Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Frozen by what's NOT in my heart

It's been a rough and tumble couple of weeks as I attempt to figure out what I want to be right now, not just when I grow up because I'm not sure I'll ever be in that place. Nor do I want to be, unless, maybe, when it's time to transition from this life.

My blog, among other things, has suffered as a result. It's not that I haven't tried, it's just that it has come out in fits and starts that never seem like a whole piece or even finished. Yet that's been my life of late. Perhaps stringing these chunks on one strand may make a whole something. Here goes:


Wish the world would let me in on its little secrets sooner. Ones like:

• You can have a career and have a family, but if you have the family later and take time off, you're in for a BIG surprise if you think you can return on your terms.
• If you decide you have a spiritual side and prefer to live in that place, the rest of the world doesn't hold much of a place for you.
• You can have a chronic disease and pretend you don't, but sooner or later the world will trigger something to remind you that you do.
• You can give yourself away and the world will ask for more.
• You can show your soul to the world, thinking you're ready, and it will still get stomped on.
• You can "think" you're in a spiritual environment and still be subjected to the demands of the secular world.
• If you are creative in any way, you will have to carve your own path.
• Ha, ha, ha; there IS a glass ceiling.

[You can CUT the anger and frustration, can't you?]

After feeling defeated, now I am rebellious; tired of the restrictiveness of the norm and anxious to break out into something more creative, joyful and ... well ... me.

[Something's at work in this shift – creativity?]

I tried an office job because people I love and respect asked and I thought I should give it a go, which they graciously let me do. It was not a fit for many reasons. But primarily because that's not where my essential self calls and it spoke petty loudly. I ignored it and fought on. Which is what I have typically done in life when I let my social self tell me what to do and I let myself be dictated to by "everybody's opinion," that I have learned is not real thanks to reading Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You were Meant to Live by Martha Beck.

Interesting how I came across this book. It was "recommended" by the New York agent who flirted with me for a few days to quickly dash my hopes of her representation after  a lot of blood, sweat and tears.  She said my book was too similar to North Star, among others. I was shocked because my research had not turned up anything quite like I was proposing: my journey of the past 12 years in journal entries and art, wrapped with meditations, queries, affirmations, exercises and explanations I've developed in training and leading spiritual-nurture groups and workshops. And, because North Star was ten years old, it wasn't even on my radar.

So, being the curious sort, I borrowed a copy of the book. Our titles are similar [mine was Finding Your True Self: A Map of Self Spiritual Exploration and Nurture, which I will change], even the chapters follow common themes, ending with exercises. That sounds like a lot, but the commonality ends in that her approach is more a life process of finding your calling; mine is about re-discovering the Divine within.

And then I began reading it. BINGO. I needed this book and am not sure I'd ever have found it otherwise.  Coupled with a rejection, which I usually take pretty hard, I began to explore how and why someone else's judgment can be so personally damaging and damning. 

This probing has been also been facilitated by a convergence of experience, awareness and provocative, loving souls who have witnessed my pain and frustration. The North Star book delineates our essential self [the one we're born with] and the social self [the one that conforms] and theorizes that balancing the two opens new and greater possibilities. For most people the social self is in charge ... often without any awareness.

I understand I am not meant to live a conventional life and can surrender into that acceptance, while leaving "what everybody thinks" behind. Everybody, according to Beck, boils down to those influential in our lives, the media, our educational system and those who have been critical of us ... especially those.

The intensity of recent events in my life was almost crushing until someone shook me up and made me see what I passively let happen. Maybe not so passively. I took a bold step and the immediate release was unexpectedly wonderful. In North Star, Beck says that siding with the essential self makes one feel like Scrooge the morning after the ghosts have visited: free and full of love and gratitude.

I was certain I'd crash the next day with the flu/cold one daughter and my spouse shared. Instead, I arose very early, cooked large breakfasts and saw each daughter to her bus, took a yoga class, visited on the phone with a close friend and prepared to have appliances delivered the next day [i.e. cleaning out the old food and old fridge]. And, in between, dreamt of all the new possibilities for MY work, with the emphasis on my and not someone else's.

I have re-gained some energy and a new vision is emerging, one that flows and does not require me to fight. I am tired of fighting, pitting my selves against each other with my body and psyche as the battlegrounds.

I am dealing with the lost-energy aftermath, but my spirit is more than in tact; it feels free again. Free enough to put itself out there with this "in-process" blog post. One person whose opinion I respect rather strongly suggests it's time for me to go out into the world and I wonder what, exactly, that means right now.

• How do I know what I am currently doing is my real work?
• How can I use blinders to let rejection and judgment fall away as I find my path?
• What lessons do those difficult encounters create?
• What is the real, true me?
• How do I remind myself gently that I am a work in progress and extend that to others?

frozen by what's not in my heart,
but rather on my mind or in untrue voices

thoughts and whispers that have imbedded a deep and binding
culvert I am attempting to dig out and re-channel

thus connecting my heart to the rest of me and ...
working toward wholeness

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