Staying True to the Heart’s Desire

I’ve been distracted all week. Well, maybe that’s not quite the right word. More like scattered, I think, my attention and energy all over the place – and in many good ways. I asked the Universe for something fun and rewarding to do for a living and now I’m in the middle of getting prepared for that and it’s a little overwhelming.

This week I had my first vocal coaching session, I took a Mac OS basics course at the library (it’s free!), and, in an effort to improve the look and ease of use of this blog site, I signed up for a class that includes computer coding.

My head was swimming. I couldn’t think of one good thing to write about for this blog and felt that no one would notice anyway if I just skipped a week.

Then the Universe sent me a very powerful message/reminder. Sometimes when I’m writing here, I have the feeling that I’m just spitting into the wind. My friends who know me and love me will comment occasionally, and I’ve had one “stranger” wander onto the site and give some positive feedback, but mostly I am writing for me, and sometimes I wonder if it’s really worthwhile to anyone else.

In the computer coding class, I found an old friend I had not seen in several years. We were very excited to be taking the class, and also to re-connect. I find her inspiring – she owns her own business, has taught at the college level, was a Pilates instructor when I first met her, and is just a beautiful soul, inside and out.

We got together this week to try a little coding before our class this weekend. I was blown away when she told me that she had read all the entries in my blog and that she had found it helpful. She has been going through a life-crisis of sorts, the type of which many of us go through, and she found Kristin Neff’s presentation on mindful self-compassion to be especially helpful (blog post from June 3, “Everything Comes From Desire”).

The takeaway for me was this: if what I am doing is following my heart’s desire, doing what feels completely right in my bones, then I just need to keep doing it. The ego part of me expects myself to have these HUGE breakthroughs, to come up with some kind of “hit single” that everyone is singing, or that my name gets to be splashed in neon across the sky. But it’s the little gestures, sticking to what feels right, even when I think no one is noticing. Getting noticed is not the point of this exercise. It’s sharing my take on the journey.

I’m reminded of a point that Charles Eisenstein makes in his book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. We are each a unique gift to this world. We each bring a different perspective, one that helps round out the larger picture of why we’re here in the first place. My experiences have shaped that perspective, and it is important to share, so that others may learn from it, and perhaps find more courage to do what they truly love as well.

It’s the openness and vulnerability, the human connection that is of vital importance to me. And I am so incredibly grateful that the Universe sent this gentle but solid reminder.

Holding the Heart Open

I had a falling-out with my mother last April. This was hardly the first time. In previous times, there had been years without communication. It began as it normally does – she sent some inappropriate political email (which we had agreed years earlier not to do) and when I insisted on an apology, she insisted that I “take off the rose-colored glasses.” I called it quits then, and in my hardened heart, I meant it. I was not going to communicate with her again – ever!

The sisters agreed with my position, my friends agreed with my position, and my intellect agreed with them. To hell with it! I’d tried my best.

Several months later, about the time I finished Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul, I got an email from my mother. My initial response was to ignore it. I was tempted to delete it, but instead, I waited for a more calm and clear mind when I could read it without anger. Singer’s book speaks of approaching events like this by focusing on the area around the heart, and relaxing those muscles, and allowing the heart to stay open. Events are just events, he says, and it’s really our expectations around the events that cause us our emotional pain.

Mom’s words were: “It has been such a long time since we e-mailed I have forgotten why we are not. What is it you wanted me to do or not do? Sorry, but age seems to sap my brain of memory so please bring me up to speed.”

I watched my inner child for awhile, the one who was carrying a grudge, who still wanted an apology, who seemed to be throwing a grade-A tantrum. I noticed how much energy that required, creating all that resistance. And when all that subsided I wrote back to my mother: “There was a conflict, Mom, but with you reaching out to me, it has blown away with the breezes. Thank you. I’ve missed our interactions. I will call you on Wednesday.”

I did have a pleasant conversation with her that lasted nearly an hour. A small part of me still wants that apology, but the question came to me “At what price?” I’ve found that keeping my heart open allows less room for stupid grudges or petty thoughts. What I do know for now is that I don’t have to hold that area around my heart so rigid, hard, fortressed. And that feels a whole lot better.

Commit to Being Happy

In my current situation (stopped working, living off my savings, not really looking for work, but looking for inspiration) I have a lot of time to read. That’s obvious – this blog is dedicated to one book! But there are a lot of other good books out there, too.

