Sunday, August 25, 2013

Goodbye, Hello

I suck at transitions, especially when I’m not the one gallivanting off on the adventure. When my world stays the same minus one aspect – a friend moving away, for instance – then it’s as if I’ve entered the “Twilight Zone.” Life is the same but different. It’s this piece that drives me crazy, the instability, the insecurity, the ground shifting beneath my feet because things are not what they once were.

Goodbye, hello
Every goodbye carries with it a new hello.
I’m not sure I have anything inspiring to say except I keep hearing an expression ringing in my ears: “You have to let go of the old to make way for the new.” When things are good, when I like the old, I don’t want to make way for the new. But I also recognize there could be some really good things up ahead. I could become close to someone new and my life could be enriched. I could experience something amazing I otherwise wouldn’t have been open to. Life could be so beautiful it would break my heart. 

I guess where I’m at is grieving the loss, saying goodbye to the old, but understanding the new could be fantastic. And because I believe in an invisible hand, a guiding force, I know it will be in my best interest.

Am I sad to say goodbye to old friends? Yes, I am, BUT distance doesn’t mean the friendship dies and really, who knows what’s next?

I dream of a world where we clear the old to make way for the new. A world where we grieve for the past yet welcome the future. A world where we live each moment feeling grateful for what we have because we understand it won’t last forever.

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

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Love 'em and Release 'em

There are some qualities about myself I do not like – namely insecurity and anxiety. Partly, I feel a lot of insecurity and anxiety due to my heightened sensitivity as my adrenal glands normalize, but the qualities are still within me. I’ve been struggling with these two for a long time as you’ll have noticed from reading this blog. My affirmations of late have been, “I release my need for insecurity and anxiety, I release all resistance,” but there hasn’t been any traction. The affirmation hasn’t held.

Fishing with love
I love this! Fish with love!
Friday morning I decided to take a new approach. The Queen of Self-Love, Christine Arylo, recommends loving the things about yourself you do not like. I’ve done this with great success – every morning I say, “Rebekah, I love how sensitive you are because that means you’re better able to accept and receive divine messages.” So I tried conducting the practice on insecurity and anxiety: “Rebekah, I love how insecure you are because that means you’re interested in connecting. I love how anxious you are because that means you care deeply.”  

My battered, war-torn soul sighed in relief from no longer having to engage in conflict. “Really? Do you mean it?” I asked. “I really do,” I replied.

A very wise monk, who unfortunately passed away in November, used to say that all anything wants is infinite, unconditional love. That means my insecurity just wants to be loved, my anxiety just wants to be loved, my fear just wants to be loved, etc. All innate characteristics want infinite love. However, I also know, “As you think, so you become,” which is why affirmations are so powerful. Do I really want to keep affirming my insecurity and anxiety? Do I really want to keep these things around?

No. I do not. So what I’m circling back to is releasing them, however, this time I release them out of love. And I think that makes all the difference. Instead of saying, “Ugh, I hate feeling so insecure and anxious. Go away and leave me alone!” I’m saying, “I love you for what you’ve done for me, but now I recognize I don’t need you anymore. I release you and let you go.” I don’t need anxiety to care about people, places, and things, nor do I need insecurity to tell me I crave connection.

Maybe nobody cares about this except for me, but it feels pretty big. To love something I used to hate and then still let it go. To love all parts of myself but recognize some of them do not serve me. To release the bad and hold onto the good. To be open to new ways of being. To love myself so much I say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. I’m walking into a new paradigm and I dream of that for others as well.

I dream of a world where we release the traits that aren’t working for us with love. A world where we love ourselves so much we know when it’s time to say goodbye to some of them. A world where we keep the lessons we’ve learned but discard the rest. A world where we’re open to transformation and then receive it. 

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

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Love is the Container

When I ride the bus it opens up my world and forces me to mix with people I might not otherwise. On Wednesday, I rode the bus and felt like crying hearing the stories around me – the snippets of people talking about being addicted to weed, the demeanor of the woman who looked ready to punch someone, the homeless people camping out at bus shelters. My heart broke a little because I care so much. I care so deeply. Yes, my sensitivity is probably over the top at the moment, but I can’t help that.

As tears started to leak from my eyes, a woman walked on the bus and sat in front of me. Her shirt said “love” down both the sleeves. In that moment I cried even harder because it struck me love is the container for all things. Even while I was crying, love was still there; in this case, literally. Love means it’s safe for me to cry, safe for me to be angry, safe for me to feel whatever I want. All of my emotions, all of my everything, really, are held in the container of love.

I know this is a trash can but there's a heart on it. So love is literally acting as a container!

