We all love to dream.
Imagining a better future for ourselves and our world is a powerful way to activate our innate creative potential.
Maybe you’re imagining and working toward a new job, an inspired creative project, a cozy new home, or a more fulfilling relationship. Dreaming and working toward those dreams can be expansive, fun, and fulfilling.
Whatever you're yearning for, here's an idea to consider that will make your dreams even more satisfying…
It involves focusing on inner embodiment as well as the outer manifestation of your dreams. With this approach, you let go of focussing solely on the outer form of what you want and go for what lies at the heart of your dream.
Inner embodiment is about developing the internal state of being you are really yearning for, rather than just chasing after the outer package that looks good and desirable right now.
Our dreams are really avenues to experience new inner states of being. We often get this turned around, thinking we will feel content and satisfied if our dreams materializes. All too often the satisfaction we feel when a dream comes true is fleeting. And then we're off to chase another dream. Our inner state of being is what creates a rich and sustained state of fulfillment, whatever is happening in your life.
If you learn to embody and more fully live the inner state or quality that lies at the heart of your dreams, outer experiences naturally come into your life that resonate with and express the new inner state you have embodied.
If you want more abundance in your life, cultivate the inner capacity to give more abundantly. Give more time, more presence, more money… whatever you have.
If you want to receive more, practice and embody the capacity to receive more. Let life in, all of it... the light, the dark and all the interesting shades in-between.
If you want to manifest more love in your relationships…. become a fuller embodiment of love. As you do so you will naturally draw out more love in your current relationships and probably magnetize some new loving relationships as well.
We are incredibly magnetic.
We constantly attract what we carry within our psyches, whether it is conscious and unconscious. The undercurrents of your psyche will eventually show up in your life, even if you have spent years trying to deny, repress, or hide an inner conditions you don’t like.
If you feel weak inside, you will, sooner or later, attract outer experiences that validate this feeling.
If you feel strong inside, you will naturally attract experiences that validate this feeling.
If part of you feels strong and part of you feels weak, you will experience a sometimes crazy making mix of experiences in which you feel both weak and strong. This is where most people live.
Feeling unloveable? Experiences will come around that affirm this… no matter how much you tell yourself you are lovable.
The undercurrents of our psyche are magnetic, even when we cover them over with a veneer of positivity and affirmations.
Every part of us is magnetic. The life we are currently living is the life we have naturally magnetized from the inside out.
It gets a bit tricky when you are on a path of growth and spiritual evolution. As you change inwardly, the outer life you have created begins to feel too small. Some days you feel like you are walking in shoes that are way too tight. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. With every step.
That kind of pain just means it is time to dream bigger.
It is time to dream of walking in shiny new shoes that actually fit and express your expanding inner radiance. The challenges come when all parts of your psyche have not caught up with the bigger dream.
This is the time to work and grow inwardly to fully embody what you need to step into the bigger dream.
So let yourself dream big. At the same time, put just as much energy into cultivating and embodying the qualities and ways of being that live at the heart of your dreams.
In the initial stages of embodiment we are called to become more attuned to the love, wisdom, and strength of the soul, so we can more fully live and express these qualities through our whole being.
As embodiment progresses, your mind gradually clears and quiets. Self defeating thought patterns shift and emotional healing occurs. The subtle connections between heart, mind, soul, brain, and body are gradually rewired so that authentic, healthy, and appropriate responses and interactions spontaneously emerge in the moment.
Outer circumstances have less influence on your sense of well being.
You feel a deep grounded presence.
The ups and downs of life gradually take on less significance.
Authentic and clear communication arises naturally through your conversations.
You shine brighter.
Clear intuitive knowing is a regular occurrence.
You feel gloriously hijacked by spontaneous waves of love coming to and through you.
There is a loss of interest in drama—yours and theirs.
Your magnetism increases and you feel truly beautiful.
Laughter and lightheartedness arise unexpectedly.
You look at the world through soft empathetic eyes.
Spontaneous miracles and unexplainable life enhancing “coincidences” occur regularly.
There is an apparent reversal of the aging process.
Expanded opportunities to share your unique gifts unexpectedly enter your sphere.
Creative surges take you into wild territory you’ve never known before.
