Archive | August, 2014

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Forty-Two: Waiting for Grace

31 Aug

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Forty-Two: Waiting for Grace.

IMG_7434

The Waiting Room:  I remember this quote from the movie Shadowlands where Anthony Hopkins speaks to his colleague about his difficulty with waiting for a new season.  It captures, very aptly, the impatient space where I find myself right now:  “I’ve always found this a trying time of the year.  The leaves not yet out, mud everywhere you go.  Frosty mornings gone.  Sunny mornings not yet come.  Give me blizzards and frozen pipes, but not this nothing time, not this waiting room of the world.”  Lately, I have found myself waiting—waiting for people to do what they say they are going to do; waiting for people to communicate with me; waiting for my work to get started after a strike; waiting for some financial matters to resolve; waiting for the outcomes of an insurance matter to be concluded; waiting to meet people in my new location who can inspire me further on my life path (lover, and mentor roles as outlined by Downs, 2002, although I am meeting some very special and interesting new friends); waiting for my lifestyle to kick in physically so that I look and feel better; waiting to have fun; waiting for my next trip; waiting for some sign of what it is that I am supposed to do next with my life–my calling…I am waiting.  At this exact moment, I am waiting for the appliance repairman to come and fix my dishwasher.  It is the last straw on the camel’s back.  For God’s sake, will everyone (and the divine), just hurry up!

Let’s Go! I have never had trouble living “in the meantime” before (Vanzant, 1999) to the degree that I am struggling with now.  Now, I do not want to wait.  In fact, I am ready to move forward in so many facets of my life.  I have done the work.  I am in a state of openness.  I feel primed to leap outward, but thoughtfully because anything that I choose to do now will have a great impact on the latter part of my life.  With this being said, I feel prepared to say, “Sure, let’s go!”  I am sending these signals out the universe daily, hourly, and in every moment when I can no longer bear doing something that does not inspire me.  Something important is bellowing from the sidelines, but I cannot quite make out what it is saying.  Instead, I feel that I am in a holding pattern.  

Although I feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually ready to go on a journey and to share this leg of it with someone significant, or with like-minded people who are on a similar path, where are they?  Everyone is pretty involved in their lives, and they are not all looking outwards to share in new experiences at this time.   However, those variables of meeting “the right people” are outside of my control.  As well, I want to do something meaningful and to have some impact on the world for the short time that I am here; however,  I believe that that this flow of vocation needs to come from the synchronous source that leads us all to our purpose in life.  

The Universe in Slow Motion:  The universe is testing me of my patience because not all of the things that I want in my life are within my control, despite my efforts to take the reins, and seize the day.  At times, life feels as though it is unfolding unnervingly–painfully slowly as the universe gets around to what is supposed to manifest.  However, time is of the essence.  It feels as though it is running short.  I am feeling my age; my mortality; and my dreams keenly.  I know that I am on the cusp of experiencing something new.  It is at the tip of my tongue.  It is this ethereal tapping on the inside of my head.  Something is tempting me from another realm, and I know that I am supposed to be doing it.  But what?   

Letting Go:  I have done my part to front load my life work so that I am in shape and prepared to take the next part of my journey.  I have done everything that I can to be open to the signals.  I have learned what makes me flow, and at the moment, I am ebbing.  I know what authentically grabs me, and I have also learned what wastes my time.  I am long past “willing [myself] to do something when [my] mind says no…[which takes setting the] ego aside…” (Dyer, 2004, p. 41).  As a result, I have opened my arms up wide to the universe and said, “I have done my best.  Now it is up to you!”   

“Then, when you know in your gut that you have done all that is required, that is, all you know to do at this moment, turn loose.  Breathe a sign of relief, and turn the results of your actions over to the powers that be—whether you call it God, the Universe, a Higher Power, angels, the fates, karma.  Consider the matter done and out of your hands;  trust that whatever happens will turn out to be for the greater good…This creates the space for magic and synchronicity.  It allows the Universe to do its part”   (Belitze and Lundstrom, 1998, p. 181)

However, in doing this, and believing that I have let “it” go, I am still impatient.  “Come on Universe!”  I cheer from the sidelines of my life.  I am well-educated, well-travelled, well-read, and experienced enough to know that I know nothing.  I have a lot more to learn.  I know that there is a big world out there that I have not sunk my teeth into it in ways that I know would be absolutely delicious.  “Come on Universe and make it happen!”  Instead, for multiple reasons, and some more notable than others, I am waiting on a few things:  the right job (calling), the right partner (champion), the right logistics to support the dreams; the right timing; the inner knowing that, “Yes, this is it!”

