Tag Archives: guilt

New Skin.

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This blog, this space, for the dozen or so years that I have been maintaining it, has been an account of my shifts, my changes, and my growth. And, in those years, I have gone through many changes, shifts, and experienced a lot of growing pains. The parts that have often felt painful to me, or those that were losses I did not expect, or outcomes that were not what I would have wanted for myself. Looking back now, even though I am grateful for all of the changes that have happened, and know that they were purposeful to bring me to this very spot, it hurt a lot.

 

I am now going through yet another transformation, a change that I did not see coming, yet, one that I am confidently embracing. I haven’t made a New Year’s Resolution in several years now, but when 2019 began, I resolved to be more purposeful and consistent about my awareness of the Present Moment. For me, that means becoming still more often; listening to and tuning into my breath; and remembering that the past is a memory trace and the future doesn’t exist. The book, The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle, has been one of the greatest guides for me to be where I am with presence today. And, along the way, I have created my own practice to keep strengthening my presence muscle.

 

However, what I have noticed as I become more aware, alert and present, is that I have still felt the need to keep myself insulated in a way; to keep a barrier between me and the rest of the world. Now, I give free hugs; I hold my arms open on the street for strangers to me, willingly, lovingly, and with great passion for it. Yet, there are many other times in my life when I would feel self conscious, diminished or ill equipped to be among my fellow humans. And, the insulation that I would wrap myself with was some type of substance to take away the discomfort. Most frequently, that has been alcohol or cannabis.

 

Now for those of you whom know me fairly well, and over a long period of time, I have stopped using substances in the past, due to a belief that I was dealing with an addiction, and needed to abstain for my own well being. And, over the two years that I was sober, and attending meetings, and using a sponsor, I learned a lot, about what I thought addiction was, and wasn’t, and what sobriety did to help me in that phase of my life. And, it helped me in so many brilliant ways, and introduced me to some great philosophies and amazing people. But, after two years, I wanted to try it out again, see if I could use alcohol, socially and otherwise, without it feeling like an addiction that I could not control. And, for the few years that I have resumed drinking, and using cannabis as well, I have gone through phases of feeling more, and less in control. And, have used substances for all sorts of reasons.

 

I still don’t know what my full opinion for myself is about addiction, but something even deeper than that started speaking to me just a few days ago about my ongoing habit and use of any kind of substance. I have started to understand that anything that I use to create a barrier between me and the world is actually working to dampen my spirit, dampen my true self. And, it also deadens my experience of the world, even if I am using it in a fully conscious way. And, although I have stopped desiring to use substances in the past, for a variety of reasons, this time, there is no guilt attached. There is no excusing, or blaming, or needing to find a deeper reason why. I just don’t want to anymore.

 

I want to be as present as possible, and to me, that means removing any and all obstacles that may interfere with that. In addition, I don’t have a single thought or feeling that if I were to choose to have a drink or something else at some point in the future, I don’t feel any worry or shame about that either. I know that as long as I am doing my best, that is all I can ever do.

 

But, it feels strange. It feels like I woke up this morning as if seeing my world around me for the first time. I feel like a newborn, fresh and alive, with new skin that seems fragile. I feel sensitive and raw. And, I feel so free, connected and pure that it seems like I am finally ready to be here, Now.

 

I am ready to Love in my deepest way. IMG_4931

 

 

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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My Rules for Life.

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I have been a writer the majority of my life.  Whether I was writing stories, papers, or my blog, it has been an integral part of my life forever.  This past summer, I started writing in a journal, every day, which I had not done in many years.  I am still writing in it daily, and over the last few months have jotted down ideas that I had thought of, or read about, that seem to be the template from which I view life these days.  I am calling them my rules for life.  

 

  1.  The past does not matter; every moment is a new beginning.
  2. You know your path.
  3. You know who you really are.
  4. You will keep awakening.
  5. Be in the moment.
  6. Pay attention- signs are all around you.
  7. Stay open.
  8. Dig your own well; you have the tools, freedom, choice.
  9. You are NOT a victim.
  10. Keep creating; the possibilities are endless.
  11. Guilt serves no good purpose.
  12. Our thought processes are in our control and can ALWAYS  be changed.
  13. Be abundant with forgiving yourself; see your true beauty and innocence.
  14. Love yourself as deeply as you can; when you can look upon yourself with eyes of love, you can love others more easily for who they are as well.
  15. Guilt is at the root of all that kills- body, mind, soul and spirit.
  16. Every encounter is a gathering of wisdom.
  17. Trust your inner knowing- that is your spiritual path.
  18. Express gratitude for what you have every day.
  19. Be impeccable with your word.
  20. Do not take others and the world personally.
  21. Don’t assume.
  22. Always do your best.
  23. In the forgetting, I get to keep awakening.
  24. Shine your light, without apology or self consciousness, without comparing it to others.
  25. We are all part of the same light, the same source.

Down the Rabbit Hole.

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Tomorrow, I have the opportunity to doing something really spontaneous and fun. It is something that I have been wanting to do for some time now, and the opportunity to make it happen came up, and I am going with it. However, the desire to be spontaneous is conflicting with my desire to feel guilty about not going to work.

Guilt is a tricky little devil for me. If there is a hint of me viewing my actions as selfish, not fair to others or frivolous, I want to somehow believe that it is not okay for me to do it. The more that I ruminate on it, it seems the worse that it gets. I want to chastise myself, believing that I am putting my desires ahead of others, and that it will have a negative impact on them. That to do something for myself is deeply self centered and wrong.

It is kind of like going down a rabbit hole, metaphorically speaking. When I am feeling deep guilt about something, my thoughts about myself seem to get darker and darker, like I am not only a selfish person, but one that should come up with a better reason to disappoint someone else; that things can’t possibly get done without me around, that I have no right to just have fun, just for the fun of it. Instead of seeing the innocence and light about a choice, I keep going to a deeper, darker place.

The great part is, I ALWAYS have a choice. Guilt is not something put upon me; I don’t FALL down the rabbit hole, I jump in. I choose to feel deep guilt about my actions and how it might impact others. However, I also can choose to feel really empowered when I have to say something difficult to someone; to look upon the other person with love, compassion and honesty; and to remember that I deserve, as much as anyone else, to have fun and freedom in my world. And sometimes, fun and freedom aren’t an integral part of my schedule. I get to feel deserving instead of loathing; embracing instead of dreading.

I get to choose to jump down into the rabbit hole, and I get to climb the ladder, as fast as I remember, to get back out, too.

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