“In the pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Way,
every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.”
“You need to re-establish contact with your essential self. Paradoxically, if you want to do a really good job at this, you’re going to have to stop thinking about doing a really good job. To find your North Star, you must teach your social self to relax and back off.”
Martha Beck, Finding Your Own North Star.
Where did the love go? Where did the excitement go? The moments of awe and disbelief? What part of me still views God as a “must do or else”? As a struggle? Where did I get lost again? When did I put God on the outside of myself after finally accepting that God is within- even “Within this wretch like me”? If I am the Kingdom of Heaven, when did I banish us both from the protective walls of self? I remember vividly the weekend that I realized God was within…how humbled and unworthy I felt. I remember saying to my friend John,
“Where is the JOY in this?!” and crying uncontrollable tears. It was such a struggle for me to accept this life altering truth and yet, I thought I had and that I’d never go back to my old ways.
But I did. Never underestimate the power of the Ego. In the midst of my struggle with separation, I created separation! Writers block is the Ego’s way of blocking communication between God and I.
What part of me feels that life cannot be lived unless it’s at the extremes, with the pendulum swinging like crazy from one direction to the other, pulverizing my own heart that hangs in the center of its balance? I’ll tell you; The part of me that believes life is struggle. Life is work. Life is lack. Do nothing and nothing gets done! But that’s not true. It can’t be, because I’ve done a hell of a lot in my life and friend, I’d have been better off if I had just sat down, shut up and waited. I have to accept that it’s in the details of my life- pallet beds, coloring, tea parties, laundry and chores, quirky synchronicities and coincidences that fill my days- and NOT in the extremes of my mind…I have to accept that I am about the details. The perfect way that things can be done when left alone to do what they do best. I have to learn to be less of a perfectionist and more attuned to the existing perfection within. My essential self doesn’t lie in what needs to be done- but in what I’m doing now. Right now.
God Will Understand…
I was simplifying my reading list and refocusing. I sat two books, Take Time for Your Life and Finding Your Own North Star, right on top of A Course in Miracles. I’ve been plugged into the course solid for a couple of weeks now…off and on for about a year. Recently I had begun to feel a struggle. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand it. It wasn’t that I didn’t agree with the lessons. It was that other books were beckoning me and I felt stretched thin trying to read all of them…Again, I was struggling with God. I didn’t plan on putting The Course away. I thought I’d put it out in the living room…treat it as light reading when I found myself on the couch…Secretly I felt like Judas, betraying Jesus and God for….myself. My essential self. Laying those two books on top of The Course was symbolic for me- Putting myself before GOD? For a nanosecond I felt guilt, but at the same time a voice came into my head and said,
“God will understand.”
God knows that you have to find you to BE you, and to get to him. He knows that it’s all one in the same really. Spirituality is a collaborative deal- It takes two and all you have to do is understand that by two, it is meant that you are one with God. One cannot be without the other, but because we are human with human brains, it’s best not to over think that. This is where faith comes in. Have faith in the details, not the extremes. God is in the details. God understands that our search for self is the way back to him, better than we understand that our search for God is the way back to our self.
So go ahead and search- find yourself. Search your soul for what you are looking for. God understands better than you, that you cannot lose who you are.
The water in the bucket.
“Imagine God as the ocean. If you take a bucket of water out of the ocean, is the water in the bucket the ocean? Yes, indeed, it is altogether ocean- and the ocean, though it is larger, is still altogether the whole of the ocean in the bucket. Now think of yourself as a bucket of God. Altogether God; and God is altogether you. It is only when you stay separated from the ocean that the water dries up. This is your task in grasping your highest self- staying aligned and not separated from your Source…”
Wayne Dyer, Wishes Fulfilled.
“i want to do what’s right, not what’s less. I don’t even know what that means…Why is that bouncing around in my head? Right, not less? I hate the word less. What does this even mean??!! I can hear my father’s voice all over this…Ok. The truth of the statement is….?
I realize that the truth really is, less is more.
What am I seeking? I am always seeking. What am I trying so hard to get? I’m always trying so hard. What am I trying so hard to do? I’m still caught in that egoic sense of “I have to be one thing to get something else…” It’s…..I already have it! Why do I keep struggling with that? I’m trying to be something I already am. I’m trying so hard to be Christ like and God like and I can’t…because I’m a part of them, not them. Just like the bucket of ocean that came from the ocean…
I actually read this book that says, “You are God.” But it didn’t actually mean I am God, it meant I’m a part of God. It didn’t actually mean I could do all of the things that God does…it meant…
I’m the water in the bucket.
I AM THE WATER IN THE BUCKET!!
Oh my God…So if I’m the ocean in the bucket, it doesn’t mean I can cause a tidal wave, it means I’m a small part of what can cause the tidal wave…
I’m the slowest learner in the world, I swear.
Wanting to do right is less. Being kinder to people is becoming aware of when I am judgmental and then telling the universe, I am determined to see them differently. It means stopping the derogatory talk, the self projections about what they wear, how they look, their work ethic. It’s about doing what’s right- which is less negative. It doesn’t mean that I have to go around professing love for everyone, forcing myself to befriend those who drain my own energy…it means doing less by being honest with myself and them. There is nothing wrong with being fair, polite and helpful. Those things take far less energy that it takes to maintain a facade of “goodness” while telling lies or spewing rude thoughts out into the universe via our minds.
