Don’t believe your mind.

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I have been studying present moment awareness and other teachings for becoming more conscious of the true self, for a few years now. And, on most days, most of the time, I seem able to remember the skills of what it takes to be where I want to be. To go toward feeling good. However, over the last two days, I have forgotten that truth, and forgotten the knowing that I possess of my true nature, who I really Am. I have been believing the lies of my mind.

 

In the context of presence, and understanding the nature of our true essence, the mind cannot help itself. It is merely a tool of self-propelling ideas, and it is constantly doing its job, generating thought after thought. However, the danger comes in how deeply we want to hold our thoughts as truth. The real truth is, we cannot believe anything, or at least, the vast majority of things that our mind tells us are true. I can identify with this fully and knowingly, especially when I forget.

 

When I forget to not believe the stories of my mind, I think that I am nothing. I believe that I don’t matter, that I am not enough, that there are parts of me that are broken or not okay. I am defensive, hostile, blaming and accusing, all toward myself. When I do find myself blaming others, it is because my ego feels so bruised, inflated and dramatic, that it needs the intensity to feel like it matters. When I get to these places of pain and self loathing, I feel so low that I fantasize about punching myself, doing all that I can to literally self destruct. That is how deep the lie goes, and that is how far that I get from self love.

 

It never lasts long, but when it is around, it feels terrible. And, the thing is, it will hang around until I say to myself what the real truth is, so that it disappears. When I am feeling this insane, it seems like I will never feel better, and as if the whole dramatic story is true. I don’t remember my inner peace, my light, my ability to drop the story at any moment. Gratefully though, I do eventually remember what the truth is.
The truth is, I am Love.

I am Light.

I deserve beauty, joy, and peace.

I can create anything.

When I am in Love, my true essence, anything that I create can only be a thing of beauty.

When I remember the truth, when I stop believing my monkey mind, I see my true essence as if I had never, ever forgotten it. And, I understand that I have the freedom in any moment, through a breath and a conscious awareness, to come back to my essence, my source, in an instant. I never have to be lost for long.

I Know who I Am. 

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Mine stinks, too.

I love that at this time of my life, over half of a century that I have been in this human form, I like to look at myself with deeper eyes. What I mean by that is, I enjoy looking at, and catching myself, at the ways in which I want to either build or maintain my own identity, or see myself as “different” than others. When I say “different”, I typically mean, better than. When I get to catch myself engaging in these subtle but powerful attitudes and behaviors, it is refreshing and relieving.

 

Yet, what I keep discovering, is that the more effective I get at catching myself, the more subtle and illicit the behaviors, ideas, and attitudes become. Because my ever present Ego still wants to exist, it is sneakier and sneakier at how it presents itself. For example, I can feel really good about catching my Ego at what it does, but then, when I become egoic about how much better I am at catching it than someone that I know, that is Ego doing what Eckhart Tolle calls “coming in through the back door”. I am still a human, and a physical body, and I still believe that I exist, just like every other person. And, just because I am in one place about it, and someone else is in a different place does not make me more anything, evolved or otherwise.

 

The best thing that I get to do for myself, and for the world, is to see my own behaviors without making a story around it. Without using it as yet another way to separate myself from others. No matter what loving word I call it- seeing myself in that way out of love, compassion, forgiveness, or self esteem- it is always a way to separate myself from others, and for me, all that does is discourage deeper connection. And, that is not what I want anymore. I want to deepen my connection with myself, and with others, without making it into my identity that then I get to feel good about. I just want to do it, and be present with that, and remember that all of the rest of it is the details of the story that I tell myself or someone else. And, I get to look at it in myself with eyes of love, not condemnation, guilt or judgment.

 

I get to see myself as human, and as a light being, and get to see that Universal aspect in all of us. 

 

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Oops! I did it again.

I can’t tell you how often it is that I believe that I have finally learned the deepest lessons of my life, and that they will no longer come back around and hit me in the back of the head. But, life as a human doesn’t quite work that way. We learn, we put it into practice, we get back into the routine of our lives, and then, we become complacent and forget for awhile. Then, we feel surprised when we have to learn the lesson yet again.

 

I don’t give myself a hard time about this anymore, but I am always surprised when certain life lessons reemerge. Today, the lesson that was taunting me yet again was my insistence on comparing myself to other people. Now, this is an old, familiar tune for me. I have done it my whole life around my body, actively comparing myself to other women, and sometimes men, in terms of how much larger, or smaller, their bodies are from mine. I have done it with knowledge, how much smarter someone seems to be than I am. And today, I was comparing myself to other women in the country that offer hugs to strangers in their corner of the universe.

 

At first glance, I think, that is amazing; their are other like minded people in the world who are doing what it is that has brought me fulfillment and connection, and they are sharing their light and love in the world. What could be wrong with that? Then, my insecurity kicks in, because one of the women is a writer whose books have been on the New York Times bestseller list; she has a podcast with hundreds of listeners and amazing guests (like Brene’ Brown). The other woman I just encountered on social media this week, and when she posts about her hugging events, dozens of people comment and hundreds of persons like her posts. In an instant, I feel inadequate and small.

 

After comforting my bruised ego and remembering the reason that I do what I do with free hugs, I feel a bit better. But, then I remember why learning this lesson again is so important, and why it is essential for me to pay attention to it every time that it comes up.  When I compare myself to others, the initial thought and feeling process that comes from it is “I am not enough”. Of course, I know most of the time that is the farthest thing from the truth, and that I am always doing my best. But, when I am actively comparing who I am in the world to who someone else is, beyond being a terrible comparison due to our own individual, unique qualities; when I compare myself to someone, I simply have to criticize, put down, or find fault or cast judgment or either myself, or on them. And, the judgment is usually pretty harsh.

