This Life is About You

It is so easy to focus on the actions of others. “So-and-so did this or that,” I say to myself, my journal or to my friends. This is often where I find myself focusing my attention: on what someone did or did not do and how that affected me. It’s an exhausting way to live with such an outward, “I can’t control what’s happening in my life” kind of focus.

The reality is that each of our lives is truly about ourselves. Yet we are taught at a young age to focus on others, because to look at ourselves is considered self-centered. Yet the truth is that the only person in this world that we can control is the one we see in the mirror.

Sadly, by focusing on what every other soul in our lives is doing, we fail to miss the power that we hold in our very hands: our power to control ourselves. When we focus outwardly, we give up our own power to do what we can do. I’m swallowing this sideways pill as I type. My power is within, yet I repeatedly give my power away when I focus on how someone else treats me. “How am I treating myself?,” is the true question. 

This life is up to each of us to live. This life is up to each of us to own, for ourselves. It is up to each of us to STOP giving our power away to everyone else, because we give our power to the things we focus on and few of us focus on the things that are within ourselves.

Starting in a new way today, I’ll be eating many a servings of humble pie.

Namaste.

 

 

What Thoughts Do We Feed?

Easter heralds the season of renewal, rebirth and resurrection. One of the most influential things we can do to renew our lives for the better is to pay attention to what we are thinking and change our thoughts, if needed.

Where you invest your love, you invest your life. ~ Mumford & Sons, “Awake My Soul”

Thoughts are like sound tracks that play through our minds. Many times our thoughts are things that others have told us early in our lives that we believed. We carry those thoughts forward in our lives. Sometimes this helps us. Often times it does not support who we want to be nor how we see ourselves. The more energy, focus, emotion and attention we give to our thoughts, the more their arc of influence grows. This is important as our thoughts lead to our behaviors and actions. Our actions create our daily lives. 

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Another way to view this is that our minds are gardens. The thoughts we plant, water and pay attention to are the ones that grow and sprout, flower and eventually spread more seeds. It is important to hear the things we are telling ourselves. If this is an unwanted thought, do we really want to continue to allow it to grow and eventually “go to seed” and spread its influence further and further? On the other hand, what thoughts support us in where we want to be and go in life? The plants that we feed and water through our attention and focus are the ones that grow the most.

Recent unwanted things on my mind or “weeds to pull”:

  • “I am fat.” Guess who gained weight this month? 😉
  • “I am not worthy of …. (love, affection, attention, wealth, etc).”
  • “I am too much…I need too much…I am annoying…”
  • “I can’t sleep…sleep is so difficult for me…” Guess who was becoming an insomniac?
  • “I don’t have enough energy.” Guess who felt like she had lead in her shoes all day?

The things I say to myself when I hear the above thoughts or “planting fruit bearing plants”:

  • “My body supports me every day.”
  • “I have all the energy and resources I need.”
  • “My words & actions add value to the lives of others. By being me, I support others.”
  • “I get the sleep I need tonight and every night.”
  • “I am an author whose arc of influence expands daily.”

The things we can do when we have unwanted thoughts:

  • Acknowledge the thoughts, then focus on the love within the heart (even if it just feels like a sliver at first).
  • Imagine “dragging and dropping” the thoughts from the mind and into the heart.
  • Write a new dialogue, similar to the ones above that move in the direction of where we want to go.

For us to change our lives, it is important to pay attention to the things we are telling ourselves. The thoughts we have today are the seeds of our tomorrows. The lives we live today are the products of our thoughts from yesterdays. What do we want to plant today?

May we all be free of the weeds in our minds. May we instead plant and grow the seeds that support us the most.

Namaste

The Story of Two Wolves

Images: Google

There are things …. NaPoWriMo9

There are things about me…

  • That I want to believe 
  • That I want to bury 
  • That I want to show everyone 
  • That I only want to take with me to hell or heaven
  • That I have known since I was eleven 
  • That I don’t want to tell anyone 
  • That make people grin from ear to ear 
  • That make even me cringe in fear 
  • That anyone can see 
  • That I keep hidden from even me
  • That I keep in special compartments marked “only for special occasions”  
  • That I wish you would see
  • That I just can’t keep hidden … no matter how hard I try
  • That would make the world cry
  • That can make everyone sing 
  • That I am myself unwrapping 

There are things about me…. 

now what about you? 

namaste 

We are What We Think 

Our thoughts about ourselves and our world create our reality. Just as goal-oriented people and athletes envision the successful completion of a goal or event, we too must envision the goals we would like to achieve. Just as taking a cross-country trip involves seeing our destination so that we can take the steps to get there, seeing and feeling who we want to be allows us to take the steps to live that dream. 

