Sunday, September 29, 2013

Life Can Be so Sweet It Will Break Your Heart

At times it can be very easy for me to slip into old patterns – to focus on the negative instead of the positive. To lament what I don’t have instead of what I do. We all know gratitude is the key to happiness, but even gratitude can become something rote, something I roll off the tongue because of course I’m grateful for food to eat, a place to sleep, money in the bank, etc.

What’s been on my mind is holding close those moments that are so sweet they break my heart. Maybe it’s gratitude, but for me it’s deep gratitude, gratitude in the core of my being so pure tears spring to my eyes. A sweetness so subtle it cannot be expressed, only felt.

This weekend has been one of those times. My dear friends who are like family were married on Friday. The ceremony was lovely, but what really got to me was the reception. Friends of the bride and groom performed songs for the happy couple, gave toasts, and generally expressed their love. In return, the bride and groom expressed their love for us, their community. To see how much support and love and appreciation we all have for one another was so sweet. I aspire to have the same thing – a great community that supports me and a wonderful romantic relationship.

Yesterday, the newly married couple had a picnic at a redwood park where we all caught up and socialized in a more casual manner. I made new connections and had more time to talk to the people I already knew. I lounged on the grass, ate delicious food, and walked through the woods. Just before I left, someone I’ve known for a few years gifted me with a CD because he felt inspired. It was a spontaneous act of friendship and I love those authentic moments of expression.

Last night, a friend had a birthday party, so in addition to more food, we sat around in candlelight singing kiirtans and connecting with one another in a heart space. I didn’t get home until about 1 a.m.
A taste of some of the kiirtan we sang last night. If you enjoy this, I recommend checking out Amitabhan's website.

These moments, these times when I’m connecting deeply, when I feel loved, held, when my needs are getting met in unexpected ways, choke me up. Right now I have a lump in my throat. These are the moments that remind me life is sweet, it’s supposed to be fun, and joyful. I can get caught up in the rat race, focusing on how I need to make more money, or checking things off my to-do list and forget this, these moments, are what life is about: having so much sweetness it breaks my heart.

I dream of a world where we all experience untold sweetness. A world where life breaks our heart (in a good way). A world where we remember why we’re here. A world where we embrace all the love in our lives. A world where we live in harmony with ourselves and each other.

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

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Underneath it All

I am very lucky in that there are friends in my life who are committed to growth and healing. People who don’t take the world or personal problems at face value and are always digging deeper – people who encourage me to do the same.

One of my friends, who is a therapist, told me anxiety is like an octopus – it will attach to anything, but there’s “stuff” the octopus is sitting on. For me, I have intense anxiety when I hear noise late at night. I get SUPER anxious about sleeping because I do not want to be tired. I don’t want to be tired because I don’t want to be unproductive. And I don’t want to be unproductive because I don’t want to be unlovable.

Anxiety is like an octopus -- it attaches to stuff but there's more underneath.
Let me phrase that in another way. There is a part of me, a very young part of me, that believes only by doing something, giving something, achieving something, that I am lovable. Like there’s a love quotient and the more I do and accomplish the more loved I am. So of course being tired and unproductive makes me anxious! Of course I’ve taken my life to the extreme of being busy all the time.

Even typing this my inner child is scared because her whole world is shifting. A paradigm she’s been operating from for a loooong time is crumbling and she’s freaking out. Change can be scary y’all.

The truth is, I don’t think anyone loves me because of my accomplishments. I don’t think anyone says, “That Rebekah, I only like her for her writing.” If I flip it around, there’s certainly no one in my life who I love solely because they’re whip smart, or a good writer, or ambitious. Sure, I love those parts, but they’re not the only reason I love someone. Similarly, no one loves me only for what I can do either. To take it even further, no one will stop loving me if I’m unproductive, if I sit around all day and watch Netflix in my pajamas. No one will say, “I’m sorry, you’re not doing enough so I no longer love you.” Why say that to myself?

