An Open Letter To My Friends

Dear Friend,

I want to say both thank you and I am sorry. 

Many of you have not seen me for a while. This year, it may be 6 months. For others, it may be years now. I may stay in touch by text or Facebook. But we don’t visit like we used to do. 

I don’t host dinners or (as many) parties. I cancel our plans alot…alot. i know this and I am sorry. 

Once, I used to try to do everything and be everything. I hid my issues under layers of making things look effortless. I did everything I was asked to and attended everything I was invited to do. 

But it was slowly killing me. It was feeding my Fear of Missing Out. It was leaving no room for me. I indulged in that because I did not want room for me. If I took a look, I would see how incredibly unhappy I was. 

As my friend, you probably saw that. You probably knew things had to change. 

They have changed. I spend as much time alone as I can. It’s not because I don’t want to be with you. It’s because I have not been with me for about 30 years and I have some catching up to do. 

True, circumstances have also come into it. Changing jobs takes some adapting. My child being incredibly ill since October has been a huge part of my need to retreat. 

I also know that throughout our friendship, I have disappointed you. At times, I did not treat you as if you mattered. I am sorry. You do matter to me. 

I have had to find new boundaries because I have had a history of putting others before me. I have needed this space to find what I am committed to, and what I should say no to. 

So, my friend, I thank you for being my friend and showing up the way you do. I see that, I feel that, and I am grateful. 

Better Than You

jokeDeep down, I believe I am better than you.

Please don’t get angry – I am not proud of this.  Until recently, I was not even conscious of it as a belief I hold.

Lately, I have been irritated by people who are part of the spiritual/new age/consciousness community who show up in my life as pseudo-holy seekers on an amazing quest to prove that life is one big Joy Orgasm. What I see, or what gets triggered for me by this is that it is their ego continuing to try to replace itself with a much more desirable and illusory image than it had before.

But of course, then I have to ask what is alive in me that is rubbed by all this.  The answer is because I believe I am better than them for not being that way. Honestly, what is wrong with people just being who they are on their journey? Nothing, except I have a belief that when they interact with me, they should see that their illusion is just an illusion and be in awe of where I am at on my path. Trust me, I am cringing as I write this.

Yes, I see that as my own ego illusion.  Yes, I hear the judgement in it.

And after a lot of sitting with it, I have decided I am ok.  The ego is all about desire and repulsion.  We either put energy into wanting something, or not wanting something.  My ego does not want this belief to be true – it damages my self illusion.  And thank goodness for that! Who wants a self illusion anyway? One teacher said that disbelieving something undesirable in you is not holy, it is more ego. 

Instead, I am not putting energy into this belief.  I recognize it has surfaced.  I recognise it as untrue.  And now I let it go.  It might pop up again, and I will look at it, then let it go.  As many times as I need to do so.  I simply won’t identify with this belief, or any of my beliefs. 

That won’t make me a better person.  Hopefully, it will be one more aspect of self that I not longer hold on to.  It is a tremendous movement back to my still point, to conscious awareness.  And maybe it is one step towards Oneness with you.

The Waves of Healing

“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

I am an Air Sign, and an earth goddess at heart. I walk barefoot as much as possible. I need the earth to balance my Air element as I tend to live in thought. 

I spent this past week with the Pacific Ocean. I have been to the ocean a few times before, but this time I was in constant contact with Her. I played in Her, listened to Her, and healed with Her. The ocean stirred my heart. It layed  waste to what I brought to it and carried it all away. I brought myself, I lost myself. 

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”
– e.e. cummings

Missing the Mystery of Life: The Last Page of the Book

bookDo you ever read the last few pages of a new book, just to see?

For most of my past, I would read the first few chapters of a fiction novel, get really engaged in it, and then read the last few pages to see how it all ends.  Then I could just relax and enjoy the writing and how it unfolded.  Otherwise, I was too anxious and would wolf down every page to see how it goes.

I found that my approach to spirituality was a bit like this, too.  When would I become enlightened? How do I ascend? Am I falling behind? Who is the guru I need next? Or what teaching do I need now?  My mind was asking the questions from anxiety, and not letting truth surface.

“Be in touch with the part of you that is not afraid of the bigger questions of life, the ones that underlie everybody’s life.  What am I really? What is true in this world of illusion? What is real? What is authentic? What is reality? What is God?  Those deep existential questions that orient you into the mystery of being.  It is not necessarily satisfying if you get a quick and easy answer to these questions, from a book or a teacher; those deep questions that pull our attention into the mystery of being rather than trying to explain the mystery, and awaken our sense of wonder.  Sometimes we are taught to be oriented in a way of thinking that conceals our wonder and all we have is anxious questions.  What is going to happen? Is it all going to work out? All are a manifestation of anxiety.  Deep questions are questions of wonder.  They are looking for an experienced or a revelation, not simply an answer.”  – Adyashanti, satsang at Asilomar, December 2016

In meditation and spiritual practice, we reach into ourselves for an experience to the mystery.  For example, no answer or idea can fulfill you when you yearn for love.  You aren’t satisfied with a theory on love.  You want the experience of it.

I find now that I don’t run from the deep questions of life, the deep experience of being.  I am more aware that deep experiences lead to resolutions of these questions within us, often wordlessly.  We have a profound experience of being, a shift in our experience and perception of life.

Read the whole book, don’t skip the pages or devour them, and enjoy.

Soulmate Myths: I Blame Richard Bach

Image result for twin flame chakra

Soulmates, twin flames, spiritual partners…

I think nearly every spiritual online subscription I have posts some article on one of those topics.  Richard Bach was the first writer through whom I was exposed to the idea of a Soul Mate.  I was sitting in the University cafeteria, and one of my friends passed me his book on soul mates.  I read it in a day – could not put it down. And so began my life long search for this idea.

