"If you keep waiting for the future, it will be a short one."
In reality, there is never any future. The future never arrives.
It is only today: the here (space) and the now (time).
Open your eyes to today.
If you don't feel safe, secure, and/or fulfilled in your today, then you have the opportunity to plant and nourish seeds (choices/acts), today, for a harvest you hope for.
Open your eyes to your here and now gifts. If you are like me, this takes radical willingness and courage. Because usually the gifts are side-by-side with some of my pain or challenge. But they are there. They are not gone from me; but sometimes I turn away from them.
Instead of a short future, choose a fully experienced now.
I'm in my early 40s now. Life is good. I am at peace with myself. I look forward to each day. I have energy and health. I have challenges, of course. I'm human. But I trust myself to meet those challenges.
It wasn't always like this for me. In fact, for most of my life it wasn't like this. I suffered for over two decades. My life was a mess. Every single second I hurt. Every day I was tired, empty. I was stuck, like an elephant-sitting-on-me stuck. I felt helpless. I was angry. And I was so, so alone.
There was no relief for me. There weren't some good times and some bad times. Rather, my life was painful and overwhelming in every breath. And I was so ashamed of myself. I hated myself to the point of nausea. I call the decade of my 20s The Abyss, it was so dark for me.
Because of the massive nature of my challenges over these many years, I felt like my life had been stolen from me. I'm a dreamer. When I was 18 years old and starting out in my adult life, I felt like it was going to be a great adventure. I had detailed plans about what I was going to do. And I wanted to make a difference in the world, too.
But instead of creating my dreams, the universe slammed me face down in the mud and held its boot on my back. I lost my dreams. I lost love and marriage. I lost irreplaceable time with my young children. I lost my health. I lost my peace. I lost my mind.
In my religious upbringing, I had been taught that I had the power to choose. Because I started with that idea, I felt that the answer to my unbearable difficulties were choice-based methods. I prayed. I repented. I set goals. I tried to change my attitude. I set schedules and made To Do lists. All of these attempts were ineffective for me in the condition I was in at the time. And since I failed, the only conclusion I could come to was that I was a lazy, bad person.
Eventually I came to realize that my issues came from a place much deeper than an attitude problem. I saw that I did not have choices. I did not have the capacity to choose, in the condition I was in. I was unable to make choices. I couldn't simply wake up and say, "I'm going to have a lot of energy today. I'm going to have a lot of money today. I'm going to have perfect love between me and my husband. I'm not going to be depressed. I'm not going to have anxiety. I'm going to get everything on my To Do list done. I'm going to quit my crappy job right this instant. I'm not going to have any pain today."
I didn't have those choices in my hands.
If you are identifying with anything I've been through--especially the part where you are stuck--your overwhelming and painful daily experiences are because you have an inability to make choices. It sounds really simple. And it is. But you know how powerful your lack of capacity to make choices is, because you are living with the consequences every day.
Any time your life isn't working for you, it's because you don't have a choice in the areas that aren't working.
The good news is that the solution is in the problem.
The essential key to your healing, your relief, your freedom IS to recover your ability to make choices.
Everything we do in the How To Move the Universe journey is for the purpose of restoring your choice-making ability. You will prepare to make choices. You will have new choices to make. Instead of a story of helplessness, listen to this story.
My life is incredible. I am alive. I am safe and secure. I am energetic. I am at peace. I am surrounded by love. I am sacred. I am free.
Now, can you in just one second switch and be that person? Probably not. You may not have that choice in your hands right now.
But that destination is available to you. It will be like coming home at the end of traveling a long road. Right now you are at the threshold of a beautiful journey--the journey of you.
I wish I could be sitting right next to you. I would put my arm around you and give you a big squeeze. I think you're incredible. You've managed to come this far in your life, through many challenges. And you're still here, still kicking! You're tough! I'm excited for your about the new peaceful and energetic life in store for you.
If you would like to experience the relief described in today's post, and begin your own journey with the support of How To Move the Universe, please start HERE. (It's free.)
When it was first suggested to me many years ago by a counselor that I should accept my life, I struggled against that idea. And, in fact, I was very surprised that she should suggest it in the first place. Wasn't my life unacceptable? There were so many sources and circumstances of pain and failure. I should accept any of that?
I eventually learned that acceptance doesn't mean that you are blind to any toxic happenings in your life. In fact, non-acceptance is the blindness, the putting our heads in the sand. Acceptance opens our eyes and accepts the pain and the problem; accepts the joys and the gifts. Then if there is any healing needed, this can be done from a place of acceptance.
Approval, in my opinion, is not really an appropriate human emotional activity in any situation or for any reason. The axis of approval and disapproval is always toxic (in my opinion).
Approval of someone else means we have transgressed our boundary. We have assessed another human being as being okay or not okay by a set of criteria we hold internally. And likely that criteria is not healthy since we are all students of life and have a ways to go. It's not likely that you would have a healthy enough criteria to assess another person (or yourself). Simply accept what IS--yourself and others.
