Subtleties Can Have a Profound Impact
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 3 months since my last post. Almost immediately after the last post, the Voice spoke.
Voice: It’s time for you to start applying what you’ve learned. You could continue writing about profound revelations but it’s time for you to apply some of that “enlightened” knowledge to your life.
That wasn’t what I expected to hear but with any course of study, sooner or later you’re going to take a test. I had no idea how to apply all that had been revealed or where to begin. I was scared. Slowly, the Universe presented opportunities for me to apply what I learned.
One day, I was feeling sad, for no apparent reason. Tears began to fall. Images of my teenage years flashed through my mind. I remembered how much fun I had hanging with my friends, riding bikes, playing cards and my first boyfriend. I realized, I was feeling sad because of having to “let go” of my past. I felt that I’d no longer have a connection to who I was. The “new” me would have no connection to those memories. I was confused. I had no idea why I believed that applying these new insights would require me to leave fond memories behind. I felt I had to disconnect from all that I use to be and did. I was drowning in a sea of sadness. As my tears continued to fall, I heard the Voice.
Voice: You don’t have to let go of all of your memories. You only need to let go of your past.
Me: I don’t understand. How do I let go of my past and still hold on to my memories? Aren’t they one and the same?
Voice: The past is continually being created. Every millisecond creates a past. Memories are mental records of past events. You don’t have to let go of fond memories. They created happy and comforting thoughts and emotions. You are being asked to let go of the negative emotions and thoughts created by some past events. It’s a subtle but important distinction. You may or may not remember those past events.
I contemplated this “subtle” difference between memories and the past. It took me a little while to grasp this new idea. I still don’t know if I really “got it” but it gave me a starting point. I took this new concept and asked: How do I let go? How do I forgive? Letting go and forgiveness seem to be intrinsically tied together. I soon learned that other people were asking the same question. I received emails and saw ads for books, classes and workshops focused on forgiveness. I knew none of those options were my answers. I’ve read the books, attended the classes and workshops. No, it wasn’t about learning more but about doing something. My answers were going to require that I take some type of action. I received two answers. One came from a Sunday message at church and the other came from the Voice.
Voice: Letting go of pain and forgiving can be achieved by a subtle shift in your perspective. Why don’t you try looking at those hurtful events from a spiritual perspective, with your heart, instead of through your personality?
Me: How do I do that?
Voice: Rewrite your past. Take the hurtful events and write them from the perspective that they offered you a lesson. Detach yourself emotionally and then ask, what lesson did this event present? What opportunity for growth did it offer? Look at it from the perspective of a student and not a victim.
I was intrigued by the suggestion. I read about reframing our experiences but I didn’t consider doing it for myself. It gave me the opportunity to look at things from a higher perspective, a spiritual perspective. I started by looking at people’s behavior and words as a projection of what they thought and valued and not as a reflection of what they believed about me or my value. I looked for hidden and unacknowledged gifts each painful event presented. I saw how those events helped create the independent thinker, survivor, adventurous, imaginative, and creative individual I am. They taught me to treat people the way I want to be treated and to accept that we are all individuals with different desires, goals and needs. I felt empowered using this new approach. I felt myself moving out of the role of victim out of that “woe is me” stance. The subtle shift in my perspective garnered significant results. I rewrote the past incidents that were at the forefront of my mind and the ones I recalled whenever painful emotions and thoughts were triggered. This new approach gave me hope that one day, soon, the pains of my past will be gone and I will emerge as a reborn me with the potential for a new and joyous future.
The lesson from church helped me continue the process of letting go and forgiving. I learned to give compassion and love instead of anger and judgment. It didn’t take long before I was given the chance to put it into action. I just “happened” to see a couple walking their dog. The dog stopped and it looked like it pooped but I wasn’t sure. As they walked away, I saw the woman say something to the man. He shook his head and kept walking. I went outside to check and sure enough the dog had pooped. I felt myself get angry. They had a little distance on me but I began walking after them, determined to say something. All the sudden, I heard the Voice.
Voice: What did you just learn? Where is the compassion, love and forgiveness?
I stopped dead in my tracks and thought about it. I went back home, got a bag and picked up the poop. I began sending thoughts of love and compassion to the dog. I knew it wasn’t the dog’s fault. We walk dogs so they can piddle and poop. It’s up to the walker to pick up after them. I began sending thoughts of love and compassion to the man. I said prayers for him because he must not realize what he does to another he’s actually doing to himself. I sent the woman love and compassion. I said prayers and sent thoughts of love and compassion until I was able to squelch all feelings of anger and judgmental thoughts that tried to surface. I then said prayers of thanks and gratitude for seeing what happened. I had a chance to pick up the poop and not step it in when I took my dog out. It was a different experience for me but one that made me feel good. I began the practice of sending thoughts of compassion and love whenever I encountered someone who’s behavior I wanted to judge or whenever I felt anger wanting to rise.
The days rolled along and before I knew it, April came to an end. The months of May and June are a blur.
