depression

Feeling Adrift

At times the intensity of our emotional and felt experience is such that we have the sense of being adrift. The sense of being in a lifeboat alone in unchartered waters without a rudder to steer us, or even any sense of where we’d go if we had a rudder for steering. During times like this there is a substantive question mark planted squarely over our hearts that says, “huh?” with regard to where we are and where we’re headed. To say it feels uncomfortable is putting it mildly. We squirm in our skin. We often feel foreign to ourselves, wondering where the ever-sturdy, clear-hearted version of ourselves went.

If we check in with ourselves, we might sense thick feelings or sensations in our chest, our heart center, or our belly. It might feel like an ache or a contraction. If we sense more deeply into these sensations—a gentle, quiet return—we might realize that there is deep sadness or grief therein, that when met with the gentle return of the light of our awareness, bring tears of release.

Fear not. This is a powerful place to be that calls for showing up differently. When the old M.O. fails to serve us, a vaster intelligence is at work. Thank goodness this intelligence is encoded in our DNA. It vibrates in our cells. It informs our hearts. It is, in fact, all that ever was, is, or will be. It has the power to stop us dead in our tracks, which is ultimately for our benefit, though it can, at times, feel like an evisceration.

What do we do when we find ourselves feeling adrift? We hang tight, gently and quietly. We give ourselves the space we need in our lives to accommodate our unfolding, which may mean permission not to make plans or show up for others like we usually do. Being selfish is a great act of self-love that is absolutely warranted and needs no permission save that which we give ourselves to tend to the garden of our being. We let go of ways that keep us tethered into the old M.O. … ways of avoiding our experience that include binge-watching episodes, social media, internet, cell phone, and reliance on others for our validation and sense of direction. We rise in the unknown of our experience.

It’s like being in a chrysalis. Transformation happens to the extent that we show up for it. A wise man once said that if you turn a light on in a dark room the darkness must go away. Lucky for us our exquisite awareness—that which is in continuum with all of eternity—is the only light we ever needed for this journey. When we cultivate it, we can use it for our benefit, for our growth. We bring it gently within to that which feels painful, contracted. Maybe to the areas in the heart center, the chest, the belly, or wherever they may be. We show up with this exquisite light with which we were gifted without any labels or story. That means dropping whatever we think we know about the experience despite how convincing or seductive it seems. We show up with just the purity of our awareness.

We leave behind any story that suggests that the pain, grief, sadness, doubt, or uncertainty is caused by ourselves, a situation, or a person. We let any sense of self-doubt that arises because of these feelings just be. We leave behind the old pattern that has us feeling less-than, damaged, or as if “something is wrong with me” because of the feelings. We stop trying to plan because being in the chrysalis is so uncomfortable that we spin our wheels in attempt to be elsewhere.

We simply show up with the powerful light of our awareness, of our being. We bring it to the painful parts. We breathe into them, making our breaths deeper and longer such that they reach the depths of the belly. We stop talking and let ourselves have the experience of that which feels staggeringly uncomfortable. Maybe we gently move our bodies if our deepest intelligence calls for it. We keep returning to the experience when we realize that the light of our exquisite awareness—the only balm we ever needed—is drawn back into story about the experience, spinning our wheels in self-doubt or planning ourselves out of it. We do these things not because we’re trying to change ourselves, but because that is what is warranted. A mother doesn’t hold and rock an infant because she is supposed to, needs to, or because she wishes the child be different. It is simply called for.

We keep returning. One of the single greatest gifts of being human is the ability to begin again, in any now in which we find ourselves. We always have the choice to begin anew, which isn’t something we should take lightly. It is profound. We can choose to gently and quietly return to that which has us feeling adrift and be with ourselves in a new way. We can be with ourselves in such a way that we no longer doubt ourselves and kick-and-scream when we feel the intense pain or discomfort of sadness, grief, anger, or uncertainty. That was the old M.O. We can instead usher in acceptance, allowance, and radical self-love for the entirety of our experience, which ultimately allows for our unfoldment, our transformation in the chrysalis of being. We are absolutely stronger than we think.

There is always a choice, however it requires slowing down and greater care. It requires time alone, and cultivation. It requires finding the legs to stand squarely in the face of self-doubt and beam the brightness of our being, our awareness, deep within the shadows of our nooks and crannies. We are fortunate that we were equipped with all that we ever needed for this at-times difficult journey. Giving ourselves what we need for our chrysalis-time is imperative. Rest assured that if you hang in there and tend to the chrysalis, a time will come when you look back and realize that you were never adrift. You were being given the opportunity to dig deeper and cultivate trust in unchartered waters. Growth is rarely comfortable.

Your thoughts, comments, questions, or musings are welcomed in the comments...

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This

     There are times in life when utter doubt, confusion, and chaos move in like a dense fog settled upon the land. It seems as though we’ve lost the ability to see even our hand in front of our face. During times like this we have the propensity to begin a furious search for meaning, for answers. We go to this therapist, that book, this spiritual path, or that teacher. Desperate for clarity and meaning—for clear sunny blue skies—we begin seeking as though our very lives depend upon it. Sometimes guidance is appropriate. Another’s wisdom can serve as a signpost, an arrow.

                One reason that we have such a difficult time with these internal weather patterns is because they are uncomfortable–at times so uncomfortable that we feel as though we are being eviscerated. Most of us aren’t taught how to be with this intense discomfort. At times, instead of being with this intense discomfort we unknowingly project our hurt onto others in the form of blame, in a sense becoming a victim. Or we eat, drink, or binge watch episodes in a desperate attempt not to feel what we’re feeling.

