All that we knew to be true no longer holds. Our old ways of being, thinking and operating are no longer productive, nor desirable. We come to realize that our pain; be it physical, emotional, or psychological, is simply a manifestation of our disconnection from our essence, our essential nature, and our Source.
The path of healing requires surrendering, not just once, but an infinite number of times. It requires our humble submission to a life unlike the one we “thought” we were supposed to have, yet one that feels oddly familiar and rich, too.
In 2007, when I first began writing and producing books to promote health “from the inside-out”, I was not entirely sure why I felt so called to do this, only that I had to. The word “consciousness” was not even in my vocabulary at the time….nor soulwork…nor biofield…nor grace.
All healing journeys, whether someone is dealing with cancer, endometriosis, cystic fibrosis, mental illness, or divorce, have a common “treatment” and that is the elevation of the person’s consciousness. Without this, treatment is incomplete.
Very few medical doctors today can help you with this. It is something we have to learn to do for ourselves, breath by breath.
When you’re fully ready to receive the experience your soul is guiding, there is a calm and clarity that pervades your entire life. Follow this. Embrace this. Accept the invitation and trust that all will be well, not in the ways you “think”, but in the ways that are sustainable and real.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” – Carl Jung
Coming to consciousness, which is our ability to see without distortion, requires that we temporarily turn our attention away from a few trusted anchors, namely, our own thoughts and emotions.
While coming to know and understand the nature of our minds demands our full attention and awareness, if we don’t move past it, we remain stuck in our own thoughts, or worse, come to believe them as truth.
Same goes for feelings and emotions. We can become so certain that because we “feel” something, we must act upon it. Yet, without understanding the wisdom behind the emotion, we lack clarity– which inevitably leads us back to “enlightened wisdom” because of the pain and or suffering we cause ourselves through sheer ignorance.
Everything we do and don’t do serves the greater good. If we embrace the notion that everything that is happening is actually enlightened wisdom, and can hold this paradox in our hearts, our desire to judge ourselves or anyone, simply melts away.
So, is there a “right way” to expand our consciousness. No. All ways are the way. Even as I crafted this graphic, I realized the futility of creating something semi-linear and “staged”…..however, as our minds do like to try to make sense of these things, I’ve outlined what I see as the evolutionary path of consciousness (our ability to see the world without distortion), and the various stops along the way.
As always, this work of mine has a simple goal; to help reduce human suffering by facilitating human flourishing. If we don’t know where to look, we can’t see it, and therefore, we can’t create the conditions that promote health, well-being, creativity, and true-productivity.
I’ve been contemplating this for a little while– specifically, the people who have, whether intentionally or unintentionally “grinded” me; meaning that they caused me to reassess, re-think, and re-evaluate, whether personally or professionally, some aspect of my life.
The “grinders” are not easy people. They’re not supposed to be. Their sole (soul) purpose is to show you where you have work to do because you have not fully integrated your own trueness. That’s it.
Getting into any kind of ego battle with a grinder is not only ridiculous, it is wasteful of your energy and creativity. “Grinders” are learning too by the way, and you, in fact, are a “grinder” to them/for them! (in Buddhist teachings, the “grinder” is only yourself– there is no “other”).
Ultimately, the “grinders” are a gift because they represent the fullest vision and version of something you yourself find intolerable, and in doing so, provide an incredible opportunity to consciously change.
And the “shiners”?……they are represented in everyone and everything, actually. Anyone who makes you shine, lights you up, awakens some aspect of yourself, is a shiner– and that includes the grinders……especially the grinders!
The old adage goes something like this: if life gives you lemons, make lemonade (or add vodka!). Both approaches are optimistic and speak to the human capacity to rise above adversity, even celebrate it!
Still, when life’s sour episodes flood our hearts, they are often a wake-up call to do something different, something more, and perhaps, something else.
To choose to grow through something that is inherently painful, even tragic, seems paradoxical. But to “dress it up” or “drink-it away” without realizing its full potential is tragic, too.
So yes…..make a lemonade, make a lemon cake, make cocktails, and then, when this is all said and done, take the seeds, plant them, and see what happens next.
On this momentous day (solar eclipse 2017), as I join so many others around our country and the world doing the deeper work required for mutual understanding and personal peace, I wanted to tend to the obvious; the “isms”.
The isms are co-constructed ideas. These “beliefs”, which continue to plague us and cause such suffering have landed squarely on our collective laps.
Clearly, it is up to each of us to “re-construct” new ways of thinking and being. Our health and the health of our world is at stake. That is how important this is.
We cannot, nor will we ever achieve understanding and peace through the use of force or fear. Sadly, we have a long and painful history of doing just this. Are you going to do more of the same? Or, are you willing to try something new to help reduce your own suffering and aggression?
As with all beliefs, these “isms” can be abandoned or changed at any time. Which are you ready to re-think and re-construct?
Consumerism– belief that the purchase and/or consumption of a product can reduce your innate sense of inadequacy.
Patriotism/nationalism – belief that your country is the best in the world and/or the only one that matters.
Ageism– belief that people outside your age group are somehow incompetent and/or unproductive.
Sexism– belief that individuals, who don’t have the same gender as you, are not as competent, and those who have multiple genders, somehow flawed, pathological, or confused.
Racism– belief that individuals from a race different than yours, are less human than you.
