On Self Acceptance


cats

 

Imagine you’ve had a terrible argument with your nearest and most dear friend.  You’ve not spoken to each other in months.  Any encounter with this friend has met with a scornful glance that is quickly turned in another direction and a silence quite noisy with unrequited pain and anger.

Eventually your own pain and anger begin to give way to better memories of the dear one and you find yourself in a position of surrender.  You realize that all this anguish is too dear a price to pay for the separation from the friend.  So you resolve yourself to take the step to make it right.

You make the call with trembling fingers and invite your friend to come to your home.  You explain that you miss them and want to talk it out.  After a pause that seems an eternity, your friend accepts.

As you busy yourself making tea and tidying up you find your friend’s presence is very near to you even though they haven’t arrived yet.  You realize nothing, not pride, not ego, not being right is worth the loss someone and something so dear.  And the bell rings.

With heart pounding you rush to open the door.  You had thought of a million brilliant things to say at this moment, but when the door is opened and your eyes meet it all plummets into silence.  Nervous smiles are exchanged and you invite the friend to sit.

In this moment your heart is full and your head is empty.  You realize there is no fault in your friend.  There never was.  They are someone sorely missed and deeply loved and in that light fault cannot exist.  You suspect your friend is feeling the same as you both sit quietly sipping tea, waiting for that moment of reconnection and feeling the warmth of that loving union as it returns.

This little tale is a reflection of our own inner world when we aren’t in acceptance of ourselves.  And most of us aren’t.  I invite you to sit a moment and feel what is happening in your own body.  Any sensation of discomfort or tension is telling another tale.  When we accept ourselves there is no tension, not physically, mentally or emotionally.  There is only relaxed clarity.

If you are seeking self-acceptance, regardless your reasons, reflect on the story above.  When the meeting with the dear friend finally takes place, the reason for the argument is irrelevant.  You instinctively know that reconnection and the resumption of the flow of the relationship cannot take place if you place blame.  You don’t even care who was right or wrong.  The whole difficulty seems stupid and you realize that relationship was never disrupted.  It was all a painful illusion.  And so it is when meeting ourselves.  You must meet what you are resisting internally eye-to-eye, openly and quietly.  You must allow it to be what it is, undisturbed.

As with the reunion with the friend, the whys are not important.  Why is in the past, and the actuality of the past is dead.  All that remain are stories of it, written by pain and anger, a distortion of the truth that will and can never be found.

So don’t waste your energy and create even more tension by bothering with the why, or the cause of your own tension.  Instead, invite it into your home, your heart, without the need for judgement.  Whether it’s right or wrong, justified or not, is irrelevant.  It is causing you discomfort and suffering

because you’re not meeting it fairly, openly and it won’t settle until you do.  Allow your own discomfort to be what it is.

So invite it as you would your dearest friend.  Sit with it, patiently, quietly and attentively.  Let it begin the flow without the interference of your own thoughts.  This disharmony only longs for your acceptance.  And, like your dearest friend, you’ll find a tremendous love begins to bloom.  The suffering ceases in an instance.  You are complete again.  Whole.  Untouched.  Relaxed.  Natural.  Joyous.   Burn the stories and don’t revisit them.  They’re completely useless.

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Something About Fear


hands2

 

I’ve noticed something very curious about fear, both in general and as it relates to writing.  It’s always there, I’m just very good at trying to look the other way.  And we all know how well that works.  It doesn’t.  Every time I sit down to write, there is  fear that starts fluttering away in my chest.  An internal dialogue starts, always self-depreciating.  Ironically, I don’t experience this when I write a post on Facebook; a place of complete exposure.  But when the fear comes, I will not write.  Anything.  I just click that little red “x” in the upper right hand corner of the empty page with the proclamation “I can’t do it,” and busy myself in something else.

At first I thought it wise to figure out the “why” but I remembered that even if I do figure out why, I just end up constructing a mental fiction about it, filled with drama and intrigue, and it just compounds and completely defeats the purpose.  So no scrutinizing whys.

I’ve managed to make friends with my other arch rival, pain, why not this unfounded and irrational fear?  So, I invited fear to come and sit awhile.  Like pain, it too came quietly.  It sat very still, not the jittery, sweaty thing I had imagined it to be.  When I looked into its eyes I didn’t see quivering terror.  I saw a luminous softness, and somewhere behind the softness there was longing.  And in the quietest of voices, barely above a whisper, it explained its loneliness.  With a childlike innocence so tender and fragile, it was feeling very isolated.  Separated.  It longed for union and that union had to begin with my acceptance of its existence.  Another dear old friend just needing a loving embrace.  Another one I had forsaken.  Stupid me.  Coward to the bone.

