Saturday, February 17, 2018

Circling the Wagons

A potential client told me that she liked my website. Then she asked me before placing an order if I believed in God.

I don't remember what I answered her. It's a loaded question intended to place me thoroughly inside or thoroughly outside her circle. She needed to vet me as acceptable or unacceptable.

That's lazy thinking, but I can understand it.

When we are stressed or overworked, it's easier to read the tl;dr version or just scan the headline without reading the piece, even when we lose something important by taking the shortcut. When feeling helpless or vulnerable, we use whatever strategies we have on hand to cope. And that can include circling the wagons around our values, beliefs and associations. Safety in numbers - or something.

Perhaps one day she'll slip one toe outside her circle to see if life has something better for her. Perhaps she did when she looked at my website. Perhaps not. She arrived at her position honestly. To give up everything takes tremendous strength and courage and a willingness to be wrong. She could be putting not just her way of life at risk, but perhaps her livelihood, family and friendships, too.

I don't lose hope though. She may not have stuck her toe outside that circle, but she looked over it.

Now, as for her question: do I believe in God? Have a look at my website and decide for yourself.

First published March 2018 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sit With It

I get snippy when I'm under stress. I'll notice the dishwasher wasn't emptied when I come upstairs in the morning and be unable to stop a snarky thought from rising. I'm usually aware enough to catch it, but I can't always stop it.

The very fact that this is the kind of thought that's rising shows me that I need to take care of myself. Do less for others and more for myself, shed a tear or three, wear comfortable clothes, eat delicious food. These actions get me back to myself. Here I can sit with whatever emotional distresses I've been stuffing down with food, and see if I can stay with them for a while, so they can move through me.

Fear is a big one. This feels awful. Fear rose spectacularly a while back when in someone's car. The driving conditions were not great and I could not influence the way the driver handled things. I sat and tried not to feel scared and upset, but there was nothing I could do.

If I hadn't been willing to sit with the fear, I'd have been mentally blaming the driver, developing an elaborate drama about how I am the innocent victim -- generally making a tough situation worse. Instead, I asked my angels for help. Basically I told them "This feeling is awful. I hate it," without really expecting anything but a sense that I have quiet support. But this time, I got an answer. "It's okay to feel scared. The feeling won't last forever." It released the layer of "I hate this" stress and left me with the simple body sensations of fear: shaking, sharp tingles on my skin, heat and cold alternating. Sure enough, after a while the feelings subsided all by themselves.

Many mornings when I am doing my prayers, tears will rise as a result of a single thought. When that happens I get out my hanky, and just let myself feel the sadness. I don't need to know why. I stuffed down a lot of sorrow over the years and in sitting with it now, I get a chance to express it in a beneficial way.

Sometimes I can sit with difficult feelings and sometimes I can't. I guess the stars have to line up just right. But when I do feel brave enough to sit with fear or sadness it does me good. It loosens my rigid patterns (sometimes even rigid muscles) and if it's powerful enough, it breaks me open, empties me out and lets me start fresh.

First published February 2018 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Black and White World

When we were kids, our TV was black and white. Greyscale. We could often sense the colours on the screen by the tone and context. We never felt as though anything was missing. But then colour TV came along. The perceptual impact was huge.

Every now and then in meditation or when quiet, I get a glimpse of colours more brilliant than anything I have ever seen in this world. It's as though we are living in a faded world, not black and white, but not fully perceived either.

If we never glimpse the colours that exist outside our reality, how can we know they exist?