Terrorism (interpersonal, domestic, national and global) – belief that the annihilation, control, or destruction of anyone/anything that espouses views different than yours, is the only way to ensure peace, progress, and the good of all.
Unmasking your own “isms”:
- OBSERVE: Become aware of the ways you either contribute to or are triggered by the beliefs and behaviors of others;
- SELF-CARE: If/when triggered, separate yourself (by yourself, for yourself) to explore your own beliefs and do not seize this exploration until you understand your “why”;
- INTEGRATION: We do not help anyone or anything by “destroying” it/them, but by changing the dynamic, which requires a change in OUR beliefs and behaviors (not “theirs”).
- PRACTICE: Allow all that you “resist” to teach you about the fullness of humanity in order to practice personal peace.
This is deep and ongoing work—all of this. It is soul-work, and it is everyone’s “work”.
Have you ever been through a "Dark Night of the Soul"? Have you ever felt so confused you didn't even know which way to go? Have you ever been in an experience filled with such sorrow and misery you just wanted to give up?
This simple guide was written as an educational resource to help us better understand both the terrifying and the stabilizing emotions. We also share how we can temper or amplify them in a conscious and intentional way.
Whether "challenged, " or "stable", being aware of our own emotional landscape is an important component of our health and well-being, but one we often neglect.
Why do we even need emotional intelligence? Well, because without this little bit of "human software" we're not fully understanding ourselves and others. And, when we're not fully aware, and we act out our unresolved emotions, we hurt others and ourselves in this process.
The buck stops with you.
Unresolved feelings create disharmony in ourselves and others. Resolved feelings create harmony. We know when we feel well; when something is right and good. Conversely, we know when things are not okay and we must make a brave change for ourselves.
It is our sincere hope this little book help serve to educate, cultivate, and amplify harmony in each of us...and in the world.
PURCHASE THE BOOK
Adaptation is a bit of a paradox.
While it is wise to adapt, it also feels like we’re surrendering, or somehow “giving up”.
Yes. It is both, and.
It is only in surrendering (our ego) that we allow the grace of life to enter our being. To surrender to life, however, is no easy task.
In our Workbook of Human Superpowers we define adaptability this way: openness to changing conditions
Adaptability, then, is not necessarily something we do, but is more of an orientation, and openness, to whatever comes our way. If we desire happiness and personal peace, it is our task to adapt; constantly.
Control is the opposite, of course. However, control is something we all must do and try– until we learn, for ourselves, the futility of our effort.
Life is a constant flow of favorable and unfavorable events and circumstances. If we can be mindful (aware) of this, it becomes easier (slightly) to “go with the flow” and to adapt to what life is asking of us.
This is a real thing. Simply put, the negativity bias is a conditioned response from your brain.
We all have a negativity bias, by the way. It is our “shark music” (Kristie’s term), and that part of us that exists to alert us of real, or perceived danger. It represents one input (just one) of many and often competing inputs and possible responses to our environment. When we operate from this space, it is common to distort a person or situation. It is the kind of primitive mentality that justifies hatred and prejudice. In its most benign forms, it is a form of fixed-mindedness that can imprison even the most rational among us. Carried to its extreme, only death of the “other” will suffice.
How do you know if you’re operating from this mentality? Fear and its usual companions, restlessness, anger, hate, or aggressiveness, are often the clue. Understanding what these emotions are telling us about ourselves, requires some intentional (and uncomfortable) tuning-in and listening to our own soundtrack.
Do you wish to master your mind, or do you wish to remain its servant? This is a choice only you can make. By becoming better aware of your own scary and negative soundtrack, you not only decrease the incidence of projection (assigning your fears and aggressions unto others), but you create space for a new choice and voice; one that will enable you to neutralize your negativity bias, and replace it with a conscious and thoughtful response instead.
This is probably one of the most paradoxical and challenging aspects of being a human being; letting go.
How can one embrace life and also let it go? This question used to haunt me and grew painfully loud when I became a mother.
Life and death are a single point in our existence. For anything to be born, something else dies, which then makes the “thing that died”, part of the living thing.
It has taken me many years to fully understand that letting go is both a spiritual and practical practice; one that is critical to my overall health, productivity, and well-being. There are countless teachers and books to guide one through the process, but the best “teacher” is your own life.
Letting go is one of the biggest “advancers” of consciousness– it can literally transform your human experience from one of chronic suffering (mental, emotional, and physical), to one of personal freedom and peace.
Father Richard Rohr has a passage in one of his books about “the colonized, the marginalized, the recovered, etc.” as a sub-set of our human family who are intimately aware of the necessity of forgiveness and the letting go of the distortions that block personal reconciliation and healing.
How do you reconcile (literally) the injustices, crimes, and ongoing abuses of fellow human beings? For anyone who has ever “done me wrong” (harassed, abused, threatened me), I see that I have two options:
Option A (my ego): engage with “my attacker” and fight back
Option B (my soul): understand their pain and suffering (their distortion) and let go
From the words of Jesus, near the moments of his own death, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24), there are few more poignant reminders of the power of understanding and forgiveness.
Letting go is not a sign of weakness. To yield and release has been one of the most profound practices of my life. This is true in everyone’s life. Yes, your ego (Option A) will always tell you otherwise. Fact is, however, that letting go is a conscious and awakened choice and the quickest route to the birth of something new.