Meet Yourself in Your Heart

 

petals and heart shaped cut out

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The obstacle you are facing is a special gift

It is there to bring clarity and new understanding

Instead of finding ways around it or fixing it

And creating stories to make you feel right and in control

Take time to face the challenge

To ask your intuition and heart

“What wants to be known?”

Let the answer reveal itself

There is freedom beyond this pain

When you meet yourself in your heart

Namaste

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resisting and Waking Up

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“It may look as if the situation is creating the suffering, but ultimately this is not so – your resistance is.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Wow – these are powerful words to read in a time of pandemic, when so many of us are desperately trying to come to terms with living in a fearful changing place filled with the unknown.

We are all human beings with ego-minds that are ready to resist whatever we see as a threat. Our minds can deny and duck… push back and dismiss… defend or withdraw… lash out and blame… whine and complain… in order to avoid feeling the pain of being out of control and feeling the fear.

If you are thinking “It will pass and its not a big deal” then please re-read the last paragraph.

Seriously. This is the new reality. One of external threats and being out of control.

We are waking up to a new reality where we no longer believe that we are controllers of our small world. We are realizing that we are part of the bigger world, and it’s darn scary.

This transition time is hard. If we are to survive and thrive, we must change the way we see things along with our behaviors.

We must get with the new program!

Noticing our resistance to what is happening is a very good place to start.

It’s time to waken up and become a witness to our unsettling thoughts, our conditioned responses and the incredible attachment to our routine and habits. What we have taken for granted may no longer be part of this new reality. What we think we have had control of, is simply a mirage.

This is a time to pause and reflect. To find our middle ground. Bring awareness inwards and notice everything that is coming up insight of you.

It’s not a comfortable place to be, and if you are not ready you may find yourself defaulting to distractions and ways to medicate yourself and dull the feelings. If you notice this, good for you! You are developing your ability to stand back and be the witness.

Here are some questions to ask, and to take time to journal on:

  • “What is it that I am not accepting?”
  • “What am I resisting?”
  • “What can I do that is in my control?”
  • “What do I have to let go of?”
  • “What can I do differently here?”
  • “How can I take care of myself and others?”
  • “How can I contribute to the change for good?”

Be kind to this awakening part of you.

When we are able to accept what is, without judgment and blame, then we can open our hearts and minds to a new way of connecting to the bigger world.

Already I am seeing the generosity and compassion of others. The ability to give freely to those who need it the most. Unconditional loving of humanity and our true nature.

We can all do this when we go beyond fear and find our middle ground.

At Every Fork in the Road

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The Path to Freedom

“What is the path to freedom here?

The answer is clear the moment

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, from her collection of writings and poems “Limitless”

 

I love this question. What is the path to freedom here?

So often we will ask “What’s the right way here?” or “What should I be doing now?” This alerts the mind to start to analyze what is “right”  – which is usually based on our old conditioning or brings up feelings of guilt and “shoulds” from the past. So often the answer is fear based, especially the fear of making a mistake.

Can you see that we have already created a cage around our response and limited our choice based on the old known way.

It isn’t about avoiding doing something wrong or pleasing someone else. It isn’t about being a good or a righteous person either. Or being safe and comfortable.

In my experience, the answer isn’t in the analytical mind at all, but is in the passion and inspiration that fills your heart and uplifts your soul.

Its about being aware, bold and free to approach the mystery of the unknown, and trust the inner voice that’s calling you.

One step at a time is all it takes.

This question will take you there.

 

Dealing with Ego on a Spiritual Path

When we are on a spiritual path, the idea of ego becomes something to overcome and get past. It feels contrary to how we want to be in the world.
Its the part of ourselves that we would rather hide or deny rather than show. So we battle with it or suppress it…. or disguise it.

ego in disguise

Here are some examples from my own experience of an ego in disguise:
~ We see ourselves as knowledgeable and evolved…. so we don’t want to be seen as not knowing or caught up in our self image.
~ We see ourselves as spiritual beings who give a lot to others…. so we don’t want to appear selfish and put ourselves first.
~ We see ourselves as good people in a world of danger and mistrust… because the world is a place where things are out of our control and other people can harm or take advantage of us.

Does this sound familiar to you? Can you see the ego at play here – in our thoughts about how we don’t want to be.
That’s our ego in disguise.
We are creating a “better” ego to overcome the inferior one from the past.

The irony is that in order for us to evolve past our ego we need to get intimate with it and acknowledge it. If we want to truly evolve into a new level of consciousness then this is the place that must be embraced.

silhouette of man standing near body of water

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When we look at the aspects of our ego, or our shadow side, and we feel resistance and discomfort … its a good thing.
Of course, this very human part of us doesn’t want to be looked at. Yet, when we accept is as a part of our experience, we begin to see it more clearly. We  feel it’s impact and see the power it has had over us for most of our lives … even now.

