open to life

I wrote about a shift in willingness in my chapter of The Thought That Changed My Life Forever, and every now and then I have to remind myself of that decision to be willing and let go of my narcissistic urge to control and plan.

willingness for life

And while that’s all well and good Joe, I still struggle with it.

I want to be able to plan. It’s fun. But I also recognize that planning has it’s limits and the ways that the Universe unfolds is ALWAYS more amazing than anything I could have imagined.

So I play a game with myself. I allow myself to plan things that are small and mostly insignificant in my attachment to the outcome. But for the major goals: life partner, financial well-being, parenting decisions, etc, those belong in the realm of Spirit, b/c they’re just too damn complex for me to figure out AND feel good.

So now I can go dance and celebrate life, because I trust there is a Source out there supporting my highest and best intentions for my life. And because I’ve seen the result over and over, I grow more and more confident that this is the way Life is meant to be.

swing

Breathe Golden Air

I often begin trainings or dialogues with an acknowledgement that this gathering of individuals is perfectly unique. It will never happen again exactly as it is taking place right now in this moment. Similarly, everyday you wake up is a new experience that displays to the world who you believe yourself to be. I catch myself throughout the day having to take a pause and recognize that this moment will never repeat itself exactly as it is happening now. I used to feel sadness or a strong desire to capture the moment in a vain attempt to extend the feeling/experience of it.

Now I attempt to live and BE in that moment, with awe and celebration for this gift called life. Whether it’s as I mix blueberry pancake batter with my three-year-old, smile at the way the sky has painted a sunrise or doing a little dance to Gangnem Style as I wait for my Chinese take-out.

I heard a song that was so beautiful as I connected with my spiritual community 3000 miles away. Yet listening to it in real time is always so much more powerful than listening after. I think it’s tied to this idea of BEING in the moment. Not watching it after the fact or reflecting upon it in the past. Being with all the other 600+ individual watching online and the hundreds gathering physically in the space allows for an extra special experience of ALIVENESS. The gift is that this is always available. We just have to turn our attention to it. To recognize that the breath you are taking is the breath of the Divine.

Breathe into that idea and allow the exhale to share it’s peace with you.

30 & divorced

Everyone should go through a divorce.

 

Now, hopefully not one rife with physical trauma or financially-degrading court battles. There actually IS another way to experience it, unbeknownst to Hollywood. Mine for instance, finalized as I stepped into my 30th year. Most of my life has been spent focused on finding prince charming. Unconsciously preparing myself for my happily ever after. I’m not blaming Disney, that’s just how I felt. Searching for a man to make me happy and finally realizing, once I had a great one, that I was still miserable.

Divorce highlights the separation from a previous self and life. The anxiety of choosing again who you are and the pain of facing your worst fears. Divorce slows you down. It forces you to re-evaluate, re-define, re-assess. It asks you to not only define, but prioritize what is most important. It challenges you to attempt forgiveness instead of payback. It caricatures your life, highlighting some of the ugliest characteristics of your self and the illusions you created around you.

I don’t think the reason that there are more divorces in the U.S. than there were 20 years ago is because people are less committed to the “institution” of marriage (although surely there have always been those people). I think instead, there’s a growing public consensus that we’re ALLOWED to change. In fact not only are you allowed to, you should. Oprah says you need to grow up, and mature (unlike Tom Cruise). And yes, you need to go through the darkest, deepest valley in order to do it. It sucks. I know. I’m divorced.

My divorce has been a p-r-o-c-e-s-s of self-realization. And only now can I look back on the past two years and say I changed. I am happier. I am more prone to forgiveness. I am more optimistic about my future and my son’s future. Divorce is one of those life changes that is paradoxical as you move through it. You feel joy and deep regret. Pain and giddiness. Loneliness and relief. I had many a night sobbing in bed through this emotional confusion, not understanding how I could possibly experience all of this at once. And wondering when it would shift to be celebratory…or at least calm acceptance of a new beginning.

But change is often like that. It gets you when all else seems to have failed and all you have left is you. And sometimes, not even a you recognizable to those closest to you. But some other person who is stronger, wiser and actually committed to something deeper than vows: discovering your purpose for being here. Your purpose for breathing. For being on this earth at this point in human history. Because if I wasn’t put here to be a wife, what did I come for? Perhaps the next 30 years can be focused on answering that question.

Revealing Bliss

Have you ever experienced coming home from an authentic spiritual high? An experience so magnificent and transformative, that you simply feel like a different person upon re-entering your own house? So much so that you barely recognize yourself, the positive thoughts, the whispers of creative pursuits floating into your awareness? Last week, when I returned back to “my life” from a five-day spiritual retreat in Los Angeles, this was how I was feeling. More than once folks from work commented on how I looked different. And at home, the peace to deal with my rambunctious three-year-old seemed undisturbed. It is the beautiful “after-GLOW” of inner transformation. And as one of my spiritual teachers describes, an experience of the natural abundance of beauty, joy and peace often misunderstood by our modern human mind who will struggle with the idea of a life absent of complaints. So the experience also encapsulates the experience of an “after-GROW” – the time of reconciliation between what one’s heart longs to be and what the mind will agree to grow into.

While the experience of a strong spiritual high resulting in an after-GLOW and after-GROW isn’t new, it hasn’t been to this depth before. And usually within a few days of returning back to my routine I’ll incorporate a handful of new ideas/beliefs into my life, but most will remain the same. This time, life is different, because I am different. It reminds me of my first experience of love at first sight.

I was 16, at a student leader conference, watching a student written theater-production. As I was sitting near the front, the lead character locked eyes with me  during a moment of pause in his lines and for that second there was no sound. I held my breath, not because of the dramatic pause, or even because he was FINE, but there was an attraction so powerful that clearly confirmed I am meant to be known by him and he was meant to be known by me. Or perhaps on a meta-physical level, the souls that breathe us were reconciled with one another in that moment and desired another opportunity to do it again because it was so sweet!

The reason we were attracted to each other so strongly matters less than the fact that for the following 14 months we had a glorious love-affair (as my 16-year-old perspective would label it) and while I was super clear I wasn’t meant to be with this boy forever, the experience of love and the growth I gained from our relationship will always be one of the great gifts of my life.

That moment of being ‘lifted’ in love was close to the feeling I had at this retreat. And the resulting experience of glowing happiness and growing challenges of a romantic relationship are similar to my current feelings of the after-GLOW and after-GROW. It’s all part of the larger experience of love, that some would even describe as bliss. Those beautiful moments when we peak into the windows of our soul or those of another, that reveal a bit of the inner radiance of our true selves. What a magnificent thought that a spiritual high is a revelation of bliss and the choice to fly high on love is always available to us.

Re-imagining peace can do the same.