A little morning tidbit from a conversation on my Beyond Imogen WhatsApp group. Loving the conversations and sharings on there that have been happening… To think, I was so skeptical about this idea of a WhatsApp group 🤷♀️
If you are curious and want to join: https://chat.whatsapp.com/LVsmb0CBpFNFryfnSmjOVw
In response to someone recognizing the need for surrender in their life…
“When we surrender to life the recognition comes about that even the efforts brought about by apparent personal ‘will’ are actually the effects of Grace too; A seed planted in the heart that we claimed as our own through misunderstanding. In this way even doing is an act of surrender when it’s seen that there is no doer, just life playing as life does through you as this embodiment of life.”
By Grace there has been
a fierce love of life,
love of love,
love of truth,
planted in the heart
as a tiny tender seed.
That seed grows
in the soil of mess and muck,
where unmet and unseen
feelings of life live.
Where the hardship and sorrow,
fear and loneliness,
doubt and confusion,
lack of self love
and self acceptance
Yet that hardy seed still grows.
Not in spite of, but because of.
It finds its roots, its stem, its leaves
in amongst depression and grief,
hopelessness and despair,
and it used them as fuel
for a it’s tender blossoming
fruit and flower.
That seed grows into a mighty oak.
And that oak knows the true meaning
of unconditional love and acceptance.
That oak knows its Self.
Its fruition may have been hard won,
fought in the mud and messiness of life.
But in that messiness
was found to be true harmony.
It was found to be all.
It was found to be Self.
It was found to be HOME.
“Silence isn’t something that needs to be filled, it’s to be honoured and nurtured.”
We go lurching from one action to another all in the name of trying to pin down and find a sense of stability, find a resolution. All to avoid or fix the strong feelings and sensations arising in the body-mind. If only we could slow down or even stop in those moments, find our centre, find our inherent stability of Beingness and then observe what action comes about from this. Not an action based out of reactivity and fear but an action based from the quietness and centered-ness, stability even, of Self. An action that isn’t impeded by the conditioned mind, an action that is natural, spontaneous and correct for the moment.
Trying to ‘get away from’ is the source of so much suffering, quite often the thing we’re trying to get away from isn’t half as much trouble and suffering as the act of trying to avoid the feeling or sensation arising around it.
We jump from moment to moment constantly chasing or being chased, never realising that what we seek isn’t over there but here… in this moment, in the heart of this experience should we take the time to look, to BE.
What it actually takes is the willingness to sink into this moment and let everything else be as it is. Let everything else come and go without getting involved with managing the traffic like a traffic cop for phenomenal content.
What it takes is the willingness to sit in the fire and intensity of the moment until it burns itself out and gives way to the next moment.
What it takes is the self love and holding of space without conditions and judgements of all that arises.
And what it takes is having loyalty to being, not loyalty to thoughts and ideas of shoulds.
Excerpt from the poem “By Grace“
“Unconditional acceptance heals all sense of wrongness and shame.”
I was reflecting the other day on the fact that I had a massive shift in 2015, a shift that the consequences of which continue to unfold and deepen still today, so much so that I’m unrecognisable in so many ways.
That change required those closest to me, those that interacted and related with me intimately to change in those relationships too. It’s not something that could be avoided, and it wasn’t their choice if this change occurred or not. But it also wasn’t my choice too. Life changed the game and asked me to step up to something different, and that different was unfamiliar and out of any sense of comfort zone, for me and for them.
The game changed and with it we all had to learn what that meant.
In some ways I want to say sorry, sorry that it’s been unexpected and often difficult. I’ve required of them more than most. To radically shift with me, with life. It wasn’t something I asked for, but it’s something that happened. I know they didn’t ask for it, I know they didn’t maybe want it at times, and I bow with the acknowledgment of that. I bow to the courage and love that it took to stick around, to stick with it, to stick with me through these changes. I didn’t ask it of them and I understood if they chose not to or were unable to take this journey with me.
My life changed in ways I’m still coming to understand. And in my life there now are certain things that just aren’t available to me that once were… one of those things is inauthentic relating.
What this (nowadays somewhat overused and fashionable) term means to me…. I can’t not be me now, all of me. It’s all out there, no mask, no pretence, no conditioned shoulds or ways of being other than this. There is only so much space and time available to put myself into a straight jacket of someone else’s making. And so that requires of them the letting go of expectations and projections. It requires of them to relate with me in the now, in the present moment, in the rawness of life, in the truth of life. It requires of them to let go of any ideas of me and be with the reality of me. Anything else and it falls apart, anything else and it’s untruth burns brightly. Anything else and it gets shown for what it is… the conditioning of shoulds. I ask for authentic relating but I give it too, not as a virtue signal, a choice or a practice, but because life gives no other option, even when honestly I’d love an option to turn it off, turn it down!
