Knowing

Wow… what a crazy past two weeks! I’ve traveled through intense mental turmoil to once again realize the futility of the mind.

Two weeks ago, I ended up connecting with a guy at a bar and having an amazing conversation. After that, he asked me out for Sunday evening. We had an amazing date and I thought there was real potential for a relationship. But the next day, I started to feel insecurity. “Is he going to text me?”

Later, “Why hasn’t he texted me?”

You see… he had acted REALLY INTO me on the date. So into me, in fact, I expected some kind of warm, affectionate text on Monday. But there was nothing. Nothing on Tuesday either. I texted him and we had a rather boring conversation. I felt deflated.

But on Thursday, he texted me and we had a better conversation. Yay! I told him a friend and I were doing Happy Hour for Cinco de Mayo and invited him to join us. He said he would if he had time. I didn’t get my hopes up, so I was really excited when he did join us the next day. Again we had great conversation, great chemistry, and an apparent connection.

He e-mailed me the next morning, but after that: nothing. He had traveled to a convention and had promised to text me ” a ton”  from there. But he sent not one text or e-mail. I rationalized that he was busy and was meeting up with lots of friends, so why would he text me? But internally I was starting to panic.

I’ve been trying to come to terms with all this, but haven’t been able to shake this upset feeling. I thought I was bothered by the confusion and the uncertainty. What on earth happened? Why did he act so into me if he wasn’t?

I was having a good self-pitying cry when it hit me that words and actions can be completely meaningless. So how on earth do I know if anything is real? How will I know if a guy really likes me or is just pretending to? A sense of hopelessness overcame me. Am I destined to be endlessly confused?

But then…. HOLY SHIT.

It hit me that I don’t need to understand someone’s words and actions. I KNOW.

All of us have access to a sense I call KNOWING. That’s when you know something without understanding how you know it. You may not even consciously realize you know it. But your heart knows. Your body knows.

Lately, it seems like I’ve been losing a lot of things. But I’ve found all of them through using the sense of KNOWING. That involves allowing the mind to go numb and just seeing where your body leads you. Sometimes I will get a nudge in a certain direction or an image will appear in my mind.

This morning, I couldn’t find my teaching badge and was mentally going through all the places I could have left it. But when I exited the car, I got an urge to check out the passenger seat and found the badge between the seat and the door. My mind had told me to ignore this place because I’d already checked the passenger seat. But something in me KNEW.

And it hit me today: something in me always KNOWS. There is a soft, whispering sense that is always talking to me through feelings, sensations, urges, and images. I don’t always hear it because I am distracted by fear, anticipation, a sense of lack or “needing” something, or after having a glass of wine…

While I was on my date, feeling high, enjoying the attention of this guy and the rush of our great conversations, my KNOWING was trying to tell me something was off. I didn’t even hear it. Though looking back, I felt it… there was a slight edginess in my body and a bit of “doubting” of all this guy’s affectionate actions. (“This is our first date. Why is he holding my hand? I like it… but does he really want to be doing that?)

The past two weeks I have been on a roller coaster of emotions: excitement, fear, elation, joy, annoyance, frustration, sadness, anger, insecurity…

I thought my dark feelings were due to the confusion between his actions on our dates and his lack of communication after dates. I thought it was because of the disappointment that my expectations weren’t met. But today I realized that those “dark feelings” were alerting me to the fact that something wasn’t right. My mind was attached to this idea of “potential” with this guy, but my KNOWING saw that there was something off with his intentions. There was an inconsistency between is intentions and his actions.

A friend of mine once told me, “When you meet “the one”, you will never have to guess his feelings for you.”

She is right. I won’t. Because I will KNOW. Something in me knows when a person is being real with me and when they aren’t. So when this guy said and did affectionate things, my KNOWING said, “He isn’t being real.” I didn’t want to hear it. So I ended up in mental turmoil for a week and a half.

Having realized this, I feel incredibly light, like a burden has been lifted. THIS was my only problem. Not a guy that pretended to be into me… not the disappointment of failed expectations… but the discomfort of clinging to desires and wants when my KNOWING was telling me how things REALLY ARE.

I think this is the reason Life guided me towards this experience. I already knew it, but had forgotten. Back in 2013, I spent a weekend with my then-boyfriend and both my intuition and subconscious KNEW there was something off. (Looking back, it couldn’t have been more obvious.) A few weeks later, he asked if we “could talk” before dinner.” Immediately I got the sense, “He’s going to break up with me!” I talked myself out of it and rationalized why it wasn’t going to happen. But, of course it did.