But fear, when you invite it without resistance or definition, is such a tender thing.  An infant, all pink and soft and helpless, wanting to be nurtured, to be accepted, to be whole.  But this wholeness it longs for is not with the outside world or anything material or with anyone else.  It has awakened into the cold light of an illusory world and has become lost in the gaudiness, mesmerized by the din, believing its fairy tales and its horror stories.  It’s utterly confused.

So, I took its wee hand and patted it.  A comforted understanding bloomed and it simply faded away.  All that remained was a grateful and radiant smile.

 

All This Pain


butterfly soul

In retrospect, all the pain I’ve felt in my life continues because I resist just meeting it. I have convinced myself that some terrible thing will befall me that will be irreversible. That I will somehow be destroyed. So I stuff it away, ignore it, hide from it and I suffer. I’m a coward and I’m tired. This is a war I have enough clarity to know I won’t win. It’s not possible.

So I surrendered. I let the pain come and I sit with it quietly. There is no conversation with it or judgement of it. It’s almost as if it were an entity unto itself, equally tired, and together we just want to rest silently in each other’s company. Comrades. Compatriots. So we have been sitting.

I discovered what a beautiful friendship I’ve been denying. This pain is a beautiful thing, not the ugly, gnarled, snaggle-toothed demon I thought it was. It’s delicate. As transparent as a tear drop. It doesn’t want to destroy anything. It just wants the comfort of an embrace and the embrace it longs for is my own.

When I welcome it in the most intimate place in my heart, in stillness and acceptance, it transforms. Instead of a monster it’s just a tiny flower smiling up at the sun. And I have been the biggest fool.

 

Confessions of an Ex-Hoarder


hoard

Yep.  That’s me.  I was a hoarder.  Not a hoarder of knick-knacks or cats.  No.  I was a hoarder of thoughts.  Sounds a bit strange, I know, but I’ll bet as you following my unburdening you will relate to it.

Ouch.  That’s uncomfortable, isn’t it?  To be likened to those horrific images of homes filled with discarded food containers, unwashed dishes, and stacks and stacks and stacks of stuff makes you squirm.  But, please don’t misunderstand.  I’m not trying to shed a judgemental light on those afflicted with hoarding.  What I am doing is identifying with how painful it is.  Stick with me here…

It’s true that I don’t fill rooms with accumulated things, but I’ve discovered that I have filled my head these past 50 years to the point where there is just no more room.  All these ideas, opinions, concepts and beliefs were practically dribbling out of my ears.  And it was more than uncomfortable.  It was painful.  Physically and emotionally painful.

It got so bad I found myself contemplating suicide often.  Now, before you shrink in horror or judgement, let me continue.  There was also something else working behind the scenes of my filled-to-bursting brain.  A magnetism, a force, that peeped over the top of and through the tiny gaps between the thoughts, and the misery, and the thoughts of misery.  Something whispering, “You’re missing something.  There’s something you’re not seeing.”

I’m driven by curiosity.  I thrive on it.  The gauntlet had been thrown down and that strange magnetic pull lit a fire inside of me.  I began digging through the mess and tangle of my crowded “house”.  At first, and for years and years, I expended a lot of energy and attention on each thing I encountered.  Crazy, right?  I mean, who in their right mind examines the garbage they’re tossing out?  Who obsesses over rotten banana peels and used tissues?  No one in their “right” mind does.

But this is what I did with every thought, every obsession, every belief I held and all the emotions associated with them.  Over and over and over.  Decade after decade.  And it was exhausting.  I gave up many times only to amass more “junk” and then start the process of garbage fondling all over again.  Yuck.  And I can tell you without hesitating this is what drove my misery to the point of breaking me.

And I celebrate that moment.  The moment where I was so fed up with whoever this train wreck of myself was that I put down the garbage, tore open my heart, and shouted to the ethers, “I give up!  I don’t want to be me anymore.  I just QUIT!”

And that’s when that strange but magnetic force reached out and touched the core of my tired mind.  It was like a cool fragrant cloth on a fevered brow.  The smell of rain after a drought.  Pure magic.  That’s when everything began to change.

I discovered that all I had to do was return that loving magnetic touch emanating from the core of me and all that junk just started to disappear.  Imagine if house work was so easy.  But it was.  I’ve stopped caring about any of the stories I had written in my mind.  Not about who I am or what I believe or what I thought about anything.  They’re all just stories.   Well, most of the stories anyway.  The emptying out is still going on.  I occasionally succumb to the old habit of fondling the garbage on its way out the door, but I quickly put it down and send it on its way.  It’s not important.

