can we unapologetically love it all?
What would life be like without regret or qualification of behavior?
Can we love all unapologetically to let something unknown find the way to fullest expression?
I say yes.
We are capable of anything and everything. What will we choose with every cell of our own body and attention and with our collective body and attention?
I have cowered to life. I have apologized for the impact that my very existence had on the world. I have attempted to conform and become smaller and stop the free flow of energy that moves through me. That which creates discomfort in those around me.
That which has created discomfort in me.
I have tried to change myself to fit in, be accepted and to be loved. I have used this as a way to play shy and invisible. My attempts to carve off the parts that upset those around me has imploded time and time again leaving in its wake self-hatred and resentment.
I grew up a very emotional child. I had many tantrums (strong releases of emotion that were inconsolable–a friend calls these Shamanic Releases with her children) these needed time to resolve the energy moving through my sensitive system I now see.
I judged myself.
Felt the judgment and separation from others and quarantined myself to reduce the ripple of distress around me. My emotional body was developing at a different rate than the web of unresolved patterns I was exposed to.
A few months ago during the deepest depression-suicidal feeling state of my life, my dear, magical friend and ex-husband, Gary Heine, suggested a simple practice “I love myself. I love myself. I love myself.” This comes from a very short, powerful book by Kamal Ravikant called, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It. I started that day. It felt like torture in my already tortured state, but I persisted. I downloaded the Audible version and listened several times.
That was when everything in my life started changing for the better.
Today I continue that reminder as often as I think of it, especially when I’m feeling distressed and turned away from life or myself. And this new one that came to me from the ethers: When I enjoy myself, life enjoys me. It has never been wrong.
When I enjoy myself, life enjoys me. Period.
All anxiety, depression, fear, worry even the thought or action that I or anyone else needs protection is just a misuse of creativity. This I believe in my heart. All my disowned parts are showing up one by one to come back to this truth as well. Day by day, moment by moment, trigger by trigger, emotion by emotion, I am remembering.
I was speaking with a friend in a very reactive moment yesterday. I directed her to slow down to meet the energy moving through, to feel it rather than react to it. I used the analogy of throwing a fastball to get it to the next location in the quickest way possible. And then to imagine putting the ball on the ground giving it a slight nudge so she could connect with the experience in realtime. Slow things down.
She kept returning to “I don’t know how to slow things down.”
I pointed her to the feeling she was aware of. She named it. I repeated what she had answered back to her and asked “Is that right?” She affirmed. I then asked, “And what’s under that?”
She named the next emotion or sensation which I again repeated back to her. I asked again, “Is that right?” which she again affirmed “And what’s under that?”
This went on until we got to the most basic and simple fact. She was afraid of loss.
I would say fear of loss is the core wound of humanity.
We are afraid to lose someone, a home, money, body, identity, reputation, etc..
The primal-lizard brain reaction is to fight, flee or play dead. I see this playing out all around the globe in personal and cultural ways.
I met a man recently that reflected so much space, acceptance and appreciation of and for me. At that moment I was not looking for a “romantic” connection. I felt happy and at peace in my relationship to myself. It was an odd feeling to not grasp and make a story about what was occurring in the moment. Pure energy without a storyline. So simple.
In the days that followed I’ve expanded and deepened my connection with myself and what I truly want for this next phase of my life. I want someone who wants to “make the journey” with me as described by Reggie Ray and Caroline Phohl from Dharma Ocean. The way they frame it is of the Tantric Consort being the most powerful path of awakening. It’s emphasis is on the body and the commitment to include whatever arises with another person.
I’m not attached to this particular teaching path, but rather everything being the teacher, everything included in an intimate relationship. I know this depth of relating with myself. Perhaps that is truly the deepest and singular work?
In naming this, within 24 hours, I found myself face down in my neediness gasping for him to rescue me there even though I had left his physical presence many days before. I could hardly stand up. I was disoriented and fighting the truth of what had found its way to the surface of my awareness.
“I’m needy and want someone to save me.”
I resisted its devouring nature. Holding myself back from turning my full attention toward this (I believe my most) uncomfortable feeling. Neediness. I let myself do whatever I had the impulse to. I used tobacco, I ate, I watched a movie, I wallowed. I reached out for reassurance via connection with him. I rolled over all our interactions like cud in my brain.
I wanted to get away from myself.