You discover super powers you never knew you had.
Through embodiment, you find a new stability as you begin to feel solidly anchored in this fresh clear state. Even though you may still feel pushed around by circumstances from time to time, there is a newfound strength that is strong and consistent. You now have a deeper understanding of what is means to feel really centered.
In this stage, you are more fully yourself then ever before.
You appreciate yourself for who you are, rather than dwelling on who you would like to be. The fantasy projections that you can never quite live up to begin to lose power and influence in your life. The “not enough” illusion you have danced with for so long begins to fade away.
The constant effort to improve yourself gloriously dies down and is replaced by feelings of equanimity. You still want to explore and evolve, but these impulses come from a completely different place than they used to. They come from a genuine desire to learn and grow, rather than a sense of not being just fine the way you are.
This deepening self acceptance sparks strong feelings of self love, which is a powerful sign that this part of the embodiment process is unfolding in healthy ways.
This growing self love isn’t narcissistic or egotistical. It’s more pure and clear, emerging out of a deeper recognition of who you are in your fullness.
This is a time to celebrate yourself and all you have done to get to this shiny new place. It has not been easy. Yet it has been totally worth the struggles and egoic tug of wars; the tortured moments when you resisted surrendering to a higher way; and all the time and energy it took to stay true to your path. Especially when others scoffed at you or doubted you, and thought you were a little bit crazy. Or maybe even a whole lot crazy.
Delightfully, you come through this period with something totally unexpected. It isn’t quite the happiness you expected to feel, but something much richer and more nourishing.
You feel content. It is a soft sure comforting feeling that all is well, and it ALWAYS has been. Even when you were rocking and rolling in trauma and drama.
You find yourself in a more solid state, even as life presents you with a fresh load of challenges. Some that are bigger than ever. In the midst of it all, your mantra becomes, “I got this”. And you do. It isn’t always easy… but you know you will figure out how to deal with whatever comes your way.
This is a very different state than, “Everything is going to be all right”.
You KNOW, deep down and through and through: “Everything IS all right. Right here. Right now”. Even when life is hard and there are dark arrows coming your way.
You breathe easier because you are living and breathing as the Soul. This is your most authentic self, and all else is costuming and roll playing. And you totally know it.
As you live and breathe as the soul, you know the real you is safe and timeless and immortal. And all the other parts are coming and going, living and changing in order to awaken their inherent soulfulness.
There are still challenges. And really hard day when you want to give up and eat way too much ice cream and lay on the beach all day.
Yep, the challenges are definitely still there. But somehow you know you will eventually make it through all of them, triumphant and grateful for the whole process.
Your wounds become scars that remind you of deep truths and life changing lessons.
I’m sharing another blog about the post awakening experiences that are common for many people on a growth path. I’ve gotten so much positive feedback about how relevant and valuable these posts are.
Why have these posts struck a cord with so many?
Because we continually go through cycles of awakening and embodiment, often without even realizing we are doing so. And sometime we get stuck along the way.
In the post awakening period, you come face to face with our own fears and vulnerability. In the face of these uncomfortable feelings, many people doubt themselves and their choices.
After reveling in the vastness of awakening, you can suddenly feel really small and unsure of yourself. Yet the fears and feelings of vulnerability that naturally arise are a necessary part of the growth process. When this happens, please remember that everything is all right.
Let yourself feel these fears. Let yourself be vulnerable. Give yourself permission to be authentic to whatever is emerging… because that is the way of embodiment.
There is nothing to transcend anymore. Transcendence may have served you on the way toward awakening, but it is time to let it go.
The agenda of the embodiment process is embracing it all. Leaning in through the rough and ragged moments, as well as the unbearably joyful and throughly nourishing ones.
The feelings that get stirred up by awakening are stirred up for a reason. They have been with you for a long time. It is now time for them to grow and evolve, or to retire and move on. One way or another, it is time for change. Sometimes these parts naturally fall away on their own, but they often need help.
Awakening stirs up all that is not in harmony with the awakened state. The bigger the awakening, the bigger the pile of stuff that rears its head.
