Shadow and Light. Black and White. Everything has its polar opposite. But what if it all just came from the same place and the only difference is how we look at things?
Nurturing is looked at as a ‘good’ quality, while enabling is looked at as a ‘bad’ quality. But in the both of these concepts lies the energy of same force. What if the only difference between what this energy develops into or how it takes shape in the world, is the intention and motivation behind it? The same words that are debasing to some are quite tantalizing or terms of endearment to others. For some people, feeling pain means they are still alive. For others, it stops them from living. It’s all a matter of perspective.
In all of our experiences, there lies incredible insight into what it means to be a human being. They all have value, and play a part in how we understand the world. Seeing multiple sides of an equation is surprisingly simple when we observe rather than filter through the lens of judgement. Allowing ourselves to be honest about our experiences and let go of the judgement we hold of them, frees us of self-imposed stress and helps us walk through the doorway that we’ve been staring at with fear. Every time we experience something, we become able to understand ourselves and each other a little better. Integrating the parts of ourselves that we associate with ‘darkness’ or see as ‘bad,’ is the essence of bringing us into alignment. When we are fighting parts of ourselves, or trying to tell ourselves we need to fixed, we are not being loving to ourselves.
This is something I’ve come full circle with, which is why I’ve chosen to share it today. Even the most spiritual among us has moments of doubt that cause us to see what once was in perfect order as complete chaos. In the darkest time of my life, I could not see or process things because I judged and separated things into compartments. I thought this would keep my ‘parts’ neat and organized. But much like a child who thinks the mashed potatoes should never touch the peas on his plate, separating the parts of myself served no purpose except to fool myself into believing my fears. In truth, worlds will not collide and explode if our peas touch our mashed potatoes, and the earth will not end if we integrate all of our experiences and accept that we are not the sum of them.
You are more than the sum of your mistakes in one column,
versus the accomplishments in the other.
This is the trap I fell into for a number of years. I questioned everything, and I made it all fit into one category or another in an effort to make sense of things. In truth, as a result of the more painful times in my life, I felt I had betrayed myself and thought the best thing to do was to live in my ego, and therefore, I would be protected. I became fearful. I quantified everything. And in the end, I realized I was hurting myself more than I was protecting myself. I segregated my selves and tried to take each one out of its box when needed, while carefully putting the other selves away. They were an array of identities daughter, friend, stepmother, wife, ex-wife, employee, mystic, gypsy, spiritual, etc.
I’m happier now than I have been in a long time, because I am no longer in denial about any of the things I am, and more so because I understand the power I have to change. Yesterday I may have been needy because my reality was being shaped by a viewpoint of lack. Today, I feel gratitude for all that I have. Patience and time showed me that my judgements were a choice. Today, I choose differently. I honor and accept the dark parts of me, inviting them to tell me a story of how they came to be and why they hide. Should you choose to go through this process yourself, you will find there’s nothing you need to hide from.
If you read my previous post, you already know that incredible shifts have been happening in my life over the last couple of months. I can’t exactly explain how it happened. It’s almost as if a light switch was flipped and for the first time in years I could see the world around me.
Of course, Spirit likes to test us to see if we really got the lesson, right? So tonight, I set out for my favorite 3-mile walking route with my phone in-hand set to my playlist of choice and MapMyWalk fired up to record my efforts. About a mile and a half into my walk, I felt a droplet. I looked up and said, ‘oh no you don’t!’
But it did.
At first I thought it would only last a few minutes, as storms come and go quickly here in Florida. So I stopped under a tree and kept my music playing while I sort of bopped up and down to keep my heart rate up. When it let up a little, I started back up at full speed. It was raining lightly but the sun was still out, making the sky look as if it were glowing behind the few darker clouds. Memories of playing outside in the rain until my mother made us come inside came flooding back (pun intended). I thought about a secret wish I’ve harbored, which I’ve never spoke aloud- to walk, splash and just ‘be’ in the rain, enjoying every single minute of it, was suddenly coming true. In that moment, I smiled up at Spirit.
When we allow ourselves to be authentic
and admit what we really want inside,
we experience not only freedom,
but a full response from the Universe.
I took my hair down and let it get soaking wet. My clothes were sopping. My face was dripping and yet all I could do was smile. Of course, my phone was a concern so I stopped by a tree that had a little newsstand and stuck it inside while I waited for the heavier part of the rains to stop. As I stood there, the little league game at the park behind me was being rained out and little disappointed faces were sitting in the dugout. A man on a bicycle passed by, laughing to himself as another man on a motorcycle pulled up to the same corner, also smiling. He shouted out,”Nice weather we’re having!” When he reached me I stood there smiling and nodded as I squeezed the drops of water from my t-shirt. There wasn’t a drop of sarcasm or an once of impatience to be had. I’ve never seen a more serene scene, as each of us made our way with ease through the raindrops.
In the past, I would have been frustrated by all of this, criticizing myself for going out when it might rain, or the rain itself for falling. But in this moment, I had the realization that I’ve truly experienced a shift in my life.
