Raise your words

26 06 2013

 

 

 

We are story weavers, we all weave stories. Two weeks ago, I asked ‘What is your story?’ and I wrote about the stories we weave together and how we can stop getting entangled in them, by recognizing they are stories and by not taking them personally.
We don’t only weave stories about others and our relations with them, we also weave stories about ourselves. We have an image of ourselves, that is built of layers and layers of story lines. All story lines are interwoven, they are part of the cloth we are weaving. Some parts are almost felted, the places we touched over and over and over again, confirming the truth of our stories every time we thought or talked about them, or agreed to them.

Words have power. The words we think and the words we speak. They stick to us. Words bring us down or lift us up. They are the threads that create either a non-descriptive or a fabulous cloth.   What does the fabric of your stories look like? What threads do you use to weave your stories? What colors do you pick  and what patterns do you create? Do you love the materials and the colors you’re working with. Do you love the cloth you are creating? Or do you do the best with what you have, working with scraps given to you by others? What I am asking Read the rest of this entry »





Metamorphosis

19 06 2013

 

 

The journey from caterpillar to butterfly is characterized by a radical transformation. In the in-between stage, the pupal stage, the caterpillar doesn’t gradually change into a butterfly. What happens is far more interesting, the caterpillar turns into a liquid, a quantum soup, if you will, and from that state of liquid potential a butterfly is formed. Our journey from being limited by our stories to being all that we can be is very similar to this awesome process.

In the caterpillar stage, we are blind to all the layers of socialization that make up our identity. A caterpillar doesn’t know what makes it a caterpillar, it has no insight into its own nature. It is unaware of what is happening, it is just eating its way through leaves and leaves and leaves, until it has had enough.
This initiates the pupal stage. The caterpillar goes into a restful state. It digests itself. Imagine that, it releases enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues and turns into a protein rich soup.  When our transformation starts, we need to go into a state of restful awareness, and watch what is happening on the inside. Our old identity is being undone, we are stripped of all the socialization we received. This is an internal process. It is time to let go of all the emotion and thought patterns that aren’t working anymore, all the things that don’t resonate with our emerging self. By letting them come up, witnessing and feeling them, without reacting to them or acting upon them, we allow them to dissolve and become the quantum soup from which our butterfly self will be reconstructed.
Although this caterpillar soup seems formless, it is not, there are things the caterpillar cannot digest, so-called imaginal discs. These discs are highly organized groups of cells that already developed in the egg and were latent in the caterpillar. Tiny bubbles of potential that contain wings, antenna, sets of legs, everything that is essential to the butterfly. For us, it is no different, we have tiny bubbles of potential that remain untouched in the digestion process. These desires and talents that have been partly or completely obscured by our socialization will form the building blocks for our emerging self.
When the caterpillar has finally become a butterfly, it has to break out of its pupa, squeezing itself through a tiny opening. This birthing is critical, because it builds strength in the wings. Without this painstaking process a butterfly can’t fly. Although we feel transformed, we need to emerge this new self into the world. At this stage, we struggle to reveal ourselves, as we have to leave behind our caterpillar identity. Our struggle serves a purpose, we are developing the strength to spread our wings and fly.

In the past years, I have witnessed an amazing metamorphosis within myself. I have gone from caterpillar to butterfly. My transformation process has been a long, long process, mainly because I have tried to ‘help’ the unfolding on most occasions. My ‘helping the process’ always turned out to be counterproductive. I now can see how the impatience and frustration, born out of a need to control, so deeply imbedded in my psyche that I was blind to them, both aided and frustrated my transformation process. Transforming these aspects of myself was part of my metamorphosis. Even in the last phase in the cocoon, where I had already developed a butterfly body, but was wrapped up, confined to a cocoon, I was a butterfly with a caterpillar mind-set, still doggedly trying to make things happen.
In this past year, I have broken out of my cocoon. I am not flying yet, but sitting on the empty shell, expanding my wings, waiting for them to harden. Things have changed. I feel free. For the first time since the beginning of this long process, I am completely at ease with the stage that I am in. I don’t care I can’t fly yet, I know I will and I am looking forward to it. I am getting ready and enjoying the process. No need to go faster than this stage allows me to go.

What I know to be true now is that when your life is in shambles, just let it be, accept it as a transformational stage and allow the magic to happen. This stage of evolutional chaos is a state of grace in disguise. For a long time you will be a hybrid being, first a caterpillar with butterfly aspirations and then a butterfly with a caterpillar identity. This will feel uncomfortable as they are incompatible. Let you butterfly self soothe your caterpillar self, tell it that everything is going according to plan, even when it feels like your life is falling apart or the process is taking ages, you are doing just fine.  Recognize the caterpillar urge to make this transformation happen, recognize it and let it be. Don’t go around changing things in your outer world. This is an internal process. When your inner reality has shifted, your outer reality will follow. From the quantum soup will emerge a new life, so different that you simply cannot fathom it yet. Practice faith, patience and compassion. Those ingredients will help you lose sight of one shore in order to reach the other. When you reach the other shore, when you emerge into your butterfly reality, you will know. Wishing you an amazing journey.

 

 





What is your story?

