Who are you, really? I’m sure you know you are more than a collection of thoughts and feelings, bones and cells. Energy that can be neither created nor destroyed, you are a manifestation of life on all the different levels.
You are also perfect.
We spend our lives chasing after the things we think will make us OK: money, a loving spouse, prestige and status, achievement. Sometimes it all falls apart, and then we either recover or we don’t. Fundamentally, though, none of that really changes anything. The truth was there all along. We could have seen it without the crash. We could have seen it without the pain and suffering. We could have seen it, if we had only known where to look.
Looking for it is like a fish looking for water. Like the best tricks, the answer is hidden in plain view.
Unlike an organ that can be removed, your perfection permeates your entire being. It fills each cell. It informs each hair on your head. It drives your breath and your heartbeat, every motion and every thought. It is your life force. When you open your mouth to sing, it is what comes out.
The question is never IF it is there. It leaves the body at death. If you’re alive, it’s there.
The question is if you NOTICE. If you understand the water you are swimming in. If you are aware of your innate perfection and the fact that nothing you could do, and no one on the planet, can take that away from you.
This is the part of you that is abundant, graceful, blessed, loving, patient, and kind. You don’t have to try to become those things. You ARE those things. They aren’t “out there”. They are “in here”.
If you feel that those qualities aren’t being brought into the world through you, then you have forgotten ~ but all is not lost. They were not lost either. Just return to the perfection you are, and remember what is true. Remind yourself like a small child who is tearful because they can’t get their socks on, the dog won’t move, or it’s raining. Be patient with yourself as this moment, too, shall pass.
You may forget what is true again. Just remember how to find your way home.
Monogamy is becoming increasingly difficult to find. We’re in an age of sky-high divorce rates, pass-through relationships, and “friends with benefits”. Regardless of your sexual preference or current relationship status the road ahead may look scary, or bleak.
In my mind, the concept of monogamy is an inaccurate representation of reality. And when you expect one thing and you find another, disillusionment hits hard — and it all falls apart.
This isn’t a post about the benefits of polygamy. The problem isn’t that we are no longer happy with having just one mate or that we are hard wired to have multiple mates. It’s that finding a person who is truly “one” person is incredibly rare.
Whether you’re in or out of relationship, in life you bring all of your various personality aspects to the table. Each personality aspect has its own voice, almost like riders on a bus. As a result, what on the outside appears to be one person in actuality can be upwards of ten different voices all hiding behind a single face. Put two people like that together and you no longer are dealing with monogamy. You have a full size committee.
Now imagine that committee in bed. It’s no wonder that couples have issues!
The first key to success in relationship is that each partner be committed to finding and following the deepest true voice within, beyond the formidable noise of the personality aspects. Without a mutual promise to find the silence within and follow the wisdom of the heart, the relationship can only produce drama and struggle.
That’s spiritual practice. It doesn’t matter what you do to reach that place of clarity — it is only essential that you do it. Daily.
The second key is to give some rhythm and power to a healthy connection. Both couples and families need an anchor to come back to time and time again. The thing you do. The way you do it. Make a list of 5 things you both agree to do together, and then take turns asking for it. This will become your way of saying “I love you” when it might otherwise be difficult to verbalize.
The ego personality head noise can be deafening. The heart can be more subtle. Learn to love your partner’s voices and ask him to drop into his heart when he is stuck in his head. Stand as his witness and support through the journey of learning to live from the heart. Ask for a witness to your own.
With steady and wise attention, the voices inside can be reconciled and the committee can be dismissed. It’s at that point that one is truly “one person”, ready for transcended relationship with another. Ready to fly.
The month of August this year will have 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. The Chinese call this phenomenon “silver pockets full” or “moneybags”. You may have seen an email about it as it was circulating widely several weeks ago.
Although it is not true that it happens only once every 823 years (it’s actually closer to every 11 years) it is still fun to think about. What would it mean to you to have your “silver pockets full”?