What’s truly amazing is the amount of space the removal of all this junk has left.  I can now stretch out in my mind without bumping into anything.  I can run, leap and dance without bruising myself.  It’s like my “house” is now filled with sunshine and the sweet smell of a grace I never knew existed.  It sure beats the stench of the garbage that was there before.  And what really excites me and keeps me holding hands with that wonderful force is the intuition that one day soon, not only will my “house” be swept clean, but the walls are coming down too.  I don’t need them anymore.

I know what this magnetic force is.  It’s my true self.  My completely natural state of being.  It’s what was there before my “house” was built and will remain long after it’s gone.  This is the real me.  Not all those ideas, stories and beliefs.  And this real me is so joyously spacious and so filled with unbreakable love that I can dance my way into infinity without ever suffering a bruise again.

So, yeah, I’m an ex-hoarder.  Even this story will be swept away soon.  For I am disappearing, or at least who and what I thought I was.  I am nobody and it feels so amazing.  I am nothing, yet here I am.  And I am free.

A Gift to Realize: Freedom


freedom hearts

Ever notice how slippery the term “freedom” is?  It’s something we all value, think we have a right to, or are fighting for.  But what is it exactly?  What are free from?  To do what?  When were we not free?

We’ve been taught from birth that we aren’t free or that we must rely on someone or something else to ensure we can become and remain free.  This, unfortunately, isn’t a fact.  It’s societal programming.  I’m not saying it’s a plot or conspiracy and I’m not saying it isn’t.  It’s actually both, but that doesn’t matter.  What matters is that we’ve bought into this idea that freedom is either something we have a right to or something we must defend.  Freedom, even the concept of free will, remains contingent upon the externally-perceived world around us.  Even when it comes to matters of the subconscious.  The term “freedom” has become synonymous to the concept of an “other” in relation to a perceived “you”.

What if I told you that we are all free, right now in this moment, and always have been?  Would you believe me?  Please do.  Not only has this freedom always been present, it’s unchanging and unalterable.  We simply aren’t aware of it and that’s the irony.  The way to have it is simply to be aware of it.  Not intellectually, but experientially and the way to experience it is not to look outward at the world of “others” but to turn within.

Ask yourself who it is that’s free or not free?  If you reply, “me, of course,” then ask yourself who is this “me”?  Don’t answer it but look for what this “me” is.  Search inside for the place where this me lives; from where this thought of “I” arises.  See if you can find it. Is it even there or does it disappear when you inspect it?

It disappears.  The truth is, we can never find it.  Try it.  “I” is just an idea and a story we’ve been telling ourselves from the moment of birth.  Part of this story is that we are not innately free unless it’s given to us, taken, or allowed to us; that it’s something out there.  But if we continue searching inwardly for this me-idea, we’ll discover something quite amazing, something we’re so familiar with we forgot it was there:  our natural nature, our state of being.  Pure, peaceful, unadulterated awareness.

When this real “me” is discovered and experienced, an incredible liberation begins.  This natural state is immense, boundless.  Nothing disturbs it.  If we can be in this space it becomes easy to observe how our mind has entrapped us.  Thoughts and resulting emotions swirl around this unmoving peaceful place begging to be noticed, to be purchased, to be believed, but because this place of pure awareness is only the witness to all this, it’s unconcerned.  Unconcerned until we allow our attention to chase after these thoughts and grab onto them and allow ourselves to be dragged along behind to be shaken and bruised and beaten into believing they’re real again.  When we buy back into that, we suffer.  We lose clarity.  We blunder and stumble along through life.  We begin believing in and writing that story again and forget we’re really that which watches it all.

So, if it’s true freedom we desire, then the only way it can be had is to realize our true nature is freedom and nothing external to us can change that.  Try it.  It’s the single greatest gift we give ourselves.  It’s a gift that keeps on giving.  Revisit it every day, several times and as much as you can.  Eventually the light of this truth burns away the pages of your illusory story and the real you can live truly and irrevocably free.

Stop and THINK: I Am Not Just a Woman


woman

VESPERTINA by Greg Spalenka

I am not “just a woman”.  I am no more and no less a human being than a man.  My gender, my genitalia have nothing to do with the quality of my mind, my heart, or my soul.  Yet the societies I’ve lived in insist because of these things I am somehow less.

I know who I am.  I am That Which Is manifested in a body.  I am the same “That” which you are beneath and beyond the fabric of this body.  That which is the True Reality, that which is honored as the most sacred, the One.  The only thing that separates any of us is mere thought.  Just a thought.  Nothing more.  Yet some of these thoughts have caused more destruction than any weapon or any war because this thought is a time-honored lie:  a woman is less than a man.