And so I wait.   I am trying to “[r]emain confident that through continued reliance on [my] imagination, [my] assumptions are materializing into reality (Dyer, 2004, p. 41).  I have taken risks to set some of my dreams into motion. I moved to the island to seek inspiration and refuge in its stunning beauty.  It has replenished me and afforded me inspiration and insight.  I realize the enormity of operationalizing my recent move out to British Columbia from Alberta (leaving my friends and family, and a successful career) at this stage in life.  However, it felt right, and I have no regrets.  I know that I am on the right track, and that this is one big step towards the next leg of my “raison d’être”.   However, now I need to wait for a bit of divine intervention to afford me insight and patience so that I do not feel this “nothing time, not this waiting room of a world”.  

The Perfect Citation:  The answer came to me today as I wrote this article.  I pulled my faithful friends, which are my books, down from bookshelves, and put my mind to this matter of waiting, and out popped the answer that I needed to hear.  The right books leapt into my hands, in particular, Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth (2005).  The perfect citation jumped out at me as if the Universe wanted to answer me:

So while you are perhaps still waiting for something significant to happen in your life [Shelley], you may not realize that the most significant thing that can happen to a human being has already happened within you:  the beginning of the separation process of thinking and awareness.

Many people who are going through the early stages of the awakening process are no longer certain what their outer purpose is.  What drives the world no longer drives them.  Seeing the madness of our civilization so dearly, they may feel somewhat alienated from the culture around them.  Some feel that they inhabit a no-man’s-land between two worlds.  They are no longer run by the ego, yet the arising awareness has not yet become fully integrated into their lives.  Inner and outer purpose have not merged. (pp. 261-262).

It is eery to come across a citation that gives me goose bumps because of its poignancy and uncanny personal relevance.  It also never ceases to amaze me how quotations find me when I write for personal meaning.  

Making Peace:  It is also difficult to write anything beyond this profound excerpt that so eloquently addresses all of the difficulties that I have raised above. I will, however, say one thing.  As Tolle describes, I do feel keenly discombobulated lately as I grapple with an open sense of liberation in myself that other people do not seem to understand.  And so, I feel a little alone in this journey.  It heightens my need to be around other people who “get it”.  I now feel keenly that it is through relationship that I will be better able to understand my next steps.  Therefore, it reminds me…again…that I am waiting to meet these types of people who are conscious and awake, and who are open to connecting with me and talking about something spiritually important.  

Therefore, the other things I list above, like waiting for the dishwasher repairman, are manageable (by the way, he did come, and we ate dinner together, which in itself is a bit unusual).  It is this waiting for this enlightened connectedness that is truly difficult to do.  I now understand that because I am waiting for this sense of spiritual connection (impatiently so) that it has drawn my attention to everything else in my life that is taking time and taxing my patience.  So, now I need to breathe and make “peace with the present moment…[because b]eing one with life is being one with Now” (Tolle, 2005, p. 115).  In other words, by being present, I am creating “space for magic and synchronicity” (Belitz and Lundstrom).

I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.

Stephen Hawking

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Forty-Two: Waiting for Grace

31 Aug

IMG_7434

The Waiting Room:  I remember this quote from the movie Shadowlands where Anthony Hopkins speaks to his colleague about his difficulty with waiting for a new season.  It captures, very aptly, the impatient space where I find myself right now:  “I’ve always found this a trying time of the year.  The leaves not yet out, mud everywhere you go.  Frosty mornings gone.  Sunny mornings not yet come.  Give me blizzards and frozen pipes, but not this nothing time, not this waiting room of the world.”  Lately, I have found myself waiting—waiting for people to do what they say they are going to do; waiting for people to communicate with me; waiting for my work to get started after a strike; waiting for some financial matters to resolve; waiting for the outcomes of an insurance matter to be concluded; waiting to meet people in my new location who can inspire me further on my life path (lover, and mentor roles as outlined by Downs, 2002, although I am meeting some very special and interesting new friends); waiting for my lifestyle to kick in physically so that I look and feel better; waiting to have fun; waiting for my next trip; waiting for some sign of what it is that I am supposed to do next with my life–my calling…I am waiting.  At this exact moment, I am waiting for the appliance repairman to come and fix my dishwasher.  It is the last straw on the camel’s back.  For God’s sake, will everyone (and the divine), just hurry up!

Let’s Go! I have never had trouble living “in the meantime” before (Vanzant, 1999) to the degree that I am struggling with now.  Now, I do not want to wait.  In fact, I am ready to move forward in so many facets of my life.  I have done the work.  I am in a state of openness.  I feel primed to leap outward, but thoughtfully because anything that I choose to do now will have a great impact on the latter part of my life.  With this being said, I feel prepared to say, “Sure, let’s go!”  I am sending these signals out the universe daily, hourly, and in every moment when I can no longer bear doing something that does not inspire me.  Something important is bellowing from the sidelines, but I cannot quite make out what it is saying.  Instead, I feel that I am in a holding pattern.  

