Make friends with that aspect of yourself that you are rejecting or avoiding, those aspects that you judge or deem unsavoury.
That which we reject are often those aspects that require the most love, the most compassion, the most kindness, the most attention in-order that they be integrated into the wholeness of our Being. Those gnarly, messy, ‘bad’ rejected bits of ourselves are often being called to be transmuted into acceptance and love.
For love is the greatest power in the universe. Love has the power to move beyond all seeming boundaries and inhabit every aspect of life. Love has the power to transcend any sense of separation or ‘other-isation’. Love has the power to encompass it all.
So fall in love with all of yourself, all of life, and you will see that that love is eternal and ever-present even in amongst the mess.
“Love sometimes looks like having strong boundaries.”
“Love sometimes looks like having strong boundaries”
Story time… Boundaries are something I’ve always struggled with, in fact it’s probably been THE number one struggle in life for me. While it’s almost unrecognisably night and day compared with how it used to be, I still do struggle with it because that conditioning is so well ingrained. But luckily life shows up in ways to test where I still have trouble standing in my healthy and necessary boundaries.
And so boundaries is a topic I’ve shied away from writing about up until now, not because I don’t want to (believe me I’ve started to write about boundaries countless times!) but mainly because it’s such a big topic for me that I didn’t even know where to begin – posts ended up rambling and jumping all over the place. I think it’s also difficult because I’m still walking it, I’m still living the learning and growing from it. It’s raw, it’s intimate, it’s a big unknown because I’m not talking of a subject that’s all wrapped up in a neat bow, it’s woven throughout the fabric of my story in ways that I’m sure I haven’t yet gotten the big enough perspective of time to see some of the bigger lessons and themes fully. It’s coming, it’s happening, which is maybe why this is getting written right now.
Through my difficulties I’ve learnt that setting and keeping boundaries can actually be THE MOST LOVING AND HEALTHY THING that you can do when relating to both yourself and others.
A few years back this was a new and wildly scary one for me to accept. Like I was stepping on to an alien planet where all the rules had been turned upside down and I couldn’t fathom this is could actually be true. You see, somewhere along the line I had picked up the idea of the opposite of this being true; ‘No’ was not something acceptable for me to feel. No was not kind, no was not loving, no meant you were selfish and unreasonable, unloveable even. No was negative. No meant you were protecting your ego and if you were in a constant state of yes-ness to life then you were surely spiritually evolved.
In fact in my childlike innocence and ignorance I somehow misunderstood (or probably heard in a way that fit my learnt conditioning) that spiritually speaking if this was all one unified consciousness… then there ARE no boundaries… boundaries were false conceptions of the ego-mind to be gotten rid of. Somehow ‘no’ as a healthy and natural expression of life got twisted up into that idea of boundaries = bad. See… told you I had big issues and misunderstandings to unpick around this stuff !!!
‘No’ equated to wrongness for me and so I used to think my no’s were a pathology, a failing, a bad girl, an unlovable aspect of myself. I continually ignored them to the point that quite early on in my life I struggled to even say the simplest of no’s or ask for what I needed. This led me into a dark place of not only people pleasing and putting myself second to the point of mental and even on occasion physical danger. But more importantly it also led me to the point where I lost touch with my intuition and self knowing light. It put me on a path of having too many internalise voices of ‘should’ rather than being able to recognise my inherent and wisdom-filled true voice of Self.
For me it’s be a long journey home to this wisdom of self boundaries. So long that initially I didn’t even realise how off course I was because my boundaries were so covered up and hidden that when someone encouraged me to have my own boundaries, I felt lost, I felt confused, I felt like they were actually doing something wrong TO me, not helping me!
No’s are still in many ways uncomfortable for me. I still on occasion have a voice (yes albeit a very faint one now) that gets me almost looking over my shoulder as if I’ve done something wrong. But I’ve learnt that a ‘no’ honours yourself and in turn honours the other in that you’re not doing something that actually breeds resentment in your heart. Others can trust you then, trust you to communicated with them where you’re at, even if they don’t like what they’re hearing. Your yeses are true, clear and authentic and nothing is going unsaid and festering, there’s no reading (or misreading) between the lines.
I’ve learnt to love my no’s. I’ve learnt that “no” is a complete sentence too!! I’ve also learnt that my spontaneous natural expression is that of going with the flow (enneagram 9 anyone). As it happens my heart IS a (mostly) continuous yes to life, not as a pathology but because that happens to be in alignment with the most loving action and least resistance for me – acceptance… I learnt my yeses through learning about my no’s, so when there is a no… that no is to be listened to and to be trusted and honoured. That no is accepted wholeheartedly. That no is a sacred part of life. That no is just as much of a yes to life. That no, in that moment IS the most loving expression of life.
“Authenticity is about learning to hear your Self from the depths and innocence of your heart. Learning to stand up for that and boldly step into what you know to be true in this moment rather than trying to calculate gain or loss, shoulds or shouldn’ts in the mind. Authenticity is being okay with, or at least accepting that you may be misunderstood by others yet still knowing your Self, knowing your heart and following this wisdom.”
Boy oh boy it’s been an intense year so far! I’ve noticed a massively heightened presence of energy in myself and had others report the same since around the end of January, before the covid-19 situation really took hold in much of the world. But I had no idea what was coming and it’s become the new norm, the energetic intensity and the ground shifting beneath the feet, only time will tell where or if it will settle.
Overall I feel there’s also a beautiful opportunity right now to face the things that are being forced to the surface of experience, many of which were always already lurking in the shadows, with compassion and kindness – both on an individual level and a collective or global level. I’ve actually been blown away by the kindness and love I’m seeing on both small and large scales, it’s incredibly heart opening and beautiful to see that our nature of love shines through in times like these.