I bring this up because perhaps you have been struggling with anxiety and it’s not getting better. Perhaps it’s about something other than what it seems. I also share this because I think we have so many outdated ideas we’re not aware of. Things we think we need to do or achieve or accomplish or be before we’re lovable, before we “deserve” what we want. I’m here to whisper, “It’s not true.”

Louise Hay says, “Life’s problems can usually be boiled down to not loving and approving of the self.” At first I didn’t believe it because, “Of course I love myself! I say affirmations all the time!” but I didn’t realize my love had conditions. That I had to meet certain requirements before I gave myself the love I desired. What can you let go of today and what can you do to love yourself even more?

I dream of a world where we unconditionally love ourselves. A world where we understand we are worthy and deserving of love no matter what. A world where we let go that which no longer serves us. A world where we look deep within to find the healing we deserve.

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

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Your Presence is Requested

I have a lot going on. But as my father says, “Rebekah, you always have a lot going on.” Touché Papa. Touché. What happens when I have a lot going on is my mind gets abuzz with all the what ifs. “What if I never get good sleep? What if I need to move again? What if I have a run in with my neighbor?” My mind whirls with possibilities and I contemplate how I’ll handle each one of them, or conversely, I worry what I’ll do in the future because I have no idea how I’ll handle them.

Meditating Presence
Meditating, and even looking at pictures of meditation, helps me become present.
In a moment of clarity, it occurred to me it is not my responsibility to worry about the future. To contemplate all the possibilities, all the options, all the potentials. My mind cannot handle it, and besides, if I’ve been shown anything, it’s that my wildest dreams aren’t even close to what happens in reality (which is similar to the subtitle of my book). I mean, let’s take a look at the evidence. This time last year, I packed up my apartment, put my stuff into storage, and was en route to Tucson with no idea whether I would come back to California. Now, I’m living in a cottage in Oakland where I can see trees outside my windows. These are things that never entered my realm of possibility, but there you are.   

It’s important for me to stay present and in the moment because many of the things I worry about don’t even come to pass, and so I wasted all that time and energy and only accomplished feeling anxious and fearful. Guys, I’m so tired of feeling anxious and fearful. When I’m present, fear and anxiety do not exist because I recognize I am safe, I am alive, I have what I need, and all is well.

A part of this whole “being present” thing is trust. Trusting in my higher power, trusting in the universe, trusting that when I need to know something or do something, I will. When I’m present, I attach myself to a power greater than myself and let some other force work on the details. What I do instead is show up for my life and do what has been requested of me. In March, I made a public declaration of trust, and being present is an affirmation of that trust because it means I have let go of the possible outcomes I could conjure up, and instead allow limitless possibilities in my life, knowing all is well, all of my needs will always be met, and I will be guided to my next right action.

I dream of a world where we continue to be present. A world where we live in a place of peace and harmony. A world where we take guided action as need be but otherwise leave the rest up to the universe. A world where we trust in a force greater than us, and a world where we show up for our lives.

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

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Transcending Fear

I’ve blogged once a week for approximately five years. That’s . . . a lot of blogposts. I realize some of you have been reading “Another World is Probable” from the beginning, but quite a few of you haven’t. There are some gems in my archives that I want to highlight and even if you’ve read it before, I figure we can all use a reminder every now and again. I know I could. So, here in its entirety is a post from April 2010:

I used to believe I had to “conquer” my fears. I used to be of the mindset I had to squash doubt flat, or wrestle with my other issues until I won. That I had to assert my will and come out the victor. I realized a while ago that’s not the case at all. In January I wrote a journal entry I’ve been meaning to share but haven’t yet:
Jan. 27, 2010 I realized tonight this fear is not mine, it doesn’t belong to me. I’ve been trying to take ownership of it. To claim it. To bust through it. To work around it. But it’s like a blind man getting caught tangled in a cloak. I’ve been trying to chew holes in it and rip it apart, but ultimately can’t get rid of it until I just take it off, recognizing it doesn’t belong to me. Because it doesn’t. There’s no use in trying to work with or tame fear – it can’t be tamed. Only released. It was never mine to begin with. It always belonged to God so I give it back to its rightful owner, where God can transmute it into love. That was never my responsibility. My only job was to let it go, to surrender.
I don't know why this picture makes me think "transcendence" but it does.
While that particular journal entry was about fear I think it can apply to anything and everything. I don’t ever really “work through” my issues so much as release them. Some people would say to me, “Yes, but Rebekah, the only way to get rid of a fear like public speaking is to just go out and do it. Take a class and practice.” I would say let’s take a look at what’s really going on. What happens when we practice something like public speaking? We decide it’s not as scary as we thought. Because we’re doing what scares us, we realize it’s not so bad. We release the fear in our mind. So again, the point of power, the point of change, is in the mind, not the action. 

