Tag: Caroline Myss

COME HOME TO YOUR SOUL SELF

COME HOME TO YOUR SOUL SELF

soul self
Night of the Mystic by Freydoon Rassouli, an Iranian-Born, American abstract surrealist and visionary artist and author.

When the world knocks you about and you feel as though you’re living in a foreign land, come home to your soul self.  It is always there, waiting for you.  You will recognize it as the place inside of you that is safe, familiar, and always sane. We all have this place . . . the core, essential, authentic place in our being.

Painful, difficult, mind-boggling events happen in our world every day.  We are shocked, dismayed, angry, disoriented confused, and afraid.  What happened to the world we once knew? we say to ourselves. Innocence lost. We do not know where or how to ground ourselves. This experience is trauma. An experience that our mind can not make sense of throws our psyche into disarray. This is the definition of trauma.

OPPORTUNITY AWAITS US

The events we experience in life, no matter how confusing or alarming, always offer us an opportunity. They elicit powerful questions when we dare to listen for them. The question that most often arises is “why is this happening to me”.  This is a trick question to divert our attention from the harder questions. It is one that has no answer but will waste our time and drive ourselves crazy as we struggle to answer it.

When we look beneath the why question, we come to the how and what questions, and the answers that will bring us home to our soul self.  For example, when we ask, “How am I to understand what is happening to me in a larger context?” or, “What can I learn about who I am and my place in the world from this experience?”, we are heading in the right direction.

Will I dwell in anger, or, live in fear? Or, will I look for the cosmic meaning and purpose for myself and the world? Will I give in to victimhood, or will I go inward and forward, by building trust and deeper, more honest connections? When we look for the choice point in this way, we are driven to ask more difficult and more important questions. Then, we offered a choice.

some home to your soul self

Each and every time we reach a choice point while taking time to listen to our inner guidance we have the opportunity to choose. Our choosing and acting upon our choice not only strengthens us but anchors us more profoundly in our soul self.  When we spend life skimming the surface, afraid to ask what we believe, instead only asking what we “think” we miss out on the vastness and the mystery that is awaiting us. It is only our fear that holds us hostage – our fear of emptiness, void, silence, nothingness, annihilation. Only… fear. Not reality. HOPE is always ours for the asking.


Truth ~ What Are We Fighting For?

Truth ~ What Are We Fighting For?

The value of truth seems to have lost its influence. 

The world keeps turning. I get up in the morning to the sun, and go to bed each night with the moon and the stars shining their light on my broken heart. The world is a “hot mess” as my young millennial friends would say.

Navigating life now is not an easy task! Walking the medial way, with one foot in the world and one foot in Spirit, isn’t easy to do under “normal” circumstances!  Now, it feels impossible, and yet it is certainly an excellent opportunity to practice! I, like many I talk to, long for simpler times.

SPEAKING THE TRUTH AS I SEE IT

What is the Truth?
I woke up this morning feeling exactly like Alice in Wonderland. ART BY: David Hoffrichter

I keep choosing, every day, to speak the truth as I see it; to ask the questions, explore the answers, look for what lies beneath the surface of things. Even as I try to be kind about it, not attacking or name calling, my words seem to cause sparks to fly.  People rant at me and call me names.

In the past week, I was called a bigot, a pseudo-intellectual, an irrational feminist, and a few other choices names I’d rather not repeat here.  The nastiest, meanest comments came from men, who I previously believed were highly rational, intelligent, educated men. The comments I received from women were angry and upset, more aimed at the belief that I should be taking about the politics on an aging site, nor should I take sides. I weigh this question constantly.

“JUST GET ALONG!”

The most common concern I’ve heard from women has been, “don’t you think you should play nice and just accept what is happening?” To this I say, yes and no.

Nothing infuriates me more than the part of our culture that wants us to get on board with the status quo. What we are experiencing right now IS NOT NORMAL. It is not business as usual, and I won’t pretend it is. I protested in the 60’s and my values with regard to peace, love and acceptance remain the same. I’ve never been a fan of the establishment, but this is going too far!