12 06 2013

 

 

 

I was talking to a friend recently who is going through a lot of the things I went through. He is more and more becoming aware of how the voice in his head is running the show and he is doing his best to come to terms with the havoc it has created and is still creating. When I heard him talk it was like hearing a former version of myself. I so much wanted to let him know that he will be okay, that, however confusing and hurting life seems at the moment, he is birthing a transformation, and that however much he would like it to be, this is not a linear, logical process. I probably said too much for this to come through.
Our conversation triggered in me the desire to distill the most powerful way I know to silence this self-critical inner-voice, a way to help you see things from a different perspective. It is called detachment.  I am going to describe two ways of detachment, followed by the practice that is needed for it to be healthy.

The first way is called ‘It’s a story’. Whenever something happens to us, many of us give energy to it by weaving a story around it.  Let’s say someone says something to us that doesn’t feel good. Now an interesting process will unfold. You must know that we always judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior. Which means that we judge by different standards. Because we know what we did and most of the time we understand why we did it, or at least we know that we tried our best, we judge our own actions in a positive light. And because we don’t have that insight in the actions of others, we judge their actions in a less favorable light. Truth is that although from our frame of reference, what we have done most likely was completely logical, from the other person’s frame of reference it very likely was not so logical. On the other hand, their reaction, the reaction that didn’t make sense to us, was most likely completely logical to them. Am I still making any sense to you? The lens through which we view life is made up of subconscious programming. We see life through a set of filters that were put there in the first seven years of our lives, in that stage of our life our mind was absorbing, trying to make sense of the world searching for behavioral patterns in others around us. Later in life, those programs color the world we see in ways we are, most of the time, not conscious of.
Let’s go back to the moment someone says something to us that doesn’t feel good. Our reaction may be Read the rest of this entry »





Walking the tightrope with ease

5 06 2013

 

 

Last week, I wrote about what distracts me when I’m walking this tightrope called life, feelings of lack, mostly lack of time and how I counter that. This week I want to write about what keeps me balanced most, what makes me walk this thin line with ease.

I am balanced when I love walking the tightrope. I am balanced when I love Life. It is a simple as that, but there’s a catch. I am balanced when I love Life, no matter what. So no matter what is happening, I love Life.  And as Life includes everything that is happening, I love that what is happening now too. Not just when I’m sitting in my warm and sunny garden sipping a glass of Prosecco, not just when I live in a beautiful home, have the job I really want, the child I longed for so much or perfect health. Love is easy when Life feels good.
It means I love Life too when things happen that I consider to be ‘not good’. To love Life in these situations, I need to develop a mature love. It is a love that does not judge Life, that loves Life no matter what it looks like. To really love your life means that you love it even when things don’t seem to go your way. It is an unconditional love of Life. Only when you learn to love the absence of what is wanted or the presence of what is unwanted, you remain balanced. This is not just ‘spiritual’ talk, this is the most pragmatic you can get. This is your life, if you want to learn balance, if you want to learn and stay on that tightrope, if you want to live a great life, your best life, you have no option but to love all of it.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, I know what both the absence of what is wanted and the presence of what is unwanted feel like, I know how all-consuming they can feel. But what I know too when I look back on my life, is that my biggest struggles and my deepest pains were the greatest invitations to become more of all that I can be. And when I accepted them as blessings in disguise and learned to embrace and love them, that is exactly what they became. You don’t have to believe that we’re here for a reason, that there is a greater purpose to all this or that life is here to teach us, you can apply this principle anyway and it will work. When you treat any circumstance as a blessing, it will be so. If you want to live a balanced life, if you want to be able to walk that rope with ease, if you want to love this one life that you are living right now, then love the blessing that has yet to reveal itself.

There is nothing esoteric about this. If you want your life to be a great life, there are really two things you need to do, you have to create the intention to do so and direct you attention to it. It is a shift in focus, that’s what it is. Instead of focusing on what isn’t working, you start focusing on what is working, and you start noticing things to be grateful for that are present in this situation, things you can be appreciative of. It is your choice to either look through the lens of lack or the lens of abundance. I chose the second, not because of the idea that abundance is better than lack or because to love is better than not to love, but because it works. When I focus on the abundance in my life, I have a great life.

To help me do that, I get still, I close my eyes and I imagine that I am loved unconditionally. I picture in my mind’s eye people and circumstances that made me feel loved unconditionally. I allow this love to fill me by adding to it. I amplify it, I feel it to the point that I know I am loved, until it gets so big that I am one with it. If you can’t remember a person or circumstances, remember the love of a pet, or that one instant when you felt loved, even if it was because a ray of sunshine was tickling your skin. If that is too difficult, imagine what it would feel like to be loved unconditionally, to be loved with your quirks and bad habits, to be loved as you are, and make that feeling so big that it becomes real. Soak it up.

From that space I look at my life and ask myself what there is to be thankful for, what there is to appreciate about this situation, what blessing is willing to reveal itself, and then I just listen to the whispers that start arising. I don’t mind the voice of your mind doing its usual skeptical shouting and focus on the whispers of my heart. When you don’t hear them, it doesn’t mean that they’re not there, it simply means you have to develop the ears of your heart. It takes practice, as does everything new. When you do this more often, you will get better at it. Then when I have allowed my heart to speak by being still for a bit, I thank myself for my willingness, for being true to my intention to live my best life, to love this one life. Thank yourself for your courage to try something new. And then I go through my day as I normally would, only with different eyes and ears, because they are primed for things to be thankful for, things to appreciate, clues to help me discover the blessing that is unfolding.

This is what I know for sure, happiness for no reason is the product of a balanced mind. When you focus on keeping your balance, on walking that rope with love, bliss will follow.

 

photo by Loredana Bejerita