Thursday, January 28, 2010

You Are Already Loved

Reading A Return To Love, this week I felt really deeply the truth, “You are already loved.”

I think back to a conversation I had with a friend of mine roughly five years ago. She and I chatted on AIM about our respective boy troubles and I remember this moment of profundity when I said to her, “I think our search for relationships is really our quest for the divine.” I realized actually what I sought was divine love, a spiritual communion, unconditional love from an infinite source. And I kept looking for it externally in the arms of someone else when it already existed within me.

I don’t think my friend agreed with me but it brings me back to my realization the other night. I’ve been going on and on for the past few months about loving the self, about looking in the mirror and saying, “I love you,” but I’ve been downplaying the love from my higher power. The love that is always around me, unconditional, ever present.

The other night I felt such grace because I knew, “I am already loved.” I am loved for who I am in this moment. I don’t need to “seek” it. I don’t need to try to find it or run from person to person to see if they’ll give it to me. I already have it. Unconditionally. Eternally. My higher power loves me no matter what I do. No matter what I say. No matter what I feel. I don’t need to be a “good girl” or ace all my tests or lose 10 pounds. I am already loved just as I am.

I think of that scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary when Colin Firth says to Renee Zellweger, “I like you very much just as you are.” Rehashing it with her friends later they say, “Just as you are? Not thinner? Not cleverer? Not with slightly bigger breasts and a slightly smaller nose?” Renee shakes her head, “No.” Her friends are dumbfounded.

I think her friends are so perplexed because in our society we’re given the message we need to change in order to be loved. We need to be thinner, cleverer, prettier, whatever. (And often the messages are conflicting.) Rarely are we told, “I love you just as you are.” (Because honestly, if we were why would we need to buy so many things?)

It’s comforting and provides such peace to know I am loved unconditionally, and not just by my mother. There is a force out there that loves me more than I can even comprehend. But I’m willing to try. I’m willing to tap into the well of love that’s ever present and really feel it as much as I can.

I dream of a world where we feel unconditionally loved all the time. A world where we know we are magnificent just as we are. A world where we love ourselves and each other no matter what. A world where we experience true peace and comfort and serenity knowing we love ourselves and God loves us too. A world where love trumps all else.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Surrendering In Totum

This week the only thing I can talk about is surrender. I know I’ve written about surrender many times before but this week is the first time I think I really got it.

In the past when I spoke of surrender it was usually in the context of a last-ditch effort. As in, “Well, nothing else has worked, so I’ll give this surrender thing a shot.” In the past I’ve been willing to surrender certain things but not others. It’s as if I said to the Universe, “I’ll surrender the job piece but the relationship part? I’ve got it covered.” Some things felt too important to give up, to release control of. Because if I gave up control that means it wouldn’t come true! How could I trust anyone other than me with something so precious?!? (But I’ve also learned this is not the case and invariably my dreams are ant-sized compared to what God has in store for me.)

So I’ve been approaching surrender in a piecemeal way and usually surrendering because I made myself so crazy I couldn’t do anything else. Surrender in some ways became synonymous with giving up. “Lord, I can’t take this anymore so I’m just giving it to you.” It’s only when I reached my breaking point that I would let go. I had been surrendering out of frustration.

This week I took a step beyond that. Now I’m surrendering not because I’m frustrated or have reached a breaking point or I’m expecting the Lord to handle things but because I want peace. I don’t know how everyone else's mind works but I know for me when I’m not surrendering it’s like a giant game of Risk. “If I do this, then this will happen.” My mind becomes a whirlwind of ceaseless chatter and strategizing. I get incredibly controlling and obsessive because my mind keeps circling on the same things over and over again. This week I’m surrendering because I want the chatter to end. I want to feel at peace. I’m turning my will and my life over to the care of God because I’d rather live in a state of peace and serenity than manipulation and noise.

Now that I’m letting go of more my ego is flipping out. The ego, my “me-ness” is all about control and fear and manipulation. My ego is all about separation and division so when I start talking about all being love and seeing the interconnectedness of all things my ego starts to rebel. Because it knows it’s about to be obliterated. My ego knows it’s about to die so it’s freaking out. I liken true surrender to a salt doll melting in the ocean. Once it’s melted, the doll no longer exists. Once I’m completely surrendered to the universal energy that runs through all things “I” don’t really exist because everything is me and I am everything. My ego knows this about surrender and starts struggling for survival. Fear raises its ugly head.