WE ALWAYS KNOW.

How did I let this KNOWING fade into the background? How do I let thoughts, beliefs, and wishes distort my perception?

Life, I appreciate this reminder. I will pay attention from now on to how I’m FEELING. Am I at peace? Do I feel certain about the intentions of the other person? Or am I nervous, doubting, edgy, insecure? Am I needing to look outside myself for security? (I noticed seeking behaviors intensified over the past week.) Or do I KNOW that things are the way they should be?

Oh… what an incredible gift this KNOWING is. I plan to use it consistently from now on. Of course, accessing KNOWING means committing to looking at all beliefs and feelings and seeing what they have to tell us. We must let go of limiting beliefs that keep us in a state of lack, wanting, and need.

I don’t need to understand! I ALREADY KNOW 🙂

 

 

Letting go

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About a month ago, my heart made a decision that stunned my mind. This was the first time I sensed, in a visceral way, that there were two voices communicating with me.

One speaks constantly, chattering, chattering, chattering.

The other does not speak at all but gently nudges through feelings, urges, and images.

The head and the heart. Those are just labels – I could easily call “the head” thoughts and “the heart” intuition. But I prefer to think that my heart is talking to me.

Anyway… early in October, a Facebook friend posted an article that asserted meat made you fat. I was compelled to comment because I know that to be false. I lost 90 pounds eating a low carb diet that evolved into eating mostly meat.

Cutting out sugar, wheat, and starches made me feel good. I had energy, a clear mind, and stable emotions. I credited this diet with saving my life.

But earlier in this year, I began to feel conflicted about following a strict diet because it felt like I was denying myself a lot of things and cutting myself off from other people.

The thought of giving up my diet brought up SO MUCH fear. I realized I credited my diet with keeping me healthy and that, on one level, I thought it would save me from death. By avoiding sugar and wheat I’d never get cancer or diabetes or heart disease.

Also, if I added more carbs back into my diet, I’d get FAT. I have so much fear of gaining weight because it’s tied, in my mind, to self-worth. Gaining weight = failure. It brings up a lot of shame.

Anyway… I commented on the post and the friend, who has guided me to look at many things, asked if I wanted to look at diet. I didn’t. I REALLY didn’t want to.

But I did. He asked me some questions about eating meat and enormous fear and resistance came up. I did not want to question this! I wanted to keep my diet the same.

I let the fear and resistance arise and looked past it. The thought, “I could eat a vegetarian diet” arose and I felt an enormous sense of peace. But the thought “I don’t want that!’ came up again, stronger. Fear. Peace. Fear. Peace. Back and forth…

I also saw that I’d been conflicted about eating meat for a long time. I’d felt defensive about it and was afraid other people would tell me not to eat meat. I was even afraid to take a yoga class because one of the yamas was “Do no harm” and I was afraid I’d be told it wasn’t “right” to eat meat. But it struck me that fearing judgment from other people meant I was judging myself.  My HEART wanted me to give up meat but my head didn’t, which is why my head felt defensive and conflicted.

I let the fear and resistance be there and followed my heart. Within a few days I had given up meat.

This has been an interesting experience. First of all, I am grateful I found low carb first because that taught me to eat whole, natural foods and to avoid wheat and sugar. On a vegetarian diet I’m eating oatmeal, seeds, beans, quinoa, eggs, fruit, vegetables, potatoes, rice, plantains… So more carbs than before, but I’m still mostly avoiding wheat and sugar because they don’t feel good in my body. I’m avoiding processed foods and soy.

Secondly… following my heart was very scary to the mind. I cried a lot. I felt intense fear of ruining my health. I felt lost, out of control, rudderless… In the first few days it was very hard to not eat meat, especially when it smelled so delicious.

Eventually all that settled down. But the funny thing about choosing with my heart is that there is no identity tied to this. I do not think of myself as a vegetarian. I don’t freak out when I go “off diet” and eat oysters. I don’t have any desire to convince someone else to eat a plant-based diet.