Although I feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually ready to go on a journey and to share this leg of it with someone significant, or with like-minded people who are on a similar path, where are they?  Everyone is pretty involved in their lives, and they are not all looking outwards to share in new experiences at this time.   However, those variables of meeting “the right people” are outside of my control.  As well, I want to do something meaningful and to have some impact on the world for the short time that I am here; however,  I believe that that this flow of vocation needs to come from the synchronous source that leads us all to our purpose in life.  

The Universe in Slow Motion:  The universe is testing me of my patience because not all of the things that I want in my life are within my control, despite my efforts to take the reins, and seize the day.  At times, life feels as though it is unfolding unnervingly–painfully slowly as the universe gets around to what is supposed to manifest.  However, time is of the essence.  It feels as though it is running short.  I am feeling my age; my mortality; and my dreams keenly.  I know that I am on the cusp of experiencing something new.  It is at the tip of my tongue.  It is this ethereal tapping on the inside of my head.  Something is tempting me from another realm, and I know that I am supposed to be doing it.  But what?   

Letting Go:  I have done my part to front load my life work so that I am in shape and prepared to take the next part of my journey.  I have done everything that I can to be open to the signals.  I have learned what makes me flow, and at the moment, I am ebbing.  I know what authentically grabs me, and I have also learned what wastes my time.  I am long past “willing [myself] to do something when [my] mind says no…[which takes setting the] ego aside…” (Dyer, 2004, p. 41).  As a result, I have opened my arms up wide to the universe and said, “I have done my best.  Now it is up to you!”   

“Then, when you know in your gut that you have done all that is required, that is, all you know to do at this moment, turn loose.  Breathe a sign of relief, and turn the results of your actions over to the powers that be—whether you call it God, the Universe, a Higher Power, angels, the fates, karma.  Consider the matter done and out of your hands;  trust that whatever happens will turn out to be for the greater good…This creates the space for magic and synchronicity.  It allows the Universe to do its part”   (Belitze and Lundstrom, 1998, p. 181)

However, in doing this, and believing that I have let “it” go, I am still impatient.  “Come on Universe!”  I cheer from the sidelines of my life.  I am well-educated, well-travelled, well-read, and experienced enough to know that I know nothing.  I have a lot more to learn.  I know that there is a big world out there that I have not sunk my teeth into it in ways that I know would be absolutely delicious.  “Come on Universe and make it happen!”  Instead, for multiple reasons, and some more notable than others, I am waiting on a few things:  the right job (calling), the right partner (champion), the right logistics to support the dreams; the right timing; the inner knowing that, “Yes, this is it!”

And so I wait.   I am trying to “[r]emain confident that through continued reliance on [my] imagination, [my] assumptions are materializing into reality (Dyer, 2004, p. 41).  I have taken risks to set some of my dreams into motion. I moved to the island to seek inspiration and refuge in its stunning beauty.  It has replenished me and afforded me inspiration and insight.  I realize the enormity of operationalizing my recent move out to British Columbia from Alberta (leaving my friends and family, and a successful career) at this stage in life.  However, it felt right, and I have no regrets.  I know that I am on the right track, and that this is one big step towards the next leg of my “raison d’être”.   However, now I need to wait for a bit of divine intervention to afford me insight and patience so that I do not feel this “nothing time, not this waiting room of a world”.  

The Perfect Citation:  The answer came to me today as I wrote this article.  I pulled my faithful friends, which are my books, down from bookshelves, and put my mind to this matter of waiting, and out popped the answer that I needed to hear.  The right books leapt into my hands, in particular, Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth (2005).  The perfect citation jumped out at me as if the Universe wanted to answer me:

So while you are perhaps still waiting for something significant to happen in your life [Shelley], you may not realize that the most significant thing that can happen to a human being has already happened within you:  the beginning of the separation process of thinking and awareness.

Many people who are going through the early stages of the awakening process are no longer certain what their outer purpose is.  What drives the world no longer drives them.  Seeing the madness of our civilization so dearly, they may feel somewhat alienated from the culture around them.  Some feel that they inhabit a no-man’s-land between two worlds.  They are no longer run by the ego, yet the arising awareness has not yet become fully integrated into their lives.  Inner and outer purpose have not merged. (pp. 261-262).

It is eery to come across a citation that gives me goose bumps because of its poignancy and uncanny personal relevance.  It also never ceases to amaze me how quotations find me when I write for personal meaning.  

Making Peace:  It is also difficult to write anything beyond this profound excerpt that so eloquently addresses all of the difficulties that I have raised above. I will, however, say one thing.  As Tolle describes, I do feel keenly discombobulated lately as I grapple with an open sense of liberation in myself that other people do not seem to understand.  And so, I feel a little alone in this journey.  It heightens my need to be around other people who “get it”.  I now feel keenly that it is through relationship that I will be better able to understand my next steps.  Therefore, it reminds me…again…that I am waiting to meet these types of people who are conscious and awake, and who are open to connecting with me and talking about something spiritually important.  

