Living without Labels

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When you really get right down to it, anytime an unpleasant feeling arises and you choose to delve deeper into that feeling by pausing and asking yourself ‘why?’ again and again as you uncover each layer, you begin to discover that the ego’s attachment to pleasure and aversion to pain are the cause of all your suffering. It’s that simple. And it’s also that difficult.

While it sometimes feels like it could be a more relaxed existence, I’m not suggesting we should try to completely rid our Selves of our human egos. (The word ‘ego’ has gotten a bad rap in today’s spiritual studies, but if you go to http://www.dictionary.com, you’ll see that it has synonyms like ‘self-esteem’ and ‘self-image,’ which feel like much kinder definitions!) It does serve its purpose, in my opinion; however, I also think we would benefit from taking ourselves a LOT less seriously and remembering that we don’t have to let the ego be in the driver’s seat of our lives. I believe we need to become the Observer more often – by paying attention when we feel angry, sad, jealous, hurt, etc. We don’t run away from it. Instead, we sit with it, we accept it. We say, ‘Okay, let’s see what this is all about.’ We take a breath, noticing where we feel that sensation in our bodies and what it feels like. We ask ourselves ‘why’ and challenge the dramatic little story the ego wants us to believe about this feeling. Is this real? Is this true? We remind ourselves that in this very moment, we are okay. Then, we let it go. I like to envision blowing it away like the seeds of a dandelion.

My yoga teacher touched on this very idea last night during a particularly difficult part of class: ‘Surrender to the energy traveling through your body without trying to define it. It isn’t pain. It isn’t nausea. It isn’t anything until we label it as such. Let the energy travel through you and simply be a vessel.’

Wanting things to be different than they are makes no sense, and yet I do it every day when things aren’t going the way I want. How often do YOU cause yourself more pain by trying to control, wrestle and contort the people and circumstances in your life into what you want them to be? What would happen if we let go of that weight on our shoulders and accepted each and every moment exactly as it is without the need to label it as good or bad? Can it simply just be? And why do I think things should be the way that I (think I) want them to be? Are my wants and needs any more important than anyone else’s? How often do I actually know what I really want anyway? There have been plenty of times when I got exactly what I wanted, only to find out it wasn’t what I wanted at all.

In the documentary The Buddha, Robert Thurman (Uma’s dad!) says with a gentle smile and a twinkle in his eye, something like, ‘If you’re sad? Just wait. If you’re happy? Just wait. If you’re angry, just wait.’ I find it tremendously helpful to remind myself of this simple truth and keep a sense of humor about how fleeting ALL my thoughts are. Not every single one of my feelings has to be acted upon; nor does it have to be labeled as good or bad. Just beautiful. All of it. Because I’m here. I’m living. I’m learning.

In his book Falling Into Grace, Adyashanti says, ‘As we begin to see that the arguments we have with life are a form of insanity, and how egoic consciousness keeps us in suffering, cracks may begin to appear in this old relationship we have with the way we see the world. Our reference for happiness no longer comes from the outside world. It doesn’t even come from our inner experience being a particular way; a sense of natural ease and happiness is there simply because we’ve opened entirely to the way things actually are.’

Are you ready to open to each and every beautiful moment in your life? Let’s do it together.

Happy New Year!

Namaste.

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Where are you going?

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Where are you going?

When will you arrive?

When you arrive, will you know? Or will your mind already be focused on something else…the next goal to be attained, or perhaps the next person, place, job, car, house or thing that will ‘make’ you happy?

You have already arrived. You are already home. And if you do not close your eyes and breathe into this moment, it will be gone – just like that – without you noticing.

What will you remember from your life? A profound conversation that left you feeling grateful to be understood? The intense beauty of your beloved’s eye color as you gazed at each other for what seemed like hours? The smell of your child’s freshly washed hair as you brushed it after her bath? Or perhaps the warm soft grip of a loving hand in yours just when you needed it most?

These beautiful details are what life is made up of. They’re small and they’re quick. And we miss them when we aren’t living in the present moment.

Life is not defined by the deadlines, the bills, the house that needs to be cleaned, or rushing through traffic to get…where?

Where are you going?

There is no magical destination. There is no magical age, place or time in the future that will suddenly make you feel happy, satisfied and content. No other moment exists except this one. Right now. Are you noticing it, or are you rushing right by it, on your way to some place in the future that does not yet, and may never will, exist?

Just think about it.

Namaste.

Connection beyond the ‘Perfection Projection’

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Beautiful truths from a very inspiring author…..

You can connect from all kinds of places – energetic harmony, sexual alchemy, intellectual alignment- but they won’t sustain love over a lifetime. You need a thread that goes deeper, that moves below and beyond the shifting sands of compatibility. That thread is fascination – a genuine fascination with someone’s inner world, with the way they organize reality, with the way they hearticulate their feelings, with the unfathomable and bottomless depths of their being. To hear their soul cry out to you again and again, and to never lose interest in what it is trying to convey. If there is that, then there will still be love when the body sickens, when the sexuality fades, when the perfection projection is long shattered. If there is that, you will swim in love’s waters until the very last breath.

-excerpted from ‘Love it Forward,’ by Jeff Brown

Autobiography in Five Chapters

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by Portia Nelson

1) I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost…
I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

3) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in…it’s a habit
My eyes are open; I know where I am;
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

4) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5) I walk down another street.

