Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love Rising

I search the horizon for your warm, glowing light, anticipating your arrival with every cell of my being.

Nothing compares to how it feels, the magnetic pull, the abiding peace, when first I glimpse you.

Shrouded in clouds, levitating slowly up from the edge of the endless ocean, finally you appear.

Fiery orange, blazing bright, you announce your arrival boldly, your power unmistakeable.

Rising higher, certain now that everyone has noticed your majesty, you soften to yellow-gold.

Yours is the mystical, magical, marvelous way, manifesting desires and intentions, resolving fears.

In your light, prayers are heard, paths are laid, what was once obscure begins to clarify.

Mother Moon, full of love and promise, rising up over the sea in total glory, I honor thee.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Freedom: From Fear to Flight

Fear is a funny thing. To an extent, it is instinctual, a natural-born defense mechanism to protect us from potential harm. To another extent, it is learned, a product of the actions, attitudes and beliefs of the people and culture we are surrounded by. For many, fear causes self-limiting behavior, while for others, the sheer determination to overcome fear drives them to greatness. Fear of heights, of spiders, of God, of germs, of death, of loss, of power, of one’s own divinity. . . so many things that one could be fearful of. So many ways to then transform that fear into something benevolent and begin to soar.

There comes a time, or many times, in our lives when we are confronted with our fear. Not everyone will be open to their fear and use it as a catalyst toward betterment, but I assure you the option exists for us all. I never considered myself a particularly fearful person. There wasn’t much that “scared” me and I always thrived on pushing boundaries and testing my limits. I’ve never been afraid of the typical, more mundane sorts of things like snakes or airplane rides or the dark. My independent streak has been so fully intact my entire life that I was never afraid to set off on my own and march to my own drum. It took more careful observation and some pretty profound life experiences for me to realize that there are things that I am afraid of, and if I cannot transform that fear into acceptance, strength, conviction and other positives, it would continue to subtly paralyze me and prevent me from realizing my full potential and grace.

The first time I saw my fear clearly was when my father tried to kill himself a couple of years before he ironically ended up dying of cancer. Reading that line, you might assume that I was afraid of losing my father. That was not the case. Death has never scared me. I revere the significance of the loss of any life, I understand sadness and grief, but I have always been entirely comfortable in my faith that death occurs when and as the Universe deems it should. Who am I to question the Universe? When my father revealed himself in all his fragile, fragmented, imperfectly perfect humanity, I came to the realization that I had lived my life seeking his approval, and I had been deeply, if not always consciously, afraid of not having it. In the wake of his crisis, which spawned an even larger family crisis, I distanced myself and began the process of recognizing and reconciling my fear. It was through this experience that I truly internalized the realization that I do not need approval from absolutely anyone. While I may enjoy it, it is not a necessity, and I certainly do not intend to live my life seeking it. The ultimate contract that I must honor in my life is the one made by my higher self with the Universe. Only God and I know what that is really all about. Only God and I know what I am truly capable of and meant for; therefore, only we know when I am self-limiting or self-sabotaging in some way. I don’t need any external approval to know whether I am doing my best and following my path. Realizing I’d been so fearful of this and releasing it was a tremendous moment in my personal journey and it brought me into deeper communion with spirit than I’d ever known prior.

The second time I saw my fear clearly was when, after C. and I split up, I realized that we really and truly were not going to mend what was broken between us, and our marriage was over. In truth, I came to this realization deep down inside far sooner than I showed it outwardly. I continued to fight for quite some time to save something that wasn’t meant to be. It took us a year and a half to actually get a divorce, but somewhere in the deepest part of my being, I knew very early on that we were through. It was my fear of being alone and perhaps not knowing such a great love again, it was my ego, that fought on even when my soul knew better. It took time for me to bridge that internal divide and to face my fear. But once I did, once I realized that I am a perfect, beautiful whole with all the happiness, strength, comfort, resilience and wisdom I need already within me, it was like a rebirth. I have faith that love and companionship will come in and out of my life when and how they are meant to. I have faith that having learned about myself through this fear I will be open to the gifts and the lessons that each future encounter will bring, even when those gifts and lessons hurt to receive at times. I am not afraid to be alone, nor am I afraid to be in love. Freedom from fear is true happiness. Freedom from fear is what allows you to truly spread your wings.

Just yesterday, my fear rose up and placed itself directly in my line of conscious sight once again. This time, the lesson came more quickly than the previous experiences, making the emotions particularly intense and the ultimate clarity that came razor-sharp. About a week ago, I received a phone call with a piece of news that should have elicited an absurdly joyful response from me. Instead, I was literally overcome with a feeling of dread and weighed down with negative energy. I tried to shake it, but I couldn’t. I tried to understand it, but I knew my rational, analytical approach was not really getting to the core of the matter. I tried to excuse and apologize for my reaction, but everyone, including myself, knew I was just saying the words without feeling the emotions. I couldn’t shake the ominous, foreboding feeling off, and it troubled me. Something bad was going to come of this. Then yesterday, I got another phone call, this one telling me that that should-have-been wonderful news was no longer. It had been lost, leaving deep, dark pain in its wake. Suddenly my dread made sense. I had known all along that this was not meant to be, even though there was no way for me to communicate this to the keepers of the news. (Forgive my vagueness here; however, it is a sensitive matter involving loved ones whose privacy I want to respect.) Hanging up after the second phone call, I processed everything for a few moments time, then found myself uncontrollably sobbing with an anguish that rose up from depths I couldn’t even name. Rationally speaking, there was no reason I personally should have been reacting this way. I could revere the loss as a bystander, feel sad on behalf of my loved ones, but this matter didn’t touch me so directly as to elicit such a gut-wrenching response. Why was I crying so hard? Why was I feeling such a surge of emotion? At my altar, on my knees, the answer came. I was crying out my fear, releasing the energy that had been working so hard to keep me afraid of my own power. My power had revealed itself through this recent premonition in a way that I had never seen it before because I had not been ready to. I have been told by so many for so long, and felt stirrings inside of me that tipped me off to just how strong my intuition is, but I never understood it in the way I did through this experience. If this all sounds crazily esoteric or overly egocentric, believe me that it’s not my intention. I’m not completely sure how best to convey through words what I experienced, but I know that I have to try. I have to try because just as I needed to see that my own power is nothing to fear, we ALL need this lesson. Power is a word with very intense, and often adverse, connotations. Yet we all know that power can, and is, used for good all the time. If we can release the fear of the unique power that has been divinely placed within each of us, embrace it and channel it toward helping others and ourselves, our world will heal and be better.