Everything in life is first created in the mind. The device through which you are receiving this message most likely didn’t exist 5-10 years ago. It was first a concept, then a series of drafts and somewhere there was a proto-type and beta testing. The point here is that before we can live the reality, we first create it in our minds. It is crucial, however, to understand all aspects of the mind: the conscious parts are easy, the unconscious ones can be a challenge. To understand our shadow aspects helps us to create more and more from a greater state of awareness, instead of from a state of denial. 

Believing is Seeing. 

For so many years I told myself that I was fat and I became just that: fat. By feeling and telling myself how terrible I was, I became my own worst enemy; the one that I created.

So what are you telling yourself about you and your world? How can you begin to shift your focus onto what you do want in your life so that you can create action steps to become that person? 

Go forth into your greatness! By seeing and believing in it first.

Dream Analysis Part II: Inner Dynamics

This is Part II of a 4 part series about dream analysis based on the book Inner Work: Using Dreams & Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson.

In Part I, we made associations to the symbolic elements of our dreams. Here we will connect these associations with ourselves as each element represents an inner aspect of ourselves; whether we want to admit it or not. According to Johnson, the more we deny an attitude or belief, the greater that element will be portrayed or exaggerated in a dream. 
For this next step we will handle each dream element separately, and look closely at how that element represents an inner aspect of ourselves. To help spark the connections ask yourself and write down the deepest & most specific examples within your life to the following questions for each element:
  • What part of me is that?
  • Where have I seen it functioning in my life lately?
  • Where do I see that same trait in my personality?
  • Who is it, inside me, who feels like that or behaves like that?

Elements of the dream & their inner associations:

  • Grandma B – Moderation in life is a challenge for me. I can move erratically through life, swinging along with the highs and lows of the pendulum. I can be protective of myself and yet also flirt with danger. I can be stubborn and sometimes will spite myself just to prove a point. I fear being seen as crazy. I fear standing fully in my power as to do so means I will stand out and draw attention to myself. In the house of the mother, I hide. This is also the part of me that wants to prove my strength. “I can handle this. I don’t need help.” Yet she also represents where I’m stuck in the womb and don’t want to leave.
  • Kali – the part of me that wants to destroy myself, to break myself down so that I may be reborn. The inner goddess who desires to live to her fullest potential.
  • Grandma’s House – Where I am outside of the house of the Mother. I am hesitant to fully embrace myself as a person, as a woman, as a healer, as part of the Divine Feminine. There are also ways in which I do not take the best care of myself; my being was threatened by wildfires; my unbridled passions. Though in the dream the house remained untouched and was in pristine shape. The house also seems to represent The True Heart; the home of The Mother.
  • Woods – Where I hide my secrets, with the woods being on fire it denoted it was time to change.
  • Wildfire – The passion within my soul to burn down boundaries, to disintegrate and breakdown secrets. Also, there was a very strong sexual wildfire within me at this time, almost to the point of my being completely reckless and throwing any caution “to the wind.” My sexual energy threatened to consume me; I literally felt like it was a wildfire coursing through me.  I wanted to stay and I wanted to go. Deep down I knew it would be best for me to go. Yet the stubborn side of me insisted on staying (though soon after this, I left). Several weeks after this dream, when my sexual fires died down, and as I reclaimed my personal power, I saw that this wildfire represented the anger that I was suppressing within. It was consuming me and I could not see it.
  • Smoke – Where I am wanting to hide within confusion/illusion which is suffocating and blinding me. The things around me that I don’t want to see, nor to be seen by others. Represents my indecision, where I wanted to stay and where I wanted to go. Yet, staying put me at risk of suffocation and loss of sight/life.
  • Bubble – Where I do feel protected and clear, able to see around me and able to breathe in my own space. I am calm and protected when I allow myself to be. In some ways I do live within my own reality, separate from others. Living in a bubble.