Stuff definitely comes up, yet after awakening you have greater strength and insight to deal with these feelings, beliefs and old survival patterns in more empowering ways. Maybe you call bullshit on them. Maybe you listen to these parts and teach them new ways of being. Maybe you comfort the part of you that is scared of playing in a bigger arena, and let it know the rest of you is committed to moving forward one way or another.
There are many effective ways to grow and evolve these parts of your psyche. Learning these new strategies is the essence of the embodiment process.
Whatever approaches you use, this is the most important factor to remember in facing post awakening tension….
Do not run. Do not hide, and by all means do not shrink in the face of those fears, doubts, or confusion.
Stand as the Awakened One… offering a healing hand to the parts of you that simply want to stay safe.
Stand as the Soul, offering your wisdom and radiance to the parts of you that have been hiding in the shadows.
Because after awakening, the rules of the game change. Staying safe by shrinking and hiding, controlling, competing, or manipulating no longer works. The old strategies that used to help you feel safe make you feel more vulnerable than ever after awakening. They fall flat… even if you have gotten really good at them.
After awakening we stay safe by leaning in and fully showing up.
You take care of yourself by growing bigger to meet the challenges of the day. You stay safe by sharpening your sword of light… until one day you realize that you have always been safe and always will be.
You realize the part of you that has been strategizing about safety and survival FOR-EVER is becoming obsolete. It is being healed and infused with the light of the Soul.
When you stand as the Awakened Soul… you are totally safe… always.
When you shrink as the fearful one… you will never ever ever ever feel truly safe.
Here’s why… the fearful parts are always using outdated strategies to face current challenges.
Imagine using a sword to fend off bullets. Definitely not an effective strategy. Even if the sword has worked in the past.
I repeat… the fearful parts always use strategies from the past. These strategies probably didn’t work very well way back when. Yet we keep trying using them again and again. We keep walking down those well worn paths over and over again, wondering why we feel so small and yucky and ineffective.
What kind of outdated strategies are you using to feel safe?
Do you hide, rather than shine?
Do you try to dominate and control situations rather then allow life to gracefully unfold?
Does some part of you need to be really good at everything you do, rather then allow yourself to be perfectly imperfect liked every other human?
Do you sell out rather then stand for what you really believe in order to be accepted?
Have you stopped going for what is really inspiring so you don't have to risk failure?
I invite you to notice and identify at least one of your strategies this week. This is the first step in liberating yourself from their influence so you can show up and face each day with greater strength, love, and presence.
In our most sacred moments of awakening, we feel open, expansive and connected with life in a whole new way.
In the days and weeks that follow, all of that can dramatically change. You may unexpectedly feel small and separate, alone and afraid. You suddenly see all the rough spot in yourself and your life.
After an experience of awakening, we suddenly come face to face with the differences between what we now know to be real and true, and what we actualize and experience in our day-to-day life.
We notice these kind of differences more then ever because our capacity to see clearly has so greatly expanded. This happens whether the awakening is a grand expansion that lasts for months and totally rocks your world, or a small aha moment filled with new insight.
Brings these sometimes vastly different experiences into harmony demands embracing both the expansiveness you have touched, as well as the more human and limited parts of yourself. These internal gaps dissipate as our freshly expanded awareness is integrated into new ways of living, loving, and creating. Sometimes this happens quite gracefully and you feel like you are living in the flow like never before.
And sometimes this post awakening phase can feel like being put through a meat grinder. You may feel totally raw, tender, and vulnerable as you flounder about in unknown territory, unsure of what is coming next.
Internal tension emerges when parts of your psyche resist what you now know to be real and true. If the less evolved parts within are not integrated with the expansiveness you have touched, the inner tension grows. The old and the new perspectives come head to head inside of you. This can create an internal tug of war.
This internal tension can show up in many different forms. You may feel unsettled, anxious, or irritable. There may be a deep sense of loss as the old ways of thinking and living die off.
Once your world has been popped wide open during times of awakening, old behavior patterns are seen in a whole new way.
Your usual reactions and behaviors may now seem small, ineffective, or childish at times. Your typical responses may suddenly seem selfish, manipulative, or domineering. Even if the tired old ways are seen as limited and obsolete after an awakening, they may still be hard to let go of. You have taken comfort in them for a very long time. These strategies often led to getting results you wanted. At the very least, the old ways of thinking, feeling and relating created a sense of safety within the smaller sphere you previously inhabited.
