What is Beyond Struggle?

curious isolated young woman looking away through metal bars of fence with hope at entrance of modern building

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Step out of the past

Let go of struggle stories

Find truth in the now

~

 

I feel a real connection to others who are struggling right now … and who have struggled in the past. Have you noticed what that feels like? A shared struggle feels oh so familiar… and somehow comforting.

Many of us come to see that the struggles of the past are re-enacted in our present lives. 

We all have challenges and conflicts within ourselves, especially the thinking mind with its tethered beliefs and judgments, along with our conditioning from childhood.

It all diminishes our ability to be open, to tune into intuition and heart felt sense of being. It keeps us trapped in our ego-mind and small self. 

When we identify with our struggle, its so easy to let it overwhelm us, and we literally become the struggle.

The struggle become how we identify ourselves. “I am stupid… I am a failure… I am not worthy… I am unlovable… I am an addict… I am a bad person” … etc

Many of us get attached to our personal struggle and some will find the courage to share it and reach out to others who understand.

Our struggle story can be very personal, yet it acts as a bridge of connection and community. All human beings experience struggle, and when we find similar souls, we feel validated and supported.

Yet the struggle is still a story. Created by our fearful, controlling ego. When we embrace the story, it makes us feel right, stronger and more able to deal with the external pressures. We actually lose touch with who we truly are, rather than connect deeper into our true sense of being.

This is such an important part of the journey, but it isn’t the end. It can backfire if it ends here. When we get attached to our story, we stay stuck. 

Struggle keeps us attached to our ego and small self. It takes us into the past and makes us anxious about the unknown future. It prevents us from being present to the goodness that is already within us, and to open up to the higher Self and power beyond our separate small lives.

For those on a spiritual path, as long as we identify with our struggle we cannot awaken.

The struggle story will never set us free. 

We will be free when we choose to open up, accepting this part of our history and ourselves, face it, feel compassion for it and then let it go. This is challenging and important work.

We must truly want to move past our struggle if we want to awaken to the freedom beyond. What is beyond struggle? When we come to recognize, befriend and let go of ego.

Beyond ego is beyond struggle.

On your path to awakening, what part of your struggle story are you willing and ready to let go of?

 

 

 

 

Clearing the Clutter

black and pink plastic clothes hangers

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Many of us are using this time to create space and de-clutter our work and home environments. Over the past few months I have been setting aside clothes that I no longer need. Yesterday, I went to Goodwill and let a lot of material things go. Not just the old, but also what might serve others better.

Letting go of what no longer serves us and creating space for something new is a powerful practice.

Its something that I am doing intentionally for a number of reasons.

It allows us to move forward and not be overly attached to the past. So we let go of the old that no longer supports who we are today.

It turns out that this is pretty hard for me … and I don’t think of myself as a hoarder!

For many years I was an Intercultural Trainer, supporting people from different cultures coming to the US and for Americans going overseas and working in Global teams. I loved this work as it let me expand my knowledge of different cultures – especially their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that may be unexpected and different.

When I become a life coach I moved away from training into the sphere of one to one coaching.

And now I am giving away my books and creating space for my yoga books on philosophy and spiritual inspiration. I feel drawn to bring more spiritual awareness and connection to our intuitive heart space, rather than our rational mind.

When we clear our environment it creates space for the new. Often it will create a new sense of spaciousness within us too … and sometimes not. Lets be realistic and human.

If you are in the process of de-cluttering, notice if this physical clearing is enough for you or if there are judgments and attachments that are also cluttering your mind. They may make you feel secure, but they may be getting in the way of what you really want.

person sitting on bench under tree

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EXPLORATION

Take a moment to sit comfortably.

Feel your body resting in this space. Hips. Thighs. Lower legs. Ankles. The soles of your feet.

Take some full deep breaths as if you want to be here in your body … and feel supported.

Notice the change in your breath when you land here fully.

Slow it down even more.

This is the place to ask yourself:

“What do I need to let go of?”

Keep breathing and see what arises from the depth or your being rather than your head

With awareness of clutter and consciously letting go, we move away from past conditioning and towards balance and freedom.

Can you let yourself be here, just the way it is?

Namaste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Richness in our Lives

flight landscape nature sky

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As life becomes harder and more threatening, it also becomes richer, because the fewer expectations we have, the more the good things of life become unexpected gifts that we accept with gratitude.

~ Etty Hillesum

This time is one of letting go. Letting go of the expectations we had about how life would unfold.

There is something so much bigger taking place right now. We are entering a new way of living and being, and there is no going back, for every individual, our community, society and the human race.

I feel unease and fear for others who are struggling right now. My heart goes out to the fearful, the angry, the belligerent, and the denyers among us. It will be hard on them. They are resisting a new reality and will suffer.

This time is a time to bring our focus onto life’s unexpected gifts and to be grateful. I’ve noticed that I am more and more grateful for the relationships I have, even when I can’t be with people in the same way.