Inviting or hoping for others' approval is also a dangerous game, because, again, you are inviting someone to violate your own boundary by assessing your value by whatever set of criteria they may be carrying. (I know--WHAT? It doesn't even make sense when you say it out loud.)
Accept your life. Accept your self and your journey. Accept that others' have their life journey. And leave it at that. If you have somewhere to go on your journey (more peace, more love, more joy, etc), then go, but do it with your eyes wide open (acceptance) and letting life be messy and human as well. Release the practice of approval or seeking approval.
I really loved this Penache Desai blog post on acceptance. HERE.
When you think everything is someone else's fault, you will suffer a lot.
In today's video blog, I present an important thought on why and how we suffer; and how we can free ourselves.
When Mr. Miyagi taught the ancient discipline of karate to Daniel-san in the movie The Karate Kid, he began by teaching him “Wax on, wax off.” He gave Daniel several repetitive tasks that Daniel could not understand as having any relation whatsoever to the gift that Daniel thought he was seeking. For a moment, he felt like Mr. Miyagi was leading him in the wrong direction, because Daniel thought he already knew. But based on his trust and deep affection for his teacher, he decided to submit. Later, when it came time to do the fun stuff, he was able to step up and inhabit a completely new space of life, body, and being because of the detailed, tedious work he had done during the “wax on, wax off” stage.
This also reminds me of a story from the Old Testament where Naaman sought healing from Elisha. Elisha gave Naaman a very simple task to do. Naaman felt like the task was not enough. He wanted something spectacular or mysterious to happen for his healing. One of Naaman's servant girls convinced him to do what he had been asked to do. Naaman decided to do it, in a 'what the heck' attitude, and it turned out that he was healed and free completely from the simple thing he chose to do.
I find that I am often like Daniel-san and Naaman. I want there to be something spectacular and mysterious in my healing. There must be something I missed.
But, honestly, healing is doing the simple things over and over again.
We live in a society where there is no shortage of information and option.
But helping our body and soul to inhabit the space that (good) information can provide is another thing.
Drops of water make rain, make a river. One step following after another eventually becomes a journey of a thousand miles.
It will take courage and humility to do the simple things, but it's never going to be complicated.
Write in a journal.
Eat an avocado or some blueberries.
Take one step toward a goal.
Listen to someone.
Go to sleep before 10:00 p.m.
The “wax on, wax off” doesn't ever really change. It's always there, available for us. It's not confusing. We are the ones who confuse it, sometimes because we don't know who we would be without our pain and without our old story (they are so comfy sometimes).
Be willing to submit to your simple healing.
As human beings, we are born into a society, a culture, a family. We become trained about the shape of life. Also, from the time we are very small and as we continue to grow and develop, we make decisions about how to conduct life based on our personal experiences.
It may be that we come to a place where we feel trapped by all that. Maybe we aren't even completely aware of it. We have set ourselves tasks based on these kinds of expectations ("I need to do this," "I need to do that!"). And we start to identify with the expectations. And then we generate a lot of emotions and inner self conditions based on this unaware moving through life: anxiety, sense of failure, frustration, self-doubt, exhaustion, etc.
For me, I have learned a little phrase that has helped me tremendously. It helps me to step back from all the fuss that is life and that I sometimes make for myself.
You don't have to.
You really don't. It may seem like it.
You don't have to marry her. You don't have to go to college. You don't have to live in fear of your boss. You don't have to do the dishes.
You don't have to live with that grudge. You don't have to hate yourself every day. You don't have to watch that third hour of television. You don't have to eat just lettuce.
You don't have to do any of it.
We made all this stuff up, believe me. Ages of humanity have been rolling on for thousands of years, and we just made all that and this up by our daily, hourly individual choices.
There are lots of things that are difficult and that push us around. We are often weak. We are often in the grip of some real circumstances that do limit us in certain directions. But the level of difficulty does not speak to the ultimate possibility.
You don't have to do any of it. If you want, you can forgive. You can sit with the sunset. You can play a silly game with your child.
You could return the wedding presents. It's possible. You can send out resumes to a new job. It's possible. You can learn assertiveness scripts. It's possible.
If you don't have to do any of it, then comes the space where you can realize why it is you are doing what you do. If your marriage is causing you misery, and yet you continue to show up every day--why? What are you choosing? Is it because of the value you place on that other human being? Or are you living in fear? (This is just one example.)
I'm not telling you what your why should be or what your choice should be. I'm just suggesting a way to bring a little more awareness to all situations. Become clear what the consequences will (and will not) be based on what you could be choosing in the possible directions. Be clear on what consequences you are or are not willing to handle.
Especially if you experience anxiety about something, ask yourself, do I have to do this? (No.) If I am going to do it, then why? (Because I feel I have no choice; because my dad will disapprove; because I want the benefit of the situation; I have no idea! etc.)
You don't have to do it.
Now why will you do it, or what else will you choose?
Do you have faith in your troubles?
My brother is a very wise man. That question is a paraphrase of something he said.