I didn’t choose this diet because it was “right” or “healthier”. I chose it because my heart wanted it. In the days after my heart made that decision, I watched a lot of difficult videos. There is no doubt in my heart that animals deserve humane treatment and natural living conditions. But as far as a plant-based diet being healthier… it feels like BS to me. I cannot watch any of the documentaries like “Forks over Knives” because they contain such blatant misinformation.

Which is the irony here… I still believe a low carb diet is healthy and still feel the need to defend it. I have no such feelings about a vegetarian diet. The decision I made with my head is fragile and needs reinforcement. (Others must agree with me.) The decision made with my heart needs nothing.

I know I made the “right” decision because I feel peace in my heart. And that’s how I aim to make all decisions from now on. I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

Life is Listening

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I came to a realization recently about manifestation. The universe is always listening to us and wants to manifest our desires. So why don’t I have everything I want?

It seems that the universe speaks a certain language and responds to a particular vibration. There are concepts that it just does not understand because Life only sees what is true. It does not recognize illusions.

One illusion I struggle with is the illusion of lack. I need more money. I need to find “the one”.

Life does not understand lack because it is an illusion of thoughts. Where thoughts see lack, life sees abundance.

So when I say to the universe, “Please help me. I need more money”, what does the universe hear?

I have no idea, but I suspect it may be: “I want to continue the illusion of needing more money.”

We do have “free will” after all. Life knows that money is abundant, but allows me to choose the illusion of not having enough if that is what I desire.

Or maybe the universe doesn’t hear that at all. Maybe it is received as “blahblahblah” because Life simply cannot understand lack.

So how do I manifest what I want? I suspect I need to move from a place of “lack” into a higher vibration of joy, trust, and abundance. Can I see the abundance in my life? Do I know without a shadow of a doubt that it will always be there?

Because if I know that I truly need nothing, my conversations with the universe will sound much different.

“Life, bring me a partner so I can extend myself as love.”

“Life, help me to see the abundance in my life. Help me to extend that abundance.”

This I’m not really sure about. But that higher vibration of joy, trust, and abundance… I am working on discovering that within me.

There are some cobwebs to clear out before I can truly see it. But why worry? The universe is helping me do that 🙂

Flip the Script

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How exactly do you learn to love yourself?

I don’t know, but that’s what I aim to learn. I figure that since I spent most of my life learning how NOT to love myself, this process will pretty much be the opposite of what I’ve always done. I’m going to “flip the script” that I have been following since childhood.

I’m thinking there are four basic steps, but without step 1,  the others would not be possible.

Step One: Allow all feelings, emotions, and thoughts to arise. Look at them. See if you can find the beliefs behind them. Most likely you will find, “I am not good enough.” Welcome that thought. Give it love and attention.

In the past, I’d deal with dark thoughts in one of two ways:

1) Dwell in them and  wallow in depression for hours, days, or months. I actually think I was depressed almost all the time between ages 15 and 28.

2) Suppress them and distract myself with food, alcohol, books, movies, internet, buying things, etc…

This step requires us to really investigate thoughts, feelings, and emotions. We can break them down to their component parts and see what belief is “feeding” them. When a belief such as “I’m not good enough” is allowed to be brought into the light, it dissolves. When we repress or wallow in an emotion, we strengthen the belief behind it. But I think beliefs want to be brought to the light and freed from the prison of our minds.

Step Two: Extend this unconditional love to others. When a dark emotion or thought arises about another person, look at it. Don’t repress it or “feed” it by gossiping with others about that person. Find the belief behind it and bring it into the light. Our dark thoughts about others stem from mistaken beliefs about ourselves. Question all assumptions about other people.

In the past, I loved all people, UNLESS something about them triggered my core belief. I divided the world into “safe” people and “unsafe” people. Unsafe people triggered uncomfortable feelings and instead of looking at the feelings, I blamed other people and did whatever I could to avoid them. (Well, if I’m honest with myself, I STILL do this.)

Step Three: Extend this unconditional love to Life. Examine the thoughts and emotions related to events happening around the world. Allow yourself to feel whatever wants to arise and to empathize with those that are suffering. But watch the stories that arise and don’t “feed” them to draw any conclusions about yourself, others, or the world.

I think this is a challenging step. I tend to tune out news that makes me uncomfortable. I feel like it would be “too much” to empathize with everyone. Is that true? Maybe what’s “too much” is judging and analyzing and searching for solutions to every problem. I will have to take a good look at this.

