Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am


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Honoring My Self

If I am to honor my Self, I must be willing to feel, willing to become familiar with the dark places, with the shape of my fear. 

Honoring my Self means offering myself compassion, gentleness and generosity, although my habit is harshness and cold.

It means celebrating the myriad gifts that are constantly coming my way.

Honoring my Self means strengthening my energy so that I can choose discomfort when ease, even when I know it harms me, tempts me.

It means committing to my practice of stillness so that the noise of confusion can become quiet, and the Wisdom that resides within me can emerge in my awareness.

Honoring My Self means using the tools I have acquired, instead of simply contemplating them.

Especially, it means remembering that I am greater than my thoughts, greater, also, than this instant, and yet, simultaneously, very much in it.

Photo Credit: Lars Sundström

Photo Credit: Lars Sundström

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Intending Alignment

I know that when I am in alignment, my energy pulls in tight, powerful, so that anything I propose to myself unfolds with sharp clarity and flows with grace. When I am in alignment, even the obstacles in my path are shaped like guideposts that show me the way.

So I set aligning with the highest version of my Self as my intention, knowing in a quietly solid way that this intention will serve me well. It springs from that place, that essence of mine that I intuit, sometimes glimpse, but cannot even find a proper name for.

But how do I set about fulfilling such an intention?

I admire grit and determination. There is a beautiful, graceful and inspiring example in the life of my children right now. But I am aware, as well, that, if I am careless and lazy, it can turn against me, alienate me from the very thing I am seeking to achieve, becoming a forbidding taskmaster. So I know that it is not through single-mindedness that I can align.

I like to hold my intentions gently, like hummingbirds that nestle in the palm of my hand. But, again, if I am lazy and careless, they startle and fly away from me so fast that I cannot remember the feel of their shape. So I know that it is not simply by opening my hands that I can align.

There is a careful balance in it. It requires attentiveness. And quiet. And I dare not set my mind to achieving just that.

Instead, I make soup. I sit at the table with my family and laugh with my son as he jokes, relishing the sparkle of his eyes. And I hold the flavor of this moment, without anticipating the next.

 

Photo by Jim Mac on RGBstock.com

Photo by Jim Mac on RGBstock.com


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Clearing Old Energies

I don’t know exactly when I learned it, or why, but I remember, as a schoolgirl, knowing clearly and unmistakably that I had to temper my Self, tone down my light, lower my voice, hold myself back. I could let loose a little bit in some classes where the teacher shared my enthusiasm for stories, or where she held a vice-like grip on the students so no one dared breathe out of turn.  But even then, there would be a price to pay, later, in the hallway or on the school bus.

I was too proud, too obstinate, too focused on the unfairness of it all to shut myself off completely; and my Self was too present to accept that.  Instead, I took on my own version of a tough girl mask and turned every hurtful comment and each rejection into a barb that turned away from me and back to its speaker. It took deep courage and strength to keep that face of bravado, that patina of self-approval, but I did.

At the same time that I was monitoring how much of my essence I could expose at my school, I was also looking around at the people who I thought of as my peers, the kids who were in the “advanced” classes, and knew that I didn’t really belong with them.  They, unlike me, were naturally good at every thing, whereas I was just pretending —that was what I was good at.  And even that was not enough. I couldn’t even pretend my way into the advanced science and math classes.  I was just not good enough.  So I hid my shame behind my squared shoulders and my head held high.

That all happened long, long ago, in such a different time and place, I thought I grew out of it all as soon as I stepped out into the wider world and found so many places, so many people where I fit with ease.  But… those energies of fear and shame, of feeling too bright, and also not good enough… they left their mark somewhere in my energetic anatomy because I ran into them again today, while working on another matter, apparently completely unrelated.  But related enough to bring them up!

I am full of gratitude for my trusted energy tools, which teach me to recognize and work with these old energies. I celebrate the realization that I can invite them to continue to reside in me, or I can accept the gifts they bring, and dispel them with one swift, soft, metaphorical: Boo!

Photo by Palmer on RGBstock.com

Photo by Palmer on RGBstock.com


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Hold and Release

For days now, I have been seeing, feeling, receiving reminders from within me, and also from outside myself, to recognize that clearing and focusing my mind is not sufficient to produce the results I am desiring.  For that, I must engage the energy of creation, the energy of what already exists just beyond my perception.

I have learned this before. I think I should know it, do it, easily, effortlessly, elegantly.  But I cannot remember, cannot grasp how I ever achieved it before.  How to Focus and Flow, Hold and Release? Simultaneously?  How can I be spirit and form at once?