If you're reading this blog, perhaps you're like me. I spend a lot of time on personal development. I spend a lot of time trying to support my inner self. I feel like this kind of investment has been a blessing, and I don't know where I'd be if I didn't choose to do that on a daily basis.
However, when my brother brought this up, it caused me to notice what direction my faith was in. Even though I am good at spiritual and mental/emotional practice, I found that I have faith that my troubles are really big and have power over me. My inner self practices are sometimes more to get away from the monster than to simply enjoy being myself and enjoy life. Now, I do believe that is where we have to start. I don't mean I got it wrong. But I appreciate the opportunity to take one more step.
And that is to remove my faith from my troubles.
It reminds me of the final scene from Labyrinth where Sarah finally realizes, "You have no power over me!"
Where should our faith go? Place that faith on your gifts and opportunities and the power they have. Place your faith in the renewal and resilience of the human spirit (yours). Place your faith in an abundant universe. Boni Lonnsbury in her book The Map (which I am reading and loving!) talks about imagining a bubble of love that surrounds you and that expands to the size of your house and from there to the size of the whole world. Everything that enters this bubble, Boni says, seeks to love you and seeks to support you. Place your faith in the reality of that love and support.
"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As were liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." Marianne Williamson
You don't owe your misery to other (unaware, unhealed) people. You don't owe your misery to your own past. The best gift you can give others is your own healing. This gives them room for their own healing, if they choose it.
Then instantly on the heels of that experience, you generate a media of that experience.
(Our bodies are, among other things, recording and broadcasting technologies.)
We do experience external objects and our interactions with other beings (creators). But we do not experience it as IT is, but as WE are. The mediation of experience is 100 percent internal to us. The mediation involves, among other things, emotion and thought.
What we normally think of as experience is often NOT the experience, but is rather the STORY, or MEDIA, of our experience. It is secondary. It happens so quickly right after the experience itself that we cannot tell the difference. Until someone, like me, mentions this phenomenon to you, we are not aware that there is a difference to be had.
Here is a small example. We have an ice cream cone and we begin to taste and eat it. This is the experience. It has no words. It just is. But then begins the story: "This is so GOOOOD. Strawberry!! My dad loves me, he bought the ice cream!" OR "I don't need these calories, why am I doing this?"
It's still an ice cream. It never stops being an ice cream. But due to the mediation or story of the experience, an ice cream becomes a space of joy or a weapon of emotional destruction. But, of course, it is not the ice cream that makes these differences. It is us.
A rock is a rock is a rock, is it not? But even a rock is experienced with mediation. We look at this rock. We touch this rock. But then comes the secondary perception that puts the rock in its context in relationship to ourselves. It is valuable money (gold). It is fence or wall building material. It has a spirit or is our brother. It is a nuisance in our shoe. It is completely ignored and filtered out of our perception. Can you see? A rock, a simple rock even, is mediated as soon as it comes within our realm of perception. It cannot be experienced in the raw.
The mediation options we have are trained into us from our family and society unless we become proactive in our mediation.
Here is an excerpt from my new book Thus Far: 14 Decisions That Allowed Me To Heal From Weakness and Despair:
"Each of us experiences the universe through a paradigm. A paradigm is a description. It's the story of the world you live in. A paradigm describes and assigns all of the structures and circumstances and beings and actions that surround you and that you participate in, into a certain organization. You wrap yourself in this story, and you look out at the world from it. You operate, or act, from the description you have accepted or designed. (You cannot act outside of the paradigm you carry.)
"A paradigm is the world you live in.
"As a child, you were trained in a paradigm, description, frame or story of the world. This training came from several important sources including but not limited to your parents, media, culture, and school. Many people believe that the paradigm they were trained to inhabit as a child is the only world there is. They cannot imagine there are other descriptions and therefore other worlds. They keep trying to 'fix' their frustrated life from the position of their old world and within their old and evidently broken description. For a long time, I, myself, attempted to change my life on this basis!
"Moving to a new world is done by choosing to move to a new paradigm. Get a new description of the world—a life-giving description. Get a new story. Wrap yourself in your new world. Re-assign the meaning of yourself and of other beings. Re-assign the meaning of the structures and circumstances that surround you. . . .
" “Some people are lucky. I'm just unlucky.” This is just one example of a description decision. You have decided to see the world, tell the story of a world that is based on an axis of luck. This isn't actually how the world is. The world isn't actually anything except there, waiting to hear your story of it. You are the potter, and the universe is your clay."
In terms of your healing journey, your understanding of mediation can help you in two ways. First, carefully craft a healing and life-giving story for yourself. If you are experiencing any part of your life as not working, examine your story for that experience and see if you can adjust.
Secondly, there is a way to experience with a minimum of mediation or even without. It is simply to be here in the moment with silence in your mind. You can practice doing that first out in nature in a meditative state. Just experience the breeze, the trees, the water, et cetera directly without generating emotion or comments in the mind about them. Just breathe and be.
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