Happy New Year everyone! 2018! Wow, just like that, another year has come and gone! For me, 2017 held a lot of change: endings, beginnings, including the start of this blog. As 2017 wrapped up, I felt a heaviness in me. Maybe due in part to the changing seasons and lessening of outside time and sunshine in December, but also likely due to the purging of old patterns, belief systems, and emotions of 2017. Do you ever feel like you move about not always fully feeling your emotions when things happen? I know I do. I kind of push on through, and at the end of the year, I felt that catching up with me. I think it’s a defense mechanism that I have developed over the course of my life. Keep going and maybe then I won’t be swallowed whole by my emotions. Maybe then, I will be protected from spiraling down into depression that I have had a lot of experience with in my life. But, I have come to see that I handle things differently now. Even when sad things happen or life doesn’t go as planned, I have a way of seeing the divine-ness of everything. And I have learned to allow myself to feel more in the moment. I have also learned to pause during difficult conversations, so that I allow myself a moment to feel and to put those feelings into words before speaking them. In so many ways, 2017 was a year of tremendous growth for me. I am looking forward to seeing how the new seeds of growth that I planted throughout 2017 blossom into being in 2018. I can feel that 2018 is going to be an amazing year of manifestation.
“I am you
You are me
No more leaders
We must lead if we want to see God in the enemy”
Matisyahu’s song “Mist Rising”
If you know me, or follow this blog at all, you know that I listen to Matisyahu all. the. time. Sometimes, even after I’ve heard a song a million times, certain lyrics will jump out at me as little messages from the Universe. The above lyrics really stood out to me one morning as I was driving to pick my friend up to go for a hike. I had a moment after hearing them where I thought, yes, we’ve got to stop looking to other people to make the changes that we want to see in this world. We’ve got to stop looking to our appointed leaders for the answers. If we want to live the truth that we are all really one, and not separate from each other like we are made to feel, then we have to start leading by example in our own lives. We are all made of the same, divine energy. We are just the Divine, Universe, God, consciousness (or whatever else you like to call it) having an experience in human form. That’s it. We are here to grow and evolve in consciousness. We are here to face obstacles and transcend them, so that we wake up. We are here to find our soul’s purpose and then use it to make the world a better place. We have to lead if we want to be able to see divine/Universe/God in our enemies.
We are not separate. We think we are. We walk around feeling alone. We pit ourselves against others, people in other groups, in other countries, of other religions, but the reality is that we are all one in the same. We all have our specific journey that we are supposed to be on in the time and place where we find ourselves. We are brain-washed to think that we are not enough as we are, so that we’ll buy the new latest and greatest gadgets. We’re made to feel small and inconsequential so that we keep our heads down and work hard to keep a few rich and in power. But friends, we are so much more than we have been led to believe, and we can have so much more in our lives than we even believe is possible. We are all on different paths to the same destination, our awakening, our rising of consciousness. The us vs. them mentality is merely a distraction. It’s one way to keep us all feeling alone. It prevents us from really connecting with each other in a deep way, because we’re always afraid that our problems are worse than the next person, or our insecurities are bigger than everyone else’s, or that our dark sides are darker than everyone else’s. But that’s simply not true. Like I have said before, in the times when I have opened up and gotten vulnerable with others, and have really listened to others share their stories, I have found that while on different journeys, we all fundamentally end up with the same baggage and the same feelings about ourselves. Keeping this idea that I am better than (fill in the blank) or that I have my shit figured out more than (fill in the blank) is just a judgment that my human mind, my ego, is placing on the situation. It is no more true than the stories I have carried about myself. And it keeps me feeling separate. Likewise, when I place others on a pedestal and see them as better than me, I also keep myself feeling separate from others. But, it’s when you can see everyone as equal in this game of the divine having a human experience, that you really feel like you can connect with everyone on some level. Even if my beliefs are hugely different from yours, I am sure that we can connect in some way. Maybe you’re also a Mom, or a Nurse, or maybe you grew up feeling like you had to prove yourself to feel worthy, to get the love you so desperately wanted. Maybe you can relate to my stories of chronic illness that I have lived through. Or maybe you connect with me because you too have struggled with severe depression. Whatever it is, it’s there and it connects us, and it makes you see part of yourself that you like, or that you hate, in me. The people around us are always reflecting back to us the things that we need to learn about ourselves so that we can grow and evolve to become the best versions of ourselves.
