Friday, August 14, 2009

The Bird's Eye View of Self

Life in the Smith household, where my mother lies during her dying process, is ever busy, filled with the comings and goings of Hospice providers, neighbors, friends and neighbors checking on us, the family, and mom, or bringing food and sentiments of caring thoughts and prayers. The support is abundant; overwhelmingly touching in this time of uncertainty and challenge.

But within this dynamic environment that Life has presented to each of us traveling this journey together, there is an interesting study of the interactive mix between consciousness and unconsciousness, and how we, and in particularly I, are influenced by it all. In the face of the unknown, and the accompanying fear and the resistance it brings in partnership, patience wears, angers fuel and selfishness, disrespect and inconsideration grows. Some days, I have found myself unconsciously swimming in the lower vibrations of sniping, drama and various other emotions in this already intense human experience.

I am, at times, an active participant in this hurricane of human vibration; and thankfully, I have the wherewithal to recognize when I’m in the muck of it, and the consciousness to pull myself out of it. Being in consciousness is the key piece, for when I shift from the participant of the unfolding human experience to one of Observer, I can see not only how I and others are showing up in the experience, but how I am perpetuating it through my reactions and choices in management of it. This consciousness requires practice and a distinguishing comprehension of the difference between Observing and Judging.

Judging, in and of itself, condemns, imposing a higher value system upon something based on one’s perception of one’s own values and those of the world with in which we live. (Note: Each of us live in a different world, created by our personal experiences, upbringings, religious/spiritual influences, etc., so there are countless sets of value systems, and ours is unique to each of us.) The problem in Judging is that we tend to label that which is being judged as right or wrong, good or bad. In judgment, we deem another less than ourselves, our values and way of thinking. Judgment also gives us an excuse to take no responsibility or ownership in the very thing or experience that we are judge. We deny any responsibility for contributing to the situation, despite the fact that participation is and of itself contribution. Additionally, when we judge, we are unconsciously judging ourselves as we judge others. As for this latter point: If we are all created by the One Source, then we must all be One in God; if we are One, we are connected, unified, as often referred to in Christianity, brothers and sisters. So, when we judge another, we are truly judging ourselves, for we are each others’ reflections; we serve each other as mirrors so that we may see and explore our own shadows (areas in need of healing).

Be honest; have you judged another for something you yourself have done in your own life experience? Of course, we all have; so when we judge another, we are in essence judging ourselves, and that part of our shadow that we dislike about ourselves, and have yet to forgive and heal within us. We judge others for actions that they have taken against us, that left us in pain. But within that, we have not yet forgiven the other person or ourselves for making choices in and around that experience.

You may ask: What about someone who has killed another; I’ve never killed another, so how can I be judging myself? Have you ever felt so upset that you wished someone was just gone, eliminated from your experience? Have you ever killed, intentionally or accidentally, another of God’s creatures, if not another person? There’s a commandment that says Thou shall not kill; there are laws that forbid such action. Killing takes away a life, no matter the circumstances around it or the form in which life is expressed. So the judgment of one who has killed may be rooted from a past action, though not exact in appearances; or it may stem from one’s thoughts of such an action, which implies one’s capability of such an action.

And consider this: perhaps you hold energy from a past life experience in which you are condemning yourself. If you do not believe in past lives, this idea will not resonate with you; but if you do, understand that karma plays not only within this life experience, but over eons of past life experiences. Each lifetime is to experience and heal that which we may have rendered upon others. So we may judge others for something we have never done, or believe we would ever do in this life, but perhaps, we have touched upon a past life choice in which we did, and that is in need of healing. Whether you believe in past lives or not, consider this: isn’t it possible that you could make the same choice you judge, if you were walking in that person’s exact same shoes on their path? The possibility is always there; how actions are determined is through the consciousness of our choices in the moment. And while we would like to believe we would never kill another, we can’t possibly know until we are in such circumstances as another has been.

During challenging times, empowerment comes from being an Observer. Becoming an Observer shifts this self-righteous “holier than thou” mentality we call judgment to one of simply seeing and unconditionally accepting “what is.” More importantly, being the Observer becomes less about what others are doing, and more about how consciously we are showing up within in the situation; our reactions, our communication, including word, tone and inflection, and our choices in how we manage other’s choices. If we can allow ourselves to observe as objectively as possible while engaged in the subjectively charged experience, we can consciously collect valuable information for later introspection and learning. We can learn what buttons are easily pushed and by whom, the correlation to past experiences and how we’ve agreed to other people’s beliefs, and how those influence our perception of Illusory Truth v. Spiritual Truth. We can better understand how differing values influence what others say or do, and how those trigger our reactions, and from that place, how our choices are influenced so we may prevent and/or better manage conflicts moving forward. With this information, we can better choose how we participate next time, perhaps with greater empathy, less self-righteousness, less reactions and more productive choices in communication, silence, unconditional acceptance, etc., all of which places us in greater personal power to manage ourselves in God’s higher vibration.

Please note that unconditional acceptance does not mean we agree or condone choices of others that make us less than. God gave us a voice to express our Spiritual Truth, but not to impose upon others our beliefs and values through judgment. If we need to set boundaries, we do so in a loving and respectful way without dishonoring another. If we need to state our differences of opinion, we do so without making another’s opinion wrong or less than, without persecution or judgment. We can acknowledge another’s viewpoint, and state clearly how we feel and/or disagree, but with understanding and respect, not with condemnation and self-righteousness.