Even when these immature parts are seen through the new lens of awakening, not all parts of your psyche are immediately onboard with the new vision.
In this stage of growth, consciously releasing and tenderly sending your old modes of living on their way is an essential part of bringing about integration and internal harmony. If these losses are not acknowledged and the needed tears are not shed, the sense of loss can easily turn into depression and hopelessness. When this happens, those precious moments of awakening can seem so far out of reach that you feel like you may never be able to access them again. It can feel like the thrill of winning the lottery one month, only to feel the sting of losing it all the next.
Even with times of expansive joy and profound well-being mixed in, the months after awakening can be incredibly difficult to navigate.
The inner tension after awakening can show up as an overstimulated racing mind, filled with conflicting thoughts and ideas about yourself and the world around you. One moment your thinking may be a clear aligned reflection of the expanded awareness of awakening. In the next, your mind may be filled with all kinds of wild crazy talk that runs counter to what you now know to be true. Nothing is stable in this phase, and nothing is certain.
When you are caught in this post awakening tension, you may be full of doubt and confusion. There is often a loss of direction. Somehow you used to know what you wanted and where you were headed. Yet the old desires and motivating forces that governed much of your behavior were often created and driven by a limited sense of self. Which means they were heavily influenced by survival needs, however cleverly dressed up or disguised these needs may have been.
What used to motivate you may now feel flat and uninspiring. Even so, these survival based driving forces may still influence major parts of your life. After awakening you are well on your way to creating a soul centric life, but you are not there yet. And you know it.
Spiritual bypassing is common at this stage.
In spiritual bypassing, we take refuge in spiritual practices, perspectives, roles, and masks in order to avoid facing and dealing with the unresolved shadow aspects of our psyche and behavior. Who wants to clean house and take out the garbage when you have basked in the glorious light of spirit? After the mountain top experience, some seekers don’t ever want to come down to deal with the messiness of their lives and the shadows within their own psyche. These inner shadows are the parts of our psyche that have not yet been brought into harmony with our divine essence.
In spiritual bypassing, the fear based and snarky parts get denied and pushed aside. It is simply too much to endure the tension between the realization that you are a vast benevolent spiritual being at one with all creation, as well as the less evolved, fear infused aspects of your nature. In the post awakening phase you realize you are the vast universe and a small vulnerable child all at once. That is a lot to hold in one breath.
Your sense of identity can split as you feel a new sense of wonder and expansiveness, yet can no longer deny the many shadows within.
On the way towards awakening, we often deny or avoid the shadowy parts of our nature. Or we intentionally rise above the shadows, as we strive towards the light. While those may be effective strategies when you are striving for enlightenment, they can wreak havoc in your life on the other side of an awakening. The blazing light you have touched demands that you see the shadowy parts within so you can consciously bring them into harmony with the light of spirit. Until these inner gaps are bridged, that spiritual light can seem illusive and inaccessible at times.
Integration demands that you continually accept that you are both a saint and sinner, the form and the formless, the wise and the wretched all at once. It offers a powerful opportunity to resolve any tension between these seemingly oppositional forces within so we can find acceptance for the fullness of our human nature.
As integration progresses, we learn to bring the inner shadows into the light of love and wisdom so these parts can grow and evolve into inner strengths and trusted inner allies.
Outer life changes are also common in the post awakening phase of growth. Sometimes changes in relationships, careers, homes, and friends are liberating and productive. Letting go of these familiar life anchors can feel really good and healthy…like taking off a pair of shoes that now feels way too tight. Sometimes this kind of liberating change may be just what is needed.
Outer changes can sometimes be unconscious attempts to shake off post awakening inner tension. Sometimes this strategy is successful, and sometimes not. This approach rarely works in the long run. It can be like a bulimic purging after eating way too much. Purging doesn’t really solve the problem, but it may bring about temporary relief of inner tension. All kinds of addictive behavior can bring about short term relief from post awakening tension. This generally this doesn’t work very well because the addictive behavior doesn’t give the real comfort you are yearning for.