I think that this can be a difficult subject to grasp. I will use an example from my own life on both sides of the coin. I am attracted to creative people. I love it when people produce something with their creative talent and then release it into the world for others to see, irregardless of how it might be viewed or judged by others. I am creative, but I usually recognize it in others more than in myself. But it really has to do more with what I perceive about an artist who puts their work in the public eye vs. me who has usually just made things for friends and family, or for my home. I love being around people who are adventurous. Creativity and an adventurous spirit are qualities that I carry. When I see these qualities reflected back to me in others, I enjoy it. I see our commonalities and I love them in me and the other person. This also has a flip side, because the things that really anger us or upset us about other people are also merely reflections of things that can also be found in us. We all hold a balance of light and dark. None of us are completely light nor completely dark in nature. It’s interesting to me that sometimes in relationships, when we see things that we like about ourselves in another person, we really like them and want to spend more time with them. But when we catch a glimpse of something in the other person that we have not yet learned to like or accept about ourselves, we tend to push them away and not want to spend time with them. Have you experienced this in your relationships?
I have talked about this before in previous posts that at square one of stepping into our power here as humans is learning to love ourselves. For myself, I have found that I am usually MUCH more compassionate with other people regarding qualities that we would label as bad or dark, because generally, I have been more empathetic to others than to myself. If someone graces me with their truth in all of its wholeness, light and dark included, I find that I can connect the dots to see how they came to be all that they are, and I am always grateful for the way that they openly share themselves. None of us can ever truly understand what another person has gone through, no matter how well it is explained to us. And really, it’s not our job to understand, just as it is not someone else’s job to understand us. But we can still be understanding, and we can show others kindness and compassion for their journey. And we can love them, in all of their messy human-ness, baggage, triggers, and all. In doing so, in loving others for all that they are, not for their potential to change or only for the things that we like about them, we can come to love all parts of ourselves. Because really, if another is worthy of my unconditional love, then I am worthy of my own unconditional love. Do you see how the two go hand in hand? That kind of love. That kind of acceptance and unconditional love is what we all want for ourselves. Right? But how can you receive it if you do not feel worthy of it from yourself? How can you give it if you still think that you’re better than, or worse than other people?
In one of Eckhart Tolle’s books, he says that the purpose of relationships is not to make us happy, but to wake us up. I think that’s brilliant. The us vs. them mentality keeps our attention on things outside of ourselves, rather than on the things that really matter like unconditional self-love. If society is always telling me that I’m not enough so that I’ll buy more things, or give my power away to other people (by making them responsible for my happiness for example), then I won’t be focused on building my best life. I won’t be realizing my limitless potential in this life. Instead, I’ll live small, and be more apt to follow than to lead. But like I have said, we are meant to transcend the obstacles that are placed on our path. Like the lotus flower, we are meant to rise out of the mud and bloom, not get stuck in it comparing our mud to the mud surrounding the other flowers. It’s not about our challenges, it’s about how we handle them. It’s how we carry ourselves and respond when the shit hits the fan that really counts. Realizing this has come from a lot of reflection and work on myself. I did not always accept my reality gracefully. The more that I can see how every experience and meaningful relationship shapes and grows me, the more confident I have become in the fact that the Universe is always supporting and guiding me in ways that are for my highest good, even when it appears that “bad” things are happening. I know that I have always made it through my challenges so far and that they have made me a better person and have given me my current perspective on life. So when things happen, I assume that it’s all for the best for everyone involved.