Often I think love is separate from icky emotions or things I cast judgment upon. I think there is love and then there is everything else. What I’m coming to realize, however, is that’s false. Love is not outside of all these things, love IS everything; it’s omnipresent.

Nothing escapes the purview of love, nothing is outside of love. There is a Sanskrit mantra I sing every day that translates as “love is all there is.” For the longest time I couldn’t wrap my head around that definition and preferred the longer version: “Everything is an expression of an infinite, loving consciousness.” But today I finally “get” it. Love holds everything, even war, disease, famine, and poverty.

This blogpost may not make sense to many of you, but I hope someone understands what I’m trying to say, which is, even when we think it’s not, love is there. In truth, this concept transcends language so to really understand what I mean, I ask that you take a second to feel what I’m saying.

I dream of a world where we feel love in all things. A world where we understand it’s safe to feel however we’re feeling because we’re being held by divine love. A world where we understand nothing is outside of love because love is all there is.

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

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The External is Internal

I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time so I’m glad the opportunity finally presented itself. According to one theory, there are three relationship styles, also called attachment styles or systems. Usually, when we’re talking about attachment theory it’s in terms of parenting, i.e. how “attached” a child is to a parent. Since attachment theory was developed, researchers have started applying it to all relationships, not just parents and kids.

Here is a brief overview of the three kinds of attachment systems and how they play out:
In the strange situation [an experiment developed to study attachment styles], 12-month-old infants and their parents are brought to the laboratory and, systematically, separated from and reunited with one another. In the strange situation, most children (i.e., about 60%) behave in the way implied by Bowlby's [the inventor of attachment theory] "normative" theory. They become upset when the parent leaves the room, but, when he or she returns, they actively seek the parent and are easily comforted by him or her. Children who exhibit this pattern of behavior are often called secure. Other children (about 20% or less) are ill-at-ease initially, and, upon separation, become extremely distressed. Importantly, when reunited with their parents, these children have a difficult time being soothed, and often exhibit conflicting behaviors that suggest they want to be comforted, but that they also want to "punish" the parent for leaving. These children are often called anxious-resistant. The third pattern of attachment ... documented is called avoidant. Avoidant children (about 20%) don't appear too distressed by the separation, and, upon reunion, actively avoid seeking contact with their parent, sometimes turning their attention to play objects on the laboratory floor. Source.
Like I said, this applies not only to kids, but to adults as well and comes out most prevalently in romantic relationships. For me, I’ve noticed my attachment system is at work in ALL of my relationships. (If you want to read more about this, and how your “bad luck” with romance could boil down to picking avoidants again and again, I highly recommend picking up Attached.)
Mirror, Lion, Cat
How you feel internally is what you project externally and vice versa.
You may have already guessed, but I have anxious attachment. What that means in practical terms is if a friend is late and they haven’t told me they’re running late, I immediately start to feel anxious and envision them lying in a ditch somewhere. I start to fret and am unable to calm down until I hear from said friend.

I’m not nearly as anxious as I used to be because I’ve done a LOT of work on myself to become more secure, but sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me, like this week.

A friend of mine dropped off the face of the Earth for two weeks and at first I was fine with it, but then the thought came into my head that something could be seriously wrong. I am so embarrassed I acted out of my anxiety and sent him an email expressing my concern. Through the process, however, I’ve realized the external is internal.

My anxiety is not really about another person, I’m projecting because feel insecure. I (unknowingly) flash back to childhood and being rejected or abandoned by my peers. I relive feeling anxious and insecure about getting my basic needs met. Hearing back from the person I’m worried about only temporarily fixes the problem, much like putting a band aid on a wound that requires stitches. The best thing I can do is reframe my past and heal myself.

Instead of replaying how certain people would be my friend and then all of a sudden stop talking to me, I can remember “rejection is God’s protection,” so perhaps those are people I wouldn’t want to be in my life anyway. And I can remind myself of how many friends from my childhood I do have. I have a busload and many of them live in the Bay Area. Sure, I only saw them one or two weeks out of the year at retreats, but the bond is there. Instead of focusing on the few people I never heard back from, I can feel gratitude for so many people who are still in my life. Most importantly, I can create security for myself by affirming I will never abandon myself and that I will always be around to take care of me.

I know this post is quite long, but the point I want to drive home is sometimes we think external things will fix us – if only so-and-so would call we’ll feel better – but we do not control other people and trying to do so only makes us feel crazy. The inner peace we seek only comes about from doing internal work, which is where the real healing is anyway.

I dream of a world where we recognize our external feelings are often projections of our internal ones. A world where we understand the real healing comes from reshaping our internal thoughts and beliefs. A world where we confront our traumas and then release them. A world where we understand to fix our external world we often have to work on our internal one.

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