Once it let up, I wrapped up my phone in a newspaper and made my way home, laughing and smiling along the way, knowing that this was a test from Spirit. Since my most recent awakening, it’s been a natural inclination for me to thank people for the little things, as well as the big things. I’m aware of how precious it is to have so much love and support from the people around me. I’m grateful for every chance I have to give of myself in any way, even if it’s just to give someone a simple compliment.
Spirit: “Have you really adjusted your attitude?” Me: “Oh yes, yes I have! “
Part of my blog has always been to reveal the secret “confessions” of what it’s like to have a connection to Spirit, and yet at the same time to reveal the honest truth- that even the most ‘spiritual’ among us are also human. We make mistakes. We get frustrated. We say or do things we regret every once in a while. But we have the power to change our minds, and change our lives. We all deserve a second chance. I would rather love someone just a little too much, and hurt just a little deeper for having the prividege of loving someone. I’m not afraid of looking foolish for getting caught in the rain. I’m not ashamed that it felt freeing, fun and brought me a sense of joy. I fully embrace being both resilient and vulnerable in my humanness, and I fully trust that God, Spirit, the Universe, or whatever word you prefer to use, is taking care of me, and for that I am grateful.
And if you’re as cool as I know you are, as you were reading this, you were hearing “Fool in the Rain,” by Led Zeppelin, simply because you were clever enough to gleen that bit of insight from the title of this post.
It’s been some time since I’ve written about something personal, but it feels like the things I’ve been going through would help others who have also been in a dark place, so today I’m speaking from my own voice and experience.
We are all very complicated in our make up. At times I have felt like I was caught up in a tornado that was swirling with everything I thought, felt, and feared. None of it made sense. All of it seemed disconnected. At one time or another, we all feel conflicted and unable to make choices for fear of what they may bring.
My divorce was final in Oct 2011. After relocating my life, beginning a new career, becoming a stepmom, and having to struggle to keep it all together for so long, I had to re-relocate back with family and figure out who I was. I thought I was a colossal failure. How could I have been so stupid to uproot my entire life, only to have it come crashing down in so many pieces?
I tried my hardest to make peace with the situation, and find a way to move through it, without doing any additional harm. I remained calm and decided my best course of action was to create a timeline and a plan that would allow me to transition back home to live with family and regroup. I mustered a sense of certainty that allowed me to have difficult conversations, and make difficult choices as if I were running business. It all made good sense.
Once I was home, something changed. You know that feeling of calm that you experience when a volatile situation arises and you are able to handle it with surprising ease- only to crack into a million pieces once it’s all been resolved? That’s what happened to me. I experienced nights of sleeplessness, and when I could sleep, I would wake up in the middle of the night with a sense of dread and panic that I couldn’t control. “What have I done? What happened to me?” I tried to maintain my composure, but underneath it all, I was fractured and I felt like I wasn’t valued. I doubted all of the decisions I made that lead up to what felt like one big disaster. I turned inward and in my spiritually-minded way, I spent a lot of time reflecting on things. I got a routine started that would create a sense of normalcy. I thought I was doing okay, but in my desire to move forward, I was bypassing my pain in favor of ‘positive thoughts,’ and distractions that kept me from seeing that I needed to heal from what had transpired.
It’s been almost 5 years since then, and I’m here to tell you that no matter how much you want to move through and past the things that broke you and caused you trauma, sometimes only time can heal your wounds. If you are lucky, you will find that people will come into your life that will show you things about yourself that really need your attention. But if you are not ready to see them, once again, only time will bring you that wisdom. And what is the wisdom that came? I quote Yoda-
You must unlearn what you have learned.
Truth: Before I went through all of this, I was in the most amazing place in my personal development. I had a career in massage therapy that gave me a true sense of purpose My work was both intensely personal as well as rewarding. I was healing people from physical pain, but in addition, my loving attitude created a space for people to open up to me with their worries, emotional baggage, and insecurities. I listened with a non-judgmental heart. I saw each of my clients as a soul in a body, trying to do their best to find their way in the world, and I was happy to be a stop on their journey. I offered a sense of unconditional acceptance and found that my job was more than a job, but a calling to be of service.
This all came to a hault with the divorce. In my mind, I thought I could never be less than what I had grown into, and yet it is only within the last 5 months that I can truly see what became of me. My lack of confidence in making decisions threw me into a downward spiral of low self-esteem. I found my spiritual gifts were becoming less accessible, and that made me further lose my sense of purpose and certainty. Everything around me seemed to reinforce this new viewpoint that I had little value, and that no one would see me as lovable. After all, if I was so lovable and wonderful, how could someone cast me aside so easily? I felt like I had been disposed of. What’s worse than being rejected by another? Harboring a deep personal rejection of yourself.
Timing is everything.
The last few months have been the most painful of my life- and that’s saying something. I’ve never cried so many tears, and I didn’t know I had so many inside me that I could cry. I withdrew and sank down to a dark space where I thought about all of the things that have happened trying to figure out what was wrong with me. One person pulled me out of it, in a single conversation. It was as if I had received a download that updated my whole system. I had clarity. I began sleeping again. I felt a sense of happiness that previously had eluded me. I had a defect in my processing system that was blocking my ability to perceive being loved. I did not know it, and up until that moment, I could not see it.