Living with this post awakening gap creates inner tension until the fragmented and compartmentalized parts within evolve and expand, and are more fully integrated.
This integration process can be rapid or torturously slow. Oftentimes different parts of our psyche respond to revelation at different paces. Some parts release their limited perspective easily and are happy to go with the new agenda. The parts that dig in their heels need to be patiently taught how to grow and flow with the expanded life view that awakening revealed.
For some people the needed integration and embodiment never happens. The inner tension is simply to much to navigate. They don’t have the understanding, tools, or support to resolve the internal tension that is so common after awakening.
Sadly, this tension can build into a full blown psychological and spiritual crisis.
One of the reasons for the inability to gracefully integrate after awakening is the tendency to keep going back to the practices and teachings that led to awakening in the first place. They were effective, right?
Meditation got me to that point of awakening, so I should keep meditating, right?
Going on a retreat with that teacher helped open my eyes, so I should keep going back, right?
Fasting for days led me to a clear state of being, so why not keep it up?
Yet, we never know for sure what truly catalyzed our awakenings. It is often a combination of many factors that creates the perfect storm of awakening.
Some people repeat the practices of the past, while others try to chase more moments of awakening by finding new teachers, practices, potions, or mantras. They hope fresh inspiration will take them back to those clear, high moments. Wanting to revisit the bliss and clarity of mountain top experiences is totally understandable. Who doesn’t want to live in a clear expansive state all the time?
Unfortunately, constantly looking for the “high” of awakening or grasping at a sustained experience of awakening can sometimes create even more inner tension.
Once you have reached the mountain top and have been opened by the splendor of the experience, the next step is to integrate and embody what has been revealed. On the mountain top, the mental and emotional clouds part to make way for a new perspective and vision to emerge.
Embodiment is about what we do with that new vision.
It asks that we turn our attention away from awakening towards the creation of a bold new life. This is essentially an inspired creative process. It demands that we take the inspiration of the mountaintop and bring it into vibrant new forms of expression.
The first new form of expression you get to work with is yourself.
In the initial stages of embodiment you are called to recreate a more loving, connected, creative, and radiant version of yourself. This stage is about becoming more attuned to the love, wisdom and strength of your soul, so you can more fully live and express these qualities through your whole being.
We’ve all had them.
Those precious moments when you awaken to life in a whole new way. The inner clouds part and a vibrant new world opens before you. Suddenly everything is different. And anything is possible.
It seems like someone took off the blinders you didn’t even know you were wearing. You can now see for miles, and your view is fresh and clear, lighter and brighter than ever before.
These rare and precious moments of awakening are often the culmination of a long inner quest.
The journey may start with subtle feelings of discontent, or even deep trauma and suffering. Either way, you eventually find yourself in a full blown search for an often undefinable “better” way of life.
Happiness is the way some people define what they are looking for. Others are searching for enlightenment or liberation. Some are simply trying to create a more meaningful and purposeful life.
This quest may be the most significant guiding factor of your life, or it may be a subtle persistent undercurrent in all you do and in every decision you make. Either way, you are deeply yearning for what is fresh and unknown, real and true.
Maybe your quest started with reading self help books, or starting a meditation practice. Maybe you found a guru to guide you along the way. Therapy may have catapulted you into expansive unknown territory. Questioning your thoughts and beliefs can do it as well. Yoga may call you back to the mat over and over again as you are stretched in new ways. At some point you may have tried on wholehearted devotion and mala beads to see if they fit. There might have be a 12 step program thrown in for good measure.
In the midst of it all, you will never know for sure what the final catalyst was that blasted you wide open.
Maybe it was that new meditation practice you did every single day for months. Plant medicine can do it, and so can taking a deep dive in nature. Maybe it was months of celibacy, or it could have been the deep orgasmic ecstasy of high level intimacy that opened you in profound new ways. Childbirth can do it with a rare power and intensity, and so can birthing a creative project.
Maybe it was dancing all night at a festival and then watching a glistening sunrise in the arms of people you love. Or maybe it happened in the last few miles of a marathon when you somehow found the strength to keep going despite the pain in every part of your weary body. Falling in love can open you like nothing else… and so can losing your beloved.
