AAAAAGH! Okay, that is all, you can return to your previously scheduled programming. :)
Stress is an interesting phenomenon. We often associate the word stress with so-called bad stress, otherwise known as distress. However, a multitude of positive events can also create a feeling of being stressed. This type of stress is called eustress and is often sought after.
That tells us something about how the way we perceive an event has an effect on how that event impacts our lives. For example, I have had quite a lot of distress in my life of late, and the cumulative effect has been a sort of brain fog. I've been suffering from short attention span while doing activities that I normally find highly engaging. Honestly, this has worried me (increasing the stress) and I have spent a fair bit of time thinking about whether my interests had changed or if it really was a side effect of the stress load I have been under for quite some time now.
Tonight I sat at my spinning wheel and found myself enjoying spinning long after the TV show I have been watching as spinning distraction was over. It felt peaceful and productive in a way that has been missing for a while now. I realised that the result of some recent changes has drastically lowered my distress level and the brain fog had lifted a little.
I feel grateful, both to have some relief from the unrelenting stress and for the clarity to notice the difference. Perhaps there will be a little more room to breathe.
It's funny that how no matter how many times I internally house clean I still turn around and find new stacks of old baggage that I inherited. Some of it is a legacy from the family of origin; some of it is from lifetimes of memory; some of it is brand new problems I bought into in this lifetime with realising that I had tucked it into a corner of my soul to poison myself with at a later date.
I often feel a desire as I hit this stuff to ignore it. I'm supposed to be Awake, right? Shouldn't I have turned out all the dark hiding places in soul to the light of day? And why do
I have to experience pain so deeply? Even knowing that this experience is the corollary to feeling joy intensely as well doesn't really help in the moment.
In these moments I lose sight of the idea that I'm causing my own suffering. Everything becomes painful like a limb waking from a numb state. Intellectually I know that my problems are quite small when compared to climate change, global genocide, and extreme famine that many people all over the world are experiencing right now. And yet, the pain feels huge and overwhelms everything else in my life. I can no longer see the beauty around me or within me.
Right now, it feels like I'm running up a sand hill. The harder I run, the faster the sand slides down to engulf me.
There are strategies that I know work in times like this, but at the moment I don't have the energy to implement anything . Even realising that this is a poor cycle doesn't seem to be able to shake me out of the darkness. Even that inner Presence ever with me cries out to me in my dreams and yet I turn away, unable to listen in my despair.
I think I'll stop running now. Maybe the sand will stop sliding and I can get my breath. My heart needs a chance to weep and rest, a repite I haven't granted myself in quite some time.
Sometimes it's not a question of what you are passionate about so much as a question of what you are NOT passionate about in your life. In looking at the question upside down, clarity can sometimes surface.
Let's see where this alternative focus might go...
What if, for just one moment, I let go this paralysing fear? If I truly allow Spirit to suffice my life just for an instant? I know, I know this dance, unimaginable beauty opens before me. Can I accept that much?
What if I bear that instant and find myself willing to try another, and another? What if I decide one day to surrender, once and for all, to this Freedom? Would I lose that which I believe intrinsically defines me? What really is me anyway?
With a breath I let go and dive in, promising myself that I can come up for air if it becomes unbearable. What I find instead is that this diving in brings me the first real breath of my life. This is reality, not the pale reflection that Ego has been clinging to for dear life.
Perhaps I take the risk to let Ego set sale away, like the burning funeral boats of old. I no longer want to even mourn that which fettered me. I feel my wings spread, freed for the first time in a very long time. I had forgotten that I even had wings, and I wish never to clip them again.
One breath, then another, much like a journey of a thousand steps beginning with a single foot fall followed by another. If all of time exists in each and every instance, then each breath that I take diving in brings me closer to Home.
This, Beloved, is what it means to dive in and live in Love.
Beloved, Be Loved, Be Love, Be. There is no greater gift of Love than Being.
There are times when it is a good and necessary action to seek restorative space. It's best to have a consistent practice that constantly renews your spirit, mind, and body. However, the world at large has a great many forces in play, forces that often feel at odds with one another. When enough of those forces clash, it can reach a point where even regular practice is not enough to restore balance.
Obvious examples of situations at that tax the soul are extreme situations such as war and plague. The sudden death of a loved one, or the loss of a job, can certainly deplete any available emotional and physical resources very quickly. It is to be hoped that such occurrences are not frequent; there is a level of emotional exhaustion that can devastate a life when too many of such events occur too closely clustered. That being said, it is worthwhile to recognise that seemingly smaller events (the car won't start, a lost wallet, an unexpected snow storm, etc.) can also tax our state of well-being. When these types of events occur at spaced intervals, our daily practice will usually bring us back to a state of centered-ness in farily short order. However, when these events happen frequently, or in combination with a culturally viewed "bigger" event, we begin to feel overwhelmed. Our over-culture encourages us to regard these smaller events as "first world problems", something to just shrug off and ignore, but the cost to our sanity cannot be ignored.
When the world feels like it is just too much to bear, where do you turn to? Do you power on through and hope it will get better, or do you stop and invest in self-care? What messages do you carry from family and culture about taking care of yourself, about meeting your own needs?
Clearly, regular daily practice does build a reserve on which we can draw in times of trial. For those times when life is much heavier it is very beneficial to have a plan for restorative practice on a deeper level. While initiating such an action (a day in silence, bodywork, time with a good friend), may not be possible in the midst of a crisis, it helps to have the idea in mind so that when a space opens such an action can be taken. Knowing that there is respite awaiting you can make it possible to bear the crisis in the moment.
Take time this week for a little extra self-care. You really do deserve it.
It's been a while since I posted on this blog. Life feels like it is very full for me, and the last year has been a whirlwind of change. So much change - and so much remaining the same - has left me feeling elated and winded all at the same time.
All my life there has been a voice that called to me, a driving force that kept me moving forward even when it seemed pointless to keep going. I cannot remember a time in my life where the siren song of "there must be something more" didn't ring through my entire being. I sometimes have difficulty relating to my fellow companions on this journey when they tell me that being a Seeker is a new thing. Aren't we all Seekers, even if we haven't heard a distinct melody to describe that which we seek? A part of my Sacred Work is to help others hear that siren call. There really is something more, though sometimes is such a small thing that we overlook it, a thing so small and yet infinitely important to our deepest Self.
Can you do me a favour? Please take a moment to embrace yourself, to really appreciate that who and what you are is an incredible miracle. More than believing this, I know it, in the core of my being. Let your magnificence shine. We need the Light!
Beloved, be loved, be love, be.
I started out to write a very different post today. A shooting a little after 3 am this morning brought shouts, police, and wails of grief to my street, rousing me from sleep resulting in a parade of news vans outside my house today.
There are a multitude of things I could say here about awareness, compassion, centered living; the list goes on and on. I started pulling links together for the original post I had planned, but after running into a video called Wonder by Emeli Sande and Naughty Boy, I found myself coming home to my own purpose, remembering why I do the Work I do.
"This light is contagious, go, go tell your neighbor,
Just reach out and pass it on."
Remember, you are full of WONDER. I can't say it any better than that.
Let me give you the Cosmos. Here take it, it's yours. It always has been. To say that this is your birthright is too small. The Cosmos is in you, and you are in the Cosmos. You cannot be separated from that which is always present within and around you. We are Stardust, each in equal measure. If when you look at the night sky you feel small, set ego aside and look again. Look with the knowledge that every atom that makes you was born in the fire of a star's death; it can be no other way. This Is Who You Are.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says this far better than I can.