Gratefulness brings us ease and opens our hearts for connection, kindness and love.

It can’t solve the problems we are experiencing, but it can release our fears and allow us to become centered and calm. It can bring us to our Middle Ground, where new possibilities and inspiration arise from a knowing deep within.

Namaste

 

 

Inspiration – Let it Go

This poem from Danna Faulds really resonated with me this week. Her work is such an inspiration.

let it go

Let go of the ways you thought life
would unfold: the holding of plans
or dreams or expectations – Let it
all go. Save your strength to swim
with the tide. The choice to fight
what is here before you now will 
only result in struggle, fear, and
desperate attempts to flee from
the very energy you long for. Let go.

 Let it all go and flow with the grace
that washes through your days whether
you receive it gently or with all your
quills raised to defend against invaders.

 Take this on faith: the mind may never
find the explanations that it seeks, but
you will move forward nonetheless.
Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry
you to unknown shores, beyond your
wildest dreams or destinations. Let it
all go and find the place of rest and
peace, and certain transformation.

~ Danna Faulds

COVID-19 is changing our society and the globe. It is reaching deep inside every one of us and turning our world upside down. Our dreams are on hold. Our faith is being questioned. We are being asked to let go of what we have thought is “normal”.

In our culture we are conditioned from an early age to expect to shine as an individual;  to make plans and achieve goals; to stand out above others,  pushing to succeed, strategizing to overcome and competing to win. We are also expected to be good consumers in order to achieve status and happiness and to show how successful we are. We thought that the pursuit of material things was the pursuit of happiness.

Many of us have been questioning these old ways for some time, and have come to realize that the wellspring of happiness lies within us, not in the external and material realm.

COVID-19 has changed all that. The old way of being doesn’t work any more. We must come together as a community, rather than compete against each other. We must work together to overcome the challenges that society faces now and in the future. We must embrace our global humanity and support each other, and our planet to sustain us. We must get creative and use our amazing minds for good rather than greed.

When we allow ourselves to fully experience life’s highs and lows,  it becomes clear that happiness doesn’t come from what we acquire or attain. It lies within us.

To find happiness we have to bring our attention into our inner world and let go of trying to control the outcomes of our life.

When we pause we transform.
Create this space for yourself.
Find your Middle Ground

Namaste

Breathing to Let Go

This quote stood out for me today: “Sometimes you don’t realize the weight of something you’ve been carrying until you feel the weight of its release.”

 

When you find yourself tense, overwhelmed or feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. Take a moment to sit comfortably and simply notice your breath.

Every inhale brings in new life, nourishment and energy.

Every exhale is a release and letting go.

Our breath reflects the ebb and flow of life itself.

Do you notice that there is a slight pause at the end on the inhale as you hold onto the air? This holding on creates more tension in our body and it feels so good to release some of it with this simple exercise:

Take a nice big inhale and then sigh on the exhale. Really focus on the noise you can make when you breath out! Make it loud and long. The biggest and best sigh in the world.

Next, If this feels good, bring your shoulders up to your ears on your inhale and then release them away from your ears on the exhale.

You may want to bring in some shoulder rolls now. Inhale raising your shoulder up and then exhale releasing forwards. (3 times) Then inhale raising them up and exhale releasing them backwards (3 times).

As the energy moves, can you feel the shift? A lightening. As you practice this can you feel the burden releasing?

Namaste

 

Life Isn’t Personal

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The universe continues to unfold in each moment

Let it

You don’t have to control or hold on to anything

Just take time to pause and listen to your inner wisdom

Trust it’s soft voice

Mistakes and challenges have helped you grow into who you are today

Embrace whatever happens, knowing that you will continue to learn and grow

Nothing has gone wrong

Life continues in its highs and lows

Don’t take it personally

We are all in this together

Let Go and Find Yourself

” In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself. 

It will be a permanent Self, rooted in awareness and creativity. 

Once you have captured this you have captured the world.”                

~ Deepak Chopra

close up photo of woman with her hands tied with rope

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Life is a journey of letting go in order to discover what really matters. Yet we find ourselves clinging to the past and the very things that bring suffering and hold us back.

Letting go is a part of the natural rhythm of life.

Letting go:

Of every exhalation

Of the day as we fall asleep

Of our children as they grow up and leave home

Of things that no longer serve us

Of a past that weighs us down

Of relationships that no longer nurture us

Of roles that we have outgrown

Of over thinking

Of our habits and conditioning

Of “me” “I” and “mine” as we experience our connection to something more than our little self.

  •  Take a few moments to pause and reflect on all the things that you have let go of in the past…
  • The things that you are working on right now…
  • And what you might still be holding on to…

Trust in your ability to let go and embrace it fully with an open mind and heart.

In taking these courageous steps every day we come to know our true permanent Self and move towards real freedom.