Whenever I talk about surrender and release someone invariably says to me, “Yes but you still have to do stuff. You can’t just sit around.” Sometimes I think we confuse surrender and avoidance. Avoidance is fear-based. When I avoid something it’s because I’m afraid, I don’t want to do it, whatever. If I were to say, “I surrender my fear of public speaking,” and then refuse to speak in public whenever I’m given the opportunity, that’s not really surrendering the fear, is it? That’s avoidance. 

Surrender means to release, to let go, to no longer fight. When I surrender fear and doubt I release them to love. I give them to infinite love. I no longer wrestle with them using my ego, or the willful part of me. The part of me that thinks I handle everything by myself, the part of me that thinks I am separate from everyone and everything else. Essentially the part of me that disconnects from all-pervasive love. 

When I surrender, when I release, when I let go, I transcend all those issues. I transcend my little “I” and my little “I” issues and instead remember all is love. Instead I remember I am love incarnate. 

I dream of a world where instead of “working” on our issues we just let them go. A world where we remember we are divine, magnificent beings, and our true nature is love. A world where we see ourselves for who we really are – embodiments of love. A world where we transcend all that is unlike love and live in a place of peace and harmony. 

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

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Receiving Grace

On Saturday after I woke up, I asked myself, “What do you need today? What do you need to receive today?” My answers were “rest” (a perennial response) and “grace.” That seemed interesting because how does one receive grace and what is grace exactly?

For me, grace means synchronistic events and is one way the universe expresses love for me. Sure enough, I experienced a few synchronicities yesterday. The first was catching an earlier BART train than I anticipated despite my bus showing up several minutes late – a miracle for any public transportation rider. Also, I wanted to buy some protein powder but didn’t want to spend a fortune. Wouldn’t you know it? The grocery store was having 20 percent off ALL protein powders! Then, when I got home, I spotted an email in my inbox about someone giving away their printer inkjet cartridge for free, the exact type of ink I need, and in fact, am running low on.

Receiving grace
This picture was too good for me to pass up.

Even thinking about all the events right now puts a smile on my face.

Why am I blogging about receiving grace? Why am I mentioning all of these events? I think a key component of receiving grace is being open to help. So often I believe I can handle life all on my own – I have all the answers, I already know what to do, where to go, etc. I shut myself off from possibilities, from creative solutions, and from divine help.

In my yoga and meditation group I’ve heard this quote (which I’m paraphrasing) about a bajillion times: “God’s grace is always raining down on your head, but if you’re carrying an umbrella of ego how will you feel it?” I’ve heard that quote (or something like it) so often it’s lost all meaning. The definition of the ego and how to remove it is perhaps a post for another time, but right now my personal process for getting drenched in the grace rain shower is to practice openness and willingness. What I didn’t mention is money is tight for me right now due to unexpected expenses, and so I need as much help as I can get, which means these episodes of grace are all the more sweet.

Because I’m not trying to be the director/stage manager/lighting designer/sound engineer/costume designer/props mistress of my life, the universe gets to fulfill those roles for me. I’ve created space for the universe (or whatever you want to call it) to come in. I’ve removed the umbrella of ego from my head at least temporarily because I’m willing to receive grace, I’m willing to do things differently, and I’m willing to admit I don’t know everything.

I dream of a world where we all experience untold grace. A world where we have the willingness to ask for help. A world where do our part and let the universe do its. A world where we allow ourselves to receive grace.

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