I went outside in the crazy-making Santa Ana winds of Southern California, feeling the fires, the shootings, the internal disassociation and then a thought took me over, “I’m a crazy person and I love it. I love being out of control, needy and voracious in a world out of my control.”
I started laughing and getting a deeply turned-on feeling in my body. An aliveness that moments before felt unfathomable and extinct. I learned the practice of Existential Kink from one of my recent mentors, Carolyn Elliott. Up until that moment I hadn’t let myself fall deeply enough into the practice to feel the pleasure of its liberating possibilities.
I got into a hot salt bath (usually one of my most happy places) but last night I was even irritated and resistant to the water, to the heat, to the very comfort I thought I wanted. I rushed out, brushed my teeth and found my way to sleep, waking only from what many would call a “nightmare” but more rightly renamed by one of my clients this morning as a “mightmare.”
When writing about the dream I understood what it was bringing up: my attachment to knowing what was going to happen next. Overlaying the past onto the future. Or worse creating a future based on my fear of loss.
This is where the neurosis lives.
The idea that we know anything.
When we “Step through the door of chaos” as Monica Gagliano articulates so beautifully in her new book, Thus Spoke the Plant, we let life have us. And to take the ride as gracefully as we can while we're being wildly slashed and dissected to reveal the lies we have believed so dearly.
The practice is to come back to love.
To love ourselves in the innocence of believing something outside ourselves - like “Magic doesn't exist" or "I have to know where I'm going for it to be what I want" or “I can’t have what I want” or “I’m too fat to have what I want” or “I need a man to feel complete, wanted and beautiful” or “The world is ending” etc..
The invitation is to “Accept, love and surrender" as deeply and as instantaneously as we can while feeling what is being brought to the surface. That's it.
There truly is nothing to figure out or fear.
Life is happening for us.
It's the perfect storm bringing the chaos needed for the change we are longing for. Just like nature models for us.
Stay at the edge of comfort (in the storm where all the action is) and bring loving attention and acceptance. This is the freedom and magic we want.
Do what feels "right" in each moment and let go of doubting “It should have been different” or “I should have been different.” This doubt only points to the fact that we are looking for permission or validation from the outer world.
We have enslaved parts of ourselves for greed, control, the illusion of power, our wild bits, the ones we can’t understand with our intellect, the ones that bring discomfort to our status and long held beliefs. These are the parts that can not and never were owned. They are just so pure that they’ve been willing to play this role until we woke from this “wrong” dreaming.
We are awakening from a long collective sleep.
Love is the prince’s kiss we’ve been waiting for.
It’s from the inside.
“There is no other” as Ramana Maharshi put so succinctly.
It’s all just the reflection of our interior. No matter how horrific, we are all capable of every single thing another human has done or is currently doing.
This is us. This is me. This is you.
Stop turning away in terror and connect with our innocent forgetting. Bring love there. To yourself when chasing after the fairy tale or the most deafening of all, to the lie we are helpless and can do nothing to change this world.
With every thought, action, fight, connection or disconnection we are creating this world.
My incredible mother, Linda Jones Clough, recently reminded me “The only difference between a tragedy and a comedy is that in the end of a tragedy the main character dies.”
Wonder what this collective-creative-project will end up being?
We are in a global-suicidal-tendency because we have lost connection with the sacred. For some that means God, Goddess, faith, Nature, divinity, cosmos, our own body. Perhaps it’s all the same thing?
Until we admit that a part of us wants to be scared, hiding, defensive, not-knowing what will come next, we are prisoners of our own thinking. When we turn away from the delicate and powerful emotions and sensations that are being elicited by our circumstances we stay in the fog and delusion that we will be saved by some outside force.
We are that force.
It is a choice where we place our attention and what we deny. This will keep writing the script internally and in the world at large whatever we choose.
It takes courage to feel. The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.”
It takes a reckoning with self that our own violence, disenfranchising, greed, love of domination and being dominated has been our own doing (how we treat ourselves) and that we can set our own self free.
We are actually the one that can. We can have loving friends, mentors, coaches, family, who remind us where to place our attention, but no one can place your attention for us. This is the very core of a meditation practice, learning how to place our attention well.
No one is coming.
You, me, us, are at the helm. Speak up, break down, let yourself grieve, rage, celebrate this existence with pure abandon. With no thought.
And I ask again, will this be a tragedy or a comedy?