The relationships become a radically clear mirror where there is nowhere to hide, for me or them, not in the fullness of time. We became linked in a way that leaves little room for posturing and falseness. All becomes laid out in the sunlight to be seen.
So I’m sorry, I’m sorry that we are unable to hide in our shadowy conditioned shoulds any longer, I’m sorry that by virtue of my change they found themselves under a spotlight too. It was never my intention, the light of life was just shining brightly for us all.
I’m sorry that I’m also not sorry. I’m not sorry because it also shows the potential of so much more to this life, so much more for these relationships, so much more than these limits that once kept us caged and bound in the conditioned mind and patterns of behaving and relating.
But I know it’s not been easy, it calls for a stepping up that’s sometimes uncomfortable and vulnerable. It calls for an openness and a radical honesty that can feel disarming. But the fruits of this ‘going there’ are that of freedom, acceptance and unconditional love, for all of us. And for this I am in full support of, even when it feels like it gets messy and complicated, it’s simple really… love wins out. So thank you, thank you to those souls in my life who have bore witness to these changes and who have gone through changes of your own… you know who you are.
Before you judge and condemn another no matter how bad or wrong you feel they may be, take a moment to see where they are coming from. Take a moment to listen, to feel. Take a moment to listen and feel where you are coming from too – no matter how justified your anger might feel in the moment… just take a moment, take a breath.
We all have the capability to act in ways that are hurtful and harmful. We all have the capability to act out of fear, misguidance and misunderstanding. We all have the capability to lash out and act out when we’re feeling threatened or scared, unheard or unloved.
I don’t believe that human beings are fundamentally bad. Each and every one of us is striving, however imperfectly for love, is striving for acceptance, is striving for happiness, is striving for peace, is striving for inclusivity and oneness. We are striving for the same thing, all of us.
We may go about it in f****d up ways. We may go about it in ways that to the outside world don’t match up to ideas of what that search should like. We may go about it in ways that actually bring about the opposite reaction and consequence from our actions… but nonetheless I believe every person comes from a place of this fundamental search for love and acceptance.
This love may be distorted and contorted so much so that it now only resembles hate, but please take a moment to really consider this – are we all not deserving of a chance, a chance to be loved even though we may not yet know how to love in return?
I know this is hard to hear. But your judgement does nothing to solve the problems of this world. Your judgement does nothing to help. Your judgement brings just more divisiveness, your judgement brings less love not more love to the table.
Judgment and hate breeds more of the same, but with love there is room for it all. With love there is a chance for a flower to bloom in the wake of destruction. Unconditional love breeds redemptive love.
Just to be clear, I’m not sitting here judging your judgement. And I’m not sitting here saying you should sit silently by while others do harm. I’m sitting here saying that while I may even strongly agree with what you’re pointing to… I encourage you to maybe try a different way, a way that encourages, a way that has compassion and understanding for the other. A way that leaves room for people to mess up and make mistakes, yes even big ones, but leaves a chance to grow, and change, and learn. A way that leaves a path back home, to love, to self, to acceptance.
We can have room for both in hearts – the not putting up with, or turning a blind eye to cruel, harmful and unjust behaviour AND the compassion, love and understanding for that person who is acting in those ways.
There will always be differences in experience, there will always be those that act in ways you can’t condone, ways you can’t abide by, but before we write them off as a person because of their actions, can we seek to understand why first? Can we give them, and ourselves a chance at love and acceptance first?
Because this is how I believe change truly happens, with love not with hate. With compassion not judgement. With connection not exclusion. With understanding not assumptions. With acceptance not rejection.
“Knowledge and concepts are no substitute for direct experience.”
“There are no choices, just happenings. Happenings appearing as choices.”
“It takes courage to give loyalty to truth not comfort.”
I don’t know about you, but I feel it’s a very intense time right now calling for us, both individually and collectively to take a look at that which is in the shadows and bring it into the light so that it may be seen. We’re being asked to stretch and change and grow, and that can get intense and uncomfortable. We’re being asked to let go of the old and step into the new. Change is a beautiful opportunity, one that hopefully we’re able to welcome and celebrate, even with the presence of discomfort and unknowingness.