Pull out a piece of paper and start a list. If the only thing that comes to mind when you consider the abundance of wealth is money, we need to take a step back and think again. The first step to leading a truly abundant life is to notice all the goodness that surrounds you every day. Even if all you have is a pea, if you are grateful for it you allow it the chance to multiply. I understand that peas, when sitting on your table, do not reproduce. What I actually mean is that in your gratitude, you open the energetic door for the arrival of more peas. You are saying YES.
Abundance comes when you open yourself up to receive. This is an abundant Universe. If you doubt that, look at rainforests or try to count stars. The problem of scarcity manifests in life when you shut down to the flow that is always there. Back to your list: if you aren’t noticing much abundance in your life, you need to open yourself up to receive it. You need to find a way to stand energetically in YES. That means NOT resenting those who have more than you do, griping that you don’t have enough, or tucking bills away because you would rather not think about them. Find a way to be grateful so you open the door for more peas.
Beyond gratitude there is the second step to abundance: direct action. You can try Feng Shui, the science of the movement of energy and unseen forces in the environment. Even Snopes says that if you want to attract money using Feng Shui, you should make your own cash-attracting “money bag”. “Use a colored ribbon to tie nine coins into a square of cloth (both preferably red), then place your “money bag” on or near whichever spot in the house where money is either received or generated. (In other words, if your paycheck comes by mail, place it where you put incoming letters and packages; if your money comes via computer notification of a deposit to an online account, put it near your hard drive.)”
If you are one of those who views Feng Shui as Chinese hocus pocus, feel free to NOT engage in coin bondage and instead focus your energy on building the channels that bring you abundance. Financial abundance can come through new online programs, an offer of your professional services, or a new job. Other kinds of abundance can come through networking, being a good neighbor, taking your kids out for an unexpected fun surprise, or going to that yoga class you’ve missed for months because you were too busy.
I don’t know who I was talking about with that last one. Certainly not moi.
Just kidding. It was me.
Some of you will be people who want to cover all your bases. You know who you are. You get to pull out the silk ribbons and build a program, too. By the way, you’re my favorite kind of people. Practical AND spiritual. Probably a funky personality with a good story to tell.
Direct action means you aren’t just sitting on the couch, vibrating gratitude (although that’s a great start). It means you build the way for the abundance you want to come to you in a regular, intentional, strategic way. Or in a disorderly, chaotic, random, way if that suits you better. It means gets out there and make it happen in YOUR way…whatever that is.
Go for it. I’m cheering you on.
Have you ever found yourself saying more than you really should have, answering questions you wish you hadn’t answered, or felt disoriented by an audacious or cheeky approach? You may find these kinds of situations difficult and embarrassing, especially if you were raised to “be nice”.
Even worse than the feeling of social awkwardness, these events may throw you into a drama of your own. You might feel angry, inadequate, or want to back away. Or, you might get defensive and start to attack, saying things you later regret. Conflicts can snowball and before long you can find yourself in a landscape you don’t like or understand.
The best way to stop conflicts like this before they happen is to remember two things: don’t take the approach of others personally, and buy yourself time before you respond. Together, these two actions will make you unflappable.
Don Miguel Ruiz’ book The Four Agreements goes into a deep exploration of not taking things personally, which is the first rule for finding joy and peace. If you haven’t read it yet, put it on your wishlist….and if you have read it, make a short list of anything that makes you feel bad to see where you’re getting hung up. Remember that you were born OK and you will die OK, and you are OK at every moment in between. Anything that makes you doubt that is a signpost to where you still need to let go.
The second tool for stopping these kinds of conflicts is to ask questions that buy you time and space to respond from the heart. Learn the following phrases and use them.
– Tell me more.
– Why would you say that?
– Why would you do that?
– Why would you ask that?
These questions aren’t rude when spoken with authentic curiosity — they’re strategic. They protect you from intrusion and energy loss. And, they allow you to learn more about the person who is asking the question. That information will guide you to respond without falling into a battle that produces only more wounds and no real progress.
Unlearning old habits of reactivity and choosing how to respond instead will help you become more grounded and centered. Over time, your ability to hold your space will create the next step beyond conflict management: the ability to bring healing to challenging people and situation, thereby serving their soul — as well as your own.