NAME CALLING HURTS!

It hurts being attacked.  Conflicting feelings rise to the surface, adrenaline pumps through my body and I’m suddenly in fight or flight mode. I want to lash out, and with my weapon of choice write an epistle explaining exactly how and why I am not what they say I am.  When I realize that more conversation would be pointless, I sink into despair. What am I to do with all these feelings now?

ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS

I have no choice but to go inside myself and ask the hard question. Are they right? Do their labels fit?

Am I a pseudo-intellectual?  I’ve never thought of my self as an intellectual, so that one was lost on me as a true reflection of myself. However, by asking the question I began to see the perpetrators projection. The particular label came from a man who, even at 16, took abundant pride in his intelligence. He believed his intellectual abilities made him superior. Sadly, all these years later when we reconnected I discovered that he has not grown past his arrogant, narcissist ways. He still needs to be intellectually superior, and when he feels threatened, he does what all great thinkers do, call people names.  I told him he was behaving exactly like the President-Elect, which he was. He didn’t like that a bit and unfriended me. I now consider it a victory to have stirred that particular pot!

A bigot – that one got me.  A bigot is “a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions” – this coming from a man who unfriended me because he didn’t like what I was saying on Facebook. Am I a bigot? We all have our blind spots so I’d have to say yes, I’m intolerant toward some who hold different opinions. Our president-elect would be one of them. Trust me, I am working on this. I long to find a place of acceptance that does not mean acquiescence.  Right now, I can’t see the divine in this man just yet. In fact, I tend to think he’s evil incarnate and see it as my job to speak out against him.

COMPASSION FOR ALL WHO HAVE BEEN & WILL BE DISAPPOINTED

Beyond that, I have deep compassion for the people who elected him believing he would change their unhappy lives. I have less compassion for the meanness and hatred that a few carry and choose present to the world. I want to say, show me your misery, this I can understand. But anger, rage, hubris, entitlement? And yet, tolerance is tolerance. I’m working on it.

Here’s what I do know. The women before us modeled tolerance and acceptance as a virtue, and to some extent it is.  They did not feel free, however, to rebel or speak up when perhaps they should have.  We feel freer to do so, and yet the past that lives on in us often keeps us feeling guilty and wrong when we do.

Making nice is not always possible, nor is it human. We have a wide array of thoughts, feelings and reactions. it is to our detriment to keep them buried. They will erupt when we least expect them to and it won’t be pretty.

THERE IS A TIME & A SEASON

There’s a time to fight and a time to stand down. There’s a time to speak and a time to be silent. We must each in our own way and find a balance between speaking our truth and taking time for deep reflection. None of us are totally clear on what we are fighting for. Those who are, seem to be fighting one particular battle. Maybe that’s the best any of us can do.

We must continue to ask ourselves challenging questions:

  • What am I really angry about?
  • Are there unacknowledged feelings and thoughts beneath my anger? Are the thoughts I’m thinking true?
  • This feeling of fear, what is it really trying to tell me?
  • When have I felt powerless before? How was that similar to what’s happening now?
  • Is this situation triggering feelings I’ve had all my life?
  • What are those feelings?
  • Can I be proactive in giving myself what it is I want from others?
  • Have I taken time to sit in silence?
  • Have I expressed my feelings honestly?
  • When I speak my truth am I using “I” statements?
As I navigate these strange times, I take comfort from the wisdom of great teachers.

“Wholeness is possible only through the coexistence of opposites. In order to know the light, we must experience the dark.” ~ Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that is the one that is going to help you grow.” ~ Caroline Myss, Defying Gravity

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them”
Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

“If you have never been called a defiant, incorrigible, impossible woman. . .have faith. . . there is yet time.” ~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.” ~ Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ~ Elie Wiesel, Author of Night, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” ~ Elie Wiesel
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ~ Elie Wiesel

A RENDEVOUS WITH DESTINY: The U.S. Election

A RENDEVOUS WITH DESTINY: The U.S. Election

us election 2016We are coming face to face with our history and our destiny. This morning I attempted to put thoughts about the election into words. This is a turning point for us as a nation. I feel it. I sense it. I pray we chose the light.