Namaste

Life is an Adventure Not a Package Tour

“Life is an adventure, not a package tour.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Life is an adventure

Photo by Jas Poole

This is a great reminder for me today – especially as I will be leaving for Europe on vacation next week.

We are not going on a package tour, but I do want to be prepared and feel in control 😉

When we spend so much of our time planning and anticipating whatever obstacle might come up, its easy to miss the excitement of the unknown and the adventure of it all.

It’s like life…

Take a moment and consider “Am I approaching life with a Package Tour mindset or as an Adventure?”

Looking back on previous vacations, I recall that it was the unexpected that thrilled. Like the moment we followed an impulse instead of the GPS and found ourselves on a dirt track heading towards the clouds. Suddenly a golden eagle flew up in front of the car with a 3 foot snake in its mouth. We didn’t have time to photograph it, but the moment is imprinted in our brains forever. Now that could never be planned for!

Looking back on life, aren’t the moments that take our breath away, the ones we didn’t plan for…

The moments we feel really good about are the ones where we have met unexpected challenges and discovered inner strength and resourcefulness.

Or the moments where we let our guard down and let the love in, to be fully embraced and accepted for who we are.

Or moments of discovery and awe of something that was once unknown.

Life really is an adventure when we allow ourselves to let go of control and notice things as they unfold.

When I think about my vacation, I now ask myself “Can I let go more and allow the present to unfold?” Absolutely, now that I have my bug spray, sunscreen, contact lens solution, change of underwear, reading glasses, GPS and maps packed…

Be Present to Negative Emotions

Go ahead and embrace the importance of negative emotion. Your emotions and the way you feel is your guidance system and it is telling you everything you need to know.

If you feel negative emotion, then you are either resisting how things are in the present moment, resisting something that was in the past, or resisting something that you think might be in the future.

Take a moment to reflect on this and see if this is true for you.

As human beings lost in our own stories, we immediately point to the outside world to create excuses as to why we can’t be happy and at peace right now.

We tell ourselves ”If that had turned out differently, then I’d be happy.
If he/she hadn’t done that to me, then I’d be happy.
If this goes the way the I want it to go, then I’ll be happy”

The moment you stop resisting life and pointing fingers at the outside world, the more a deep sense of joy and inner freedom will arise within you.

You’re an eternal being. Your consciousness cannot be destroyed. The greatest joy that you can feel is when your being comes into alignment with the very deepest, eternal, aspect of your consciousness.

What’s the one thing that you can do to allow your soul to come into alignment? Resist nothing. Surrender to everything that arises in the present moment without judgment.

Everything that you are searching for will arise from within you at a deeper and more profound level when you stop resisting what is happening.

Namaste

Nothing to prove

Enjoy this re-post and Middle Ground pause.

place of silence

Place of silence Photography by Ingo Dumreicher

“There’s nothing to prove, nothing to figure out, nothing to get, nothing to understand.
When we finally stop explaining to ourselves, we may discover that in silence, complete understanding is already there.”

Steve Hagen

Within nothing is everything

Beyond everything is nothing

When the unknown becomes known there is nothing to know

Let it be found in stillness

Creating Spaciousness

spaciousness

Photo: ID 5559528 © Gogobat | Dreamstime.com

I love going to other teacher’s yoga classes. It allows me be totally present with myself and be open to new experiences.

I had a wonderful experience a few weeks ago, where the teacher helped me create a real sense of spaciousness in my body. With the gentlest of touches she guided me to open up just a little around my waist. It was such a small move, but the energy that opened up within me was so expansive. I felt longer, lighter, leaner and with it, more powerful and self confident. With the release came a smile and feeling of being uplifted.

When we create space in our yoga poses it transforms us from the inside out.

I’ve been musing on how this also works in our lives. Have you noticed that when we create space there seems to be an energy that expands into it? Perhaps you can recall a time of closet clearing, emptying old files or cleaning the refrigerator, that brought a new lightness and energy into your day?

We clear out and let go in order to allow for more of what truly matters… spaciousness.

Creating space is transformational.

Look around you, or within you, and see what you can let go of right now.

Namaste

 

Haiku – Second Nature

revolving-door-stack-effect-building-science-history

~

What if letting go
Became our second nature
Find your Middle Ground

~

Find your Middle Ground is about stepping away from stressful days and anxious minds, and taking time to pause… again and again. Like a revolving door of awareness. We recognize a current state or thought, are able to let it go, and keep coming back to it.

When we are mindful of the present moment and simply allow it to be, we open a door to our natural state of being – accepting, loving, peaceful, kind and content. Most of us are so distracted and moving so fast that we get caught up in the world of “doing” or worrying about what we should be doing next.
Too much doing and thinking disconnects us from our sense of “being”and who we really are.

I write about finding this place of connection, contentment and peace in the highs and lows of life. I call it our Middle Ground.