But change always begins within ourselves. Trying to enact change on a wider collective level from its own level can only ever provide a temporary bandage. Because then it becomes an imposition or a rule from the outside, rather than an emanation or reflection of the heart in how a person truly, naturally and spontaneously interacts and acts in and with life.
It’s not to say we should give up trying to make change and transformation happen in the collective, whether that be in our closer relationships, in our communities, in our societies, or on a global scale; but it’s to say that to enact real lasting change we have to go deeper, we have to go closer to home, we have to turn inward to our SELF. It’s also not to say we shouldn’t try to help one another, grow with one another, learn from one another, teach one another; but it’s to say whatever we take on from the outside or another, has to be discovered in our SELF too.
If we want lasting change, we first have to find that which is unchangeable and work from there. Find the unconditional nature of our Self. That which goes unchanged, that which doesn’t come and go. That which doesn’t die, that which sees and experiences it all – good, bad and everything in-between, right here, right now. If we try to change and fix the constantly changing its nature will be to inevitably change again.
Find that which does not change – awareness, and we find that awareness has love and room for all the changes, all that is different, all that is experienced in life. We find that that unchanging unconditioned open awareness has infinitely diverse appearances and changes within itself.
When we are cognisant of our true nature, our core, the fruit of this is compassion, the fruit of this is inclusion and acceptance, the fruit of this is LOVE. When we have to come to know the love in our hearts that love is reflected in the world around us too. We have to model that love and shine that light outward to the rest of the world.
Those that feel disconnected from their true nature, those that their focus is wholly in the relative, superficial, phenomenal and changeable world then they will only see differences, and those difference will seem like a problem, those problems will seem insurmountable.
A Celebration of Differences
But those that are cognisant of the primordial ground of being, the wholeness, will see that yes there are differences, but those differences don’t threaten the wholeness, those differences don’t threaten us. They are part of the wholeness, but not separate from that wholeness. Differences become a celebration of diversity, but there is strong thread of unity underlying, connecting and permeating that diversity. That thread connects us all, our commonality pervading far deeper than any surface level difference.
When this is seen then differences become a celebration because…
In our strength of love there is room for any form of difference.
In our strength of love there is acceptance of all.
In our strength of love there is compassion for completely differing views, opinions and experiences.
So we need to start with ourselves. We need to do the work individually to discover our nature, to discover what it is that makes us the same.
We are all searching for love, we are all searching for inclusion and acceptance. For those that have discovered their nature, it becomes obvious that any focus on division is futile, it becomes obvious that to hate another is to actually hate a part of your Self. For the other is an inextricable part of you too.
We cannot love another fully if we don’t yet know love for ourselves, and we can’t fully love ourselves if we haven’t yet found the love for another. They go hand in hand, they are two sides of the same coin. We must discover the love of all, ourselves AND the other. But love is the key, and I’m not just talking about the small transactional and conditional love of the ego, but the infinite unconditional divine love at the heart of existence.
If we want change we have to follow the rabbit hole down to love.
“We cannot love another fully if we don’t yet know love for ourselves, and we can’t fully love ourselves if we haven’t yet found the love for another. They go hand in hand. They are two sides of the same coin.”
“All of life is a mirror, showing you what needs to be seen.”
“Life is so magical and mystical, no matter how much you think ‘you know’ life will always find new ways to show you just how little you do know! Get comfortable with the unknowingness I say…”
“There comes a point where you find that which you cannot NOT do IS your way forward.”
“Life calls for a deeper and deeper surrender and trust of this moment.”
Sometimes you just want someone to hear you, to see you, without needing to fix you or explain away your pain and confusion.
To hold the space, the pregnant silence, the love for all that you’re going through.
To not project into the void of uncomfortableness and fill it with solutions, comparisons and stories.
To be okay with just having the space be about you and only you.
To create a refuge and safety for you to go through what you’re going through.
To compassionately be there for you, to listen to you and not make it in any way about them.
To give you space without any needs or any conditions or any time limits.
Sometime you really WANT this. Sometimes you really NEED this. We all do. And that’s okay, that’s not bad or wrong.
Let it sink in… WE ALL NEED TO BE HEARD AND HELD SOMETIMES.
When you do receive this gift of space freely and wholly given, it lights up your heart, it lights up your world. The healing that comes from this act of being held, this act compassion and tender love is immense.