                The potential for the capacity to be with all of it is there. It is inherent within us. It is quite possible to stop squirming against discomfort and instead allow it. To stop blaming others for our pain—or using other numbing behaviors—and begin to use our discomfort as the teacher, the guide, the therapist. All this takes is a willingness to stay, a willingness to stay with the intense physical sensation that is present in your chest, your gut, your pelvis, or wherever it may be. This intensity needs to breathe. It needs space and allowance. Continued resistance of it can result in a state of contracted energy buried deep within that ultimately turns into a state of dis-ease. Would you ever shout at a cloudy or foggy sky, “Hey, you’re not supposed to be here! I’d prefer a sunny sky instead!”? It would seem like madness to suggest to the present moment that it ought not be here.

                Our capacity cannot stretch if we do not open the door to what is uncomfortable and stand unwaveringly before it. While our culture distinguishes between physical and emotional pain, at the most subtle level they are not distinguishable. Next time you experience the unpleasantness of sadness, anger, confusion, or doubt, drop the concepts of sadness, anger, confusion, and doubt and simply be with the physical sensations, the breath. Go into a quiet room and drop the story, the explanations, and the analysis of your experience and simply be with your experience. Stay with it. Eventually it might not seem difficult to stay with discomfort. What felt charged, painful, and uncomfortable might just begin to lose its juice.

                As our capacity stretches we begin to find the strength and the courage to trust ourselves. We begin to realize that the very fibers of our being are suffused with the profound and outrageous intelligence of the Eternal itself—the same intelligence that beats our hearts, pulses life force through our veins, and births nebulas, black holes, and galaxies. The very same inexplicable intelligence that keeps us upright on earth with gravity, breathing oxygen, our innards staying in while we rotate around the sun at 67,000 miles per hour and hurl through space at 420,000 thousand miles per hour. That intelligence.

     All of a sudden it becomes much easier to trust ourselves and our capacity. To stop doubting who and what we are and instead open up to and allow the magnificence that we already are (that we just temporarily forgot about) with all of its weather patterns, not just the sunny, calm, and pleasant ones. We realize that we erroneously decided somewhere along the line that discomfort meant bad and not magnificent. We drop that false notion and instead let our discomfort morph into our wisdom. We develop the capacity to allow what is uncomfortable—just like eternity allows the birth and destruction of everything. As we remember what we are we begin to trust ourselves, to listen to our own intuition—that wordless voice that is our only true compass and hums louder as the noise dampens and the dust settles. Ultimately, we no longer need that teacher, that book, that spiritual path, or that therapist because we realize we were always all of those things. Ultimately, our evisceration becomes our liberation.

The Great Remembering

 

There is a revolution taking place—one that does not call for weapons. Gather ‘round, gather ‘round friends. Reach for the person’s hand on your left, and the person’s hand on your right. Link up in a circle of communion.

In our center rests a glowing ember—a hot smoldering thing that has inherent within it the potential to transform the world. With the deepest breath you can muster, steadily blow on that ember. Listen to the crackle as now a small flame advances, consuming branches of hate, fear, and judgement of self and other. With your entire being, keep blowing. Propel the flame of compassion, love, understanding, kindness, and forgiveness. Blow just a little harder still.

Witness the flame consume negativity, hate, fear, judgement & doubt of self and other, as it hisses and crackles, turning into a wildfire. Feel relief wash over you as the stress of carrying all of THAT for millennia washes away from your shoulders, your mind, your entire body. The weight of those mind-created concepts turned beliefs turned reality is stifling enough to have pinned humanity under it for aeons.

Now your own deep reverberant cries begin. From unfathomable depths—deeper than your chest or belly—emerges a wail that is echoed from the walls of the farthest reaches of eternity. With vulnerability and tenderness, feel those heaving cries that spring out of the contraction that embedded itself in you the moment that you forgot you were anything other than the SACRED DIVINE. You cry harder still with the relief that comes as you forgive yourself, and everyone else, for ever having believed the false notion of separateness, the false notion that the body is anything other than a HOLY TEMPLE within which all of your prayers are received. All of them, without exception.

This is the only fall from grace that ever occurred—the great forgetting of what IS. The great forgetting that heaven is here and now, that we are manifestations of the divine, inherent within us the same power that birthed the universe, that birthed the vast expanse of eternity within which we are privileged to do our life dance. We are that.  It never has been, and never will be, any other way. The return pilgrimage begins here and now. Existence itself is cheering for us.

As your warm salty tears fall to the earth with the relief of releasing that false notion of separateness, with self-forgiveness for ever having looked into the eyes of another and seen anything other than your own divinity peering back at you, you might fall to the earth on your knees. You might hear her whispering. You might just place your palms on her exquisite aliveness (one that is daily forgotten), your forehead to her Earth forehead, and listen as she pleads for a softer, gentler touch. “Your survival depends on it,” she says softly, “Not my survival but your survival.”

 All the while, never stop blowing on that fire of kindness, compassion, eternal love, understanding, and forgiveness. For now she’s raging, threatening to consume us all. With my hand linked to yours in communion, I march into that raging fire and let any vestige of separateness consume itself.  And should I ever forget again—for a moment or a year— please, please remind me. While it is a self-remembering, we cannot do this alone because we never were separate. May we develop the strength not to forget in the face of those who have not yet remembered.  We are responsible for all of us. Yes to the Great Remembering. Yes to this revolution.