The ongoing practice of stepping out of Unconsciousness to Consciousness is tedious but achievable. Becoming an Observer empowers us, allows us to step more fully into who we really are: a child of God, expressing fully through each of us, as each of us, that truth of love, peace, joy, harmony, wisdom, abundance, and creative power. From the conscious state of Observer, we can step more fully into compassion, empathy, and patience for others, in support as they move through their own shadows. And in doing so, we can shine greater Light on our own shadows, opening the door of forgiveness to greater love and healing, and ultimately, greater inner peace.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Vast Pit of the Unknown

There are times in life when everything seems uncertain, and we are, in every way, left in limbo, hanging perilously over a crevice of the unknown. You know this limbo if you have ever lost your job unexpectedly; lost a loved one; pulled up roots and moved to a new town or state; finished an educational chapter in your life(i.e. college, high school) and/or preparing to move into a new career; started a new family; lost a family; divorced; started a new relationship; or collapsed under financial blows, just to name a few. Personally, I am hanging over one of the biggest canyons of the unknown that I’ve ever encountered in my life.

These crossroads are opportunities if we allow them to be; endings and beginnings from which we can learn so much about ourselves and our hearts if we consciously take the time for introspection. These times of limbo are challenging, tiring, overwhelming and frankly, extremely frustrating and unsettling. And yet in that energy, we can productively or unproductively handle ourselves in many different ways. And regardless of anything, how we move through the experience ultimately determines how long we stay stuck in the middle of that crossroad, how well we move out of it, and how easily we manage the next challenge as we move along in our journey. Trust me there are always more crossroads in the journey.

I am currently experiencing a “super-sized” helping of limbo in my life. I stand not just in one crossroad but multiple crossroads that leave me turned around without any sense of knowing what direction to head, never mind what lies before me as options in my journey. As you may have read previously, my mom is dying, and she will be experiencing the ultimate of transitions as she moves into new Life beyond this physical existence. When we the living experience life transitions, we have an opportunity to change our own existence, a new way of showing up in life, a way that expresses more fully, more brightly that Light Within each of us, that who we truly are.

Shamanism is an ancient spiritual practice of indigenous tribes. The Shaman, in many cases, literally experiences a physical death and rebirth, and/or an extreme spiritual death and rebirth through a major life-changing event. Through this experience, the Shaman is said to have greater insight and wisdom of Life that is revered within the tribe. I have moved through what feels like many shamanistic experiences in my life, in which I have felt scrubbed clean of old beliefs, Egoistic perceptions of who I am; such cleansings have led to healing my heart, while simultaneously filling it with love and forgiveness. These experiences, and my work on Self, released old and unhealthy energies of resentment, self righteousness, anger, loathing and bitterness that I held for myself and towards so many others.

Not all of life’s limbos will be extreme; but they may feel like they are as you are in them. Every time I think I’m in my most challenging life transition yet, I am continually amazed at what comes up next, and how much more powerful and challenging it seems to be. How I respond to the transitions impact how well I move through them. And with each experience, I’ve learned to resist less, surrender more, and trust that Divine clarity around the “what next” will be provided in due time. Today, I stand still in the space of time where everything around me spins, seemingly out of control, and there is no sense for me on how I fit into it any of it. My strength comes in standing still, centered in God Within. The surge of the chaotic energies around me leaves me wobbly at times, threatening my Sense of Self and well-being. In those moments, I’m reminded to simply step up my spiritual practices of centering through meditation, self-care and nurturing, to remain an Observer rather than getting sucked into the chaos around me, and to be consciously present in every moment. I’m called to review old baggage and belief systems I have held, decipher them through spiritually-enlightened eyes, and begin a healing process so I may release the past and all lower vibrating energies that go with it. I’m also called to stay out of the future, and to simply be present in the here and now, and find the gratitude with each day, and sometimes in each moment.

And as challenging, frustrating and exhausting as it is to be in this space of such unknowns in all areas of my life, I have to smile. I smile because I know that whatever is on the other side of this super-sized life transition is absolute goodness: joy, love, peace, harmony, abundance, wisdom, and greater creative power. I know I will view life and everyone around me in an even more loving and appreciative way than ever before. I know I will show up more brightly and vibrantly in this world; and that my Light will attract even more goodness, brighten lives, and awaken the spirit within others. How do I know? Because I have spiritually died with each transition, and experienced a rebirth of joy, peace and faith, greater than I’ve known before. The process, if one leans into it with a willingness to have honest and deep introspection, can be beautiful, an exhilarating, and exciting experience that makes all that seemed hard and uncertain through the process melt away and feeling it was worth it.

What I speak of here isn’t a new message; we are always called to step up in a more consciously higher way whenever facing life’s adversities. I’m challenging you to become more conscious in how you manage these experiences, and to spend more time in gratitude and the anticipated glory of whatever is next for you rather than in the victim energies of resistance, anger, upset and resentment. We always feel the latter, its normal so allow those emotions to flow. But don’t “park” your life in these energies, otherwise you risk delaying your arrival at destination “Even Better.”

Oh, and remember, there are many destinations in life’s journey; once you arrive, don’t forget that while it may serve you well, there’s usually another one waiting for you down the road, another “even better.” Sometimes, we may willingly choose to move on; but if we get too comfortable with where we are now, and when Universal timing is right, God may rear-end us into forward motion, forcing us to move on to more Self-awareness and goodness that awaits us.

Love and Light to you all.