Therefore, the other things I list above, like waiting for the dishwasher repairman, are manageable (by the way, he did come, and we ate dinner together, which in itself is a bit unusual).  It is this waiting for this enlightened connectedness that is truly difficult to do.  I now understand that because I am waiting for this sense of spiritual connection (impatiently so) that it has drawn my attention to everything else in my life that is taking time and taxing my patience.  So, now I need to breathe and make “peace with the present moment…[because b]eing one with life is being one with Now” (Tolle, 2005, p. 115).  In other words, by being present, I am creating “space for magic and synchronicity” (Belitz and Lundstrom).

I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.

Stephen Hawking

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Forty-One: When Everybody Knows Your Name

28 Aug

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Forty-One: When Everybody Knows Your Name.

IMG_7629

Being Visible:  The Comox Valley has a combined population (between Courtenay, Comox, and Cumberland) of 37 thousand people.  Moving from Calgary, Alberta which has a population of over a million people, to a smaller centre, takes a bit of adjustment.  I realize that very quickly, despite my efforts to stay off of the radar, some of my circumstances of work and personal life have afforded me some visibility in the community.  I imagine that this is like any small town in Canada, but I find that being known in a small community has its challenges.  I used to find some sanctuary in the anonymity of a big city where virtually no one knew me except my friends, colleagues and family.  Now, I am approached in banks, grocery stores, and parks as inevitably I have now worked with many people, taught many children, or had interactions with people through various connections.  My colleagues have brothers and sisters who are my doctors and dentists.  My masseuse knows the people who I teach, and my friend’s chiropractor just asked me out.  In a nutshell, whether I like it or not (and I am not naturally paranoid), I am quite confident that the things that I do in the valley have hit the rumour mill.

I am often caught off-guard when someone says, “Yes, I had heard about you from my friend who was your realtor.”  The open-ended question in the air is, “Well, what did you hear?”, but I don’t ask because, quite frankly, I don’t care.  In the sharing of information, I can feel that despite the warmth and welcoming friendliness that is also very present in the valley, there is a sense of interpretation that arises in the conversations.  People are trying to figure out who I am; who I know; where I have been; what I am doing; and more importantly, how do I play into the grand scheme of things. 

Small Town:  What astounds me further about small town living, is the comfort with which people ask personal information to inform the rumour mill (that they consciously or unconsciously subscribe to) in daily conversations.  Innocuous interactions, I notice, have some element of “did you hear what so-and-so is doing?”  Things that I would never dare to ask or expect to know of people, are common conversation starting points.  Even though I try to defer, distract or redirect conversations away from myself, eventually, people seem to find out more about me than I am comfortable sharing.  Inevitably, most conversations start with this disclaimer:  “Please don’t share this with anyone else, but…” I am often unsure if I really want to know what they would like to share for fear of being perceived as the missing link should the information get leaked to the wrong people through other means. 

Big City:  I realize now, that for most of my life in a larger city, we screen our conversations pretty carefully of any information that will make us identifiable, except to those with whom we choose to have a closer relationship.  Even then, it is not something that typically comes up in conversation until further along in the relationship.   There is an unspoken etiquette (and perhaps apathy) that we learn in a bigger centre:  If someone doesn’t tell you something about themselves, you just don’t ask. On a recent trip to Chicago, I found that I could live out loud and express myself in bigger and more creative ways because I knew that what I was saying and doing (all acceptable) would not be witnessed, reported, interpreted, scrutinized and misrepresented in someone’s conversation to someone else.  Perhaps I am learning that I have a more introverted side.  What I initially thought of as extroversion in a big city, was, in fact, an ability to live out loud without anyone really paying any attention.  I could actually hide out loud.  

Anonymity is Armour:  I lead a pretty ordinary life without many vices or much to really talk about, and any skeletons that I have have long since turned to ashes and blown away.  Other than the fact that I am single, and have had some successes and challenges in my settling into the community, I feel that my life is not really all that noteworthy.  However, word of mouth is like that game of “telegraph” we played as children.  If you hear of things a third, fourth and fifth person away from the source, information is likely to change and get embellished with each rendering of it.  And I finding that no one is immune to the scrutiny, however they might try to be.  Everyone is always on the radar unless they make a concerted effort not to be, and sometimes in doing so, it backfires and they end up drawing a lot of attention to themselves for being “so private”.  