But it’s not always easy to find it in those moments that it’s needed most, by the people that it’s most needed from. And when you aren’t met in this way, then the shame of needing to ask for it comes in full force and the sorrow of your brokenness and aloneness is felt so deeply. The fear and guilt that maybe this is too much for you to ask of them, that you don’t deserve it, that you’re being ‘too needy’, ‘too much’.
And so your heart breaks a little more. You feel yourself withdrawing, resigning to the need for self sufficiency and the ability to self-sooth. You have no right to demand anything of anyone after all, and you know this, you feel this. But even so, all the while the depth of your broken heart wants and wishes them to say… “I’m sorry, I get it, I was uncomfortable with your pain so I tried to fix it. I made it about me. I made it about something I’d read, I’d done, I’d experienced. And all this took the attention from you when you needed so much to just be simply heard and held.”
They missed the mark, even if in their heart they wanted so badly to fully to be there for you. But it’s such a subtle and tender mark that it’s so easily missed. It takes such love, such intimacy, such trust, such openness to listen for those cues before it’s too late.
You want so badly for them to see that you don’t need anything, other than to be heard. That your silence was not a space that needed to be filled, but a space to be held. That you were having a hard enough time letting yourself go there, that even in your awkward attempts at changing the subject or even the mood of the moment were just in fact an invitation to yourself to go deeper, to let go more into the vulnerability of the moment.
Yes, they don’t owe you anything. Yes, you don’t have the right for them to show up in the way you need, or for them to know what you even need. But you so want them to go there with you, to create a safe space so that you can let it all hang out.
Your broken heart just wants to be seen and held with love, so let it be seen and held with love… YOUR LOVE.
“Open awareness is not something to identify with, it’s something that you recognise you are when all identifications fall away.”
It’s rare that we don’t impose some kind of limit, condition or expectation on ourselves as to who, what or how we should be in this world. This causes immense suffering as we’re then having to try to constantly keep up and meet these things, often falling short we then feel like we’re at war with life… which is exhausting. Accepting yourself and dropping these overlaid impositions leads to a sense of ease and naturalness of life.
But it’s not easy… these conditions are sometimes so subtle we don’t see them as such. We have to get good at discerning what is intrinsically YOU, an outpouring of your essence, and what is acquired.
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel grateful for who and what life brings my way – like this view yesterday… just up the road from me, not far from where I was born. I’ve had a rough week of strong stuff coming up and that’s okay, I truly welcome it all. There’s a lot of change and a lot of growth happening, both for me personally and collectively too. Growth and change can be intense and uncomfortable to integrate and hold space for, to let go of the old and welcome in the new. It requires everything of you, and requires you to suspend all sense of knowingness and certainty.
No matter how many times I go through this, it doesn’t get easier, or should I say the process doesn’t get more comfortable. Yes I may have less resistance and more acceptance, compassion and understanding for the process – so on a deeper level it does make it easier. But it requires patience as it inevitably gets messy and sometimes downright ugly.
There are so many people who are having such a difficult time of it right now and yes there will always be those worse off or better off than you but it’s okay to just be with where you are without comparison. To work through what you’re working through and take some time, take that precious moment to breathe in and ground yourself in NOW rather than the expectations of where you feel you should be with life.
Bowing my head to the feet of life and surrendering to this moment. Sending love to all that are having a tough time too. Thank you thank you thank you thank you 🙏
“Your capacity to allow people to live a truth completely opposite to yours, without shutting off your compassion for them, is a reflection of how powerful your love is.”
Transformation comes when the old conditioning and ways of thinking that inevitably cease to serve are let go of. Their cracks begin to show, yet there’s still comfort felt in them as they’re known like an old pair of slippers whose time of service has come to an end. But when life is calling for growth and change these old habits being to feel like an increasingly heavy straightjacket, keeping one foot planted in the past. We are never who we were even yesterday and that which may have served us dearly invariably has to be sacrificed in service of what is happening in the current moment.
A step into the new and unknown may seem like a scary risk but let your loyalty be to the NOW. Let your loyalty be with what is opening up before you and you will see the fruits of this trust in life’s wisdom. Even though there may be trepidation, notice how fully you are held. Life comes up to meet you with each step, even when there’s fear, even when there’s hesitation, even when there’s resistance.
Life asks of us that leap of faith, that bold courage as we let ourselves be surrendered to who and what we are in THIS present moment. Let the old fall away and you will find that it transforms and gives way to the infinite possibilities of NOW.
“May your dis-ease be lessened as you come to see that life holds you in her arms tenderly.”