This is a paradox I cannot fathom.

In the park, I sit under a huge elm tree, whose branches and roots extend far past its trunk and my body resting against it. I am in its shade and I am embraced by its singular energy. The leaves extend outward and shape a frame for my view of the lake and sky on the horizon.  The water moves continuously in ripples and waves that appear autonomous, separate from each other.

I watch them and think of the breeze playing with the surface, and the currents pulling below, of the great liquid body that responds in tides to the face of the moon.

Suddenly, wordlessly, I understand. The paradox is no more.

 

Photo by Marcelo Terraza on RGBstock.com

Photo by Marcelo Terraza on RGBstock.com


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Falling Apart

When I was a child and showed a tendency to pout, my father would say to me, “Pull yourself together!” or “Don’t feel sorry for yourself.” And, of course, that serves me well when I need to focus my attention on creating the experiences I choose to have.

I did not know it, initially, but it is what I have been doing for a couple of days, since I had a small traffic accident that left me shaken and scared, but grateful that the physical damage was only to the cars. I did take a moment, before driving away, to breathe and ground my scattered, rattled energy, but still, all the way home, and through the subsequent days, I battled a heavy energy of exhaustion. And a sense that my strength might momentarily fail me and I might crumple in a heap, all of a sudden. Every small sound startled me, and left me frazzled, as if my son had played his trumpet in my ear.

All this time, I had been pulling myself together, without making a conscious choice, without checking in with what my needs were. But today, that effort seemed monumental, and my energy, weak and diluted. There was a lump in my throat that felt like a fixture there, I swallowed around it.

Today, finally, I was touched by inspiration and I headed for the bathroom to run the hot water. I undressed slowly, as if my clothes were layers of experience, energies that I was shedding. I felt fragile, like I could shatter, as short fragments of the accident came back to me. I found my face damp with tears.

In the shower, sobs arose from my chest and my thoughts turned from the vehicles to my body, to my children, and all the uncertainties I hold at once. The water, my tears, the steam seemed to steep the heavy energy off of me, my muscles felt firmer, my legs reliable again, my stance more stable.

As I toweled off, I shrugged at the thought that I still have to deal with the insurance, with repairs, that nothing had really changed.  And yet, allowing myself this space of release, where I could feel the stark truth of my mortality and recognize the strain of holding myself up; gifting myself with a space to fall apart, to be with what is within me, left me with a cleansing emptiness that maybe, perhaps, could potentially become a renewed awareness of solidity and strength.

Sometimes the wisdom is not in pulling myself together, sometimes the wisdom is in allowing myself to fall apart.

Broken Glass by Brano Hudak on RGBstock.com

Photo by Brano Hudak on RGBstock.com


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Letter to My Son: When You See Defeat Before You

My Chiqui, you committed to playing in this soccer tournament and realized, in the midst of it, that your patched-together-team was at a decided disadvantage, the rules and conditions were quite simply against you. You, my competitive boy who loves to win, realized you may not only not even have a shot at winning the championship, you could be setting yourself up for loss upon loss. Your disappointment, your anger, and misery were evident.

I held space then for your feelings, and I honor them even now. There are unwritten rules about what you may feel and how you may express it, especially as a boy. You have learned them in spite of my wish to shelter you from them. And yet, you choose to acknowledge those feelings, to allow them to flow, in spite of the disappointment and disdain they can elicit in others. You force me to recognize my own discomfort with them, and with your choice. I honor the integrity in that choice to attend your truth regardless of what the world has to say about it.

When you were gauging how to finish the tournament, knowing winning was not in the cards and was never entirely up to you, seeing your team-mates (some of them friends, most of them strangers) breathing defeat, you questioned whether you would even really try.

I said to you then, and am writing it again now, because it is worth remembering:  Play your best. Not for the championship, not for your team. Play your best for your own sake. Use that same energetic integrity you show in allowing your feelings, when you play. Because playing half-hearted does you damage, it drains your core energy and weakens you. Playing your best didn’t change your team’s standing, but choosing to be full-hearted in anything you do always strengthens your energetic alignment, it always fortifies your core energy.

I said it then, and I write it now because when you do anything full-hearted, when it’s all over, you have that inner power that enables you to find enjoyment, and good lessons, in spite of the score. Especially, it enables you to be strong from the inside, even in defeat.

Photo by Woodsy (Steve Woods) on RGBstock.com

Photo by Woodsy (Steve Woods) on RGBstock.com