And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud, was more painful than the risk to bloom.
We all face this turning point repeatedly: when resisting the flow of inner events suddenly feels more hurtful than leaping toward the unknown. Yet no one can tell us when to leap. There is no authority to bless our need to enter life but God within.
The above quotes, from The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have, speaks to the many ways and times throughout our life time, when we have resisted the inner stirrings that lie within. It could be saying “Go North”, but that might take us too far from the comforts of famiiar people in our lives, it could say SouthWest, but then our employment and financial security is in the North East. It could even just say take 10 steps in that direction, just taste, dip a toe, but we may fear that we will like it more than the familiar life we have.
We all have enormous worlds within. Just lay down for 10 minutes in the course of your day and notice where your mind goes. Do something that is centering, that brings you back to you, and feel the feelings - perhaps the aches and pains that need tending to, the rumbling in your stomach asking you to nourish it…..the tightness in your shoulders asking to go for that swim that always seems to stretch out the kinks.
I know that life has at times, asked me to be outwardly focused, and then, softened or slowed down just enough to direct me inwardly. During these times, I tend to have paper and pen with me everywhere I am, or use my Notes App on my phone to document things like complaints, joys, inspiration, wisdom, humorous moments parts of my body needing attention…….whatever shows up, so that I can be present to the inner rumblings. I will share them with people in my life, and they will give me feedback or simply express what shows up for them in the context of sharing.
In this way, I make alive what would otherwise be silent, missed, unnoticed, hidden behind the curtains of what is visible to others..and myself. I learn the art of honoring and respecting the “spirit”, the “soul” that lives deeply within, that can easily be ignored, misunderstood and forgotten, should I only give my attention to the tasks, responsibilities, and commitments that, to no end, call me outward.
I also become much more in tune with and clear about who I am……for myself, others and the world at large. I hone the skill and develop the practice of valuing myself and my life. In sharing my inner stirrings with admired and respected friends, there are themes of feedback over a lifetime that confirm who I already know myself to be (and noteworthy, as a young woman who I wanted to be). I could share them with you here, but this email is more about you, and the life that is yours, a precious unfolding and blooming of who you are in the world.
Mark Nepo asks:
The key to this meditation is “safely”…..when you are exposing yourself in this visualization, everything and everyone is safe. They are kind, generous, understanding, charitable, forgiving and non-judgmental. They are waiting for you to open up your centre, because they already know that you are good and enough, and want to witness the sparkle that bursts forth.
Like magic to a yummy 5 year old, icing on the already delicious cake, the bernaise sauce to a perfectly cooked steak.
Here is to having a week of self-wonder, self-kindness and magic.
Your brain is designed to anticipate the future in the worst possible way. It is not designed to wake up in the morning and say “you are amazing, you are beautiful, you are the best….” At least not without a lot of training and practice. And even then, we will have days where our brain does not want us to get out of bed.
The brain is going to do what it’s going do, think what it’s gonna think, and I could just say “thank you brain for sharing” or “i hear you, but we are going to get up together and walk through our day........ feeling what it feels like to be amazing, beautiful and the best today”.
You see, when we focus on on our “being” - who or how we are being in the course of a day, within a particular relationship, or in the world, we now have access to our happiness. Now this isn’t more of the old “law of attraction” approach…..it’s not like “not” taking action and just “being” kind, or generous, or excited will suddenly and miraculously produce what we are looking for. Sitting and meditating on being a millionaire is not going to get us millions without the practices to get there. Being patient, generous, present and joyful will not land us with our soul mate if we are not making ourselves available to the population we want to date. But…..if we are being “excited”, “curious”, appropriately “vulnerable” and “open” to the prospect of dating….then maybe that will propel us, with little effort and expended energy, to take the actions needed to be taken.
Being “inspired” by our emotional state is what gets us moving in the directions we wish to take. So…….if I'm being angry, hurt, cynical and skeptical about the dating world, the outcome will likely be an experience of dating .......that will confirm the beliefs (eg. there are no good women/men out there) that inform the way I am being (skeptical and careful). And here is the next part….our beliefs and being inform our behavior. How excited or exciting do you think the angry, hurt, cynical and skeptical person will be, when out looking to date? What kind of feel will they have to their body language, their facial expressions?
So, really, all this to say that we have a brain. We have had this brain since the beginning of time…..the brain that is not designed toward dropping its' guard, and taking on the day without thinking about possible hazards, challenges, demands and potential threats to our safety and security.
Have you ever heard the saying “Our brain is Teflon for the positive and Velcro for the negative”? It's just what it's designed to do….but we don’t have to give ALL OF US up to it. There are other parts. The parts that are moved and inspired by a good movie or video, parts that are or have been excited about your life, parts that are wise and know that there is something more or out there for you, parts that can laugh at life or to something funny……We do not have to give our power to this part of our brain and let it run with it.
What would be possible if we stopped trying to change or fix that? Fix that part of ourselves? We’d certainly stop beating our heads against the wall…..cause that’s what we will be doing for the rest of our lives if we try to fix something that has been programmed to protect us from real threat. This is our survival instinct. But since most of us in the first world do not have to deal with issues of “survival”…….ahhhh….we can now relax enough to contemplate growth, thriving, becoming and living into our full potential…….
But we have this part of our brain that has evolved and strengthened over thousands of years and has a voice like a TRAINED TENOR…..a voice that we have been trained to hear quite well…..and trained to give our energy. The tell-tale sign will be how and what your body does..... and how it feels at any given moment, after you give this voice the front row seat to your day.
What to do…..
Well……the first step to transforming our way of being is to notice it. Create the intention to be aware of this pre-programmed strategy to anticipate the worst…..and listen to it like you would a good friend needing your attention over a cup of coffee, giving it space to be expressed, perhaps even contemplating the possibility that “this” worst could happen. After all…anything could. But then, you wouldn't likely indulge your friend and give her or him all the fine examples in the world, or in her life, to cement this belief. You might gently challenge him a little, providing other evidence, supporting the belief that life has been good to him at times.
What works best is when you only challenge these beliefs after you’ve listened to them and given the voice space to speak. And limit its time…..say 10 minutes maximum when it comes to your own voice. If you are finding that this voice still wants to express more…..give it another short time limit AND NEGOTIATE some time to provide it with the hope, inspiration, examples of kindness, accomplishments….acknowledge efforts made in your life to meet challenges........ every day…..
This is the practice of self compassion…..of acknowledging your humanity…..that THIS IS what it means to be human……that you ARE doing humanity…..
And that there is nothing to fix. Just BE in it, navigating through it, developing muscle, learning more about yourself in the world, unfolding, developing, strengthening.
All the best to your day and your week. May it be filled with love and wonder.
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