The more deeply we can use the dreams to reflect our unconscious dynamics, the more we will get out of the dream. “It is at the inner level that you can change life-patterns more profoundly,” which is where our dreams are usually aimed.

“…the transcendent function [of self] combines the opposites, [and] draws the fragments of our totality into unity.” Dreams show us the aspects of ourselves we have not seen. As they are symbolic, spoken in the language of our unconscious selves, each dream element has a unique message for us. With the path of growth, it is up to us to understand it.
Happy dreaming!
Namaste

Romantic Love’s Faulty Mirror

Romantic love can take us through the highest heights and the lowest lows. When in the process of falling in love, what we see in our lover and what s/he sees in us are the reflections of the Divine within the observer – not actually from the lover being observed. 

In other words, what we see in our lover is the projection of our own vision of the Divine onto the lover; and if the love is mutual, we carry that same vision from them. We really are just looking at ourselves, at our highest level, embodied within another person. We can continue this dance only as long as both lovers can submit to the projection of their lovers’ Divinity.

As the fires of passion fade, the new view of the lover becomes the shadow of the observer. So when the passion fades we project our worst parts onto our lover and they often do the same to us. This is when the Romance falters; the high has faded. This can also signal the end of the relationship unless the couple can begin to transcend the Romance by forming a lasting or human love. 

In essence, Romantic love cannot stand the test of time. What we love in the other is what we truly love within ourselves. After this fades, we begin to find fault in the other, as a projection of the things we hate about ourselves. Thus romantic love is just us looking at ourselves in another; the best and the worst.

To transcend this type of love, we must develop a friendship with our lover. As friends accept the best and worst in their friends – as they are, essentially we can avoid both the Divinity and shadow projection of ourselves onto others…as well as their projections onto us.

In my humble opinion, first we must become our own best friends. When we truly love and respect ourselves ~ our highs and lows ~ then we are less likely to project our highs and lows onto others, because we already accept their presence within ourselves. Thus, once we are our own best friends, we can then more easily build friendships with our lovers. 

Somehow Western Love downplays friendship within couples. In fact, romance and friendship are in opposition. Romance is a projection of ourselves onto others whereas friendship is the acceptance of who someone is, as is. Learning to love ourselves can be our greatest mission as well as greatest challenge. 

Some cultures, like the Hindu, have figured out that Divine projection and lasting love do not mix. They honor the Divine form of both genders in art work, ceremonies, statues and celebrations. Couples then do not need to find the divine within their lovers. There is a great freedom in this, for couples accept one another as they are and neither needs to carry the Divinity of the other. Humans can only carry the energy of the Divine for so long. 

While we cannot change our cultural views of Romantic Love overnight, we can begin to open our eyes to the harm of continuing to project our greatness and our darkness onto others, particularly in the area of couples. Perhaps this is why the divorce rate continues to climb? 

Concepts taken from We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love by Robert A Johnson 

Additional reading:

Michael at Cream of the Planet in Romantic Love: Hearts on Fire

Owning Your Own Shadow 

Namaste

Being the Key Master to Your Own Happiness 

When we desire something that we don’t have, we have a tendency to focus on all of the good qualities and how the person, place, thing or idea will fix our problems.

Similarly, when we feel great and excited about someone in our lives, we often place that person on a pedestal. They seem to be bathed in golden light and they shimmer in our eyes. The world spins just at it should and the birds sing. At least for a time, that person can do nothing wrong.

On the other hand, when we have something in our lives that we do not wish to have, we often paint it black. Excess weight, an ex lover, a boss or coworker, an old car, etc can become the bane of our existence. 

Likewise, when we perceive that someone has done us wrong, we can be quick to denounce him or her. All signs of the pedestal are removed along with the glowing light. We find and focus on everything that is wrong with that person and we magnify those faults. Even the good memories are often perceived differently.

How we perceive the world around us and the people in it is a direct reflection of our inner world: both shadow (what we hide from others and even ourselves) and persona (what we show the world). When we take the time to look within, we begin to see that “out there” is truly just a protection from within: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.