We all learn what we need to learn, eventually. Trust in the process. Trust in your mistakes. In fact, stop calling them mistakes and instead recognize them for the lessons they truly are. It is all so very beautiful – these gorgeously twisting and winding experiences that make up our lives. Even your heartache, even your pain has a raw beauty, a beautifully bruised purple color that you see when you close your eyes that lets you know you’re Alive. Learn to love your life, like a book you cannot put down. I wonder what the next chapter will hold. I write it as I go….relishing each moment for all its infinite possibilities….feeling the raw emotion only one who is fully alive can feel…cherishing the characters who will forever live in the pages of my heart. I am bliss!

Namaste.

We are all mirrors.

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The following is an incredibly meaningful passage I found from this post by

We are connected through universal consciousness, all of us are connected.

We magnify this oneness energy when entering a relationship with someone. Upon first meeting this person it feels like a supernova star just exploded in your heart chakra….your energy combined with this other person’s energy, creates energetic cord entanglements that are unpenetrable from anywhere in the universe…

…[I think] we attract into our lives a mirror to show us what experiences we need to release in order to find peace within this one. When you meet someone and there is that magnetic attraction feeling, that person is the perfect mirror to reflect back to you areas that you need to heal. The healing is then your job, instead of becoming offended by these deep soul divulges; you dive deeper into the relationship with yourself (not fixing the other person) to see what the root of the pain is from. It is also your partner’s job to do the same. We are always just projecting ourselves onto another, what we love about them are areas we are comfortable with within ourselves and have healed…

Today, I encourage all of us to breathe through our insecurities. Resist the urge to get carried away with them or define them as ‘Truth'; instead, ask yourself some gentle questions and begin to explore where these uncomfortable feelings come from. Thank them for coming forward and then allow them to go. I like to visualize blowing them away like a dandelion….

Remember, our kind introspection is like a salve for our inner wounds…

Namaste.

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No Safety or Security

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You want to be happy, to forget yourself, and yet the more you try to forget yourself, the more you remember the self you want to forget. You want to escape from pain, but the more you struggle to escape, the more you inflame the agony. You are afraid and want to be brave, but the effort to be brave is fear trying to run away from itself. You want peace of mind, but the attempt to pacify it is like trying to calm the waves with a flat-iron.

We are all familiar with this kind of vicious cycle in the form of worry. We know that worrying is futile, but we go on doing it because calling it futile does not stop it. We worry because we feel unsafe, and want to be safe. Yet it is perfectly useless to say that we should not want to be safe. Calling a desire bad names doesn’t get rid of it. What we have to discover is that there is no safety, that seeking it is painful, and that when we imagine that we have found it, we don’t like it. In other words, if we can really understand what we are looking for-that safety is isolation, and what we do to ourselves when we look for it-we shall see that we do not want it at all. No one has to tell you that you should not hold your breath for ten minutes. You know that you can’t do it, and that the attempt is most uncomfortable.

The principal thing is to understand that there is no safety or security.

-excerpted from The Wisdom of Insecurity, by Alan Watts

Why? The Most Important Question.

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One of the most basic keys to battling any fear of intimacy is a willingness to accept uncertainty.

Doesn’t that look nice and simple on paper (er, the screen)? In reality, we all know that’s quite something to overcome, especially when our hearts have been banged around and hurt. Many times these past wounds cause us to build up neat little walls without even realizing it.

So…

How do we even begin?

I can tell you that it does NOT begin with finding a romantic partner you hope will save you or make you happy or reassure you or give promises or fix the mistakes others have made. Instead, it starts with loving and developing a relationship with Self. Can you look yourself square in the eyes in the mirror and tell yourself (out loud), ‘I love you.’ Go try! Can you do it? Does it feel silly? Why?

Once we can really see and believe in our own value, rejection and uncertainty are not as frightening. When we know we are beautiful and smart and worthy and complete and whole, everything else is simply someone’s opinion. Realizing that we have everything we need within ourselves, we are able to create healthy, energetic boundaries in our personal relationships and, as a result, be more open with giving our Love freely to others – because we aren’t looking to others to GIVE us our worth. (!!!)

That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. For me, it’s been more of a ‘two steps forward and one step back’ kind of dance, but I’m getting there. :)

Oftentimes these fears and insecurities were developed long ago; perhaps in childhood, or in one of our earliest intimate relationships that ended badly and left a scar. I encourage you to sit in meditation and explore these fears…challenge yourself and ask, ‘Why….’ It takes some digging but when I’ve uncovered something I was previously afraid to look at, it suddenly becomes so clear: Of COURSE I felt that way when X,Y, or Z happened! But now that I am older and wiser I know better, and I can let go of that false belief because it no longer serves me.

Explore explore explore. I know it’s scary. And some days I just don’t have the energy to work at it either. But I keep coming back, because the payoffs are tremendous. That wall is crumbling down, one chip at a time. My new favorite word is ‘Why.’ When I feel tense, when I feel defensive. When I feel afraid, when I feel aggravated. When I feel triggered in some way. Why? It’s amazing how deep that tiny little word can take you. Most of the time it’s the ego needing to be fed, and when we question it, we disarm it.

As we clear the old misbeliefs, negative self-talk and falsehoods from our lives and allow ourselves to really see our intrinsic goodness, our auras begin to expand. We attract more positive people and experiences into our lives – and when we radiate Love, there is no room for anything less.

Namaste.