Step Four: Do what you love! Life chose you to have a particular, “you-flavored” experience. Follow your desires. I suspect that when allow subconscious thoughts to come into the light we will no longer be ruled by them. We will no longer be confused between a compulsion (I have to do this because I am not enough) and a desire (I am free to do what I love).

In the past, I would avoid doing certain things out of fear. (Fear of embarrassment, fear of failure, etc..) I can’t go horseback riding… what if I mess up when trying to get on the horse? I don’t want to go to that party – what if I have no one to talk to? I don’t want to go out to dinner with friends – where will I park? What if I arrive before everyone else? What if I can’t find them?

From now on, I’m committing to LOOKING at everything that arises. The only obstacles to loving myself are those hidden beliefs that I’ve buried for years. And once I love myself, that love will naturally extend to others and to Life itself.

After all, where do we draw the line between Self and Other? Life and Self? We may believe that we are separate creatures, but is that really our experience?

Or is it simply another core belief?

 

Is there anybody out there?

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There is nothing out there.

Everything we see is an illusion.

We are projecting the illusion and it reflects our beliefs about ourselves.

This is what I’m grappling with. I’ve been looking at cravings, needs, desires, and yearnings and have realized they stem from a sense of lack. I am lacking something and most go out into the world to find it.

But no matter what I find to satisfy the lack, it has only a temporary effect. There can never be enough.

I have addictive tendencies and thoughts and recently have been really looking at them. For example, I enjoy wine but can’t drink too much of it. Two glasses is safe. More than that and I end up with terrible insomnia. I really hate drinking too much.

But after the second glass, a thought will arise. “More!” A conflicting thought arises. “But you hate drinking too much wine! It doesn’t let you sleep. You always regret doing it.”

“More!”

It strikes me that there can never be “enough” wine, because the thought that says “more!” is connected to a belief that I am not enough. And what is really looking for can NEVER be found in wine.

This belief of not being good enough is central to my unconscious thoughts and desires. It is completely irrational, which is why it doesn’t care if too much wine prevents me from sleeping – it keeps saying “more, more, more!”

Recently, I met someone with whom there could be romantic potential. Too soon to tell.

But this sent thoughts into a tailspin. “He is the one” – look, you have this, this, and this in common. You had amazing conversational chemistry.”

“You don’t know that! It’s way too soon to tell. Stop spinning stories about what something means. You have no idea what anything means.”

This exhausted me, so I stepped out of the debate. And then I saw IT.

A sense of shame arose. Gosh, how foolish I was, thinking this guy could ever like me.

I almost repressed it. But I realized what it was:

I am not good enough. I am not worthy of love. 

This unconscious belief is looking for love. It is looking for acceptance. Total, complete, unconditional love.

It can never find it OUT THERE. 

As much as I’d like to find a life partner, he could never fill the void that thoughts believe exists. But the “need” or “yearning” for a partner stems from this belief that he could give me something I lack.

There is nothing out there.

Everything is in here. Don’t ask me where “here” is. Words fail spectacularly to describe this. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within you,” and now I understand what he was saying.

There is nothing out there.

No matter how hard we look, not matter how many things we accumulate or romantic partners we find, we will never find out in the world what our essence is truly desiring.

There can never be enough wine, chocolate, junk food, good music, great books, free time, attention from others, attention from romantic partners, clothes, possessions, money…

There can never be enough out there because we already have everything. “Out there” is just a projection of what we believe about ourselves.

I’m playing with this idea. Love, joy, abundance, peace… All are within me. I cannot find them outside of me.

When something outside of me seems to “cause” joy, it’s because it’s reminding me of the joy within me.

When something outside of me “causes” pain, it’s because it’s conflicting with the joy within me and reinforcing the belief that I am “not good enough”

So what’s the path to joy, peace, freedom, and love? I must look at this belief and welcome it into my life. I will see all the ways I believe myself to be “not good enough” and send them love. I will send love to every part of myself, no matter how imperfect it may seem.

I already have everything. I just don’t see it yet.

And the one the belief is really seeking… the one of whom it’s demanding unconditional love… well, that’s ME.

I must love myself. Totally, completely, unconditionally, enthusiastically… I must fall in love with myself.

That is the only lack that ever needs filling.

I’m reminded of the story of a beggar sitting on a box, asking strangers every day for money, never realizing the box is filled with gold.

We will never find what we truly desire until we stop looking out there and discover the treasure that lies within us.