Being awake and conscious  and witnessing how our ego comes and goes is something that the most enlightened people are able to do.  It brings a smile and possibly a shrug. There is curiosity, compassion and detachment.

We cannot deny it just as the left needs the right, one side of a coin has to have the other, and  they cannot be separated from the other.

When we accept it and see it for what it is, it loses its power. We must embrace it in order for it to be no longer important as a driver in our lives.

If we continue to beat it up it will find ways to become more powerful in our thinking and stories about ourselves.

Be kind to your ego, so you can let it go and transform into your whole Being.

 

Self Questioning

free image from Dreamstime

“To have the courage to

Question one’s certainties, is

True courage.”

~ The Lost Writings of Wu Hsin translated by Roy Melvyn

Sit with this a while and see what comes up for you…

Bringing our awareness to the beliefs that we hold, and usually take for granted, is the first step in our personal growth and spiritual self inquiry. When we look inwards and question our thinking and assumptions, it opens up new perspectives and gives us the opportunity to learn about what has been unknown…. or what may never be discoverable in this life.

This venture into the unknown is a courageous path because the ego-mind will be alert for any conflicting views or threats to its long held position. The ego holds on to those beliefs that have become our certainties about life. It can keep us rigid, stubborn, critical and damning, or simply safe and stuck.

The choice is ours. To embrace the new or hold on to our certainties.

To those on the path of Yoga teacher training, take courage as you embrace what is beyond belief.

Namaste

 

Inspiration – Resisting

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“It may look as if the situation is creating the suffering, but ultimately this is not so – your resistance is.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

Have you ever had a reaction of “What do you mean I’m resisting? … They are the problem!”

We are all human beings with egos that are ready to duck and weave… push back and dismiss… defend or withdraw, in order to avoid feeling the pain of being wrong, not being accepted or not being good enough.

This is one of those seemingly simple statements from Eckhart Tolle that has a greater depth of meaning.

When we get frustrated and unhappy, instead of resenting what is happening to us, wishing things to be different and attacking the nearest bystander or ourselves for being stupid, we can step back with awareness.

We can ask ourselves questions such as “What is it that I am not accepting?” “What am I resisting?” Then “What can I do to change the situation?” (Bear in mind that you cannot change an other person, only yourself.) “What can I do differently here?” “Can I bring about change or accept the way things are”.

An other way to look at this is to recognize that the resistance is already within us. It’s usually in the beliefs that we hold about ourselves and life in general. When we come across something which threatens how we see the world, our ego will react to protect itself. We get triggered.

Every time we are triggered, it’s an opportunity to learn and to educate ourselves on what we hold dear to ourselves and our values. It’s also an opportunity to explore those beliefs and see if they are meaningful, or are based on early conditioning. Perhaps the other perspective is actually worth considering!

It really is all about us and our inner world.

When our ego defends and attacks the outer world; when we blame the other and create enemies in our mind; when we become judge and jury for everything that doesn’t comply with our thinking, then it is time to stop, take a few deep breaths and begin to search inside ourselves.

Self inquiry is the work of our lives.

Growth and Happiness

We all want to grow and become something ….. it seems to be a part of being human. Yet, what is that all about?

Some of us want to be successful in the eyes of others.
Others keep looking for the perfect partner, house, career, experience etc.

Some of us have a need to assert who we are and let go of the constraints of the past.
Others are drawn to acknowledge and appreciate all that has been, and the people who have supported them to where they are today.

Most of us want to be happy, but are bemused and confused at how elusive happiness can be.

I don’t have the answers, but what I do know is this. When we shift from looking for happiness outside of ourselves and start to question who we are, and what we have taken for granted, we are actually opening up a part of ourselves that has been hidden.

This part within us is yearning to be noticed. To be heard.
It may not be ready to be heard by our parents, siblings, partners or colleagues, but we must listen to it.

Honor and love this part of you.
This is who you truly are.
Let it flourish and grow.

What Makes Someone “Difficult”?

highly sensitive person

source: Pinterest

“What makes someone difficult?   Essentially, it’s their energy. We don’t have to be students of quantum field theory or Buddhist metaphysics to sense how much the energies around us affect our moods and feelings.  What makes someone tough for you to take? Basically, it has to do with how your energies interact with theirs.

Every one of us is at our core an energetic bundle. What we call our personality is actually made up of many layers of energy — soft, tender, vulnerable energies as well as powerful, controlling or prickly energies. We have our wild and gnarly energies, our kindly energies, our free energies and our constricted, contracted ones.

These energies, expressing themselves through our bodies, thoughts, and emotions, and minds, manifest as our specific personality signature at any given moment. What we see on the surface, in someone’s body language and facial expressions, is the sum of the energies that are operating in them. As we speak, its the energy behind our words that most deeply impacts others.

