We can become so led by our fears for so long that we no longer see that they are fears or that they are running us at all. It is valid and normal to desire to be liked and loved, but at an early age if we become someone other than ourselves to obtain that approval, that like or love, we have paid a high price to the Soul. We learn to speak a certain way to fit in with a certain group, to say we like or don’t like certain things to fit in with a group, we go or don’t go to certain places, all based on whether the group would find this ok…..what will happen if we go against what the group deems acceptable? This becomes the thread of fear governing so many lives. The group we seek to please might be family, friends, an organization or even religious community. When inside, our inner and true voice is yearning for something, and day by day we go about the practice of extinguishing that voice. We are going about the extinguishing of our own Soul. That is the voice calling to you, crying to be heard, asking you why are you settling for mediocrity and fitting in instead of celebrating your specialness and shining out bright in all your Uniqueness? When did we decide to begin to lock our true selves inside and throw away the key? As a child, was the first insult too much to take? If someone said “You’re weird”, did it hurt our tender hearts so much that we believed it? Did we believe it must be true and now we must hide this part of who we are? Did we decide that if we seek to match what another deems normal we would be safe and emotionally unscathed in this world? As we know, there is no safe, there is no way of being that allows for no judgment or ridicule or disdain. So if we will face those things anyway, and we will, why not face them in all the glory of our selves?! At least then we will have known what it is to shine in this lifetime. At least then, even with some of the hurts, there will have been the most glorious highs that we might not have even imagined. Our Souls are calling to us each moment to step out of the safe room where we, by our own doing, have been missing the adventure of our own life. We are no longer the sweet child that feels another’s dislike will destroy us. We are now explorers, brave hearts seeking to live our own epic journey and we know that even if another throws a weapon of judgment, disapproval, hate, that somehow, our commitment to our own evolution, is shining the light for him to do the same, to move out of his own fear. Because that’s all it ever is, don’t we see, another that is held imprisoned by his fears, needs us to stay imprisoned so that he doesn’t have to feel so tormented by his own Soul. He needs us to stay imprisoned so that he doesn’t have to be reminded that he has chosen not to shine. There is an inner dialogue with ego happening as that person fights their own call to set themselves free, which can look like depression, boredom, illness, discontent, they can argue to themselves, well this is how everyone else is, it must be right, and so there is a collective dis-ease, a collective need to medicate away the unhappiness with busy-ness, substance, anger…..YOU can be different! YOU can be brilliant! You can be YOU! No apologizing, no shrinking, unlock the door, step outside, liberate yourself….do the thing you’ve wanted to do, go to the places, see the people, take the classes, if not today, when will be soon enough to ask, who is it I am trying to please with each decision I make? The end will come anyway, for all of us. Will we spend those last moments wishing we had not held back, wishing we had gone all in, wishing we had been brave enough to be our true self? Who are YOU when you strip away your actions that are rooted in fitting in?
Relationship ~ what does it mean to you?
To me, quite simply, it speaks to how we are relating with one another. I think it is one of, if not the most challenging aspect of life and also I think it is the primary reason we are here, ultimately to learn how to relate to others. As we begin to walk the path of self-awareness, a spiritual path, the path of asking “who am I”, it might take us some time to realize that no matter what our Dharma or purpose, or what we come to believe we wish to do, the journey is about how we are relating with others and ourselves. .
No matter how well-intentioned we are, our relating skills are not always going to be 100%. In fact, often far from it. There are thousands of books, courses, workshops, even counseling and therapy to help us learn to be better at relating, and yet it seems to be more and more challenging these days. As we struggle in our primary relationship, that to self, our projections and shadows will play in our relationships with others. If we aren’t in a healthy, conscious, aware relationship with ourselves, how can we possibly expect those things in our connection with others? We will always be falling short, always disappointing others and probably ourselves.
It might be helpful just to look at how you relate in general in life. In other words, no matter what I am doing, can I stay in a place of love? Can I stay out of judgment for others? Can I remain compassionate? Can I stay neutral in all situations and see both sides and not just what I perceive is happening to me? I think it becomes clear that this is where so much of the work lies, and that not many are able to achieve relating perfectly all the time.
I have been shown in the last couple of years where I fall very short in my relating with others. Fortunately, I am in a place now of seeing this information as a gift. As I ask to be shown where I need to grow, allow the lessons to come for my highest and best good, those lessons have been rolling in at lightning speed. We might not like many of these lessons as they are coming to us, but how does one grow if they aren’t shown the places that need strengthening or shifting in some way?
In learning how to relate better with others, to quit blaming, hating, judging, condemning or whatever view we place on another that is not love, we should look at how we process our interactions with others. When we are upset, hurt or angry, are we able to go to that person and share, in a healthy way, how we are feeling in hopes of a deeper connection? Or, is it a situation that can be shifted by our own inner work like meditation, prayer or other practices. Do we take it to a trusted teacher, mentor or friend that has the wisdom to help us see the entirety of the situation with clarity? Or, do we take it to others that are not likely to assist in the resolve or healing of our pain? Do we hope in sharing with others that we will feel right or justified in our thoughts and maybe actions? Do we energize and strengthen the hurts by sharing them again and again? It seems that often, a good portion of people’s relating is spent in negative or destructive conversation about another.
If we value and wish to grow our most important relationship, that to self, and ultimately with others, we will begin to consider how we are relating our hurts and wounds with each other, to each other. If we choose to start looking at relationship as a practice in itself, to be the watcher of all of our relationships, we will continue to steer them towards the places of love, understanding, patience, forgiveness, awareness and peace. We will understand that each and every person we are interacting with has been placed in front of us as a beautiful mirror, so that as we look at them, it is reflected back to us the ways we need to grow most. They are not a burden, an enemy or irritant. They are a gift. We are all here in relationship with each other as precious gifts to expand and illuminate each other as human beings.
Can we today choose to begin exploring, welcoming and being curious about all of our relationships and begin to ask, how is this here to help me grow?
In the desire to return to love, to be in joy, to BE joy, there will be many lessons along the way to teach us and to show us, “the way, our way”. One of those lessons, maybe the biggest, is to not allow fear to shut us down or hold us back. Anand Mehrotra so beautifully says that it is too much to ask to not be afraid, fear is natural, we must ask Love to trump the fear. When we love something enough, desire it enough, we will jump through flames for it, we will find our inner super hero to make it happen. Sadly we sometimes learn to throw water on the fire of our desire. We are told our dreams are silly, don’t make sense, can’t happen or we aren’t something enough to make them happen. Well, I call BS on all of that nonsense. By the nature of how the Universe works, you are able to live your dreams. The challenge is in letting go of any beliefs that have told you that you can’t have them. If we accept those false beliefs, they become like chains holding us to a present life that doesn’t fit the desires of our hearts. We have created for ourselves an emotional prison. The great news is, we can free ourselves at any time. You just need to find the key. The key is in deciding that you can, reminding yourself that the thoughts that told you that you couldn’t, came from someone else and their limiting beliefs. We have the choice to believe them or to not.
I know that in my journey, it has been my fire that has gotten me through. My fire to follow my heart, no matter what. For each person that has said “that’s crazy, why would you do that, that won’t work, people won’t like that, that’s too out there”, some part of me, somehow has known, they don’t know what’s right for me. They aren’t listening to the same inner voice as me. And when I listen to this inner voice, it is never wrong. Never!
May your desire burn like the sun through your heart, burning all of your fear into until, like the phoenix, you rise into the fullness of your magnificent self.