I just finished Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul. It has been on the New York Times bestseller list for awhile. And I give it a very solid recommendation. Mr. Singer has the capacity to point out very clearly that our thoughts are making us miserable. We “cling” to memories and anything associated with those memories keeps us stuck. Seriously stuck. We know this. We’ve been working on this for more than a little while. But somehow, this man is able to draw such a clear picture, that by the time I got toward the end of the book, where he says our job is to be happy, I got it!

I’m paraphrasing here, but he says that we have to be happy in the face of events that would seem to make us unhappy. The example he uses is that, yes, I can commit to being happy, but not if my spouse leaves me. Or some other “disaster” occurs. Nope, that’s not how it works. You get to commit to being happy. And allowing the events and occurrences in your life just to happen, and not get sucked into mulling them over for the next gazillion years.

A few relevant quotes from his book follow: “Things are going to happen. The real question is whether you want to be happy regardless of what happens. The purpose of your life is to enjoy and learn from your experiences.” “Affirm that all you want is to be at peace and to appreciate life.” “You don’t have to be outwardly glowing all the time; you’re just joyful inside. Instead of complaining, you’re just having fun with the different situations that unfold.”

What makes us miserable instead of joyful is hanging onto energies that don’t serve us. For example: “…you’re generally using your will to resist one of two things: that which has already happened or that which hasn’t happened yet. You are sitting inside [yourself] resisting impressions from the past or thoughts about the future.”

Singer continues: “Let your spiritual path become the willingness to let whatever happens make it through you, rather than carrying it into the next moment.” “…events are not problems; they’re just events. Your resistance to them is what causes the problem.” “You just have to realize that life is giving you a gift, and that gift is the flow of events that takes place between your birth and your death.”

And this is where I find Mr. Singer brings it back to what Jeshua has been telling us, too. Mr. Singer writes about wise figures that have experienced union with Spirit, and have brought back the message, “There was no sense of a separateness experiencing the love and light. There was only the ultimate expansiveness of their sense of Self merging into the love and light, like a single drop of water merging into the ocean.”

Jeshua paints a very similar picture for us in Lesson Four when he tells us, “Just like the wave, you can decide to find a way to transcend limitation, to become re-identified with a consciousness, a living awareness that you are one with the depth of the sea. Decide that you can operate not from the superficial level of awareness that might be like the foam at the tip of the wave – which you call your conscious or egioc mind – but that you can become informed in all that you speak, in all that you do, in all that you create and all that you perceive by that which rests in the very infinite depth of the ocean itself.”

These are wise words and uplifting thoughts from two different sources. Like my reference to Charles Eisenstein’s book last week, we are being reminded at every turn that our old paradigm must shift. Pitting ourselves against others, or against anything we don’t like (or didn’t expect or plan for), is not working for us anymore. We need to be like the screen door when a breeze passes through. Feel the breeze, and choose again to be happy.

Why Does “Should” Trump Desire?

I’ve been running into “shoulds” this week. In conversations with friends, in trying to determine my own wishes and desires, “shoulds” keep showing up. A wise friend long ago told me “don’t should on yourself.” I can take it out of the dialogue, but the nagging feeling is still there. Even in the little decisions – “I should choose the turkey breast sandwich over the hamburger.” Why? Who says? Where in the world (interior or exterior) does this crap come from?

Although I don’t want to be at war with myself, these “shoulds” keep creating internal conflict. I think I keep bumping up against the culture in that I should put others first, I should feel guilty about wanting things for myself. Hoo-boy, there is a lot of “stuff” to wade through here.

Who is the me that feels guilty, and who is the me that observers that feeling? I’m straying into the weeds, here, and losing sight of the path…

Fortunately, Jeshua gives me a completely different take on who I am. As he says: “When next someone asks you, ‘Who are you?’ please do not give them a name…Tell them the truth:

Who am I? I am the extension of Love in form.
I have never been born and I will never taste death.
I am infinite and eternal.
I shine forth as a sunbeam to the sun.
I am the effect of God’s love.
And I stand before you to love you.

Now that will raise some eyebrows! It will also transform your world. For it is time to stop seeking Christ outside and start choosing to take responsibility for being Christ incarnate.”

That’s a big shift from the petty stuff that’s been rolling around in my head. For now, I’ll put the “shoulds” down and focus on being a “sunbeam to the sun.” That seems more upbeat, and definitely a lot more sane. Perhaps we can all “lighten” up on ourselves, and allow that Light that lives in us to truly shine forth.