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook:

My first election vote was cast in the McGovern vs. Nixon race in 1972. Focused on my own young life, I didn’t take time to read much about the political stance of either candidate. I did, however, use my intuition and my senses, as I watched the candidates speak and interact, to determine who I believed had the strength of character to further our country’s values.

I voted for McGovern. Even at that young age I sensed Nixon’s underlying character flaws just bey watching him. History revealed the true results of that election in this regard. Did my vote count? It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that it did not, and perhaps it didn’t. Not everyone sees what we see, but we must never stop fighting for what we believe.

This election is by far the most unusual in my life time. For the first time, we have chosen a candidate to run for office who does not have the typical background considered qualifications for being President. This is less important than the fact that we have a candidate who does not have the core principles and values upon which this country was founded. Not even close. Therein lies the true danger, in my opinion.

STRENGTH OF CHARACTER

Strength of character is more difficult to perceive, but nevertheless profoundly influences how an individual lives their lives personally and how they lead. Think Lincoln, Nixon, Kennedy, Obama and how their character shaped our future. The US President symbolizes what our country stand for. He/she is the face we show the world. Our world is shrinking and we dare not stray far from our origins if we are to continue to be a world leader.

This election has forced us to face our shadow. We have had to look into the eyes of egoism, hatred, division, anger, despair, frustration, meanness, prejudice, abuse, and self-aggrandizement. It isn’t pretty. We must be careful not to assume that we hold none of these characteristics. We all carry a shadow self, that when buried too far out of sight will jump up and bite us in the butt. Right now, in the national arena, we are experiencing this. As a collective we have been ignoring our shadow. It’s time to take a hard look and choose the light.

shadowWe have the choice.

We tend to believe that we are powerless on the national scale. This is not true. We do have a choice. Every day. Each small choice adds up to the big ones that appear at election time. The way each and every one of us answers this question on a day-to-day basis, results in our collective choices nationally. It’s up to us.

Will we choose fear over open heartedness? Will we choose hate over acceptance and tolerance? Will we choose self-respect and self-esteem over ego gratification? Will we choose generosity and compassion over the need to be in control?

We are being challenged to stand by our principles, to stand by the fundamental values upon which this country was built. This election is not a vote for policy, it’s a vote for decency, respect, equality, kindness, acceptance, tolerance and the fundamental, underlying core values upon which this great country has stood for centuries. Are we willing to let our ideals slip through our fingers and into the hands of fear?

VOTE from your heart, not your fear. VOTE every day in as many ways possible for your highest values. We must walk our talk not only in the way we vote, but the way we live. This is the only way we will keep this country on the path of good.

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]”We are the engines that give life to those that emerge from the crowds.”  ~ Caroline Myss [/tweetthis]

After I finished writing this post, I read Caroline Myss’ post today. She says what I was trying to say much better. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it.

This Election is an Encounter with the Force of Destiny by Caroline Myss

Be Useful – What Do You Do Best – What Are Your Gifts?

Be Useful – What Do You Do Best – What Are Your Gifts?

Be Useful
ARTIST: Bessie Pease Gutmann

I never felt like I knew how to be useful as a child. My skills were limited. The youngest of five, my siblings had little use for me and more often than not I was a burden not an aid. They were useful! They taught me things. My sister taught me how to fix my hair, my brother gave me rides in his Messerschmitt. My parents were useful. My mother cooked, cleaned, baked cakes for the sick and the elderly. My father, worked to put food on the table and when he was not working outside of the home he was working on the car, or the garden, or the house. My family members were all very busy people! I, on the other hand did not see my usefulness.