As I contemplated this last night, contemplated my fear of losing my sense of self I realized several things. One, just because I surrender completely and totally, meaning I give my entire self to God and not just certain things and situations, it’s not like my life ends. I mean, maybe I’ll leave my physical body the very next moment but more likely when I wake up tomorrow I’ll still be here. I’ll still have to go to work. I’ll still have to intake air and food and water. In all likelihood my exterior life won’t look much different. And I still have a purpose on this earth, a mission to fulfill, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. My life will continue on. The only difference is my mind. And that’s the second realization I came to.

I realized by surrendering the only thing I’m really giving up is the constant chatter in my head, my crazy scheming/planning/manipulations and my fear. I’m giving up the things I don’t enjoy anyway. I’m giving up the things that drive me to my higher power in the first place. Surrendering completely is the death of my ego but it’s not the death of me. It’s more like finally meeting the person I always knew existed inside. It’s more like letting the all-pervasive love flow through me. And in this state I feel such grace, a grace and peace I dream of for others as well.

I dream of a world where we give our higher power the reigns in our lives. A world where we choose to swim in the ocean of love knowing all is well and all is God. A world where we surrender our entire selves knowing when we do so we’ll experience utmost peace and serenity. A world where we let our bright inner lights shine unobstructed. A world where we surrender to the cosmic consciousness knowing it spells not the end for us but merely the beginning.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

All Is Love?

Last week I wrote about releasing fear and returning to love. This week has been an application of that lesson, especially as it relates to things I would deem horrific, such as the earthquake in Haiti.

On Saturday I continued reading Marianne Williamson’s A Return To Love. As I sat on the BART train on my way to meet a friend it occurred to me everyone and everything is love. I really felt it. As I looked around I saw how every person, all the seats, metal poles, etc. were love incarnate. I saw how every being is a manifestation of love and the only thing that keeps us from recognizing that all the time is the ego. I saw a woman biting her nails on the train and as I looked at her I realized she and the passengers around her saw themselves as separate. Separate from each other. Separate from an all-pervasive love. They didn’t understand just how big they truly are. How they are love incarnate. Created out of love, steeped in love. How they are God. They are beauty. How a magnificent power runs through them and everyone else and the ego keeps us from feeling that way. (Or conversely we do think we are powerful but attribute the power to ourselves and not to God.) The ego keeps us thinking about well, just ourselves and our lives. That’s what the ego is. The “I” feeling.

I was in such an altered state on Saturday it was hard for me to get out of the BART station. My body had to go on autopilot because as I looked around all I could see was love. I could barely function. I walked into Walgreens to kill time and bought a Luna bar and as I approached the clerk I had a broad smile on my face because I didn’t see him for him, I saw him for the lovely divine being he is. I was so open and uninhibited the clerk smiled back at me and started asking me about my day. My seeing him as love brought out that feeling for him as well. It was contagious.

At the same time I couldn’t stay in that state (or at least I chose not to) because it was hard to stay grounded. I felt like a total space cadet. But I kept the truth and the knowledge every person is love and comes from love with me throughout the week. On Tuesday the earthquake hit Port-Au-Prince and I wanted to weep. How can I reconcile all is love when natural disasters like this happen? When people die and lose their homes? I’m still working on it. I don’t have all the answers and what resonates for me may not for everyone else. But these are the conclusions I’ve come to thus far.

My ego is what places value judgments. My ego decides what is “good” and what is “bad.” What’s helpful and what’s harmful. On the spiritual plane? There is no good or bad. There just is. Things just happen. Period. When it comes to natural disasters the Earth is just doing its thing. Responding to laws that I only mildly understand but laws nonetheless. The real issue I think is my perception. A part of me thinks love can only be “good” things like rainbows and butterflies and kittens. In truth though love is the “bad” things too.