Metamorphosis

butterfly

It’s becoming clear to me that we fear change because we fear death. And what is death, after all, but change?

All change reminds us of THE BIG CHANGE. But who changes? What changes?

Only form can change. Only form can die. Life itself never changes. It is expressing itself through form in order to experience change and even experience death.

What does this mean for us? When my body dies, it will decompose. It will feed plants and animals and eventually become part of the soil.

You know what? I think that’s really cool!!

Where will “I” go? Well, Life never changes or dies. The Life that is expressing itself through this body/mind will just keep expressing itself through other forms and not expressing itself by just being.

So what dies? Death has the connotation of disappearing, extinguishing, no longer existing.

Life cannot die.

The body changes forms. None of its molecules “disappear” – they are just absorbed into other forms. Matter cannot be created or destroyed.

So what DOES disappear? What is annihilated when the body dies?

The I-thought. The identity I am expressing in this life will not continue into another life. When this mind stops functioning, my identity will disappear.

Why can it disappear when the body doesn’t? Because it was never really here in the first place. 

The sense of a separate identity and the belief that I have my own personal thoughts is an illusion. Thinking is happening. Breathing is happening. Living is happening. But the “who” that is “doing” all of this is a figment created by the mind.

It is a figment of imagination and it eventually goes *poof*! This inevitably happens with death, which is why death terrifies us. All change terrifies the “I-thought” because it’s a reminder that is an imaginary identity that will one day disappear.

What happens if your I-thought disappears while you are still living?

I wouldn’t know. I have seen the I-thought to be an illusion but it hasn’t gone away. There is definitely more distance between the I-thought and whatever is listening to the I-thought. It is  questioned/second-guessed much more frequently than before.

But I think that allowing the I-thought to die while you are still alive  is the ticket to FREEDOM.

Imagine living without having to protect your identity. Thoughts arise, emotions arise, but nothing sticks to you. You don’t worry about the future but trust Life to guide you.

What is there to worry about, anyway? We don’t die. The only thing that “dies” never existed in the first place.

Can you believe we spend so much time fretting, worrying, and fearing the loss of something completely imaginary?

Ignorance is Bliss

beautiful horses

Today I was reflecting on how much I’ve learned after three horseback riding lessons. I’ve learned new vocabulary, gained skills, and am strengthening muscles as I learn to use my body in new ways.

There is so much to learn! And I chuckled as I thought back to myself at 18,19, or 20… in college and thinking I knew everything, or that I should. I remember being ashamed about ignorance. In a French conversation class my junior year, we were going to be talking about artists. I knew nothing, so I spent several days researching so I could convince my classmates I was knowledgeable.

But the older I get, the more I realize how much I don’t know. In recent years, I’m come to realize that I know nothing.

Knowledge is a handy tool for navigating the world, but it can be extremely limiting. Because I know what a flower is, I don’t bother to look at it. In fact, when I assume I know, I don’t see anything. I project what I expect to see onto the world around me.

How sad 🙁

In contrast, to realize you know nothing is to rediscover the magic and wonder of life. It is to walk around in a state of awe. If life is not awe-inspiring, you are not really seeing it.

How boring life would be if we truly did know everything. What would there be to discover, to investigate, to understand? Part of the magic of life is the infinite variety of forms and experiences. Life loves diversity. Life wants to see itself from every possible viewpoint, in every possible form, and through every possible experience.

Life isn’t knowing. Life is discovery.

Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is freedom. When I remove the burden of knowledge and truly open my mind, I am free to experience everything Life has to offer.

I could pick something new to learn every day of my life and never run out of topics. I don’t need to know everything, but I can learn anything I want to. Isn’t that bliss?

At this moment, I’m learning about horses. Talk about awe! These are beautiful, magical creatures. There is something about their silence and stillness that communicates wisdom and depth. I have no doubt that horses are spiritual beings, far more advanced than humans.

Not that it’s a race or a competition! I think Life created humans so it could experience itself through a complex, intellectual being. It created horses so it could experience a more relaxed, community-based, intuitive perspective.

Life is life, whether in the form of a human or horse. But I tend to see them as “more spiritual” because humans are so arrogant as to assume their intelligence elevates them over other beings. Animals, in their relative simplicity, seem to “get it” more than we do. But I think to see humanity’s neurotic tendencies and obsession with “knowing” and “understanding” as a “flaw” is to miss the big picture. Life wants to experience ALL of it. It wants to be the brainy human and the grass-grazing horse.