Whatever your unique path to awakening, those sacred moments feel really good. A deep calm settles within. Your body feels lighter, brighter, and more vibrant than ever. Vast wisdom and understanding emerge that weren’t there before.
Awakening takes you to an entirely new state of being, whether the awakening is large or small. In those rare and precious moments, we transcend the limitations that constantly condition our experience. And we are often shaken to our core as a vast new version of reality is suddenly revealed.
However you got there, one thing is sure. You will never be the same again.
Moments of awakening bring you to an entirely new place. There is something totally fresh, yet strangely familiar here too. You touch a sweet pure divine remembrance that runs deep and true. This new place feels like home. You feel like you have finally arrived where you have always longed to be.
As sweet as it is to revel in these delicious experiences of awakening, this post is not just about awakening. It is about what happens after awakening.
When we first awaken, we often naively think those precious moments will be the new normal. You feel rocked to the core. How could life ever be the same? The vast implications of the expansive awareness that suddenly flowed through you cannot be unremembered.
Once these inner doors are thrown wide open, they will never go all the way back to where they were before.
Yet all too often, those pristine moments of awakening dim as you settle into something approximating your previous state of existence. Sweet new waves of bliss and wisdom may come and go, yet in the midst of it all, there you are… very much like you have always been. And there is your life… with all the same challenges you have wrestled with for years.
Those sacred moments can never be erased or taken from you, but they can easily recede as the challenges of everyday life come back to the forefront of your attention. The precious moments of awakening can rapidly become faint memories and vague recollections. They are sweet, but also bittersweet because their fullness feels just beyond your reach.
In this phase of the journey, the days and weeks and even years after an awakening, you may sometimes feel a bit like a deflated balloon. When a balloon is first blow up, it is stretched and expanded by all the fresh warm air coming inside. After the air is released, the balloon never goes back to its original shape. It is somewhere in-between... not the virgin balloon, nor the full blown balloon. The in-between balloon is rather limp and uninspiring.
There is often an uncomfortable in-between space after experiences of awakening. The time of expansion is over, and you have contracted again. At least to some degree. This is often a time of great frustration, because you know what it feels like to be filled with fresh warm air. You know what it feels like to be bigger and brighter than ever. Yet, some days you are living like a deflated balloon because you haven’t discovered how to sustain these expansive states; or even better yet, how to burst the limitations of the balloon all together.
In many traditions, awakening is considered to be the coveted prize. Yet awakening isn’t ever really the ultimate goal. Awakening is simply a step along the way. It is most definitely a significant step, yet one that calls us to establish an even deeper state of sustained wellbeing.
When you awaken, a vast and expansive world view opens before you. Each cell in your body is set afire. Every trapped and unresolved emotion suddenly yearns to be set free. The thoughts you once held to be true suddenly seem limited and narrow, and maybe even a bit foolish.
In the blazing light of awakening, the limitations we have lived with for so long are brilliantly exposed.
This brings about a classic good news/bad news scenario. The good new is that the world is infinitely more vast and loving than you ever imagined. The bad news is that you are still living in a cage of your own making. You are still held tight by fears, twisted memories, distorted beliefs, and false hopes.
The next step after awakening is learning how to turn these most sacred moments into a life of sustained love, connection, and creativity.
This is rarely an easy or graceful process. It is often a deeply challenging phase of growth. As difficult as this stage can be, each experience of awakening deeply and persistently calls to be integrated, embodied, more fully lived, and creatively expressed.
Moments of awakening are not meant to become moments of lost splendor, never to be touched upon again. Awakening nudges us to find new ways to express the connectedness we have experienced.
Embodiment involves closing the gap between what was revealed in your most sacred moments, and what you are currently living.
Embodiment empowers you to gracefully deepen and expand those juicy 'aha' moments so they eventually became your new normal—the ground you fearlessly and naturally stand upon. Embodiment progresses as you integrate what was revealed in those expansive states of awareness.
These two interdependent phases of the path, awakening and embodiment, are meant to work harmoniously together. They are the polarities of growth that are meant to dance and move as harmoniously and gracefully as day and night, masculine and feminine, giving and receiving.
We continually go through cycles of awakening and embodiment, creatively weaving these sometimes seemingly paradoxical yet complimentary impulses into the beautiful tapestry of our lives.