Perhaps it’s time to take out my value judgments, my ideas of what love looks and see that things I don’t like can also be love. Perhaps it’s time to start seeing things more neutrally as just things that happen. To understand I may not like all the turn of events in the world but to understand they are still God, they are still love. Sometimes things like earthquakes just happen.

I also feel it’s important to point out here war, poverty, hunger, etc are due to a lack of love on our part. I understand God is not Santa Claus, doesn’t punish and reward people. Doesn’t create war. That’s what we do. We are the righteous ones deciding who is good and who is bad. We are the ones who create non-natural disasters. God is much more neutral, a potentiality that can go either way. I vote we use the potential to create something that benefits as many beings as possible.

I dream of a world where our ego blinders fall off and we each see the other as the creatures of love we are. I dream of a world where our perceptions change and we start seeing things more neutrally. I dream of a world where because we feel so much love for ourselves and everyone around us we help each other out. We live in a society where there is plenty of food to eat, safe places to live, good medical care for all, and everyone receives an excellent education. I dream of a world so filled with love it’s like living in a utopia.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Releasing Fear, Returning To Love

I can say unequivocally my entire life I’ve had the fear I would be overpowered. I’ve been afraid someone would come in and overwhelm me physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. During the holidays I had a major breakthrough and it’s a fear I carry no more.

I’ve written before about looking fear in the face and seeing that perhaps our greatest fears are not as horrible as we’ve imagined. During the holidays I came to several realizations beyond that.

One, I realized I’ve already lived through all my greatest fears. Not having a job or a place to live? Check. Hello 2008. Losing someone I’ve loved? Triple check. The thing is I went through my greatest fears and lived to tell the tale. I realize I’ve been using fear as a way to protect myself because somehow I thought feeling afraid would keep me safe, or keep things from happening. As if being scared a snake will bite me will keep it from happening. (Um, it won’t.)

Obviously this past year I’ve come to realize the power of my mind. How the thoughts I think have an effect. I’ve come to realize I am a co-creator in my life. So recognizing that, I know I can create for myself a world where people are out to get me, where I’ll be overpowered, where others will harm me, or not. I can create for myself a world where I’m terrified (and quite possibly attract what I’m most scared of), or I can create something else. I can choose to believe I am safe, secure and protected. I can choose to believe I am divinely guided at each and every moment. I can choose to believe I can get through anything. And I already have.

Tapping along with this EFT video I started to believe and affirm for myself I can handle life. That there is nothing for me to be afraid of because even if I get bitten by a snake I’ll deal with it then. What’s the use of feeling afraid now? During the holidays I reminded myself I am fully capable of dealing with anything and everything so I don’t have to feel afraid. Instead I can walk around feeling calm and confident, taking life on life’s terms. Releasing my fear is pretty much a culmination of everything I’ve been talking about for the past year: releasing my need for control, trusting in a power greater than myself, co-creating my own reality, being present and in the moment. It all came together between Christmas and New Year’s.

The big breakthrough though occurred when I went to a yoga and meditation retreat in Missouri. On New Year’s Eve I started crying because my teacher has told me time and time again to go forward, be fearless and know I’m taken care of. The meaning finally sunk in. I started weeping with relief and, I don’t know, emotion, because not only do I protect myself but someone else is protecting me. Someone else is taking care of me, watching out for me, has my best interests at heart. And so my fear? I don’t need it. I am divinely guided at all times. I also want to say it is my firm belief everyone has someone protecting them, whether they know it or not. Everyone has a guardian angel or divine being or something watching out for them, they just may not know it yet.

Lastly, I finally understood love is all there is. That underneath my currents of fear, sadness, anger, etc., is a river of love. I realized my ego constructs all my other emotions and they act as an overlay for the love beneath. My ego masks the ever-present pure love surrounding me. I realized I am in the divine flow and in the divine flow there can be no harm, only love. Love is all there is.

And so I dream of a world where we release all that is unlike love in our minds and our bodies. A world where we deeply and completely love and approve and accept ourselves. A world where we release our need for fear because instead we recognize we are love. I dream of a world where we swim in the divine current, letting ourselves be carried, knowing we can handle life. A world where we feel the all-pervasive love surrounding us. A world where we return to love letting our fears wash away like the ocean smoothing out a beach.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.