And horses, for all their wisdom and grace, are imperfect beings too. They can be slaves to their impulses and instincts, just like we can. Life would never limit itself to experiencing only perfection. Bor-ing!

Hm.. reminds me that I never wrote a post about imperfection. Must get on that!

There is so much I could say about this, but I’m going to end with gratitude.

I am grateful that Life led me to spend time with horses.

I am grateful to be born a head-centered human.

I am grateful to be evolving into a more heart-centered human.

I am grateful to have realized that I know nothing and that I don’t need to know anything. Life will provide me any kind of knowledge that I need at any given moment.

I am grateful to be freed from the burden of “having to know.”

I am grateful for the amazing diversity of Life. Every day is an opportunity to experience something new or to see something familiar with fresh, open eyes.

Creation is our present, not our past. Life is reimagining itself everyday through me, through you, through every horse, flower, butterfly, sunset, blade of grass, grain of sand….

Let’s forget what we think we “know” about Life so we can really SEE it. Let’s open our eyes to the magic unfolding in the “ordinariness” of our everyday experience.

If your day-to-day life does not inspire jaw-dropping awe, look again.

OPEN YOUR EYES.

Love Yourself

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When I first started this blog, my goal was to let go of fear. But my journey has veered in another direction, out of the head and into the heart.

My goal for this moment is to love myself and to love Life.

Easy, right?

Sure, there is a lot to love about myself and certainly a lot to love about Life. But what about the parts that aren’t so lovable?

I just finished The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment. It is a short book but rich with insight and I would highly recommend it. One point the author focuses on is: Love everything.

During my trip to California, dark thoughts arose about myself. This was heightened by a rash on my eyelids that wouldn’t go away. It was uncomfortable and made me feel so ugly. My dark thoughts are all extensions of the most basic thought: I am not good enough.

I am not thin enough. I am not pretty enough. I am not young enough. I am not a good enough writer. I am not a good enough teacher. 

You get the drift. I also felt a sense of emptiness, of having no personality. I’ve often had that dark thought about myself – that I am boring, lifeless, dull. The very opposite of vibrant.

Vibrant is what I want to be! Filled with joy and completely in love with myself and with Life. Completely un-self-conscious. Free to feel and say and BE whatever I want.

Recently I saw a video posted by a woman who emanates joy and vibrancy. As soon as I saw the video, I thought, “I want that!”

How do I do it? Well, I must look at everything that is blocking me from feeling free and vibrant. Why do I feel the need to hold back? What am I protecting? What am I not willing to face about myself?

Back in California, I tried loving everything. I loved my red eyes and the extra weight I’m carrying. I loved my dark thoughts about myself.

While I was experiencing inner turmoil, the country was experiencing turmoil, violence, and racial tension.

How do we love everything when everything includes violence and hatred?

I suspect it comes back to our misunderstanding about love. We don’t really know what love is but have divided everything in life as good (love) and bad (not love).

“Loving” violence does not mean supporting violence or condoning it. But it means accepting that it’s a part of life and then looking within ourselves to see where we are harboring hatred and violence.

We tend to separate ourselves from perpetrators of violence. We call them “monsters” or “terrorists”. They are not us.

But what if they are? What if every one of us possesses an equal capability to love and to hate? What if all of us are capable of extreme acts of hatred and violence?

We fear the darkest parts of ourselves and so we deny them. We say that evil, hatred, and violence exist outside of ourselves. We fear and hate evil.

We fear most what we reject within ourselves.

Hm… I think ACIM said that somewhere. I am going to refer to one of my favorite ACIM quotes: “What is not love is murder.”

I think it applies here. While very few of us will actually commit acts of violence against others, almost all of us are repressing hatred in our hearts. We express hatred in our thoughts and words. We act hatefully towards others. We can do all of this in a very “peaceful” way.

But ACIM is saying it’s all the same. Identifying with a hateful thought is just as “evil” as murdering someone.

We are murdering people in our hearts and minds all the time. When we are not identifying with love, we are identifying with hatred.

When we look at recent violent events in the US, Turkey, and France, do we harden our hearts against the perpetrators for their hateful actions? Or do we look within ourselves with honesty and bring to light our hateful thoughts? Do we send love to those individuals that are suffering so greatly that they act out and hurt others? Or do we deny them that because we insist that they are not like us?