Privacy:  In the end, I value my privacy more now than I ever realized before.  I want to have the choice to let people into my life, or to keep them at a distance.  In a small town, those choices are sometimes made for us and it is unfortunate because it is not an authentic way for us to really get to know each other on our own terms.  However, I am learning to live with it.  I don’t cringe when someone waves at me from across a store and then bombards me with questions (okay, I still do).  I don’t feel the temptation to run in the other direction when someone makes eye contact with me in a knowing way, trying to remember where they saw me last or if they know something about me (maybe a little).  Trying to be invisible in a visible place is challenging me to step out of my comfort zone in ways that I have not had to do before.  I have to say hello to my neighbours everyday (maybe not every day).  I need to smile at people where I used to not have to even look anyone in the eye if I did not feel like it (I do most of the time).  I am learning that I am socially accountable here, and as a result, I need to be very confident as I live transparently from day to day.

“You never appreciate your anonymity until you don’t have it anymore.”

Jason Priestley

 

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Forty-One: When Everybody Knows Your Name

28 Aug

IMG_7629

Being Visible:  The Comox Valley has a combined population (between Courtenay, Comox, and Cumberland) of 37 thousand people.  Moving from Calgary, Alberta which has a population of over a million people, to a smaller centre, takes a bit of adjustment.  I realize that very quickly, despite my efforts to stay off of the radar, some of my circumstances of work and personal life have afforded me some visibility in the community.  I imagine that this is like any small town in Canada, but I find that being known in a small community has its challenges.  I used to find some sanctuary in the anonymity of a big city where virtually no one knew me except my friends, colleagues and family.  Now, I am approached in banks, grocery stores, and parks as inevitably I have now worked with many people, taught many children, or had interactions with people through various connections.  My colleagues have brothers and sisters who are my doctors and dentists.  My masseuse knows the people who I teach, and my friend’s chiropractor just asked me out.  In a nutshell, whether I like it or not (and I am not naturally paranoid), I am quite confident that the things that I do in the valley have hit the rumour mill.

I am often caught off-guard when someone says, “Yes, I had heard about you from my friend who was your realtor.”  The open-ended question in the air is, “Well, what did you hear?”, but I don’t ask because, quite frankly, I don’t care.  In the sharing of information, I can feel that despite the warmth and welcoming friendliness that is also very present in the valley, there is a sense of interpretation that arises in the conversations.  People are trying to figure out who I am; who I know; where I have been; what I am doing; and more importantly, how do I play into the grand scheme of things. 

Small Town:  What astounds me further about small town living, is the comfort with which people ask personal information to inform the rumour mill (that they consciously or unconsciously subscribe to) in daily conversations.  Innocuous interactions, I notice, have some element of “did you hear what so-and-so is doing?”  Things that I would never dare to ask or expect to know of people, are common conversation starting points.  Even though I try to defer, distract or redirect conversations away from myself, eventually, people seem to find out more about me than I am comfortable sharing.  Inevitably, most conversations start with this disclaimer:  “Please don’t share this with anyone else, but…” I am often unsure if I really want to know what they would like to share for fear of being perceived as the missing link should the information get leaked to the wrong people through other means. 

Big City:  I realize now, that for most of my life in a larger city, we screen our conversations pretty carefully of any information that will make us identifiable, except to those with whom we choose to have a closer relationship.  Even then, it is not something that typically comes up in conversation until further along in the relationship.   There is an unspoken etiquette (and perhaps apathy) that we learn in a bigger centre:  If someone doesn’t tell you something about themselves, you just don’t ask. On a recent trip to Chicago, I found that I could live out loud and express myself in bigger and more creative ways because I knew that what I was saying and doing (all acceptable) would not be witnessed, reported, interpreted, scrutinized and misrepresented in someone’s conversation to someone else.  Perhaps I am learning that I have a more introverted side.  What I initially thought of as extroversion in a big city, was, in fact, an ability to live out loud without anyone really paying any attention.  I could actually hide out loud.  

Anonymity is Armour:  I lead a pretty ordinary life without many vices or much to really talk about, and any skeletons that I have have long since turned to ashes and blown away.  Other than the fact that I am single, and have had some successes and challenges in my settling into the community, I feel that my life is not really all that noteworthy.  However, word of mouth is like that game of “telegraph” we played as children.  If you hear of things a third, fourth and fifth person away from the source, information is likely to change and get embellished with each rendering of it.  And I finding that no one is immune to the scrutiny, however they might try to be.  Everyone is always on the radar unless they make a concerted effort not to be, and sometimes in doing so, it backfires and they end up drawing a lot of attention to themselves for being “so private”.  

