Meeting my genius

24 11 2015

 

Alladin's Lamp by Dan Colcer

 

By giving up on ‘the big plan’, my life has shifted big time. For one, I don’t find it hard anymore to figure out what I want to do. It’s not a big thing anymore either. I don’t feel overwhelmed anymore. And I have lost the need to figure it all out before I start.

For years, I have felt intimidated by this idea that I should follow my passion. There was this implicit notion that we all have one unique talent, one thing that would set our heart aflame and that doing this would be fulfilling our purpose. Mind you, I did not come up with this idea by myself, but I was desperate enough to fall for it. This ‘passion’ would save me. That is, once I found it, or better if I found it at all, because, to be honest, I had no clue as to what my passion was. Yes, I loved writing, and drawing, and painting, and being on this path of transformation, and learning, and reading fantasy, and teaching, and singing, and public speaking, and baking, and cooking, I could go on and on and on. And I am pretty much good at everything I try my hands on, and I do feel excitement for all of those things too. Yet, I felt I needed to make a choice, I needed to commit to one of those loves. And I couldn’t. It was kind of frustrating. And in the meantime, feeling torn between all these choices, overwhelmed by my own potential, most of the time I felt so frustrated I was completely blocking the flow of inspiration, unable to create anything.

All of that is gone. Gone! I kid you not. To hell with passion. I don’t even consider it interesting anymore. Overnight, it has become devoid of all meaning. Gone is the frustration, not even a hint left. Gone the sense that I have been waisting my time. All I want to do now is crack on and create as much as possible in the rest of my life.

I am one of the most curious people I know. Always have been. I love a very broad spectrum of things. Honestly, I think I could feel excitement for just about anything, except perhaps for Excel sheets (sorry, Bas). I can totally immerse myself in something, simply to satisfy my curiosity. Yet up until now I would feel terribly guilty about it, because somehow it felt whimsical, a distraction from the big plan, which involved one passion, and certainly not the broad array of my interests and talents. Actually, one of the things I have always resented about myself was being blessed with so many talents. As I am typing these words, I am just shaking my head in disbelief; how can one be so thoroughly misguided? I find it comical, hilarious even. The paradox in that sentence is just too obvious not to see it, and yet I was blind to it.

From now on, I pledge to go wherever my curiosity leads me. I will regard curiosity as inspiration incarnated, my genius guiding me, showing me the next stepping stones on my journey. If one day, I find myself aflame with a passion so blazingly hot that it (temporarily) burns all other interests, I will welcome it, but I will not wait for it, nor will I let it define the rest of my life. I will be open to all inspiration, honor my curiosity, celebrate the uncertainty that tags along, and praise the possibility of all things ready to be born through me.

 

 





The shift

18 11 2015

 

 

Recently, I was in a science center where I walked in a pitch dark room. In that room they had made an obstacle course, and the only instruction I got was not to let go of the wall with my left hand. So there I was, obediently following the contours of the wall as my left hand was meeting all kinds of strange textures. Even though it was a completely safe experiment and I was having fun while doing it, my brain was protesting, sending danger signals all the time. After I had taken the I don’t know how manieth corner, the floor slightly tilted and I was walking uphill, or so it felt. The danger signals were becoming more acute and my pleasure went down, and then, all of a sudden, I stepped on an air cushion and my brain went into red alert. It was like someone with a megaphone was yelling in my ear: DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! After I had solid ground under my feet again, I was walking more hesitantly than before, lacking the confidence I had had when I first went into the room. Knowing there might be other unpleasant surprises made the experience even less pleasant. Because, who knew what else I was going to encounter? Our reptilian brain is not fond of unpredictability, of the unknown, of change. Honestly, it would be perfectly fine staying coiled up in one space pretending it is completely safe.

As I was preparing to go into the abyss, my reptilian brain was resisting with all its might. ‘Are you mad?’, it screamed into my ear: ‘This is going to hurt! Remember all the other times? Don’t be stupid. Just don’t go in; you’re safe here.’ Determined to go in, knowing I really had no other choice, knowing it would be alright, knowing life would get better, I buckled up, be it slowly. And then, despite my reptilian brain going berserk, I went in. Step by step, I intently descended into what I was knowing would be an unpleasant experience, with every step bracing myself for impact. Yet it never came. Somehow I had it all upside down, somehow I was inside an Escherian drawing, believing to be descending, while in reality I was climbing towards the light. The darkness I was anticipating never materialized, as I stepped into a light so beautiful it moved me to the core, and everything shifted.