I am realizing that loving myself and loving Life are the same. Am I willing to take an honest look at myself and this world we live in? Am I willing to let go of preconceived notions of what either “should look like?”

I’m pretty sure ACIM says that we took what scared us and projected it outside of ourselves. Voilà – this “hateful, violent” world.

But maybe it isn’t so hateful and scary after all. What would happen if we stopped judging and started looking? What would happen if we stopped talking and started listening?

What would happen if took an honest look at every part of ourselves and loved all of it unconditionally?

I have a feeling that this could change the world.

Doesn’t Look like Love

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That phrase went through my mind this morning as I watched my mom continually snapping at my dad and heard him curse in response.

My dad has dementia. He doesn’t remember how to properly dress himself, which house is ours, which car is his… It’s hard to describe him because his memory loss seems inconsistent. But he has maintained a constant awareness of the fact that he’s losing his memory. He can be rather mature about this as well as petulant and childish.

Mom has never been rational and she’s starting to lose her mind now. She is extremely self-centered because of her extreme anxiety. I’m quite sure she has some combination of depression, generalized anxiety, and OCD. But it’s frustrating to watch how she treats Dad – like she has no idea that he’s lost his mind and he’s just being dense in order to frustrate her.

Dad is one of the most patient, open-minded, gentle, and kind people I know. He never cursed. To hear him do so is disheartening. When he’s not being bullied, he remains very sweet, a rather child-like version of himself. He is a pleasure to be with.

He responds to gentle encouragement to shower, change clothes, eat regular meals… He is not hard to take care of. Not that I think he’s easy to live with… I understand, on some level, Mom’s frustration. Dad requires a level of care she’s unwilling and unable to provide. But she’s refusing to face the reality of the situation.

It’s enough to bring anyone down, except for the reminder I have that they chose this. On the level of the soul (which don’t ask me to explain as there is no self), we choose everything our human selves will experience. And everything in life is about love.

They are going through this to find a deeper understanding of love. And how can I presume to know what that looks like?

It’s not easy for either of them. Mom fights so hard against Life and Dad seems so lost in his mind.

But I can already see what this experience has taught me about love. Love means dissolving the expectations of what another person is supposed to be and accepting them as they are. Love means being willing to see the darkest parts of another person.

Even more, it means willingness to look at the darkest parts of yourself.

Love always starts with yourself. I guess that’s something I’ll explore more in another post. Learning how to love myself is showing me how to love the world.

What is darkness? Only what has been, up until this point, hidden. Life has a way of bring everything hidden out of the darkness and into the light.

It’s almost a game. Will you still love me if… ? You thought I was this, but now I’m becoming that. Will you still love me?

So much more to say about this. But I will end with the simple fact that I don’t know what love is. No one does. How can something that encompasses everything be defined? How can it be limited by words?

Our understanding of love is severely limited. That hit home today for me. How do I know that bickering, cursing, and apparent dysfunction is not love?

I don’t!

Love is so much bigger than our ideas about it. We can write millions of songs, poems, books, and movies about love. But we only hint at it, point our fingers in a vague direction.

Love is not pretty. Love is not perfect.

Love is real.

Take Two

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The other day, I called to cancel my blog. I hardly ever write in it, so why keep it?

It never hit me that it would be GONE… as in completely erased. When I saw that, I was hit with terrible sadness. I lived with that for two days, then called to see if I could get my blog back. I could 🙂

If I do cancel it next year, I’ll make sure to save all the content.

Haha… the sadness I felt doesn’t surprise me. I have moved every year since 2012 and each time have transported boxes and boxes of journals. They are heavy and I haven’t figured out a good place to keep them. But I will not get rid of them.

I have such a need to express myself in writing. So I guess that, in itself, is a reason to keep the blog.

I recently traveled to California to visit a friend. There, we visited Woodside (magical!! I love Ca’s forests!), Yosemite, and Lake Tahoe. I fell in love with Lake Tahoe.

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It’s where mountains, forest, and water all meet. I love that!! I was sad that we only got to spend two days there.

I’ve changed the name of my blog because it has nothing to do with A Course in Miracles anymore, though ironically enough my next post may refer to a powerful ACIM statement: What is not love is murder.

Until then…