Month: January 2015

Unraveling Ourselves

Unraveling Ourselves

“Unraveling external selves and coming home to our real identity is the true meaning of soul work.”

Sue Monk Kidd3c15e6af5a296dd861c2bd8ba93aa29e

There is so much to be done in the unraveling department. The good news is that once true unraveling begins, one starts to feel lighter and lighter. The heavy weight of pain and confusion begins to lift and the challenges one faces are laced with hope. Feeling one’s real and honest identity become interconnected with one’s soul is both energizing and life affirming.

If anyone had told me years ago that I would feel younger, happier and freer at sixty-three than I had ever felt at any other time in my life, I would have been convinced they were smoking something. I lived pretty much most of fifty something years under a black cloud, fighting, struggling, despairing…suffering inside in a way I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I was dedicated and earnest in my pursuit of self-understanding from a very early age. I was drawn to the spiritual life, like a magnet. I understand the human need and desire for a connection with the divine, implicitly. What I didn’t understand was my pain in the world. I didn’t understand how the world and the divine spoke to one another. The divine was speaking, but no one was listening.

Repeatedly throughout my life, I moved toward God and then fell away. I moved toward spiritual teachers and an understanding of an inner life, but when I attempted to carry it into the world I felt frustrated and alone. I did not know how to put words to any of what I knew to be true in a way that would convey to others.

The symbolic language I found and used to describe such things no longer worked in my practical, modern surroundings. I desperately wanted to find a connection between the two. I did not want to leave the world behind and go to a mountain top, although at times I wish I had. It could not have been more painful to be alone with God than it was to be alone in the world.

Now all these years later I’m beginning to see more clearly what happened. A product of my times, I found nowhere to go with my spiritual yearnings. Even seminary was an environment that was decidedly pragmatic in its approach to spirituality. One believed in the fundamentals of the Christian faith, even questioned and discussed them with other believers, but when all was said and done it was understood that the ultimate goal was to bring our faith and belief to others in the context of the church setting. What about bringing it into the world at large? Why must we put it into a box only to be brought out on Sunday morning in a pre-programmed environment? I couldn’t buy into any of it.

To my way of thinking what was always wrong with the “church” was what is still wrong with organized religion. It’s religion in a box. It’s not about spiritual listening and learning and becoming. It’s not about looking for God in the everyday world of board meetings and while making peanut butter sandwiches for your kids. We paid lip service to that, but there really was no support structure for such a lifestyle.  Religious traditions are too small, too narrow, too limiting for what I believe God to be and the spiritual life to require.

When “religion” didn’t answer my questions or satisfy my yearnings I didn’t abandon the Divine that lived in my heart. I just stopped paying attention to her voice. She was still there, calling to me, needling me, tormenting me. I chose instead to turn my back on my soul and sought refuge instead in the psychological realm. Therapy. Medication. Pain. More therapy. More pain.More medication.

I learned much about the human psyche, but it did not help me grow in self-esteem or  value the gift of life, because at my core I remained disconnected from my essential myself, my soul self. I was ignoring that place from which all real self-esteem comes. If we are not listening to our deep, inner voice and hearing the messages and guidance of our soul, we will never find peace. We will never understand who we are or what we have to offer the world. We will never trust that we are valuable, or that we matter, no matter what. No therapist, no religion, no worldly structure  or construct can ever teach us that.

Healing and Wholeness – The Benefits of Age

Healing and Wholeness – The Benefits of Age

01f46aa102af23f19b541d77b7f9a8e7Age gives us a decided advantage when it comes to resolving issues and finding peace. By the time we reach the half century mark we’ve had enough experience and made enough mistakes to see patterns emerge. These patterns are a tremendous teaching tool, pointing us directly to areas that need to be  addressed. In our youth we were drawn like a magnet to the world in front of us, not inside of us. We were more likely to make external adjustments rather than internal ones.

Age brings us to a deeper understanding that healing and wholeness, peace and happiness can only come from inside of us. We’ve tried the other way endlessly to no avail.  We may spend a decade or more at midlife dismantling our perceptions of ourselves and figuring out who we really are and what we really value. Our many years of living up until this time reveals to us that our perceptions of ourselves and our choices are not necessarily our own. Indoctrinated from birth with family and cultural values, we grow up adapting to survive. The gift of hindsight enables us to begin clearing away the clutter and debris we’ve dragged with us through the first half of our life.

In the process of my own healing over the last four plus years (if you are interested in reading more visit my blog ManifestMe2014), there have been discoveries, large and small, that have led to changes in everything from how I wear my hair to how I greet my neighbors, from how I interact with my husband to how I make my living. These discoveries have been, and continue to be, discoveries about what is really true for me and an on-going process as day by day I learn to live a more congruent life – matching my insides to my outsides.