This is because mankind is taught not how to think, rather taught thoughts to think.  These thoughts become repeated from generation to generation, without contemplation, and recited as absolute truths.  Many of them, such as this thought, are reinforced by holy men, governments, educational institutions, families and peers.  This is programming.  This is not truth.

A woman, a female human being, is only less-than a man because she’s been programmed to believe it.  Thankfully, historically, many woman have refused to buy into this lie and have contributed much to humankind.  Many more simply follow the customs.  So many more minds left stuffed in a cage because they are “less-than’s”.  How simply sad and wasteful.

To be viewed this way by others, as this “less-than”, is painful and it’s aggravating.  It can be debilitating.  But, the centuries of programming won’t change easily.  All we can do as women is be authentic and not fall victim to this mind-numbing lie that has been programmed into humanity.  We are not objects, we are not property, we are not less than anyone else unless we choose to agree.  We are not the source of all evil.  True evil lies between the ears not within a chromosome.

Stop and THINK.  I implore you.  As a woman, stop and THINK before you begin to define yourself as a “less-than”.  As a man, stop and THINK before you define a woman as something less than you are.  Just STOP.  And THINK.

And when you do, ask yourself how many more perspectives you hold are nothing more than thoughts you were taught.  How many more destructive lies do you believe that keep you and society repressed?

The Conversation


twins

Baby 1: And you, you believe in life after birth?

Baby 2: Absolutely. It’s obvious that life after birth exist. We are here to become stronger and to get ready for Whatever awaits us next.

Baby 1: This is absurd. There is nothing after birth! What would life look like outside the womb?

Baby 2: Well, there are many stories about the other side. I’ve heard there is a blaze of light there, an intense and profound feeling of joy with deep emotions, thousands of things to live for… For example, I’ve heard that we’ll eat with our mouth, there.

Baby 1: That’s silly. We have an umbilical cord and that is how we eat. Everyone knows that we don’t use our mouth to eat! And, on the top of it, no one has ever come back from the other world… Those stories are all coming from naïve people. Life just ends at birth. Period. That’s the way it is and we must accept it.

Baby 2: Alright, then allow me to think differently. That’s for sure, I have no idea what life after birth looks like, and I can’t prove anything to you. But I like to believe, that in the next world, we’ll be able to see our mother and that she will take care of us.

Baby 1: “Mother”? You mean that you believe in ‘Mother’? Oh! So where is she?

Baby 2: Everywhere, don’t you see it! She is everywhere, all around us. We are part of her and it’s thanks to her that we are living right now. Without her, we wouldn’t be here.

Baby 1: This is ridiculous! I’ve never seen any mother so it’s obvious that she doesn’t exist.

Baby 2: I don’t agree, that’s your way of seeing things. Because sometimes when everything quiets down a little bit, we can hear her sing. We can feel her hugging our world. I’m pretty sure that our life will start after birth.

Author unknown

Too beautiful and thought-provoking not to share.  We can never know what awaits us after this life.  Our minds are too busy.  But in the stillness of the Heart the answer awaits, like the arms of an unseen mother.  Who knows how many layers of reality may await beyond the possibilities we perceive?

Plea from the Scariest Kid on the Block (Reblog)


Reblogged from:  Plea from the scariest kid on the block

 

Yet another mass killing. Yet another tragedy. It is terrible. It is horrible. It is wrong.

