage

“Don’t turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.” Rumi

When you are experiencing hurt, especially a wound of the heart

Look directly at this bandaged place

Find courage to face the storm rather than avoiding it or denying it

Be tender towards this raw vulnerability

When you bring compassion to your wounds, you allow them to heal

Be with it so it can transform you beyond fear and pain

Trust yourself to feel and live fully

Practice being present with whatever is alive in you, and you will find this light

* Deciding to Do the Right Thing

at the edge

Have you ever thought about doing something  that you know would be a challenging experience, yet you feel it will also be one that gives an opportunity to learn about yourself and grow?

In coming to the decision about doing this, you know you will have to face certain aspects of yourself and habitual patterns that aren’t serving you … You will have to let go …

A deeper part of you knows that its the right thing to do, and the human part of you (ego) comes up with all sorts of excuses and reasons for weazling out and avoiding  this scary and threatening place.

I’m feeling it right now … and it reminds me of when I came to the decision to give up smoking. It was much easier to keep smoking than to face the reality of the harm I was doing to myself and its hold over me. By stopping I would also be letting go of the comfort, reassurance, security and yes, companionship of my ciggie.

Within all of us is a core of honesty and integrity that is part of our higher self. Our lower ego self wants things to be the same, and in my experience tries to negotiate with the higher voice by coming up with all sorts of arguments and counterpoints to deflect and avert. It gets a kick out of outwitting the better part of me 😉

So which voice do we choose?…

When we are aware of the inner workings of our mind, the chatter and strategies of our very human ego … then we really can see that there is a choice.

The choice I am considering is whether to go on a social media retreat while I am away on the next module of my YTT 500 Yoga teacher training at Kripalu.

Even when we embrace our higher self and choose to do the right thing, its important to recognize how our ego shows up. Denying the lesser part of ourself, only brings resistance and more struggle.

My ego really wants to share with you what a brave and challenging thing it is going to agree to. Its afraid it will feel disconnected and will miss the stimulation and community.

My higher self knows that this will give me an opportunity to be with the discomfort of disconnection from the external world and allow me to find more inner connection while I am away.

girl walking on her path

Your support is much appreciated as I switch off  from Friday Sept 19th until Sunday Sept 28th. 🙂

” Life at its best is a series of challenges. A big enough challenge will bring out strengths and abilities you never knew you has. Take on challenges and bring yourself to life.” anon

 

 

 

* Which Wolf are you Feeding?

black and white wolf

In the highs and lows of life there is often inner struggle. I first heard the tale of the two wolves some years ago, and it has appeared again twice this past week. Time to take notice for myself and share with you! I love the simplicity of  it and how it really opens up a new approach to dealing with our own attitudes and emotions.

There’s an old Native American tale about an elder who realized that  he had two wolves fighting inside of him.

One was mean spirited and selfish, and the other was noble and compassionate.

A younger man once asks of him “Which wolf usually wins?”

He replied, “It depends on which one I feed.”

Can you relate to this story? Which attitudes of mind and emotions do you tend to feed?

When we recognize and accept that both wolves are inside us, we can become mindful of which one to nourish.