The ground is shifting quickly beneath our feet and that mirrors the process of awakening in a way. It’s the dissolution of the certainty and assumptions of stability that were being falsely held on to, falsey nurtured, lent on and relied on. I’ve noticed that those that tend to fair better overall are the ones that can handle living in the unknown and uncertainty, better still those that learn to fully live in the trust and joy of life… this could be said for both awakening AND the current global situation.
There many right now needing to self-isolate and step back from the busy day-to-days of life and this gifts the opportunity to look inwards for comfort and solace rather than outward to the changing content of life. Gifting the opportunity to find that which IS stable in you – your Self, thereby allowing all else to move and shift and change as it inevitably does, all the while not holding on to anything.
There are many parallels with awakening I feel right now and while I don’t want to hang my hat on any bold claims or anything like that as I feel time will tell… it seems like many are being to be asked by life to take a leap of faith and step more and more into the unknown and into trust, and let the old or false certainties fall away. If we let that happen for ourselves life opens up into a different space, a space where what we once relied on doesn’t serve anymore, a space where we have to look to a deeper truth.
For me, trust has been my biggest friend through all this. Letting myself surrender even deeper into trust and love rather than non-trust and fear has brought the most solace and comfort, even… dare I say it… joy and peace.
Some Practical Advice
(take whatever’s useful… leave the rest)
On a practical level I’m aware of both my own and many others creeping fear and uncertainty due to the current pandemic unfolding before our eyes. I don’t think much of the world is exempt from being affected in some way and I’ve had many people reach out to me in the past weeks looking for help with coping or just to simply connect. I just want to say my heart goes out to all those affected with this in anyway, big or small, there’s no doubt we are experiencing extremely choppy waters right now.
But I thought I’d share some (I’m sure they’re others) of the more practical things that I’m implementing or bring increased awareness to right now, as well as advising others to do that ask this question of me. They’re easier to qualify and get your hands on in terms of feeling like you’re ‘doing’ something useful…
• Stay present – Going into thoughts of future is where 99% of our fears and worries come from. Every time the mind wanders into the future… even tomorrow, come back to now. Feel your feet on the ground, your breath as it moves your chest, your heart as it beats. Let yourself ride the wave of what you’re going through in this moment without going to the mind where it’s all about the future, what ifs and judgment of the situation. Focus on the felt experience of this present moment. Come back and keep coming back, out of the future or past, out of the mind and into NOW – now is always about the felt experience of now.
• No labelling – Keep the attention away from labelling in the mind and on the direct felt experience – no labels or judgements necessary here… No rights or wrongs even, just another wave in the ocean. Just feeling into anything that’s arising, allow what is there to be there but don’t invite it for lunch, let it pass through. Allow your attention to rest on the physical and energetic sensations of the body rather than the mind. If you’re having trouble, start with the focus on the breath, don’t control it or judge it, just notice it.
• Separate practical and emotional – Deal with emotional/energetic first, once centered and calmer, less charged or triggered, less overwhelmed then you are clearer and freer to deal with actual practical as it comes up… again not living in the future and what ifs, just one foot in front of another. If there’s a decision to be made that you’re having difficulty with… keep quiet, focus on the emotional and energetics of what you’re experiencing, let that pass or at least acclimatise into your experience and then you will be quieter to hear life’s answers and solutions as and when they come up, not pushing for when that ‘should’ be. It’s not reaction then, it’s what needs to be done without the emotional overlay and charge.
• Minimise TV news consumption (and tv generally if that helps) – I never normally watch tv but have been tuning into news this past week. My gosh I’m shocked at the energetic imprint it leaves! I can feel the collective energy of fear so powerfully and it definitely amplifies my own. So if you can stop, or at least minimise your exposure. And if you do choose to watch be aware of the potential effects on your already overactive physiology. Reading the news for me is a better and less impactful way of staying informed, just sticking to the briefings of the government rather than the media’s inflamed opinion pieces. This also applies to social media too…
• Find the positives – Find things that are real and true in your life in THIS moment – like: I am safe and healthy, my kids are safe and healthy, I have a full belly of food, I have a roof over my head, I don’t need to do anything or go anywhere right this minute. In this moment everything is fine.
• Self love – Taking time for yourself, even if you feel you don’t have time… do it – even 10 minutes of meditation, or 10 minutes in the bathroom giving yourself a foot rub or a massage of your face or shoulders! Meditation, satsang, calming music, a walk in nature, quiet time with a book, whatever that looks like to you. It’s so important for us to be able to take care of others to be first in a good place ourselves. It’s not selfish, it’s 100% necessary.
• Talk it out – Find someone who will allow you to voice your fears and feelings without inflaming, judging or trying to fix. Someone who you feel safe with to take off your mask of ‘okayness’, a compassionate ear that lets you process what you’re going through out loud. Sometimes it’s too overwhelming to sit with our emotions and energies, if this applies to you… talking it out can help, just choose very wisely who that’s with.
• Be kind and patient with yourself and others. It’s a difficult time for many, emotions and energies are very high. Be aware of this, let anything that happens wash over you, don’t hold on if possible. We are all dealing with things best we can, yes you included, yes them included. Sometimes that looks messy, but that’s still the best that it can be in that moment. So be forgiving of yourself and others.
Stay safe out there and I’m here if you feel to reach out.
Awakening is like having a constantly breaking open heart that you never need put the pieces back together. It’s the acceptance and the self love to stay broken open and to see the immense beauty and power of that – to stay in the ‘only don’t know’ without the need to gather it all up into knowing again.
“Let your heart sing its own love song.”
Embrace all that arises, give it the loving attention that it’s calling out for. Rejection only creates more suffering, more separation.