Saturday, November 17, 2007
"After I fix what is imperfect about my appearance, education, personality, work, home, clothing, children, husband... I wilb be able to go after what I really want without risking exposure or humiliation. "
This is such a LIE. Why do we perpetrate such nonsense?
We all do this--some more than others. Everyone has a list, conscious or unconscious, written down or stored away in their psyche, of the things that, until they are remedied, will keep us from everything we want.
It's so *&^%$ frustrating. I mean, here we are, these enlightened spiritual counselors, yoga teachers, Reiki masters and still, this chatter, this daily wrestling with the most negative self-talk, and we know better!
Here are the most obvious examples from my own thoughts which I offer as an illustration. But as you read them, please don't worry about me (when I posted this originally, many readers wrote to reassure me that I am really not that bad!). I know these thoughts are ridiculous. What I'm trying to show is the way that they work as as kind of inner gatekeeper AGAINST our success. (In archetypal terms, this is the voice of the Saboteur and, in some cases, the Victim--the guardians of self-esteem and boundaries. Their function, though it may not appear this way at first glance, is to keep us on the alert to violations of self-esteem or boundary. In other words, the FEELING of, "I am sabotaging myself is actually a sign that the Saboteur is awake on on the job, pointing out something you've done to damage your own self-esteem) Does that make sense?
Here is my list:
1) My teeth are kind of crooked. Having refused to wear my retainer in my teens, after thousands of dollars of othodontia, my teeth shifted back. Now, they are caving in on the right side of my face. No one else seems to notice but I am ashamed of this and wish I could get it fixed. I could get this fixed. (This is the positive, hopeful action I could take.) But I'd have to wear those railroad tracks on my teeth like Ugly Betty and I am 50 and it's too late for that. (This is the sabotaging thought where I trip myself up.) This makes me look really bad in photographs so I avoid having them taken and resist public appearances where people would see how bad I look. (This avoidance is really about fear of humiliation, as is the resistance to "being seen", and both are the net result of not having taken action to resolve the problem.)
Let's skip the rest of my list which includes stretch marks, cellulite, and an extra 35 pounds I can't seem to shed. When I initally wrote this post, including my entire list of flaws, I received so many concerned responses that I had to revise it, reminding my kind-hearted readers: I do not walk around all day feeling sorry for myself. I was exaggerating my problems--and my inner dialogue about them--to make a point.
The point was that each attempt to resolve these so-called imperfections creates a cascade of negative self talk. Frozen by self-doubt, it is difficult to take even the smallest steps in the direction of improving what are, supposedly, the roadblocks to happiness. But as in all psycho-spiritual work, there is a light side to every darkness.
All of that negative self talk is mirroring a genuine TRUTH, one that feel very threatening (and makes a part of us feel incredibly vulnerable about revealing it). For under the lie that we are bad, ugly, wicked, and shameful lurks the TRUTH that we are good, beautiful, strong and proud.
But if we're wonderful, why in the world would be afraid to reveal it? Because it's dangerous.
In a stunning reversal of our natural instinct (to shine, to create, to be joyful) and of the teachings of every avatar who has ever walked the earth, we have picked up the idea that expresing ourselves fully is wrong, bad, selfish and shameful.
Where in the world did this reversal come from? Did it come from the world? One might think so, pointing to our culture's obsession with appearance over substance, with wealth over humanity, with being served over service. But those are actually the SYMPTOMS of the reversal, not its cause.
The reversal started way back, before our parents or grandparents were born, long before there was a media to distort our self-image, a deliberate and conscious decision was made to suppress the authority (and the power) of the divine feminine. This event (or series of events) has been discussed and explained by historians far more eloquent than me and I refer yo uto their texts: When God was a Woman by TKTK; "A God Who Looks like Me" by Patricia Lynn Reilly, Elaine Pagels' "Adam, Eve and The Serpent".
The brilliant work of these and many other authors and historians illuminates this conundrum: How we come into the world filled with bright, shining light and are literally TRAINED to self-suppress, to tamp ourselves down, to live lives empty of creative expression that leave us feeling, this can't be right.
It's not right. The soul has a different plan for us.
Throughout our lives, we;ve been encouraged to "play small", as Marianne Williamson calls it, but when we do, we lose touch with our thread to half of the wisdom that we need in order to fully shine. The wisdom of the completed union of masculine and feminine.
Think back to age 7-9. There she is, sitting outdoors on a summer day without a shirt, playing a drum that she fashioned out of a tree stump. There she is, swinging as high as she can, trying to beat the record the boy next door set when he touched the highest branches of the oak tree with his toes. There she is, digging a huge hole in the earth with sticks and setting a protective ring of stones around its edge to mark it, "mine". There she is, swimming naked, rolling in leaves, experiencing and expressing the fullness of her body, the wildness of her spirit, the deep, penetration of her curiosity into the natural world. Desire, creativity, experimentation. There she is.
Now I will share a little secret: This true self, expressed so fully, so wildly, so freely, by that little girl is simply this: Grace, also known as Holy Spirit, Higher Self, God, the Universe, Allah, White Light--shining straight through the focused, clarity of the Soul.
The Soul is a structure, a vessel, which holds, shapes and directs the shining white light that streams through us. The Soul is the structure and form of our life's intention, the vessel through which our true self is focused into the world.
The Soul is experimental, asking: What if? What would happen? How about this? The healthy soul is experimental
The seeks expression, it directs our light toward creativity, building, speaking, singing, dancing; The soul expresses honest outrage and the fullness of its physical body.The healthy soul is creative, expansive and expressive.
The Soul wants to connect with others. The healthy soul is related--invidually and collectively--to people, to the world community and to the natural world. The healthy soul seeks and shares reciprocal energy.
The Soul wants to use the body at its peak potential; it craves peak experience, peak performance. The healthy soul guides us toward fitness, health and wholeness.The healthy soul seeks embodied joy.
We nurture the Soul (so it can support the shining through of spirit) by creating an environment that is rhythmic, warm, responsive, fleible, welcoming, honest, and free. The principles of FLOW come into play here. For the healthy soul is fed by experience that is: Free, Light, Organic and Whole.
When we nurture the soul, we are reversing the false image in the mirror--building the spiritual muscle we wil use to reclaim our birthright: To shine our gift into the world.