Where we feel broken, angry or sad inside, we project that outwards onto the world and others. When we can see and accept the depth and breadth of our shadows, then we can experience ourselves as whole. This does not mean we act upon our deepest secret desires, instead it means we acknowledge them so they no longer control us. It is then that we can experience the peace within which we seek without. 

We each carry within us the keys to our own happiness. We are our own key masters. When we can understand this, we can set ourselves free.


Namaste

Loving Ourselves IS Our Purpose 

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
~Rumi

Original draft 8.7.2016

Beautifully Scarred 

While at a poetry reading in late July, I penned four completely different poems pointed in four directions that were all felt and written within 30 minutes from start to finish. From heavy, to light, to introspective, to fun, the variances gave me insight into how fantastically diverse the inner landscape of my being can be (that’s a nice way to say effing crazy). I can choose to see these aspects of myself as scars, or as important aspects displaying my character. 

The 4 poems: SacredThe SherpaRevealing the Truth, Sunbleached

Frida Kahlo

In the midst of accepting my “diverse inner landscape,” I watched the movie Frida for the first time. I was amazed as to the fierce tenderness of the work and life of Frida Kahlo. For those who love the edges, I found this a very fitting movie and now have a greater appreciation both for Frida as a person and as an artist. 

Her husband, Diego Rivera, was quite the Cassanova. His ex-wife in the movie explains he is a chick magnet because he sees the beauty in the flaws of the women he is wooing (no, she didn’t say chick magnet). 

In the movie, and I suppose also in real life, Frida was nervous about him seeing her physical scars. Instead of shying away from them, Diego kisses one of her most prominent scars passionately and lovingly. If she was not already lost to him, she probably was at that point. 

Frida reminded me that the wounds are what give us our character and our drive to push forward and excel. Her wounds were the well from which she drew her passion and inspiration to paint. Diego says to Frida about painting, “You don’t paint because you want to, you paint because you have to.” And this, my friends, is how I feel about writing. 

Feel the edge

So often in life and even with my work, I feel the edges. I do my best to capture them in writing. In some ways I’m still hiding, as much of the acid I keep off scene, preferring to “deal with it” and neutralize it so as to avoid contaminating the lot. Yet Frida poured it all out for visual scrutiny. A synopsis of her work is found here in my absolute favorite quote of the movie (it took many rewinds to capture):

I want to speak about Frida not as her husband, but as an artist. Her work is acid & tender, hard as steel and fine as a butterfly’s wing. Lovable as a smile & cruel as the bitterness of life. I don’t believe that ever before has a woman put such agonized poetry on canvas. ~Diego Rivera as quoted in the movie Frida

Disliking our wounds leaves us vulnerable

Diego saw Frida for all that she was… No wonder their relationship kept her going back to him, in spite of his seemingly constant philandering. He appreciated and loved her scars. 

Yet, I now see how the wounds that inspired her paintings were the very things that left her prey. Perhaps if she had loved her scars, she would have waited for the man who would have both loved her scars and respected her wishes for loyalty (her words in the movie, not a judgment of mine).

Self-Love leaves us whole

From all of this I draw from the well that loving the very aspects of ourselves that scare us can motivate our art. Self-love also helps us to attract better partners who we seek not to fix our wounds, but who appreciate them with us as parts of our character. To attract this kind of love, however, we must first love the many aspects of ourselves – wounds and all – first.

It’s my new understanding that relationships are not about 1+1=2. Instead it’s a multiplication factor. Each person being whole makes for 1×1=1. Either partner entering into a relationship as less than whole weakens the relationship… and gives it character. 

Image: Frida from Google, painting “Broken Column”

a dreamer’s dream

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”

~Khalil Gibran

through the fog
he could see
the beauty bound
within scars.

there was no hiding
nor cajoling.
no shrugging permitted.
simply naked & vulnerable.

able to see straight to the truth
his eyes fixated on the darkest
spots on my soul,
the sadness welling up in sets.

waiting for the 180
instead reaching, touching,
& appreciating the beauty
within the suffering.

wading through the
languid beauty
within the pools of his eyes,
there i heard the magical word:
Namaste’

image: google

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