One day, my sister sat down at the piano and started playing O Holy Night while I stood by her side to turn the pages. Sing! she said. I loved the song so I began to sing. I worked very hard to get the notes just right. We had to practice a bit, but we got better and better. We laughed together and enjoyed what we had created. I realized, I felt useful! It was not a usefulness that was like baking cookies for the elderly or changing the oil in the car, but it filled my heart with joy and lifted my spirits. I was being useful to my sister.

I have been taking a series of Spiritual Direction classes with Caroline Myss via her CMED Institute over the past year. In her most recent class she talked about this idea of being useful and I began to think about how my perspective in this regard has impacted my life.

BE USEFUL – IT’S ESSENTIAL TO YOUR SELF-ESTEEM

Being useful is essential to our self-esteem. Mine suffered because I could not see my use. It was the underlying cause of my depression. I see that now. It made my heart-sick and my soul pine for something more.

In later years, working and motherhood gave me a sense of usefulness. Being a good mother mattered deeply to me. It gave me a sense of purpose in life. It made drudgery doable. And with work, one can always find something useful to do. When my job as a mother began to wind down, the restlessness reappeared. I felt a void. An emptiness. A longing for something more. I needed to be useful. Now, however, it would have to be something different.

One of the problems I faced with seeing myself as useful was that in spite of the fact that my parents both led very “useful” lives, they seemed to still carry a restlessness with them to their grave. Neither one felt as though they had done enough, had been useful enough. I didn’t want to be like that. I wanted not “to die with my music still in me”.

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]”Don’t die with your music still inside of you.”Wayne Dyer #quote[/tweetthis]

It is important to be useful. It’s equally important to take a step back when deciding how to be useful and look at what comes naturally to us. What do we do best? What do we enjoy doing? Checking out customers in a retail store is useful. I can do that. I have done that. But, it rarely makes my heart sing. It makes my feet hurt. Standing on a ladder forty feet in the air painting someone’s house is useful. I have done that as well. Trust me, it didn’t make my heart sing for long. There was a sense of empowerment from defeating my fear and accomplishing a task, but been there, done that happened real fast.

My first job as a writer made my heart sing. I was hired to blog for a website for women over fifty – when the internet was barely up and running. The Universe had called me out of motherhood retirement, and I’ve never looked back. I still question my usefulness, particularly when my words fall flat. I know now, however, that it is necessary to re-focus my attention when that happens. When I feel useless or despondent, I know it’s because I need to do something that makes me feel useful and keep on doing so until my heart sings.

[tweetthis]What makes your heart sing?[/tweetthis]


 

MORE ARTICLES you might enjoy:

Beneath the Mask of Depression

Depression – Fighting the Battle

Life Under the Cloud

The Masks We Wear

Meditations on Peace – Wednesday Wisdom

Meditations on Peace – Wednesday Wisdom

In these trouble times, when hope is hard to find, I like to go to meditations on peace and the inspiration of writers such as those I’ve included here. These are but a drop in the vast ocean of hope filled authors that have guided humanity, and continue to guide humanity through turbulent times. Let us all take time each day to reflect on all that is good and right and true in this world. I will always believe that if enough of us join forces for good, for truth, for love and honor … it will make a difference. I believe …

meditations on peace

The Oppressor and the Oppressed Must Both be Liberated..”  ~Nelson Mandela

“I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps just for a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.

It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that is not the case… We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.”

From Nelson Mandela’s autobiography: Long Walk to Freedom.

When we take the time to think about, contemplate and meditate on peace, or love, or hope we not only take a step toward the restoration of all that is good in our own lives, but our choice to do so spills over into the world. Take time. Even just a moment now and again. Return to hope. 

FOR LOVE IN THE TIME OF CONFLICT

When the gentleness between you hardens
And you fall out of your belonging with each other,
May the depths you have reached hold you still.

When no true word can be said, or heard,
And you mirror each other in the script of hurt,
When even the silence has become raw and torn,
May you hear again an echo of your first music.