Privacy:  In the end, I value my privacy more now than I ever realized before.  I want to have the choice to let people into my life, or to keep them at a distance.  In a small town, those choices are sometimes made for us and it is unfortunate because it is not an authentic way for us to really get to know each other on our own terms.  However, I am learning to live with it.  I don’t cringe when someone waves at me from across a store and then bombards me with questions (okay, I still do).  I don’t feel the temptation to run in the other direction when someone makes eye contact with me in a knowing way, trying to remember where they saw me last or if they know something about me (maybe a little).  Trying to be invisible in a visible place is challenging me to step out of my comfort zone in ways that I have not had to do before.  I have to say hello to my neighbours everyday (maybe not every day).  I need to smile at people where I used to not have to even look anyone in the eye if I did not feel like it (I do most of the time).  I am learning that I am socially accountable here, and as a result, I need to be very confident as I live transparently from day to day.

“You never appreciate your anonymity until you don’t have it anymore.”

Jason Priestley

Pressed: 52 Weeks Being Now: Week Forty: Silent Knowledge

12 Aug

52 Weeks Being Now: Week Forty: Silent Knowledge.

IMG_7588

Stopping to Listen: Every so often we get caught up in the inertia of our lives and in the words and actions that precipitate what we believe to be the “truth”. We are so busy trying to figure out what the truth means, that we lose the essential point of why we are trying to learn it in the first place. We want to experience joy. We want to experience love. We believe that the absolute truth will allow us some sense of security in knowing our goodness and that of those around us. Then, and only then, can we experience true joy and love. However, the truth is only a story that we tell ourselves, or that we allow others to interpret of us:

“I am only one half of the message; you are the other half. I am responsible for what I say, but I am not responsible for what you understand. You are responsible for what you understand; you are responsible for whatever you do with what you hear in your head, because you are the one who gives the meaning to every word that you hear” (Ruiz, 2010, p. 104).

Usually, we listen to the words of those we hope are telling us the truth. We watch their actions. We try to align their words and actions so as to have them make testaments of what we need to believe to be true. However, in the end, it is all a story. It is a perspective, and what truly matters is what is beneath the story. “The truth is silent. It’s something you you just know; it’s something that you can feel without words and it’s called silent knowledge” (Ruiz, 2010, p. 110). I refer to it as intuition.

Quiet Communication: Intuition is sometimes fed by little clues. If we really listen, we hear someone’s character by subtler things found in between the words and actions. These sometimes imperceptible details become magnificent, in particular when we are at odds with ourselves and each other. Compassionate details matter most in moments of difficulty. For example: the sound of the patient breath; a loving look; our tears wiped; a patient tone; loving eye-contact; arms open; whispering tones of gratitude; no rushing; quiet rest; the benefit of the doubt; a hug; a loving presence; strong persistence; a belligerent belief in our internal goodness despite the proof in the moment of something less; a hummed melody; pure stillness; compassionate space and intimacy; staying awake; a caress; a touch on furrowed brow; a knowing look; and never ever feeling ignored. All are quiet forms of love that are somewhere between or beyond words and action.

When we show this quiet love, we believe in ourselves more. This silent belief in our own goodness are the roots that we grow into the ground around us. These are the roots of disciplined empathy which I like to call integrity. These roots give ourselves and people confidence in us, even when the wind blows.

Although you are a talisman protecting a treasure,
you are also the mine.
Open your hidden eyes
and come to the root of the root of your Self.
(Rumi, Root of the Root)

When we are quietly strong this way, we and the people around us always know that we only tremble a bit in the storms, or when we are tired. Regardless, we remain standing, and continue to grow upward into the sunlight. There is a tacet understanding that unless we are forcibly chopped down, or burned, our goodness is intrinsic and constant. We do not tire from being this way because it is a good way to be, but it takes effort. We see no limitations to it because we understand that “the mind that perceives the limitation is the limitation” (Buddha).

If we are really listening, we do not question the internal goodness of ourselves and others because it is just there, sometimes covered up by confusing words, and complicated actions and the assumptions that we draw from both. However, if we are really listening, we hear each other in deeper timbres. We know intuitively of the pain and the love that resides deeper inside of us and those around us. We ask different questions. We appreciate the power of the pregnant pause when we respond, not react. We step forward into the wind, not backwards. We sing inwards, rather than shout outwards. We pull forwards rather than push away.

Don’t go away, come near.
Don’t be faithless, be faithful.
Find the antidote in the venom.
Come to the root of the root of your Self.
(Rumi, Root of the Root)

In other words, when we are rooted, we stay. We stay present. We stay connected. This staying is the silent knowledge of our spiritual love as compassionate people in all of our complexities.