Early in May, one of the Reverends from my church urged me to introduce myself to another woman. She performed a powerful soul stirring chant at the end of the service. We quickly became friends (I’m sure we knew each other in previous lives.) She brought new spiritual awareness and practices into my life and was the catalyst for me resuming some spiritual practices that I had drifted away from. I told her that I want to be like her when I “grow up” meaning when I reach (better yet recognize) my spiritual maturity. The pull for me to identify more with my spiritual side got stronger.
My offering love and compassion instead of anger and judgment encouraged my heart to begin opening. When past hurts surfaced, I had a new method for dealing with them. I assisted family and friends when they needed extra spiritual support and I was consumed with my own spiritual practices. My new friend and I began a daily practice of reciting the Aquarian Rosary and the Buddhist Forgiveness prayer. We visited local spiritual sites and were energized. I was riding a new spiritual and energetic wave. All the things my mind insisted needed to be done were put on the back burner. I was on the fence between what I thought needed to be done (Ego centered) and what I was drawn to or wanted to do (Soul inspired.) I admitted, to myself, that I made some career commitments based on fear (Ego) and not desire or dreams (Soul.) I made the time to do some of the things my mind kept telling me I should be doing but it was a struggle. I had no desire to follow through on them. My Ego kept trying to regain control. I was caught up in something that was beyond any conscious control. My life was chaotic compared to how it had been. I decided to go with the flow and do my best not to shoot myself with a guilt gun. My Ego was doing its best to beat me down. It got in some good punches. I felt torn and the internal tug-of-war was exhausting. I finally asked, what is going on? Why am I doing everything but what I’m “suppose” to be doing?
Voice: You’re about God’s business now not man’s business. You’ll be guided on what truly needs to be done.
Okay! I didn’t see that coming. I was awestruck, thrilled and frightened. What the hell had I stepped into? My mind kept telling me that I hadn’t made the conscious choice to step into this new role yet I knew in my heart that I had made the choice. I made the choice early in my life when I prayed to be able to heal people, through nonconventional methods. I made the choice when I took spiritually based classes and workshops and read spiritually oriented books. I made the choice when I developed a spiritual practice. Now, I found myself compelled and driven to go in this new direction. My days were filled with activities but they weren’t the activities I thought I should be doing.
June brought another 5Rhythms™ weekend workshop. This one focused on the rhythm of Lyrical. I noticed the lesson of inclusion versus isolation from the last workshop had taken hold. I didn’t dance around the edge of the floor. It felt good to be part of the group, the community. This workshop taught me what it means to and how to “lighten up.” I never had a concept of what that meant. I learned the importance of letting go in order to make room for my Soul to express itself. It was truly freeing to let go of all that was weighing me down. I felt feminine, graceful, strong, grounded and light. I felt like a kite soaring high in the sky yet grounded. It was a new awareness and a new state of being. I realized that I never really felt light not even as a child. I was always serious. Everything was always a serious matter. I always carried the weight of fears, guilt, obligations, shame, should do, needs to, loneliness, rejection, of not being enough and not measuring up.
At one point, the teacher gave us the option to dance solo or take a partner. My knee-jerk response was to dance solo and then I heard the Voice.
Voice: You say you want to be in a relationship. Well if you won’t dance with a partner here in this safe and loving environment with people you know and trust then how do expect to partner with someone outside these four walls?
I realized the Voice was correct. How often have I said I wanted something to manifest in my life yet I didn’t take the actions needed to support that desire? Now I had the chance. I knew intuitively, I was in an energetic space that transcended the dance floor. I knew that whatever I chose to do it would have a ripple effect in my life. I found the courage to invite someone to join me in the dance. He accepted my unspoken invitation. We danced for awhile and I released him with gratitude and invited another dancer to partner with me. I felt empowered, delighted, accepted and loved. I shared the experience with the rest of the class and expressed my gratitude for the gift my partners had given me. At some point, I heard the Voice.
Voice: Dancing is a spiritual practice for you.
I knew that was true. It’s been on the dance floor that I’ve seen and met myself. Dancing helps me leave the chatter of my mind and enter my body. Dancing is as sacred a practice for me as praying, meditating, reading biblical verses, chanting, or reciting the rosary. Sweat Your Prayers, is more than a book title to me. It’s a way of connecting with the immutable truth of who I am.
As I thought about the content of this post, an image flashed in my mind. These past months have been similar to the probationary period on a new job. I demonstrated that I can take a new spiritual perspective and apply it to my life. I can see how the application of new ideas brought me new and desired results.
I find it ironic and poetic that this post coincides with our nation’s Independence Day. I feel like I’ve been given my freedom. I know how to let go, forgive, show compassion, give love and lighten up. I have the confidence to follow my heart (Soul) and not be a slave to my mind (Ego.) I declare my independence from the weight of my past and I look forward to my future.
Have a safe and happy 4th!
Posted on July 4, 2012, in Personal Growth & Development, Spirituality and tagged 5Rhythms, Aquarian Rosary, Carol Parrish-Harra, compassion, conscious living, forgiveness, Gabrielle Roth, love, personal development, spirituality, trime4sighs. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.