I see my life now as a different sort of journey than I once thought it to be. It’s a journey of becoming, a journey toward greater synchronicity, clarity and inner peace.  I thought I knew what that meant when I was nineteen. I laugh now at my naivete. Then I view it more as a state to attain or obtain. Not I understand it as a flow into which we step.  To do so we must learn to trust ourselves and trust the process. This may just be the hardest part. Having companions on the journey, people who understand or have experienced stepping in and out of the flow, helps reinforce our own discoveries, though it will never replace it.

There are not rules or how to’s for this path. Each journey is unique, but there are common facilitating practices that help us strip away the detritus and get down to business. Solitude, meditation, prayer, simplifying one’s life, turning inward, reading, physically healing and nurturing practices such as massage, tapping (EFT), traditional therapy, essential oils, Reiki, acupuncture, yoga, and a myriad of other century old practices that bring us back to ourselves help pave the way.

The essential task for this path is to pursue healing and wholeness in body, mind and spirit. Wherever there is dis-ease, healing is needed before wholeness can be found. If one suffers from anxiety or depression, from IBS or chronic heartburn, from boredom or mental exhaustion, no positive flow of energy can occur, either in or out. The first step is to understand and believe that healing can occur. It can, but it is not something that is done for you, but rather something you open yourself to.

The journey is like the slow and gentle opening of a flower. For a blossom to be beautiful and fragrant it requires not just water, but nutrients and soil, sun and an ecosystem that supports its growth. So too with us. We will blossom as we receive those things in healthy quantities that feed and nurture us fro the inside out. Our responsibility is to stand open and receptive to those things that feed our souls and to learn to love ourselves and care for ourselves as a mother or father would their child, or a lover her beloved. It begins there.

 

Backwards Thinking

Backwards Thinking

bffff3fc7ca8ab3fcb9ff07f7e7e1bc6The sun streamed through the kitchen window this morning, it’s warm inviting tendrils wrapping themselves around me like a lost lover. The relief I felt, the fullness of my appreciation for what I had been missing and the cavernous desire to take in as much of its energy as I could was  not dissimilar to the way I felt when my boys returned home after their first weekend camping trip, or my husband from a business trip.

I’ve become increasingly aware of the vast array of sensory healing that is available to us, and how little we are shown the way in a culture that focuses on illness and pathology more than it does on sustenance and healing.  We are taught to focus on what is wrong with us, not on the amazing power to heal and thrive that is inherent in the gift of life.

This is especially true when it comes to mental and emotional issues. Although the tide is changing, many of us are currently suffering the ill effects of a lifetime of living in an environment that neither feeds us nor teaches us how to manage our gifts and challenges. Furthermore, we were taught to ignore the very signals our bodies naturally gives us to guide us through these challenges.

In the simple example of the sun shining after three days of rain we are shown many things. My body told me loud and clear that it needs warmth, sun, and the loving sustenance of nature. It needs these things as much as it needs water and food.  If I had not been fortunate enough to be in a home facing the sun when it came out and had instead been in a cubicle facing a computer screen, a very real need would not have been met and my awareness of it would grow dull over time.

I remember sitting in many a classroom longing to be outside. I forced myself to go to work in an office day after day because that was the thing I was supposed to value, not the needs of my body, mind and spirit for nature. I told myself that cleaning my house and making money was more important than any signals my body might be sending me to the contrary.

We have it backwards. I had it backwards. When we work in cooperation with our body we do not become the unhealthy sloths we think we will become. Quite the opposite. We find renewed energy, renewed health, renewed focus and activity.  When we follow our instincts, our intuition, our yearnings and desires, we give ourselves what we need and energy begins to flow and health begins to blossom.

Coming back to my original self from a lifetime of backwards thinking and backwards living has been a long and not always easy process, but it has been a glorious one, a life-affirming one and one I would like to see everyone have the opportunity to experience.

Learning to fill ourselves with what we actually need rather than trying to fill ourselves with that which will never nurture or sustain us is a life long process. I experience hurdles and bumps and drift away from those things I’m learning to be true. The difference now, however, is that I stay true to who I am more often. I live in closer proximity to my soul self and perhaps more importantly I am learning how to get back there when I wander off.

The path I took may not be for everyone. We each have our own unique sensibilities, but we all also have an inner self that will speak to us when we choose to tune in and listen.  It is this inner guide that will lead you on your path of healing. It will lead you to exactly what you need and take you to the place where the sun will heal your hurts and fire up your energy and a sense of well-being will become more real than ever before. The abundance of life and love lives within each of us regardless of circumstances. It is our birthright. This I will always believe.