In my own life, I have had the experience where the person that I was dating wanted to start seeing someone else. (I have also ended relationships for this reason) It happens for various reasons. We’re human. Situations change. People change. In the past, I have taken their decision personally. I felt deeply hurt by it and became angry and resentful. I felt like a victim. I can imagine that many of you can relate to that reaction. Since becoming more conscious, I have had the completely opposite experience as well. The person told me that they wanted to see someone else. I admit that there was still a level of sadness in saying goodbye, but I saw the whole situation in a completely new light. I understood that this person who I loved felt compelled to follow his heart, and I respected that. On one hand, I would not want someone to continue to hang out with me when they really want to date someone else, and also, who am I to keep anyone from following their heart? I personally try to not live with regrets, so I appreciate when others live from that same space. And so, rather than having a heated discussion that involved my hurt feelings and blaming this person for them, I simply let him go. Honestly, I did not feel hurt and angry about his decision, because I trusted that it was best for both of us in the end. I told him that I had really loved our time together and that I had so much fun on my adventures with him and that I hoped that he and this other person would share a lot of joy together. I told him that I was really grateful that I had met him. And it was beautiful. So beautiful in fact that I write about it here. Now, I will not take all of the credit here, because we had developed the ability to have open conversations with each other, and that took two. Our sweet connection took two. But do you see how one person can make such a difference? Do you see how my response painted the kind of ending that we shared? Had I come at him angrily, it may have completely dissolved our connection and prevented us from remaining friends. But I chose to accept the reality with gratitude for what this person’s presence had meant to my life rather than to leave on a bad note simply because I was not the one deciding to end things. We each have that kind of power! It was not his job to stay and make me happy. It was his job to follow his heart on his journey as he saw fit. It was my job to accept reality without taking any of it personally. It was my job to take care of myself. I did not leave the situation thinking that there was something wrong with me, or that I had done something wrong. And I did not leave angry. I left with a lot of peace about it all, and a lot of love in my heart for this person. I sincerely wanted nothing but love and happiness for both of us. When you realize that we all have our own journeys to live our joy and to find our purpose, you also realize that the only journey that we each need to focus on is our own.
It is really none of my business what someone else wants to do in their free time, or who they want to spend their time with. All I can do is stay as present as possible when I am spending time with the people in my life, so that I can fully experience and enjoy their presence in my life while they’re in it. Life is short. Nothing is guaranteed. I have found that when I am able to stay present in the moments in my relationships, and I treat my relationships with gratitude and take to heart the fact that we are all only here for a short time, I have little to no regrets when the relationship ends or the person dies. When I say that I stay present, I mean that I do not let my mind wander all over the place to the past and future. I am not thinking about my to-do list. I shut my brain off and I just am. It gives me the space to be free in the moment. To feel the sun on my face. To feel the cold water hit my skin. To look at a person and see a beautiful soul smiling and laughing. To me, being present means allowing myself to enjoy a moment, activated by my five senses, without bombarding it with a bunch of thoughts. And if I do think, I think things like, this is amazing, I am so glad to be here, this is so fun, and I am so grateful to have this time with them.
Try it. Set your mind aside. Stop the whir of thoughts telling you what you “should” be doing. Be present with the people in your life while you can. Turn off your phone and focus on where you are in the moment. And then move from there and work to put yourself in other people’s shoes more often. Attempt to see the world from their vantage point for a change. Stop judging yourself and others so harshly. Can you see that we all have light and dark inside of us? Can you see the beauty in it? Can you see the beauty in the dark depression that I experienced in my life? I can. Knowing that level of pain is what allows me to really enjoy all that I now have in my life. I’m not sure that a really happy, joyous heart gets that way without experiencing some form of depression or shadows in life. The pleasure of life is much more profound when you can still remember how much life can hurt.
Our differences are meant to be. Our journeys are supposed to be unique. We are each supposed to be unique. We’re supposed to have differing opinions. But, we’re not meant to walk alone on our journeys feeling separate from the other humans around us. We aren’t meant to fight each other and attempt to hold each other down. We are not meant to be hardened by our pasts. Regardless of how hurt I have been by things that have happened in my past, I still feel as though the connections that I create with people who cross my path are the important part of my journey. I crave deep connections with people. Part of the process to get to that level of connection is realizing that I am you, you are me. The world I am living in is full of people who are out living their passion, connecting with other people, getting inspired by each other, and lifting each other up to live our best lives. We are meant to lift each other up. We perceive the world through a veil of our own thoughts. If you want to see the incredible world that I see, make that choice, and join me. Our lives are only as good as our thoughts allow them to be. Change your thoughts, change your life!
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Listen to Matisyahu’s “Mist Rising” HERE