When I look back on my life and this journey of healing and growing, I see more clearly the baggage that I've been carrying for most of my life. These included sad, mad, angry, fearful, judgemental thoughts and emotions of myself and of others. It was like carrying a sack on my back, and my arms and hands also full with this baggage, leaving me very little resources or attention to put on where my life is here and now. I was too occupied with all this baggage.
On this journey of healing I have begun to put down, piece by piece, the baggage I've been carrying. Finding another way to move through life. Not bogged down with old thoughts and emotions.
The first step in healing was to simply see I was carrying all these things, which was increasing awareness. I had little awareness of this baggage up until a couple years ago, this had been how I always was so never questioned it.
The next step was to just observe this without judgement. These were all old patterns imprinted which I was following. No judging, no self hating, no blame on myself or others, tapping into the acceptance of what is here and now.
Through the practice of breathing and meditation, I began stepping out of these old patterns. Which began the process of dissolving those old patterns. Which led to new patterns and ways of being. A different outlook on life. Living life in the here and now, not in the past or the future. Processing, facing these fears, no longer running, is the path to true freedom.
Compare the serene + simple splendor of a rose in bloom with the tensions and restlessness of your life. The rose has a gift that you lack: It is perfectly content to be itself. It has not been programmed from birth, as you have been, to be dissatisfied with itself, so it has not the slightest urge to be anything other than it is.
-Anthony De Mello
Self-intolerance has been a theme throughout my life. A lot of conflict when wanting to be something I'm not, being jealous of what others have, not being content with my life here and now. Not accepting myself or life.
I've learned self understanding is the way out of this mess.
There's no fight or desire to change who or what I am, simply the step to understand who and what I am.
This has been where the practice of breathing + meditation has taken me. Learning to observe thoughts with no judgement, letting them come and go. Observe what's happening in my body when I have one particular thought, able to let it go if it brings about discomfort or distress, while entertaining and embracing the thoughts that resonate with my spirit of love, peace, and joy.
As I practice this, the awareness of self understanding increases, which is always going to be based on self acceptance, and unconditional love for myself, and life. As all judgements of myself and the world around me drop away.
“Peace doesn't require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there.” ~ByronKatie
I have many life lessons that has proven this to be true. There is no other way.
Whether it is in my job, my personal life, no matter the situation. Inner peace is my responsibility.
That doesn't mean I become a pushover if something outside of me is happening that I want to change, or decide to move in a direction for change. Or that I can't have my own opinions on a matter.
The difference is when I blame someone or something outside of me for disrupting peace within, I've lost touch with my true self and my spirit, whose essence is peace and joy. Then I develop a self righteousness, that that person has to do this or that, or this situation has to be this way or that way, for me to attain peace.
When I go within and feel peace regardless of the storms around me, then that's the filter I will see the world in. That the situation and person is no longer responsible for my peace. I am. That will bring me deeper within, I am peace.
With that, I can move forward in life, promoting change, promoting justice, promoting peace and love, from a place of peace and love.
words of encouragement,
written July 22, 2016
When you're so sad and crying a lot, it's all ok. Be gentle with your heart and know your heart and soul are there to embrace it all. Although you have intense feelings in this moment, remember you are whole and complete, pure, and completely lovable. You're absolutely fearless with your willingness to bare your heart and soul to others. Despite it not resulting in some of the action right now that you want, know you are on a path exactly where you're supposed to be.
You won't always know all the answers, or understand why things unfold the way they do. But, we know what ever happens is for the greater good.
You'll always be fully happy and content, and satisfied, to the fullest and deepest depths no matter what happens on the outside.
People come and go, family, friends, lovers, but this unconditional love from within will never go. It is eternal, you are eternal. You are love and loved.
Be gentle in these times of sorrow and sadness, stay present. Enjoy every moment, no matter what comes your way.
Life is an adventure. Filled with ups and downs. In these feelings of downtime it's inevitable it will be back up again. This too shall pass.
Love always and forever,
The world is full of sorrow
The root of sorrow is attachment desire
The uprooting of sorrow is the dropping of attachment
How does one drop it?