A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.” – Richard Bach

Then of course we began to hear more about twin flames. “There tends to be a lot of confusion about what a “twin flame” relationship really is. Unlike “soul mates,” which are our perfect matches (or our spiritual family) twin flames are our perfect mirrors. Relationships with twin flames tend to be on-again-off-again, intensely passionate, and sometimes intensely painful. Twin flames help us awaken like nobody else, and they ultimately serve to show us who we really are.” – Thought Catalogue  Or another view is “twin flames, also called twin souls, are literally the other half of our soul. We each have only one twin, and generally after being split the two went their separate ways, incarnating over and over to gather human experience before coming back together. Ideally, this happens in both of their last lifetimes on the planet so they can ascend together. So you probably haven’t had many lifetimes with your twin.” – Soul Evolution  

Finally,  I was introduced to the idea of Anam Cara, which seemed more authentic because it was described as historical: “Anam Cara means “Soul Friend.” Anam is the Gaelic word for soul and Cara is the word for friend. In Celtic tradition, an Anam Cara is a teacher, companion or spiritual guide. With the Anam Cara you can share your innermost self to reveal the hidden intimacies of your life, your mind and your heart. This friendship cuts across all convention to create an act of recognition and belonging that joins souls in an ancient and eternal way.” – Anam Cara Therapy

I bought into the idea, or ideal.  It became the measuring stick for each relationship.  If a relationship was not this, then it was not good enough.  If it was not this, then the Fear of Missing Out would kick in.  I accepted and rationalized unhealthy relationships as evidence of soul work, or of the challenge that comes when twin flames are together.  For the sake of this deep belief, I allowed myself to suffer and call it the price of such lofty relationships.  It fed my egoic belief that I was doing something special and harder than the regular type of love and relationship.

The obvious reaction a person may have is that I am cynical, or because I have not experienced these things I am taking a view colored in bitterness.  In response, I would note that Richard Bach told the world he found his soul mate, he also told the world that they divorced.  I believe it was a growthful relationship, but not the soul mate relationship that he postulated in his books.  Here is why: soul mates, twin flames or any idealized description of how love manifests is the ego attempting to make permanent the relationship that occurs between personalities.  These are attempts at spiritual overlay to make identification with the self seem meaningful.

I have had deep moments of connection with people I am close to and people I barely know.  I have had long healthy relationships.  I have had long unhealthy relationships.  The dynamic of the relationship is a function of the personalities in the relationship.  I believe that the moments of connection are moments where I let go of self. I believe we look for these idealized romances to fill in for when we are trying to feel connected to the Divine.  It could even be a vehicle for that spiritual path.

I rest on the koan “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him” and extend it to “If you meet your soulmate/twin flame/etc, keep looking.”

 

 

 

 

The Facebook Fast

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I signed in to Facebook 10 years ago. It was the newest thing and the best way to share my baby’s pictures with family and friends. Over time, I connected and reconnected with people I had known. With one of my jobs, it was desirable for us to spend time on social media. So now I am on it six to ten times a day. 

My spiritual practice promotes different forms of fasting so this year I decided to do a Facebook Fast. One of my areas of spiritual growth is facing my Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). So letting Facebook go is big. 

What have I experienced? More time for me. More time connecting in real life. More projects getting done. A new recipe every night. More satisfaction in my day. More time to meditate. More research on interesting things. More time to do art. More of pretty much everything. 

And no FOMO. Not a bit. 

While I value people in my life, Facebook is a false economy of relationship. What I value is my Facebook interactions with people I really like. I value growth and support. Sharing. Deepening. Facebook doesn’t do that. 

The fast will evolve into new choices when my 2 week fast is over. I intend to stay connected to connecting. 

My beautiful eyes, my innocent eyes

“You are quite naive,” said the Face reader. “You are easily taken advantage of.”  Face reading is a pseudoscience that predicts personality from physical characteristics. It can be insightful; it is at least interesting.  In this case, the reader believes my eyes are shaped and sized in a way that reflects being naive. 

I walked away, incensed. I am a talented negotiator and always leave the table with my goals met. I assess people for a living. How could I be naive?

Mental flash: despite my confidence in life, I have had a history of intimate relationships where I was easily deceived of the nature of my partner. In fact, in all cases of major relationships, my family warned me off each of them. I dismissed my siblings, believing I could see something they could not. In fact, the opposite equally was true. And how many times have I hired staff that were good performers but challenging personalities?  I even have at least two roles where I was not a fit with an organization but I accepted the job anyway. 

So I looked up the word. Naive means innocent, natural and unaffected. As an empathic and a highly sensitive person, I feel pain when I lie or act untruthfully. A line from Tolkien always stuck with me: “the Men of the Mark do not lie, and therefore they are not easily deceived.” 

When it comes to people, I believe I tend to see the most beautiful perfect parts of them – I see the Divine in people. Even when a person is mean or selfish, I see the parts of them that are kind and generous. The difficulty with that in a long term relationship comes when the balance between selfishness and generosity is not there. Or when the balance is tipped away from what is best for me. 

I am naive. I have big, beautiful and innocent eyes. I have a big, beautiful and innocent heart. My spiritual path is not about finding ways to protect myself from others. That would mean my goal is to control circumstances and people – folly. My path is to experience without attachment. My path is to be open to all that is, without Self protection or fear. 

My eyes, my beautiful innocent eyes truly are a window to my soul.