I went through a couple of very challenging days recently. My usual sense of calm and well being were suddenly fleeting and elusive. I cried and lamented for no particular reason.
My anxiety was high because I didn't understand what was happening, much less rise to meet the challenge in a way that was empowering. I am usually really good at discovering what is at the heart of the matter, and then moving through it with grace and equanimity. Well, not this time. I was slogging through emotional mud and falling to my knees again and again. Eventually, I quit analyzing and wrestling with these feelings. Instead I gave myself the time and space, and full permission, to simply be with what was naturally arising.
In that self loving spaciousness, I continued to cry and fret and worry.
I felt despair about the fragmented state of the world.
I fell to my knees in sadness about the suffering all around me.
And then one afternoon, I realized that the problem wasn’t me or any aspect of my life, or even the tumultuous state of our deeply suffering world. The problem didn’t have anything to do with how life was actually unfolding.
The real problem was the ideals I held about how life should be unfolding. Those ideals were hijacking my joy.
Deep suffering occurs when we cherish our ideals about how life should be more than we honor and accept what is actually unfolding.
This attachment to unrealistic ideals is at the heart of a collective challenge we are all facing in some way or another right now. We are in the throws of a global epidemic of extreme idealism.
There is a healthy kind of idealism that helps us reach higher and do better.
Extreme idealism is different.
It shows up as unrealistically high standards, fanaticism, perfectionism, near constant disappointment, and feeling like nothing is ever enough. It is the self help attitude on hyper drive, always striving to do more and be better. Sometimes extreme idealism shows up as the group think standards that somebody, sometime, somewhere, asked you to swallow. And you did.
Sometimes extreme ideals are completely false, destructive, and fanatical. Other extreme ideals are simply out of step with the current flow of growth and change. In my idealized version of life, my friend shouldn't have cancer. Humans shouldn't be dropping huge bombs on each other, and we should all get along.
Yet, that is not the current state of the world. We are a long way from that grand vision. Rather than lamenting over the current state of affairs, acceptance can begin to help us see the positive steps we can take that will empower the graceful emergence of that grand vision.
Acceptance of what is already happening doesn't mean condoning or putting your stamp of approval on anything. There are definitely times to stand up for your ideals. There are times to very loudly and clearly say, "no more". Yet, acceptance of what has already occurred often gives us the deeper insight and strength needed to create a more positive future.
When extreme idealism dominates your life, suffering is sure to follow.
Each time we choose, consciously or unconsciously, to hold on to our ideal version of how life should be rather than meet what is actually occurring with acceptance, we suffer. Extreme idealism can be quite toxic and debilitating.
Can we give up unhealthy ideals, thoughts, and projections about what should be happening, and simply honor and accept what is actually occurring?
Can we come to terms with the trauma and drama of the past without holding on to an idealized internal story of how it should have been?
Can we stop being disappointed in people because they don’t live up to our ideals, and simply meet them with kindness and acceptance?
Maybe it is worth trying. Spring is a great time for a detox. Would you be willing to try an idealism detox this year? Giving up toxic food and toxic idealism has the potential to be a powerfully cleansing combination.
What would happen this week if you were to meet every person or situation with loving acceptance, no matter what?
I invite you to try it and see what kind magic shows up to play. Happy Spring!
Loving you boldly,
The collective heart is getting warmer every day.
We sense something is different about life these days, but we can’t quite find the right words to describe the changes. The trivialities that once consumed so much of our attention are quietly fading away. A bright new loving radiance is playing upon our isolated personal kingdoms, quietly breaking down protective walls as it weaves new threads of unity and community through our lives. These awakening heart forces enlivens us and bestows the strength to give and forgive anew.
Yet, amidst the warmth of the awakening global heart, there is confusion and pain, deeper and more easily felt than ever before. If our collective heart is opening, why are we still suffering? Why is there so much strife in every corner of every land?
We may naively assume heart awakening could only bring peace and serenity, comfort and joy. Not so.