When the weave of affection starts to unravel
And anger begins to sear the group between you,
Before this weather of grief invites
The black seed of bitterness to find root.,
May your souls come to kiss.

Now is the time for one of you to be gracious,
To allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt,
Reach out with sure hands
To take the chalice of your love,
And carry it carefully through this echo-less waste
Until this winter pilgrimage leads you
Towards the gateway to spring.

John O’Donohue

(From Benedictus A Book of Blessings, John O’Donohue)


Meditations on Peace

More Meditations on Peace

Religion, the UnChurched & Politics

Religion, the UnChurched & Politics

Religion
I am sorry to say I cannot determine the artist of this image. I hope one day they come forward.

Religion is a hot button topic, especially with the election antics well under way. Even though it was  decreed long ago that there should exist a separation of church and state, I do not believe that our beliefs can ever be removed from our choices and actions, overt or otherwise.  We don’t have to talk about what we value, or acknowledge it even to ourselves. They show up in everything we do, with or without our permission.

In all arenas, an individual’s spoken beliefs are not what concern me. They can say what they will. It’s how they live, the energy they exude and stir in others, that influences my respect for them or lack thereof. This is true for all of us. I have lived with the destruction of my shadow self, and still do.  I have fallen victim, again and again, to the shadow self of others. This is where the real damage occurs.

[tweetthis]”The un-examined life is not worth living.” Socrates[/tweetthis]

The beliefs and values that lurk in the shadows unannounced and uncontested turn the world upside down. We only need look at what’s happening in the Republican Party to see the damage the shadow self can do to peace and harmony. No. . . religion, organized religion, is not the problem here. It’s not the words spoken, it’s what isn’t said that does the most damage.

RELIGION & THE UNCHURCHED

The church has lost membership steadily over my lifetime. Even back in the late 1970’s when I assisted George Gallup, Jr. in the polling of America regarding their religious beliefs, the decline was obvious.  As a recent seminary graduate, I was personally looking for a path outside of the church to continue my exploration of faith and religion in my own life.  I was eager to ask the questions of others and learn what I could from their experiences.

Gallup’s polling turned up an obvious decline in church attendance across all major denominations and religions in this country. Every poll he conducted indicated that Americans felt as I did. Organized religion was not meeting their needs. And yet, here we are, decades later still clinging to a concept of religion that no longer seems relevant to our modern mindset.

We have a generation of “unchurched” individuals, my children among them, and a vocal minority who shouts at the top of their lungs in a desperate attempt to fan the flames of a dying mindset. The later does not concern me near as much as the former. I do not despair, however, because spirituality is not dead. It’s just in the process of transformation.

People have not lost interest in exploring the mysteries of life, or of the existence of a power greater than themselves. The exploration is simply being undertaken outside of the traditional framework. The growing numbers of individuals delving into these mysteries do not meet on Sunday mornings, or Friday evenings, or face the East in prayer each day, although some do. These people wrestle with, explore, discuss and struggle with the nature of existence and faith throughout their days wherever they are.

Caroline Myss, teacher, author, medical intuitive, refers to those that she knows as “mystics without a monastery”. They read voraciously. They seek mentors, guides, teachers and attend classes, seminars, lectures, workshops on personal and spiritual matters. They meditate, pray, reflect, and practice their faith with every breath they take. They are supported by their “tribe”. . . those individuals who understand their faith journey and are walking a similar path. Unlike mystics of old, the modern-day mystic is not cloistered away from the world. Instead, they struggle to walk between worlds, with one foot in the world and one outside.

These individuals, speak, write, and teach. They love, listen, and care. They tend to  the suffering of their own hearts and souls and the suffering of the world. They attach to no particular dogma. They belong to no particular church or denomination. They follow the Spirit within and pray without ceasing. They pray for deeper understanding and the ability to live a congruent, whole and compassionate life. They worship no one, no thing. They stand open before the universe in communion with all that is.

Yes, religion is dead. The creative energy of something larger than ourselves is very much alive.