“Human beings are millions of things in one day.”
― Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down

52 Weeks Being Now: Week Forty: Silent Knowledge

12 Aug

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Stopping to Listen: Every so often we get caught up in the inertia of our lives and in the words and actions that precipitate what we believe to be the “truth”. We are so busy trying to figure out what the truth means, that we lose the essential point of why we are trying to learn it in the first place. We want to experience joy. We want to experience love. We believe that the absolute truth will allow us some sense of security in knowing our goodness and that of those around us. Then, and only then, can we experience true joy and love. However, the truth is only a story that we tell ourselves, or that we allow others to interpret of us:

“I am only one half of the message; you are the other half. I am responsible for what I say, but I am not responsible for what you understand. You are responsible for what you understand; you are responsible for whatever you do with what you hear in your head, because you are the one who gives the meaning to every word that you hear” (Ruiz, 2010, p. 104).

Usually, we listen to the words of those we hope are telling us the truth. We watch their actions. We try to align their words and actions so as to have them make testaments of what we need to believe to be true. However, in the end, it is all a story. It is a perspective, and what truly matters is what is beneath the story. “The truth is silent. It’s something you you just know; it’s something that you can feel without words and it’s called silent knowledge” (Ruiz, 2010, p. 110). I refer to it as intuition.

Quiet Communication: Intuition is sometimes fed by little clues. If we really listen, we hear someone’s character by subtler things found in between the words and actions. These sometimes imperceptible details become magnificent, in particular when we are at odds with ourselves and each other. Compassionate details matter most in moments of difficulty. For example: the sound of the patient breath; a loving look; our tears wiped; a patient tone; loving eye-contact; arms open; whispering tones of gratitude; no rushing; quiet rest; the benefit of the doubt; a hug; a loving presence; strong persistence; a belligerent belief in our internal goodness despite the proof in the moment of something less; a hummed melody; pure stillness; compassionate space and intimacy; staying awake; a caress; a touch on furrowed brow; a knowing look; and never ever feeling ignored. All are quiet forms of love that are somewhere between or beyond words and action.

When we show this quiet love, we believe in ourselves more. This silent belief in our own goodness are the roots that we grow into the ground around us. These are the roots of disciplined empathy which I like to call integrity. These roots give ourselves and people confidence in us, even when the wind blows.

Although you are a talisman protecting a treasure,
you are also the mine.
Open your hidden eyes
and come to the root of the root of your Self.
(Rumi, Root of the Root)

When we are quietly strong this way, we and the people around us always know that we only tremble a bit in the storms, or when we are tired. Regardless, we remain standing, and continue to grow upward into the sunlight. There is a tacet understanding that unless we are forcibly chopped down, or burned, our goodness is intrinsic and constant. We do not tire from being this way because it is a good way to be, but it takes effort. We see no limitations to it because we understand that “the mind that perceives the limitation is the limitation” (Buddha).

If we are really listening, we do not question the internal goodness of ourselves and others because it is just there, sometimes covered up by confusing words, and complicated actions and the assumptions that we draw from both. However, if we are really listening, we hear each other in deeper timbres. We know intuitively of the pain and the love that resides deeper inside of us and those around us. We ask different questions. We appreciate the power of the pregnant pause when we respond, not react. We step forward into the wind, not backwards. We sing inwards, rather than shout outwards. We pull forwards rather than push away.

Don’t go away, come near.
Don’t be faithless, be faithful.
Find the antidote in the venom.
Come to the root of the root of your Self.
(Rumi, Root of the Root)

In other words, when we are rooted, we stay. We stay present. We stay connected. This staying is the silent knowledge of our spiritual love as compassionate people in all of our complexities.

“Human beings are millions of things in one day.”
― Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Nine: Creating the Grand Adventure

6 Aug

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Nine: Creating the Grand Adventure.

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Getting on the Train: My recent move to the Comox Valley to live on my own in a new culture, and in a paradise setting, has taught me three things. I can do it. Secondly, that it is not exactly where I want to be at this time in my life, and thirdly, I am not living out my true potential in my major career (although I appreciate my good fortune in having such a good job in the Comox Valley, and I enjoy some of this work very much). I am at a critical turning point. Pender Island, the cottage that I bought in tandem with moving to BC to work as an administrator, was clearly the right decision. This has become a place where I will set down some roots and return to it time and again, as my little sanctuary for as long as I can afford to do so.

My friend, who recently visited my cottage, left me with an interesting quote that she found from watching the movie The Lunchbox: “Sometimes the wrong train takes you to the right station.” To some degree I feel similarly to the lead character in the movie. I have gotten on a train, and am confident that this was a good step towards getting towards where I need to be (although I am not exactly sure of my destination). At least I got on a train, as many of us talk ourselves out of doing that because we want guarantees that we are safe in whatever we do. Whereas, life is really a journey. It is about taking a series of steps that head in the direction of our souls, and hopefully, allow us to do what we are called to do along the way so that we live authentic and rich life experiences.

What is the Grand Adventure? It is difficult to describe to someone what a grand adventure actually means. So many of us get into relationships to achieve the outcome of having a relationship. We work at jobs for the satisfaction of achieving our career goals. We have children to raise and launch them into adulthood. In many ways, we go through a series of developmental tasks that help us to experience key personal and professional goals through to fruition in very componential and linear ways.