As the global heart stirs to greater life, every person is inwardly asked to choose to join in this planetary heart warming, or not. When we make choices that are aligned with the heart, joy enters in. When our choices emerge from a heart constricted by fear, suffering rears its head. Joy and suffering dance side-by-side as we repeatedly wrestle with this choice over and over again. We are repeatedly asked to choose to be part of the new radiance of the awakening heart, or to wither and die on the vine, clinging to fear generated patterns that outlived their usefulness long ago.
When we freely give, we make a choice that strengthen the global heart. When we boldly create, we make a choice that expands the global heart. And when we recognize the pure essence of whoever is right before us, we quicken the pulse of the global heart. Sounds like a really simple plan, doesn’t it? So why isn’t it easier to consistently do these things, moment by moment? Why the uphill fight, with ourself and others, to pump new life into the collective heart? Why is it sometimes so hard to actually live the good, the true, and the beautiful; the magnificent, the wondrous, and the extraordinary?
Our collective amnesia keeps us from remembering the real intention of the game we are playing. No one pulled us aside in the delivery room to say, “This is Heart Awakening 101. Love gets you an 'A'."
To truly be free, we are called to consciously and repeatedly choose the red pill… the bold and brazen truth pill that reminds us of our real purpose for being. When we swallow it whole, all the illusions we have swallowed for so long suddenly seem rather silly.
What exactly was so interesting about “looking good”, "staying safe",“having more”, or “being better than…”? When we seek truth, love, and kindness rather than our fear induced illusions, we instantly wake up and remember we are here to joyously reside in the warm and vibrant pulse of the awakening collective heart.
Anything else is merely a distraction, a contraction, and a disconnect. These twisted byroads are sometimes interesting, but never truly satisfying.
The interesting twist to this tale is that we can’t awaken the heart forces alone. The very essence and fiber of the heart is unity, and community.
Every doorway into the heart demands a password infused with loving communion. Every expansion of heart demands greater connection.
Love really is the answer we’ve all been looking for. For where there is love, there is unity. When we make choices that awaken heart, we get connected to a wider, richer sphere of experience where love and unity naturally flourish.
As the collective heart warms and expands, it releases wave after luminous wave of loving kindness upon the world. And as we dare to open and move to its powerful rhythm, the radiance of the expanding global heart penetrates our lives anew and nothing is ever quite the same.
We often go looking for love, longing for its delicious warmth and glow. Yet our release from this ravenous desire comes from remembering that the journey of the heart begins with loving connection with yourself. The first step is opening in loving communion with every part of yourself—the depth of your own breath, the warm delicious feel of your own skin, the rawness of your pain and hurt, the inspiration of your grandest vision, and the fiery radiance of your own expanding heart.
As we create a sea of love within and around us, we open to a force of love beyond what we’ve ever known. This is the heartfelt path that beckons us all.
With big love,
A powerful spiritual opportunity is opening up over the next week. The full moon in Taurus-Scorpio is considered to be the spiritual highpoint of the year by many people around the world. This week is a powerful time for deep reflection, contemplation, and inner stillness.
On the day of the full moon, as well as a few days before and after, potent energies pour forth on subtle levels. This inner light can be consciously received, embraced, and used as a catalyst for awakening, growth, creativity, and the fuller embodiment of your most heartfelt vision for yourself and the world.
Illumination is the keynote of this full moon. The abundance of inner light present this week makes it an opportune time to be particularly open and receptive to the deepest impulses of your heart and soul.
To make the most of this opportunity, take time to pause. Lighten your schedule. Give yourself permission to do less and to simply be. Create time and space for meditation, writing, and quiet time in nature. Let yourself be carried by light and inspiration this week, rather than obligations and busyness.
It is also a great time to set aside any preconceived ideas about the way you “should” be living, and to be truly open and welcoming of the next phase of life that is unfolding for you. Where you are headed may be very different from where you have been. Notice what deeply resonates and energizes you in the coming days and weeks, and embrace it wholeheartedly.
The Taurus-Scorpio full moon is this Thursday, April 21st at 10:24 pm PDT (05:24 UT 4/22). I invite you to meditate at this time, joining me and others around the world who will also be meditating at the exact time of the full moon.
In the light of love,
An energy therapist, relationship and spiritual life coach, Ariana is a lover of love in all of its many delicious forms; self love, couples love, family love, community love and ultimately, the universal love that pervades all.