The beginning of change, then, is learning how to recognize and modulate our own energy patterns. The more awareness we have — that is, the more we are able to stand aside and witness our personal energies of thought and feeling and (rather than identifying with them) the easier it is to work with our own energies. This takes practice. Most people don’t start out with a highly developed awareness of their own energy or the way it impacts others — and even fewer of us know how to change the way our energies work together.”

~ Sally Kempton

This except from an article by Sally Kempton at Awkin.org caught my attention. There is wisdom here, and an opportunity to expand our insight into our energies and how they impact us and those around us.

Its easy to sense a “difficult” person, but do you have insight into how we may be “difficult” too? 

And when you realize your energy is impacting others negatively, are you able to modulate your own energy patterns?

I pondered these questions for myself, and came up with a resounding “I’m not sure”.

There is an old saying “It takes one to know one”. We see in others what we like and what we don’t like in ourselves. That difficult person’s energy is connecting with the same energy within ourselves.

Negative interactions become an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, and also to modify our own energy patterns.

Modifying our energy patterns is something that most of us have already experienced as we go through life.

Think of when you are feeling stressed out. What is the best way for you to let it go and feel better? It can be going for a run or a walk in nature, rolling out your yoga mat, reading a book, painting, playing an instrument, journaling, blogging or simply opening the Reader on WordPress.

These practices help the negative energy transform into something positive, so that it moves through you.

Awareness is the first step. Noticing how we are reacting to someone else’s energy, and how it is sparking the same energy within us.
Rather than reacting to what’s “wrong” with them, step back and consider what they may have touched within you. This can give you valuable insight into how you may be also be difficult to others.

 

 

Authentic Being

 

find your middle ground

“When you don’t play roles, it means that there is no self (ego) in what you do. There is no secondary agenda: protection or strengthening of your self. As a result your actions have far greater power. You are totally focused on the situation. You become one with it. You don’t try to be anybody in particular. You are most powerful, most effective, when you are completely yourself.”

~ Eckhart Tolle taken from A New Earth

It sounds straightforward enough, but it isn’t easy to become completely ourselves. It requires self inquiry and awareness of our thoughts, beliefs and how we interact with others.

So often, we let others define who we are in life. In our relationships, we take on roles all the time…. the good mother, the caring friend, the perfect daughter, the hard working employee, the life and soul of the party, the trend setter …

We then become attached to this image of how we think we should be, and lose our authentic self along the way.

To reveal our authentic being, we must learn to let go of how we define ourselves in this world. We must learn to pause and really focus on what is happening in that moment, without judgment.

In being present we find our Presence.

 

Inspiration – the Middle Way

Middle way

I am delighted to share this story from a very special mindfulness teacher, Jonathan Foust. His website has many resources and free podcasts and audio meditations. This story shows us what the Middle Way is.

I love his practical approach and the two questions for self inquiry in our practice of mindfulness.

“I quit,” a young man announces to his meditation teacher.
“You’re nothing but contradictions,” he continues. “You tell one person to work harder, sit up straighter and sit longer. Then the next person you encourage to sit in the sun and drink tea. What the heck are you teaching?”
The teacher smiles and responds:
“I teach ‘the middle way’ — cultivating that place that is not too tight and not too loose.
If someone is unfocused and scattered, paying close attention to the here and now brings them back into balance. If someone is too clenched and dour, they may benefit from relaxing and letting go.”
A big element of mindfulness practice is a form of self-diagnosis. You can ask variations of these two questions:
  1. What is happening right now?
  2. How does this moment want me to be with it right now?
Are you experiencing the profound dissatisfaction of feeling scattered or over-emotional or you have lots of ideas but can’t get started on any one of them? Concentration practices may help you gather your attention and bring about a sense of calm and centeredness.
Too wound up? Feeling grim, tight or judgmental? You may find investigating relaxation practices and meditations that cultivate spacious and compassionate awareness help reset your system.
The more you practice and study the more you become, as my friend Pat Coffey says, a “contemplative artist.”
In any moment you can self-diagnose and respond to the moment with greater wisdom and compassion.
I wish you well into the new season.
Jonathan

May you have a not too tight, and not too loose day.

Namaste

Inspiration – One Step

“Your inner journey only has one step: the step you are taking right now.

As you become more deeply aware of this one step, you realize that it already contains within itself all the other steps as well as the destination.

This one step then becomes transformed into an expression of perfection, an act of great beauty and quality. It will have taken you into Being, and the light of Being will shine through it. This is both the purpose and the fulfillment of your inner journey, the journey into yourself.”

– Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

I needed this reminder today.

May we all step into the beauty that is in each moment of awareness.

Namaste