One only looks and sees that it is based on a false belief
The belief that without this I cannot be happy
That's false, the moment you see that's false you're free
-Anthony De Mello
I've had a lot of examples of these false beliefs in my experiences.
One recent experience was having all these plans for an outing with a friend be cancelled. Plans had been made, was going to be dinner, a light walk afterwards.
That was the simplicity of it, the dinner outing was cancelled.
The false beliefs I was having that led to suffering were the stories. I'm not a priority, why is this happening to me, why does this always happen to me, what's wrong with that person. So many judgements and stories, layering on top of the basic reality that plans had been cancelled.
I was basing my happiness on plans going as planned, and if anything changed those plans, I was no longer happy.
I can be happy and free once I had the awareness of the false belief I needed that event to happen in order to be happy.
I recently watched a short video clip by Eckhart Tolle. He shared the following: Whenever you have become defensive about something, know that you have identified yourself with an illusion. [course of miracles]. The knowing is not part of the illusion. In the knowing, you are free of the illusion.
I've had a lot of episodes of defensiveness in my life. Wanting to be right, wanting to be heard, wanting to make a point.
All of these are ok, except when I begin to lose myself in the actions. Identifying and escalating my position through anger, hostility, frustration. Infusing my actions with this energy.
Yet, I can also make a point, take a stand, be heard, without losing myself. In fact I'd have a lot more clarity in my approach, interactions with others, and peace, when I don't lose myself.
What are some triggers that have brought me to losing myself, and identifying with the thought? It's almost always what someone says, or so it seems. If I take a step back I will recognize it's not what they said, it's what I'm thinking or believing based on what they said (as how Byron Katie puts it).
If it was what they actually said, then that would mean they are controlling what I think and how I feel. Then I'm ultimately losing myself, at the mercy of someone saying something that makes me happy, makes me sad, makes me angry, etc.
Once I see it's not what that person says, it's what I'm thinking and believing, I can have a handle on the situation. I can choose how to react or respond.
I can take a few conscious breathes, see the numerous thoughts coming and going, and choose the thoughts that resonate with my spirit. While letting the other thoughts go. Recognizing not all thoughts are true, and the ones that unnerve me, shake me, scare me, are always not true. The ones that bring peace and comfort are true.
Inner peace, love, harmony, is my true self, and from that place I can recognize old thought patterns that go against this, and create and develop new patterns.
Fears come in all sorts of disguises. It can be anger, resentment, sadness, and other emotions hiding behind jealousy that are based on insecurities, self hatred, that result in blaming others for how one feels.
In my experience the easiest thing was to attempt to manipulate my surroundings and people around me to change, to make me feel better. Rather than look more closely inside me and what was going on with me. The former may work momentarily but would not last. There was little to no sustaining change that I can control in my surroundings or with other people.
One example of fear that would emerge in my life was jealousy. This was based on wanting to have an experience with someone, when I saw they were having that experience with someone else.
I'd have the following thoughts: Why can't it be me? Why don't they want to do that with me? Why are they choosing that other person over me? Why don't things go my way? Why am I not good enough? I don't deserve this experience. I deserve to be left out. No one wants to be with me.
The thoughts would get worse and worse, escalating each time. Leading to conclusions that felt affirmed by the strong emotions I was feeling. Feeling more sad, more angry, more upset, then turning that negativity on me. Believing all these negative thoughts.
Here are some practical steps I took, as part of the process of healing. Some components I got from teachers such as Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, and Jeff Foster. The other piece that was important was breathing and meditating.
Use emotions as a gauge to what energies are floating by. Recognizing I do not have to believe every thought that I have. In practicing this, you'll get stronger at it, by then choosing which thoughts to entertain and which to let go. The emotions and thoughts that carry that negative energy can more easily be let go through greater awareness, while the emotions and thoughts that carry joy, peace, love, can be entertained more deeply, resonating and connecting more close with your spirit.
This does take practice. I used to resist negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Now, the fight is over. There's nothing to fight. No more battle or inner turmoil. Through awareness, then choosing, I'm gaining back my strength, with inner joy and inner peace.
The practice of breathing and meditation gives me greater practice in letting thoughts come and go, and resting in that state of joy, peace, and love. Returning to my true self.