Doing what’s right means doing less to people. To the environment. To myself. It means not trying so hard. It just means to do what’s right and that is often less than what we actually do. It means settling into what is…for right now, as my healer would say. it means accepting that what is, is right now, not forever. Ending the struggle is not resignation. I don’t need to try so hard, I don’t need to try so much! I just need to do. I feel so exasperated! I feel so pressured! I feel so…The harder I try, the more I struggle. I’m a part of God, not god…No wonder I have such a hard time living up to myself! I’m a part of something wonderful. Even Jesus was a man who made a choice. Doing what’s right is doing what’s less.”
When the struggle is what was…
What do you do when the struggle is with what was? Better yet, when the struggle is within you and has to do with who you were? When all of what you do now cannot compete with a sudden reflection of all that you did before? How do you reconcile who you were with who you are? Especially on those days…or weeks, when it seems to come at you from every angle?
The truth is, I don’t know yet. I mean, I can tell YOU how to do it, but I can’t tell you when it will actually work. I can tell you that there will be a whole lot of resignation before you get there, which you will compound by adding struggle. The truth is I’m there now. Right smack in the middle of it. Let me digress.
For an easy two weeks now, I’ve been in struggle. I guess you’ve gathered that by now. I’ve struggled with God, my faith in him, and his faith in me- though none of those things are really in question. I’ve struggled with my self- my “real” self and that bitch that seems to run my life. I’ve struggled with scripture, epiphanies, sleep, my hormones, my finances, my health, my job, a herniated disk, my sleep and most recently, the ghosts of Melissa’s past. For three nights now my dreams have been haunted by every ex boyfriend from the time I was thirteen until now as well as my mother…Also, I went through this vampire stage in my dreams for two days and I’ve never in my life dreamt of those. It’s all very…unusual, which is why, when you’re me, you have to stop blaming outside influences and start asking yourself what in the heck the Universe is trying to tell you? What is my self literally tearing me apart to hear?
I don’t know. Or I don’t want to know. Probably the latter. Let’s face it, the truth isn’t always so fantastical. If it were, we’d always tell it and run arms outstretched not just to face it, but to embrace it! The truth is, we don’t usually do either of those. The truth is, sometimes the truth isn’t pretty, but we shouldn’t be concerned with outer appearances because what we long for is a soul reveal. Not a makeover, but a genuine, remove the mask, shine the light on me, reveal. I want that. You do too. But the other truth is, I have a hard time seeing past the child/girl/woman who I’ve been. I have days when who I am has to go to war with my ego to actually protect who I was because in the end, they are the same.
I remember I once told a boyfriend about my entire, horrible life…Okay, not ALL of it because I’ve never told anyone (even me) THAT. But, I told him a good chunk of it. At first he was wonderful about it. Compassionate. He held my hand, hugged me while I cried, asked all of the obvious questions like, how and why? He was appalled. He was shocked to his soul. And then we broke up, at which time I became the world’s most promiscuous inhabitant. “You whore.” he said. “My mother was right about you.” he proclaimed. “No wonder people treated you the way they did!” he laughed.
Looking back now I can see how deep his own pain was when he said that…and looking down, I can see how deep the hell is that his comments and my behavior have left me in. But looking back further I can see the pain I must have been in to have the life I have had. I can see the pain of those who hurt me as well as the pain that their pain caused. There is no separation. We all suffer when one suffers. Our only choice is to forgive and accept both ourselves and those involved- ALL of them. It doesn’t mean being friends with those who have hurt us. It doesn’t mean befriending those we have hurt. Forgiveness is not a relationship- it’s an act of mercy and grace, of compassion and love…for ourselves, but it will reach far beyond just you.
There is no struggle greater than the rescue attempt of self. Especially in the beginning of our journey…Which seems to take forever and ever, amen. We learn to forgive ourselves because we learn why we did what we did, but there’s always that person, that “Judge” as Don Miguel Ruiz calls it, that reminds us time and time again, “but what about that one time?” The Judge recalls for us, in perfect detail and with a few embellishments, the wretched things we have done and punishes us a thousand times for it. This is our test.
“When you reflect, you can see plain as day that those years you spent doing all those crazy, fear based shenanigans have managed to whittle themselves down to temporary, short-lived bouts of goofiness.”
The test is to see how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go before you reach that unreachable level of “perfect” that you have designated as your finish line. Life doesn’t finish and neither do you. It’s called a process. Not a race. There was a time when where I am right now would have landed me on top of a tall building, or a dead-end country road, threatening the Universe and God with my inevitable end if They did not change something and quick. In all of those moments, I never realized that crawling down from the building roof, or driving back to town was as much the change to myself as the time between the threats…I never realized that along this slow, painfully slow, process- we were all waiting on, me. We should be thankful that the They never throw their hands up in despair like we do.
This morning I had a choice. See what was happening through the eyes of what HAS happened and run with it, or as it is, struggle within it, OR I could see things differently. I could see that the choice I have in front of me is to see the same old thing as a way to do it differently. The road will not be easy, but it will be a road that leads somewhere as long as I continue to walk it.