People are scared.
People are looking for a group to be scared of.
Ladies, gentlemen, other august personages, I am the monster you are afraid of. For my entire life I have been. The reasoning changes, but I always come down on the wrong side of the line. I am always who the media, the talking heads, the papers, now the blogs, who the people you listen to tell me to fear.
And this makes being me terrifying. It makes being me unsafe.
First, it was being an abused child from what they call a broken home. Abused children commit all sorts of violence, you see. We are dangerous and unpredictable because we grew up with violence and that is all we know. We are ticking time bombs, we have no empathy, our dysfunctional unstable home lives have made us fragile at best, cold blooded killers at worst.
So isolate us. Keep your children away from us. Warn every one that we are dangerous because of what our families are like. Make sure that everyone knows that we-not our abusers, but we-are the scariest thing on the block.
Do you remember all the news reports and such emphasizing the terribility of home lives of serial killers and mass murderers during these time periods? I do. I do in great detail-because I remember relating. And I remember staying up nights horrified that they were a glimpse into the only future open to me. I was 9 years old and scared shitless that my only career option was as a mass killer-because the media had everyone convinced that’s what happens to children with childhoods like mine.
And because the other adults around me made it very clear that I was the scariest thing on the block.
I was isolated. I was alone.
Then that went out of vogue.
For about 10 minutes I was safe.
Then another terrible tragedy happened, and they found a new scapegoat, and I was in an even more precarious position than before: the new problem was children and teens who were bullied.
I have been able to write about my parents. I have not been able to write about the bullying I experienced without being too triggered to function. It was that bad. Again, I was dangerous.
Again, people were telling their nice, ‘normal’ children to stay away from the bullied children. Isolating us-making us further targets. And making us more alone. Warning everyone that we were dangerous, the scariest thing on the block again-this time I was scary not just because of my family, but because I got locked into lockers by my peers. We are dangerous and unpredictable because we didn’t have the skills and characteristics to not be at the bottom of the pecking order of middle school.
So obviously the answer was to isolate us more lest we ‘snap’, to fear us and let bullies to their thing, rather than to do anything about bullying. We are damaged, terrifying, violent, dangerous, irredeemable. We are the middle school monsters of your nightmares.
Again, I was the middle school monsters of my own nightmares, too. Literal nightmares, I’m talking. Still everything around me was telling me that because of things outside my control I was destined to go out in a blaze of violence and take as many people as I could with me. That was the career path being offered to me. Never mind that I knew (and still know) exactly nothing about weapons more volatile than bows and arrows, never mind that I am reluctant to physically defend myself, much less be the aggressor, this is what life had to offer me.
Because I was a target, because I was different, I was still what everyone feared. Everyone was telling you to fear me. No one even thought about the bullied kids seeing these news reports. They just knew about you normal folks, and that you needed to be safe from people like me. They couldn’t tell you a single thing about the mass killers except that they were in this one category-so, literally, they told you a single thing-and that single thing was what made them dangerous.
It made me dangerous.
Isolate me. Make me alone. Fear me. Abuse me some more. Make me more dangerous. It doesn’t matter, I am unsafe no matter what you do. The news-all the news-says so.
And now. Now I am 30 years old.
I am still literally losing sleep, wondering if or when that transformation is supposed to happen. I know logically it will not happen. I know I have no interest in hurting anyone. I know the statistics on who actually commits this sort of violence. I know my history is not going to magically impart a knowledge of guns or explosives or a desire to hurt a large number of people. My anger and hurt do not manifest that way, they never have, and that is not going to change.
But now autism is the scapegoat du jour. Now every time someone does something violent, they are speculated to be autistic. And, just as some killers who were speculated to have crappy home lives actually did, just as the Columbine killers actually were bullied, there is a possibility that there will be a mass shooter who is Autistic.
But that does not make all of us dangerous. The immediate speculation makes my blood run cold.
It brings bile to my throat and a panic to my chest.
Have we learned nothing? Have the bullied children and abused children and medicated children and other scapegoats who have done no violence learned nothing? Passing the hot potato is a relief, but it is wrong.
Passing the blame down to another group without power hurts people.
They will be isolated. They will be alone. They will be hurt.
I do not want another child, a single other child, to be hurt by their peers for being ‘dangerous’. I do not want a single other child to be thought a ‘ticking timebomb’ by the adults in their life. They treat you with fear and they treat you with loathing when they are afraid of you.
I do not want another kid loathed because the media decided to pin the blame on their brain. I do not want another child being isolated, gossip about why to steer clear spread through whispers and subtle finger pointing.

NO.

I do not want another child to have nightmares like I did-like I still do-of being some sort of sleeper agent who has no other career path because of self fulfilling prophesies. I cannot even explain what this fear is like, and the fewer people who understand it, the better.
This has got to stop.
It’s to late to stop for my sake. The damage was done by the time we got to “bullied kids are dangerous”. But it is not too late to stop for the sake of today’s autistic children.
 *******
Author’s comment:  The only thing we need to fear is how we choose to look at the world around us.  Not one of us was or is perfect, and we never will be.  There is no such thing that exists beyond an illusory ideal.  We need to reconsider our knee-jerk reactions.

A Different Way to Shop for the Holidays


Sunlight on Fresh Snow, Wasatch Mt. Range, UT
by Kyle Krause

I saw this posted on Facebook and I think it’s a wonderful idea so I want to share it here.  As you plan and do your holiday shopping this year, why not purchase from local small businesses, artisans, craftspeople, self-publishers and the self employed?  Put a little of the economy back into the hands of someone other than big business for change.  These are people who are committed to their trade and put a lot of heart and soul into what they do.  What a wonderful way to give a gift that benefits everyone!