Whatever the goal, the Grand Adventure is something big, important, meaningful and memorable. It is deemed an adventure because it requires preparation, courage, and possibly, training, to carry it through to fruition. It is something that we will be proud to tell our friends and family, and to look back on with happiness and pride. We will be able to reminisce in the glow of accomplishment, and say, “We did this together!” Or, “We built this!” This memorable lived legacy can be something either internal, external or both.

I believe that a Grand Adventure is something bigger than any one developmental task in our lifetimes. It affords us to have a relationship within a bigger life trajectory. It allows us to consider our career within a larger overarching plan or series of plans. We can then bring our children into a bigger conceptual space about their purpose for being. Rather than simply raising them within some established structures and formative milestones that are typically accepted as “growing up” in our cultures in safe and acceptable ways, we broaden their life experiences through a bigger life vision that often involves building strength, confidence, and helping ourselves and others to be better people.

Vision-Making: The Grand Adventure is something that we can do ourselves, or with others. I believe living out this type of big dream would be most satisfying, albeit, most challenging, to do with a partner. I also think that this is the type of thing that relationships benefit from to help us align our spirits. Living on a shared Grand Adventure requires a kind of vision-making of each partner so that we can first find meaning in our own independent plans, and then in our shared visions. I believe that it is important that both people in partnership own part of the dream so that we feel some shared passion and motivation in fulfilling it. We are co-pilots and rely on each other flying towards our connected dreams.

Essentially, when striking out towards this vision, we each sit side-by-side at our easels considering what colours we will throw onto it, or how we might delicately paint over our blank canvasses. Everyone has a different visioning style. There are no paint by numbers. There are no rules that make one painting right and the other wrong. It is dreaming aloud without any preconceived notions. Writers refer to this as “free writing”. As we create, ideas come into shape, rather than what is typically accepted which is that all things need to have an outline, or clearly measured blue prints.

From time to time, we will peek over at our partner’s painting, and see what is emerging. We give each other space to dream and grow, trusting that we are both committed to building something together and in some synchronicity and on a similar timeline. And then together, we compare our creations. It might be a cacophony of colour, or a clearly rendered painting from a picture held in our minds, perhaps from childhood. Then we consider how the ideas align. What brainstorming needs to occur to make each one independently as beautiful as possible. And then, what happens when we bring them together and merge them? What are even more possibilities when both dreams are combined? The logistics are not the point at this part of the adventure. All that is required is hope, enthusiasm, inspiration and raw courage.

Imagine travelling to a foreign country to work with a non-profit charitable organization to help bring water to communities. Consider what it might be like to climb key mountains in the world that are both beautiful and challenging. What if the grand adventure is to co-author a book while travelling and living somewhere that is unfamiliar and new? What if it looks like sailing from one coast to another and learning to live off of the sea? What if it means living in a community of people working towards the goal of saving an animal or ecosystem that is fragile? Perhaps it is living for a year or two discovering different spiritual practices? What if it might be to research a certain thing or situation and publish the findings? It might be simpler, and could involve setting personal goals of physical well-being or building something tangible that has value to both people and is helpful to others who need this support. What if…? is the type of talk that occurs at this stage.

Living the Dream Aloud: Eventually, the time comes to live it aloud. The architect and the carpenter need to work together to carefully craft what the dream might be. The logistics of how the blocks from the quarry are lifted, cut and crafted together, need to be considered. It takes ongoing communication and disciplined planning in order to see it through so that there is a nice sense of possibility and momentum in its creation. Most importantly, both partners need to share in the leadership. The skill set of each partner is respected, but neither is made responsible for motivating the project. Instead, it is agreed that if it matters to both, both must contribute to its launching. Each must relish in the work and joy that it will bring the partnership. Both must appreciate how to open our arms and abandon ourselves openly to the unknown that happens on every adventure. No one person is left holding the bag, as having a trusting and reciprocal commitment is the key element of a shared adventure. At times, this takes discipline, effort and might require education or guidance from external sources where challenges emerge.

Doing It: Finally, the adventure begins to unfold. It can sometimes happen while it is still being planned, and it might continue and branch off into many directions; but most importantly, it happens. It might not happen exactly as planned. It might become too large or too small, and require revisions along the way. There might be some breaks for rest, or modifications so that both people can sustain the journey. However, again, the point is that there is follow-through. The dream comes to life. There will be a wonderful story to tell before, during and after it happens. I like to believe that the partnership will benefit and grow from the experience, and so will others that we encounter along the way, provided that we act from a place of love and integrity. And then, at the end of the adventure, hopefully we will find that it is really only the beginning of our next adventure together.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt