Seriously… Walk in Your Freedom, Man – I Mean, Literally BE SET FREE!

Be Free
Forget the past. I’m not kidding. The Universe does not refer to the past while it’s delivering the present. The PRESENT! Do you get it? Right this very second is a gift, and it’s not laced with anything that has to do with your past mistakes (unless of course you’re stuck in the past. Unless of course your thoughts keep taking you back there. Your thoughts create your experience. And if you don’t trust the law of attraction phenomenon, take one week to step out of your belief system and practice changing all your thoughts to positive ones. Shit, take a month – you’ll never doubt again). The question that has been stirring within me for the last year has been my very own demise toward receiving the magnificent gift of freedom. The excitement that fills me now as I write this – oh man!

You see, I did a little experiment this week after finally receiving my answer through a guest on my favorite radio show. First of all, my question was this:

“Do I need to drudge through all my past mistakes in order to receive the yearning of my heart? Do I need to really look at that stuff and tediously manage through everything? People always say that there are no short cuts in life, and though I’m not looking for a short cut, I somehow feel like I’m being held back from receiving. It’s like everything I desire is twenty feet away and I’m running toward it on a treadmill. Perhaps it’s because I was so irresponsible for so many years, and now I’m just paying for it. I deserve this, right? I deserve to struggle because I was completely irresponsible… is that how it works?”

The answer is this – Only if you so choose.

I decided to get of the treadmill. I decided that it can’t hurt to walk completely in my freedom for a week. So I pretended that I was not bound to my past (“act as if”) this last week. I unchained myself from my own repetitive thoughts. I stopped thinking – literally just stopped thinking about what I figure that I deserve. I stopped referring to my mistakes of the past; the way I handled things and how it’s affecting me now. This has a lot to do with money (if you haven’t already figured that out). I imagined taking off a metal cloak that has been blocking me from receiving. I laid it down on the ground, kept my head forward and trusted that I was set free from that ugly old thing. And guess what? I not only felt set free, I am set free. There is no past. The past is a big fat illusion. I’m not kidding. It’s like each moment that I walk in the light of my freedom, the universe is giving me a galactic sized hug. It’s saying “FINALLY! YOU GET IT! YOU GET IT! YOU FINALLY UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS! WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU ALL ALONG!”

This whole time – this last three years – I’ve been walking in like three quarters of my freedom, with one fourth of me still stuck in the past because I didn’t trust that I was allowed to be so radically set free. I was punishing myself, and I accepted that I deserved to struggle. That was my thinking. Well, just so you know, the universe doesn’t think like that. In fact, the universe of ultimate abundance doesn’t think at all. It merely delivers.

All I can say right now, is change your thinking. Know that you are not chained to your past. Understand that you do not need to accept any kind of struggle. You do not need to suffer for your mistakes. Be aware of your mistakes. Take responsibility for your mistakes by acknowledging them – even write them down if it makes you feel better, but then really let them go and walk in your freedom from them. If you don’t trust this, then do a little experiment like I did. It won’t hurt you to change your thinking for one week. Once you realize that you are not bound to the past, and that you can have exactly the life that you want (that you are so deserving of), you won’t go back to that old way of thinking. This is about stepping out of your fear, into the light. It is about being set free (completely set free), and it begins with the way you think. Don’t be shackled to your way of thinking. Don’t let other people’s idea of how the world works effect your ultimate freedom. In fact, forget everything other people say. And one more word of advice – when magic starts happening for you, don’t expect the hammer to come crashing down. Disregard that old pattern of thinking too. Tell the hammer to take hike. Don’t invite it into your experience by expecting it to arrive. Be set free! Walk in the light of your life – starting immediately! AHHHH, it feels SO DAMN GOOD! FINALLY!

Face and Overcome Your Challenges, Or Resist Them And Cycle Back – Your Choice

Peace like a river

I write a lot about fear because we all face it and I’ve spent the last several years acknowledging mine.  Facing our fears is the soul’s great journey.  If you don’t think you have fears, it may be because you’ve created a life of comfort in order to avoid facing your fears.  We all do this to some degree because we are not taught about the inner journey of life.  We learn to face our physical fears, like of jumping off a high dive, or asking someone on a date.  Many of us are afraid to speak to large crowds of people, but in random situations we discover ourselves doing just that several times throughout our lives.  But what about the fear of following our greatest desires due to sacrifices we would have to make?  What about the fear of leaving someone whom you love because the relationship simply isn’t enhancing your life any longer?  What about the fears that tell us we are irresponsible if we don’t buy into them?  I have fears that tell me I’m an irresponsible fool if I think of anything other than how bad things truly are.  Those are the gripping, self-defeating fears that eat us alive and deprive us of any joy.  We have been taught that if we think positive during really bad times, that we are being delusional, so we get stuck in the vortex of that self-defeating fear, which brings up a lot of anger, anxiety and holds us back from triumphant experiences. 

The other night I had a recurring dream that I was back in high school.  I had missed several classes and couldn’t recall my locker combo.  Anxiety overcame me as I tried to figure out which class I was supposed attend and when I realized that I was probably going to fail because I hadn’t been attending any classes.  In front of my locker, where I struggled to remember numbers, my friends surrounded me to show me the way to class.  Suddenly I recalled that I had already graduated high school.  “Wait a minute,” I announced to my friends.  “I have already done this.  I’ve already graduated and got my diploma.  What am doing here?  I should be out in the world making something of my life.”  Relief overwhelmed me as I stood up and understood my worth.  I didn’t need to be there.  I was recycling something I had already accomplished.

In my waking life, it is very clear to me what this dream represents.  In a few months from now, I will either have to be making a lot more money, or I will have to move (again) from this beautiful cottage home that I so love living in.  I share the cost of rent with a former boyfriend, but we broke up while we were living here.  I could have remained in the relationship in order to keep myself financially secure, but I can’t live in that kind of lie.  Not anymore.  A few years ago it would have suited me fine, but that kind of fraudulence ends poorly and costs a lot in the self-esteem department.  At this very moment, I have no place to go.  There is nothing available in my price range.  My daughter is thriving in school and I’m doing excellent in my job.  I know we are supposed to be here and I trust that when the time comes, I will be provided for.  I’ve been in this situation before (so many times.  If I told you how many times, you would think I should have jumped off a bridge by now).  From experience, I know that things always work out, but in the past, I’ve resisted the experience with enthusiasm, and spent several months locked in my fear, stressed to the point of physical pain, and miserable during moments when I should have felt quite happy.  I’m not doing that this time.  I’ve been here before.  I’ve seen how it all pans out.  I’m well aware that I will be taken care of and that my back is covered by a loving and supportive universe that knows exactly what I need and when I need it.  I’m walking in the light of knowing that we are going to be ok.  No matter how things turn out, we will have a roof over our heads and it will be even better than what we have going on now.  I trust this because I’ve lived it.  The difference now is that I’m not sinking into my fear of not having a place to live.  I’m living my life to the fullest and loving each moment.  I am not worried, and I don’t have to be, no matter how irresponsible my inner judge tells me I’m being.

We used to sing this song at church… “I’ve got peace like a river… I’ve got love like the ocean…”  It was a rich song.  I still sing it sometimes.  It reminds me that I have a choice each day to either walk in the darkness of my fears, or to wake up and be alive in the light of my knowing that in this very moment, everything is excellent.  The world is not crumbling down around me.  Things up ahead may seem bleak and scary, but right now I have peace like a river, and I am filled with love like the ocean.  I could very well sing the song of my fears and it would sound something like, “I’ve got anxiety like an endless void… I’ve got fear like a murky pond…” but I’m not resisting life anymore.  I’m not afraid to stand up in this very moment and love where I am.  This time around, I’m going to do something different.  I’ve been here before.  I do not have to go through this again.  I’m taking the soul’s path out of the forest of fear into the land of freedom of knowing that everything is going to be alright. In fact, it’s going to be spectacular!

 

To Walk in the Power of The Serenity Prayer

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The first time I heard this prayer, it was through a former boyfriend who was helping me to let go of my anxiety.  I wasn’t even in recovery yet, and oddly, he wasn’t much of a “God” guy.  For a second after I read it in his email, I actually thought that he wrote this prayer… specifically for me (self-centeredness is so blinding), but then later (in the rooms) I realized that this was a prayer written for everyone.

This isn’t only a prayer of letting go, or relinquishing the need to control outcome; it is a deliberate prayer for balance.  Most of us can digest the first sentence “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,” but what about the last two requests, “The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference?”  How do we know when to walk in the path of courage, versus letting go of outcome?  And if we don’t know whether to be brave or to sit still, then what?  Honestly, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here.  No matter what path you choose, there is always a learning experience, but this is when “doing the next right thing” comes into practice.  Either way you choose, if you’re doing the next right thing, then this is your opportunity to practice your own balance.  The questions to ask yourself in deciding if your doing the next right thing are:

Is this harmful to me?

Is this harmful to another person? (There is a huge difference between hurting someone, and harming them, so be clear on this.  If you’re breaking up with someone, they may be hurt, but they are not ultimately harmed.  Harming someone would be like a betrayal, or lying to them).

Are my intentions pure?  (In other words, are you doing something for selfish reasons, or do you have an ulterior motive?)

If you answer “no” to all the above, then you’re left with a decision.  If the decision is whether or not to look for a better job, or to wait for one to fall in your lap, I would say… there is no harm in looking for a better job.  If your decision is something that involves another person, then I would suggest communicating with that person before proceeding, so that you can make an educated decision with all the information laid out before you.  I know this is vague, but so often we think there is a “right” or “wrong” decision to make, when in fact, we are ultimately being guided, loved and provided for, no matter what path we choose to walk upon.  Even the bad decisions we make deliver consequences that ultimately provide opportunities to learn something of great value. 

In my own recovery, I have learned that if I’m getting hung up on the decision making process, then clearly I’m still stuck in “controlling outcome” mode.  Sometimes you’ve just got to follow your gut and move forward.  If moving forward feels wrong, then stop and sit still for a while.  Get used to “feeling” what goes on for you as you’re navigating throughout your life.  Most of us are result motivated, but the real treasure of our human experience, is the abstract abundance of personal growth.  I’ve met several people who have virtually nothing of value in their possession (house, car, income, etc.), yet they are spiritually rich and incredibly content.  They’ve discovered something that most of us fail to recognize; life is not about what you have, it’s about who you are.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept… The courage to change the things I can… and the wisdom…”  Walking in the light of this prayer is courageous.  It’s the both a statement of surrender, and the vow to stand on my own two feet within a powerful state of acceptance.  It’s a rich balance between humility and strength; it’s trusting in something greater than myself, and trusting in myself; it’s faith and reason all in one magnificent package.  This is the balance of our human existence.  This is what we practice when we are living consciously.

As we make decisions on a daily basis, let us remember this delicate balance without getting hung up on outcome.  Remember, it’s not where we end up, but what we learned along the way. 

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of Sitting Quietly with Ourselves and… Our Anger

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Details make up our conversations, and emotions fuel our responses, but how many of us take the time to actually step outside of the words we speak to feel, or to explore ourselves through the currents of our anger, or the vastness of our happiness?  How many of us have a relationship with ourselves, or love ourselves deeply enough to create space in this busy world to find out what it is we need and what drives us?  A bit of anger came up for me recently and I (of course) reacted (badly).  I was driven by a monster inside of me that wanted to claw its way through the likes of another, but when it did enough damage, it backed down and I was left sitting alone with myself.  Where does this derive from, I have to ask myself. 

Instead of judge the beast who ruled me that day, I sat beside her, figuratively placed an arm around her and allowed her to be part of my experience.  I am not perfect, and although I know a lot about spirituality, I’m not always a “spiritual” person.  I’m human, and I have human behaviors, human responses and human feelings.  This is important for me to accept about myself, otherwise my inner judge will overrule me, and I will not have the space to explore the beast.  It’s been a few weeks and the beast is sitting quietly, but she is still right beside me, simply waiting to be provoked.  She’s pretty full of herself, and her claws are sharp.  I wouldn’t mess with her if I was an outside party, but I’m the only one who has the power to control her, so instead of allowing her to lash out, I’m embracing her and gently reminding her that I’m aware of her presence.  She’s been with me for a very long time and I’m going to finally take the time to face her.

It seems that everyone in my life right now is pointing me to my beast (the anger).  Well, not everyone.  I have two children and a few co-workers who haven’t provoked the beast at all.  It’s like I’m surrounded by both ultimate acceptance and harsh judgments.  I suppose this is an organic reflection of what’s going on within me.  I’m dealing with accepting myself, and judging myself here.  I could reprimand the beast and question her… “What are you still doing here?  I thought I dealt with you?  You don’t belong with me.  You are screwing up my peace… etc,” or I can enter this darkness within myself and realize that it is yearning for exploration.  The ones revealing this beast to me (the provokers) are my greatest advocates (on a soul level).  On a physical level, they don’t even know how important their role is in my life, or perhaps they do… what do I know?

What I do know is that I don’t reject this part of me.  Instead of block her out, pretend she isn’t here, distract myself, or lash out at the people reflecting her to me, I’m asking her questions.  I’m discovering her place in my life.  I’m allowing her presence to overcome me once in a while without reacting.  I’m feeling the hurt that comes up as I allow her to overcome me.  You see, she has more depth than I realize.  She is full of fear and in order to protect herself, she masks herself with fangs and claws.  Beyond this, however, she is merely a vapor of fear that I have never taken the time to face.

This is so deep… tell me about it.  But what I’ve realized in my sobriety, is that having a relationship with myself is so incredibly dynamic and liberating.  If I’m walking around the planet in a state of confusion, or without awareness of myself, then I am setting myself up to self-destruct in the midst of my anger, because this is what I’m accustomed to doing.  We all play a role in each other’s spiritual development, but how many of us sit with ourselves and take the time to acknowledge what everything means on a soul level?  How many of us give ourselves compassion when we are feeling afraid?  Or do we harshly judge ourselves for being completely human?  If you are judging, then you are stifling a beautiful and natural process called healing. 