May the space in our hearts presently held in fear open itself up to grace and to peace. May we all tap into the strength and courage to face the dark sides of ourselves so that we can bask fully in the light. May we free fall out of our fear and see that our very own wings are meant to glide perfectly on the winds of life.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Letting go. . .of the shoulds and the coulds and everything else that doesn't serve

Why is it that the whole concept of "letting go" is so very challenging for so many? There are infinite things to let go of, infinite ways to do it, and the commonality between them all seems to be the difficulty that most of us have in actually achieving the sweet release we are seeking. Letting go is so hard because it is a battle between our higher self and our ego, and the ego, like it or not, is strong. Not only strong, the ego is fiercely determined, fantastically convincing and can paint very enticing pictures in our minds that make us want to cling for dear life to the very things we would be best served to let go of. So what to do?

For most all of us, we have at least one successful experience we can draw from where we have sublimated the ego and let go of something/someone that we no longer needed. I would venture that, ultimately, it felt amazingly good once the pain was out of the way and releasing was done. If we can adopt into our consciousness a reminder of those wonderful, uplifting, enlivening emotions we experienced in the wake of letting go, that would serve as the perfect motivation to repeat the process of releasing, don't you think? In theory, sure, this sounds perfect and easy enough. But I know from my own practice, as I'm sure you do from yours, what seems simple very often isn't. That is certainly the case where letting go of the things our ego holds dear is concerned.

This just came up for me the other day when I came across some photos of my ex, A. and I. I was entirely pleased to find that seeing these pictures didn't provoke me at all, which is to say, I felt no extremes of emotions toward him or our history in either direction. Whereas at times in the past I might have alternately felt strong love, resentment, sadness, or longing, I was completely neutral. Yay for me! Cheers! I'm really over him! It was gratifying to be sure, but then it also made me think: I've been through a far bigger heartbreak after the end of my marriage to C. and have long since made it through the process of "becoming neutral" where he is concerned. I can look at our old wedding pictures fondly, chat on the phone to him without feeling any resentment or desire or anything polarized. Heck, we're even kinda sorta going to the wedding of mutual friends together next month. So if I already successfully let go in the context of our relationship's end, why then did I have to go through all the pain and suffering I experienced as A. and I had ours?

At first this whole dynamic seemed like a conundrum, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was me being true to form. I have always been one to "learn the hard way" and require ample experience with something, proof if you will, before I buy into it. I thought growing into my consciousness and intuition more as I've gotten older and delved further into spirituality had lessened this, but my ego still persists. It still puts up a formidable fight, though appears to be more discerning in which battles to pursue. It knows where my higher self has already succeeded in changing my perspective, attitudes and actions, but it definitely still shows itself in the ways that it can, whenever it can. So it was here. But all this feels like little consolation when at the end of the day, I experienced pain, I suffered over a situation that I thought i'd already mastered the art of letting go in.

Obviously every relationship, and every love, is unique, powerful and meaningful in its own way. Accordingly, the end of any relationship or love as we know it entails an adjustment and often some pain and difficulty. I'm not saying that having healed from heartbreak once I would expect to become immune to its symptoms in the future. Rather, what really frustrated me was that, in hindsight, I saw how I had so strongly identified with and attached myself to those symptoms the second time around, even knowing from previous experience how good it would feel to distance myself from them and let them go. Granted, I did process the break from A. much more quickly and with much less "wear and tear" to myself, but there was plenty of pain even still. In a sense it made me feel like all the hard work and effort I put into processing, healing and growing through the end of my marriage hadn't fully paid off because I just suffered again through the next heartbreak. And then I extrapolated from this single example that I would likely be banging my head against a proverbial wall in goodness knows how many other scenarios! Madness!

I know that is an extreme statement, and I know that I, like many, just need to have multiple attempts at learning certain life lessons before they really take hold. As I've written, and as I've lived through the experiences I write about, I've always placed great emphasis on my belief that there is so much value and so much to be learned through that which presents a challenge and provokes pain and suffering. So if I've felt those things, even in the face of a situation I thought I already "triumphed" over, it simply means that yes, my ego is still around, and yes, I still have more to experience in order to continue learning how to let go. Reminding myself of how sweet that release feels is an excellent way to stay on track, but ultimately, that still equates to focusing on something from the past when what I will always be best served to do is stay as connected to the present as possible. Therein lies what I suspect is the real key to honing the craft of letting go. Since, for me, this is still very much a work in progress, we'll just have to allow time to tell if my supposition proves true.