 

Gratefully, I catch this pretty quickly when I am going down the rabbit hole of self loathing. And, I have also gotten pretty savvy at forgiving myself for going there in my mind and my heart. But, it can be a dangerous reminder of what I need to keep doing; that I need to keep shining my own light; being my self; letting others do the same. I need to keep loving, growing, evolving, waking up, dreaming, and being as big as I care to be in this world. And, celebrate and join hands with other beautiful humans who are doing the same thing.

 

I don’t have to learn all of the lessons overnight; and many of them have to be repeated pretty regularly for me to let them sink in. But, I am so grateful that I see the opportunity in them, each time, and how much closer they keep bringing me to truly loving myself. 

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Truth and Freedom.

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I love feeling good. I love feeling really, really good. And, over the course of my lifetime, there have been a variety of ways that I have used to feel good. For most of my adult years, I have chosen some form of being altered as a way to feel good. I have chosen alcohol, marijuana, or food, as my most favorite substances to get me to where I thought would bring more fun, more feeling good sensations. And, I would often choose an overabundance of any and all of those ways to feel good, and end up dealing with feelings of guilt, shame, remorse, or physical discomfort. I related feeling even better with being self indulgent.

As I grow as a human, and a spiritual being, things about me are changing, including what feels really good to me. I have noticed over the last couple of months, that as much as I enjoy drinking wine, or having a pot brownie, that I have been desiring them less and less. And, there is two big reasons for this. First, is that I no longer at this point in my life, feel that I need to use something to numb out, or to take the edge off of my life. And, honestly, I have used anything from food to alcohol in the past to have life feel less intense, less painful. Or, more joyful. I was seeking ways to feel less hurt or more of a high.

The second reason that I have been desiring these things less frequently, is that I feel so great without them. I have been on the high of my life very recently. And, it is beyond anything that I could use or put into my body. It is coming from a deeper truth within me than I have ever been in touch with before. I have tapped into my inner self in such a loving way, that it catapults me into bliss almost instantaneously.

This has not always been a smooth road for me. I have been on it before; attempting to love myself from a genuine, authentic space. Loving myself completely and without judgment, as I am and with no expectation to change in order to give myself that love. But, in the past, I have often fallen short, because my love for myself was loaded with strings attached: I would love myself if I behaved, looked, or was a certain way. Different than who I actually was. 

I have entered into a relationship with me, that is truthful and full of love. It has taken literally my entire life to get there. And, it is without barriers to feeling that love, or expectations for me to be or do something different. Of course, I have to tend to it like a beautiful garden, water and fertilize it regularly. Yet, when I do, it blooms over and over again. And, I don’t need to add anything special to it, like a drink, to feel what I feel. 

I have entered the most truthful and free portion of my life yet. And I can barely wait to see what might come next. 

 

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The Front Porch.

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What I think that I know about life, growth, and evolution, is that I do not let go of things, or surrender, until I am damned good and ready. At times, this can create immense suffering for me; for in holding onto to anything in this life, we suffer. However, I also trust my inner knowing to indicate to me when I am ready to release something that has felt scary to let go of.

 

Last weekend, I spent some time in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, a quiet, sleepy town that I spent much of my lifetime in. I didn’t live there my whole life, yet it is the closest place to feeling like home to me to this day. The charm and quaintness were only shadowed by the presence there of members of my family. And the house. That amazing, old, character filled, memory laden house. I came to that house when I was only a few months old, and have been physically craving visits in it the rest of my life. And, this week, it was sold to a person that I will most likely never meet, and who will now take it forward into the next phase of their life.

 

This particular chapter, which was a lifelong one, has been closed. And, I was finally ready to let it go.

 

Two years ago, that home was still occupied by my Aunt Ruth, and her cat, Josh. Before that, it was she, and my grandparents, and before that, it was my grandparents, Ruth, and her three siblings, one of which is my dad. A lot can happen in two years, and in these past two years, Ruth has died, Josh has come to live with us, and the home that I knew only as hers for more than twenty five years has been sold.

 

And, I’m good. I am ready to surrender all of that. 

 

When I visited the house last winter, the feeling when I entered it was sharp, biting. There was an edge in it that hurt when I would bump against it. But, at that time, she had only been gone for a couple of months, and everything seemed to still feel sharp and edgy. Being there was a flood of memories, and I spent time sitting in each room of the house, opening closets and drawers, smelling the smells and taking in the details of it as if I had never seen them before. I felt a sense of abandonment, as if I was abandoning it and her, as I walked away that day. 

 

Last weekend, the goodbye was different. I didn’t feel her in there anymore, and it didn’t seem to have anything to do with it being empty. It seemed to have more to do with her flying high, and long gone from the tethers of the physical world. She is so free that she is everywhere. At least, that is what I believe.

 

The front porch is one of my favorite spots there, and one that I will miss the most. And, although I don’t live in the past, nor do I even focus on my personal history much anymore, I will recall with deep love the times of sitting on that porch, watching people walk and drive by, saying hello, talking with Ruth while the breeze  was coming through the screens. One last time, Brenda and I sat on that front porch, soaking up all that had been there. Deepening our readiness for change. 

 

After all,  none of life is there, in those four walls. It is in Me.

 

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