I have experienced this shift a few times so far, and it always follows the same pattern. When it happens, the crown of my head is tingling incessantly. It feels as if a cold liquid is flowing down the top of my head. It feels good, yet almost too much of a good thing. I feel lighter than I have ever felt before in my life; I can’t stop giggling and laughing. And I feel hyper, like Tigger on steroids. This only lasts for a few days. Then I am back to being more or less my normal self, but not quite. There will be subtle and not so subtle differences not only in how I view myself, the world and life, but also in how I act. All of sudden, without it being intentional, I start doing things differently, things I’ve done a certain way my whole life. And I really cannot fathom why I did them differently before. I can intellectually understand that a certain world view resulted in a certain behavior, and that a different world view results in a different behavior, but for the life of me, I do not get (emotionally and physically) why I ever saw / did it the way I did, why I could not see what always was in plain sight. It is like not getting how I ever ‘breathed’ through an umbilical cord before it was severed; I can understand it intellectually, but I cannot imagine it being real anymore.

Venturing into the unknown doesn’t become less scary over time, but it gets easier. In the end it is nothing more than a habit, be it a very powerful one. So here’s to a phenomenal adventure, and many more to come. Cheers!





Taking flight

10 11 2015

 

 

 

Transformation is all about letting go of the stories we tell ourselves. The stories that are hardest and scariest to let go of are the stories we have been telling ourselves for a long, long time; stories that were passed onto us by our parents, stories that were woven into the fabric of our being. For me, one of these stories was that we need a savior. Being raised in a conservative christian family, I was permeated with the idea that man needs a savior, Jesus to be precise.

I had what is called learned helplessness. In the first six weeks of my life, I had been taught that no matter how hard I cried no one would listen; that I would not be touched, fed or cleaned when I asked for it. It had learned that I ha no control over my life, whatsoever. This instilled in me the sense that I was powerless, that I could accomplish nothing on my own, that my actions had zero impact on the world. It is no surprise that the story of a personal savior resonated deeply with me.

Years ago, when I needed to let go of the story that what is written in the bible is true, as it was conflicting with my rational mind and causing havoc on all levels, I let go of Jesus and God as well. To my surprise, after two weeks, that what I used to call God was still there, a presence larger than me that I felt very much connected to, that touched me like nothing else. Jesus and the bible were fell in a different category; both concepts were caught in a web of man-made stories, and I kept them at bay for a long time because I knew that would not be able to see through them yet. It took more than a decade for me to see them with fresh eyes. When I let go of my religion, my need to be saved was still very much present. What I did not recognize was that post-Jesus, I  found a substitute savior.

It wasn’t until last Friday afternoon, after letting go of the story that there is a divine plan, that I did not feel the need to be saved anymore. I had become my own savior. The feeling is impossible to describe. What probably comes closest is the image of a bird sitting on a branch, the branch breaking, the bird spreading its wings and flying off, undisturbed. Until this moment, I might have known intellectually that I could fly, but I never experienced it. Now with the branch gone, I automatically spread my wings and flew. For the first time. It was utter magic. I have never felt so light in my life, so free, so powerful. Again, everything has changed.

I can now see with the utmost clarity that the divine plan replaced Jesus’ role as my savior. What I know for sure is that when you believe that you cannot do anything on your own, when you are waiting to be saved, life itself becomes the deadlock. The only way to break free is by discovering you are the key. As for the divine plan, the grand scheme, it simply has become irrelevant. Whether there is a grand plan or not, it will no longer have an impact on how I live my life, because it is beside the point. As I see it now, the point of life is to be able to look back on this day, this month, this year, this life and feel love for myself, appreciation for my choices and proud of my accomplishments, to know that I was true to myself and my dreams, to be at peace with this one life. That’s all. Me discovering this may be part of a divine plan, but that doesn’t concern me, because it is outside of my circle of influence.

 

Image by Sias van Schalkwyk





Into the abyss. Again.

6 11 2015

 

 

Transformation is inevitable, not optional. Transformation cannot be halted. It can be stalled, but not halted. That would be as nonsensical as a caterpillar choosing to become a pupa instead of a butterfly. It is a caterpillar’s destiny to undergo a complete metamorphosis. It is a caterpillar’s destiny to become a butterfly. It is programmed into its being. It is the why of its existence. It is inevitable.

My transformation started the day I earnestly said I didn’t know. One of the first, and scariest, steps was that I let go of God, which simply meant that I was willing to accept that I didn’t know if there was such a thing as God. After two weeks of living in a void, I experienced that there was something bigger than little ol’ me. I was part of a web of Life that was immeasurable and indescribable. For a long time, I refused to give it a name. Then, for practical reasons, I started trying several names to end with the name God again, because for me that simply resonated most.

In the past years, I somehow started believing in a divine plan, a grand scheme. Like the caterpillar, we are meant to transform into a new version of ourselves.  Ironically, in my transformational process, the time has come to let go of that belief, to do what scares me most, to explore nothingness once again, to live in the void, to know nothing and experience everything.

Only thinking about it is enough to make my mind and body protest with all their might, because what if there is no divine plan, what if the things that make sense to me on the deepest level are just part of the illusion? The whole idea makes me want to puke, I literally feel nauseous, but I cannot not do it. It is not optional. It is time to go into the abyss, again, and I am loathing it. I know that I am fearing fear itself, but that is little consolation. I really wish I didn’t have to take this path, but, however paradoxical this may sound, I know it is inevitable.

 

photo by Eric Nelson