Jan 02, 2019
Jan 02, 2019
How many of us walking on the planet lately are experiencing a gnawing on our insides, an uneasiness just below the surface of our consciousness? Of course, this chasm can be attributed to many factors, from diet to politics and everything in between. Yet, what I refer to is a collective malaise, shared among all of us in one way or another. It could manifest as feeling unsettled, perhaps experiencing free-floating anxiety or angst that something is missing, something isn’t right or that there’s something I need to do, but am unsure what that might be?
I have found this visceral restlessness to be linked to my desire for an external solution, someone or something to come along and fix it, easing my worries and taking away the pangs of frustration that incessantly infiltrate my sense of self, all pulling me away from where life is being lived: in the present. And as much as I keep my secret desire for a silver bullet under wraps, the truth is, more than ever before the answer lies from within. What I have come to understand, particularly given the extraordinary circumstances of our current social/political/economic state of affairs, is that it’s an inside job! But how does one find his/her way to a state of being that allows for serenity, love and greater understanding? That elusive and aspirational place is a place of grace, a divine presence that exists in all of us, veiled so often by our own driving sense of self above others and largely hidden in our 3-D construct. As Doctor of Psychology and dynamic change agent herself, Dr. Jan Seward, so aptly and elegantly describes, “Grace is the ability to handle the human experience and to recognize our own frailties while forgiving ourselves.”
Ever since I was a boy growing up under the strictures of the Roman Catholic church, the term ‘grace’ found its way into my psyche, always non-descript and amorous. Grace, can you touch it? Is it real? How does one even attempt to acquire grace? Or is it something that we have all the time, but cannot easily access? These and so many other questions have permeated my thoughts for some time. However, in my own life journey over the past several years, I have discovered some keys to embracing a state of grace that I want to share with you.
These are challenging times for most of us, no doubt. Quelling the fires within, the undercurrent of discontent, angst and gnawing we feel, is not only called for, but demanded in these uncertain times. Grace is the internal fuel necessary to harness our full self-expression, even in times of duress. When you tune into where life is occurring—the present, and you choose to lower your guard enough to step into the presence of grace, shifts happen. Set aside that which you hold as a shield of honor, your strong beliefs, opinions and certainties to allow for others to join in, contribute and share their stories, beliefs and talents. What you may find is greater understanding, better solutions and even friendships. Lastly, forgive yourself for being human! In this forgiveness, grace can filter through the visceral plane to transmute darkness into light.
May your journey be one of GRACE!
Aug 23, 2017
Aug 23, 2017
There are unforgettable moments that come to us, offering a chance to reset, an opportunity to step into new focus. The total solar eclipse sweeping across the US was one of those magical moments. The line between what our 3-D reality shows us and the access point to the collective unconscious, with its deep indelible memories, experiences and multi-dimensional facets, is blurred, opaque and so often out of reach. Yet, there is a stirring from within, a spiritual pinging that draws me in for a closer look. Not unlike a dream where one is trying to evade a rushing vehicle while crossing the street and as fast as you are running, you don’t seem to be able to get to the other side; this same struggle emerges as I attempt to trust in the process of awakening to divine order and perhaps even—my own destiny.
Experiencing the solar eclipse from my home in the Pacific Northwest, my senses and spirit pulsed with eager anticipation. To prepare for this cosmic event, I purposely set aside quiet reflection to identify that which was to be set free: limitations, fears, hurts and unconscious barbs carried around as a ball and chain. And as I discovered while the moon slowly crept across the face of a luminescent sun, there was a purging, an intentional cathartic release that opened up my heart to a new light, a new birth of loving spirit. In the August/September edition of The Mountain Astrologer, Emily Trinkaus beautifully phrases both the challenge and the opportunity of this celestial miracle,
“Do we have the courage to be ourselves and trust our light, to step into more of our joy and radiance in the face of so much suffering in the world? Our challenge is not to get pulled into the collective suffering and descend into feelings of overwhelm and powerlessness, but instead to become bright enough to help light the way through the darkness” (p. 87).
Here is what I know about trusting TRUST.
Life is lived in the present tense- Past hurts, failures, embarrassments and mistakes, while painful to remember, do not define who I am in my present life. These foibles are points of learning, if I accept them as such. We only have this moment and the next moment, nothing more and nothing less. When I step into this realization and awareness, I become conscious not only to myself, but to myself in relationship to others and the greater community. Being present opens the door to making choices that either bring light or cast darkness. Being present allows me to put aside fears, insecurities and imagined negative future outcomes. Being present provides me with the opportunity to express myself more authentically, with greater confidence and ultimately the ability to build trust.
Life is not random, but rather divinely orchestrated– There is a difference between those who ‘react’ and those who ‘respond.’ The difference can be characterized by those playing the victim while others actively participate in their lives. It is hard to imagine why bad things happen to good people; yes, but in a broader perspective, think about times in your life when heartache, loss and misfortune have touched you or others in your circle. Opportunities for healing occur when the pains of life impale us. There have been many times where I thought, “Why is this happening to me?” only to later find that the hardship was a catalyst for growth, greater personal expression and spiritual development. When I have laid down my prideful ego, found a modicum of humility and embraced forgiveness, compassion and love, trust has followed. The phrase, ‘expect the unexpected’ reins true, especially in the darkness of the eclipse and the new light that follows.
Life is best lived in the embrace of love- The thousands of decisions made each day, mostly unconscious and on autopilot, are the product of living life on a treadmill, rote and safe. Stepping into conscious choosing requires waking up. There are two sides on the continuum of living and choice making. On one side is fear, on the other, love. We tend to operate somewhere in the middle, depending on one’s circumstances and/or stage of self-awareness. Now is the time for us to consider a brave new world, one where we acknowledge our dark energies, fears and what holds us back—what we keep in the dark recesses of our thoughts, preventing us from taking the leap into union with others and ourselves. Love is a choice!
Life is best lived with the power of hope– Unlike optimism, that emanates as feelings, subject to change, hope is a connection point between the mind and the heart. Hope demands a level of vulnerability and courage, a deeply visceral belief that is felt in the stomach and rationalized in the mind. Archbishop Desmond Tutu exclaims from The Book of Joy,
“To choose hope is to step firmly forward into the howling wind, baring one’s chest to the elements, knowing that, in time, the storm will pass” (p.177).
Hope brings us to a place of meaning, a purposeful manifestation of personal and spiritual importance, a driving force lighting our way in an otherwise hostile, confusing and increasingly violent reality. Choosing hope requires strong integrity and firm commitment. We know the pangs of disappointment, heartache and resigned cynicism, yet to give into these human qualities limits our ability to trust in the process.
The darkness covering our sun during the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, was our chance to let go of old thinking and behaviors. The eclipse, by its very nature, is transformative, providing a portal to transmute fear into love, a place where we can reset our intentions to manifest a new self, a self that trusts in love, trusts in compassion and trusts in trusting.