I’m holding hands with my beast because she is part of me, and I don’t want to reject her anymore.  She obviously has a voice (a pretty loud and sarcastic one at that), and she desires my full attention.  Instead of distract myself from her, I’m regarding her.  It doesn’t matter to me how long she hangs out.  She is a guest in my home right now, and we’re finally getting to know one another.  She is actually pretty harmless when I give her the space to breathe instead of the ignorance of reaction.  She makes me feel extremely uncomfortable at times; agitated and raw.  She irritates me, and makes me feel weary, but if I don’t finally give her my full attention, she is going to have her way with me for the remainder of my life, like a neglected child who raises havoc when least expected. 

I’m angry.  There, I said it.  But this is not who I am.  I run deeper.  The anger is merely a fragment, like a prism of light reflecting something that needs to be recognized in order to be set free.  If it’s fear that I’m harboring, then it’s time I walk through it, and when I’ve finally overcome this fear, I will gladly thank the people in my life who have given me the organic mirror to face this longtime passenger on my journey.

Don’t Worry. About a Thing…

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Just recently I was able to introduce my eleven year old daughter to Bob Marley.  This was a proud day for me to share with her;  playing music with her that has brought me great joy since I was a kid.  While we discussed his music and his message of hope, she recognized the song, “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”  Of course she did!  Who doesn’t find themselves smiling, singing, movin’ and groovin’ to this simple tune every now and then?  It simply resonates with our souls.  Generations have grown up to these simple and sacred words.  This song was destined to be written.  It was already in the stars awaiting formation when good ole’ Mr. Marley came along and took the grand opportunity to embrace the universe with his music.

It applies to everything doesn’t it?  Yesterday I was talking to a friend in jail who is awaiting his destiny via the judge.  He’s been sitting there for months while the court takes their sweet time to give him a “yay” or “nay” on rehabilitation versus a pretty wretched prison sentence.  I know he’s antsy and nervous about the whole thing, but he is safe right now, off the streets and sober.  Although it’s not the ideal setting to be behind bars, there are three meals a day, a place to sleep, and showers.  Many people don’t even have the luxury of a warm place to sleep.  Even more people are starving everyday.  I don’t mean to downplay my friends anguish, but when I was in rehab for my alcoholism, embraced by the walls of an institution, I thanked God everyday that I was still alive, and that I could still feel joy even if it was through the likes of a small thing like being able to sleep through a night with covers to keep me warm.  I was humbled in that place of refuge, and brought face to face with the fact that life isn’t about what you have, who you know, or your social status.  When these precious things are ruthlessly removed from our lives, we quickly discover that we are still here.  We don’t fade out, or disappear when our world comes crashing down.  On the contrary… we are quite THERE and vibrantly alive in our rawness and humiliation, and we are closer to God or our Higher Power, than we have ever been.

Some of us have wandered around in life with everything, still vacant inside from a lack of a higher power.  We asked God to show up, and when this occurs, it’s usually not in the form of a burning bush.  No, we usually discover God in a place of humility, often followed by significant pain and sorrow.  When we are stripped of the things that we made out to be so important, we have nothing left except for ourselves.  It is then that we become fully aware of our completeness in this place of ultimate surrender.  Some of us keep our arrogance even after the fact, but this is merely an image too, and once this is finally shed, we discover our wholeness underneath all the masks we uphold to obscure our beautiful vulnerability.

What does any of this have to do with Bob Marley?  It’s his powerful message that speaks to our souls.  “Don’t worry.  About a thing.  Cause’ every little thing is going to be alright…”  Whether you are just becoming sober for the very first time, or recovering from an awful relapse, no matter what you encounter in your life; when you come to a place of total surrender, you are immediately safe.  Humility is the universe’s way of getting our attention and reminding us that we are naturally taken care of.  We don’t have to be in charge nor should we sweat anything, because everything we need is already set in motion.  All the goodness we desire, is simply awaiting our acceptance, but we need to get out of our own way in order for the good to arrive.  This is such a beautiful place to be, no matter where it occurs, because it is a place of total acceptance of all that is.  When we are in this place, there is no need to worry about a thing.  I think this is what Mr. Marley was divinely conveying to us through lyrics about three little birds. You see, they are free, and in harmony, because they trust all that was given to them without interfering with the natural flow of things. In the eyes of God, are we not more important than the birds? Exactly.

“Don’t worry.  About a thing…. Cause’ every little thing is gonna be alright!” What an empowering place to be!