Sometimes the answer is right in front of you, but you cannot see it until you are ready.
I’m writing this today, because so many of you feel you are in a dark place, full of conflict and confusion. It’s okay to be in that place. It doesn’t mean you are a damaged, broken thing. It means you are human, and you are struggling to understand your place in the world, and how you fit in to the grand scheme of things. It is normal to feel anxious, and worried. You are not ending. You will continue. The tides come in and out, and no one ever thinks there’s something wrong when they see it. But with humans, we perceive that we must be ‘this’ or ‘that’ or something is wrong. Embrace your fears, and you will find that when you allow them to make themselves known, they reveal their purpose.
If you are afraid, it’s okay to admit it, and to reach out for help and feedback. Situations and relationships can heal and repair. Not everything that is painful or makes you feel uncomfortable is meant as a sign to leave them behind. I do believe that we have a purpose here, and that purpose can be as simple as being there in a time of uncertainty and darkness for other people, or to hang in there for someone who needs your support. It does not make them weak, and it doesn’t make you a sucker. These labels and judgements are the reason we keep ourselves stuck and fearful. Giving in to your heart’s desires does not make you a fool. Please stop believing that. Your heart is the true place that hears the words of God. God isn’t concerned with your station in life, or what kind of car you drive. God, or perhaps a more appropriate name to use, the Force, is always there, speaking to us.
Luke Skywalker was always surrounded by the Force, but it was only when he was made aware of it by Obi-Wan Kenobi, that he could choose to listen ot it, and let it flow through him. But being aware is only the first step. It was Yoda who showed him how to use it.
So how is it that I got from my divorce and current personal discovery to Star Wars and the Force? I’ve been thinking a lot about Star Wars, and felt inspired to watch the original trilogy, and notice things that I previously didn’t see– once again, timing is everything. I reluctantly admit, that I actually love it. The first time I saw Star Wars was 1977 at the drive-in with my parents. I sat in the back seat of our purple Dodge Charger in my Howdy Doody pajamas and watched in amazment as spaceships traveled throughout the galaxy, and incredible battles were being fought until my tiny eyes fell heavy with sleep. I’m 41 now, and I’m awake, watching again and seeing things that I couldn’t see before because I am now in a different place.
Have patience with yourself.
Appreciate the love that is in your life.
Accept that the Dark Side is part of life as much as the Light.
May the Force be with you.
From the very beginning, I’ve let it be very clear that this blog is largely about my own spiritual experiences. I share these to help others find solace that they are not alone in their spiritual experiences. They can be so varied and intricate, that no two are exactly alike. I believe in the power of taking the events of my life, and using them to find a higher meaning that will serve a higher purpose and usefulness in my life as well as those of my readers. My words are never meant to be a gospel for you to live by, but a place for you to relate your own experiences and entertain the idea that there can be useful insight when seen through the eyes of a different perspective. I love and respect everyone who reads this blog, and has supported my life’s purpose just by reading these words.
I’ve found a universal truth in the many conversations I’ve been privileged to have with people who have shared their stories with me. I’ve learned that the only truth we can possibly know, is our own. The only way that I can understand your truth is to find a commonality that would allow me to build a bridge from where I’m standing in my own truth. In conversation with self-aware people, you will often hear them speaking about things from their perspective, and then using comparisons to come to an understanding. You may hear “The way this feels to me is…,” or, “In my past experiences I’ve observed…” These are statements that come from an individual who is aware enough to speak on what he or she has experienced, while simultaneously communicating a respect that the person they are speaking to may not have experienced the same event the same way. Spiritually awakened people communicate with one another with one common goal- connection. Establishing connection is everything to us. But there is another scenario that takes this beautiful concept and turns it into something ugly. This is where ‘self-aware,’ becomes ‘self-centered.’ When someone who is not self-aware participates in a conversation with someone who is, all they perceive is that the conversation is being hijacked and re-framed around the other person. It becomes a threat. Beings who are insecure, or ‘playing the game,’ rather than being in their authenticity, will make you the source of the negative emotions they are feeling. Hence, you will hear them accuse you, of being all about you. For them, conversation is not a means of understanding and connection, but a way of establishing status and identity, mistaking what they are hearing as selfishness. Many of us are guilty of walking into situations where the very people who want to be perceived as ‘open,’ invited us to share our feelings, only to mock them behind our backs.
For every misunderstood soul, who by stepping back to give another space has been called rude, or who by speaking from their own viewpoint with the intention of respecting that others may have experienced something differently have been called self-centered, please know that you are simply a vibrational mismatch for the situation or environment you are in. There is nothing wrong with you, and there is no reason to feel that you need to change yourself. It is not a criminal act to love yourself enough, not to tolerate hurtful behavior directed at you, and to create healthy boundaries that help you feel safe to be in your authenticity. If you are a lamb, it is not wise to sleep with lions. If you are awake, it will not serve you to struggle to be understood by those who are sleeping. Find the ‘3rd’ option, and go in the direction that your speaks to your soul.