Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Archive for the tag “ego”

What’s Your Story?

We all have stories. Stories are what we believe to be true and what we tell others about our lives. Rumi says… “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” I find it interesting that he does not say, “unfold your own story,” or even, “unfold your own truth,” but “unfold your own myth.”

I was listening to an NPR podcast the other day and they were interviewing Tony Robbins. He mentioned something about stories that really struck me. He revealed that he was beaten as a child. Apparently he shared that truth with some kids when he was doing a talk in order that they might relate to him… to understand that even if you have a troubled youth, you can still turn your life around. The point he was making on the podcast was that he had consciously chosen not to perpetuate that story… that he worked hard to create a new story that he had shared with the world. Until that time, and only for the very specific purpose of relating to those kids, he had chosen not to share that story of himself and his life and to share and communicate a new story… one of empowerment and strength rather than victim hood and struggle.

Sometimes I think we get very caught up in what’s “true.” Reality, if you will. But what that realization illuminated for me is that we can choose to focus on other parts of our lives that are just as true and real without perpetuating the parts of our story that do not foster our own growth and development as a human being. Now, I am not advocating for a life of lies. I am not implying that everyone should wake up tomorrow pretending that their past is non-existent and acting as if the sky is green. I’m simply saying that we all have choices. Choice about what to share… what to focus on.. what to pay attention to on a daily basis. In any given day, there are as many, if not more, positive occurrences as negative… so why in the world do we feel so inclined, when asked how we’re doing, to list the 2-5 things that have gone wrong in the day? I know it’s not just me who does this because I walk around hearing of everyone’s issues on a regular basis. I’m not complaining, mind you… I’m just recognizing that we are very much hard-wired to focus on our negative story instead of perpetuating the positive aspects of our day and lives. I’d say we can’t help it… but that might be seen as taking on a bit of victim mentality, no?

What is your story? How do you feel when you tell your story? Does your story focus on the amazing, wonderful events that have shaped your life… or does you get caught up in the negative, difficult details? Do share your story!

Love and light!  ~Rashel

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Authenticity Test: My Choice between Liar or Loser

I had a very interesting experience today. I was attending a work meeting. The meeting started off innocently enough. There were 60 or so people – a fairly robust crowd. In lieu of having every person introduce themselves, which would have taken a considerable amount of time, the facilitator led a warm-up exercise to get the meeting started. The instruction was to stand up if you could answer yes to the statement… can speak more than one language… was not born in the United States… has English as a second language (most of the statements revolved around the upcoming presentation on Latino health). The last question was, “have attended the big-deal presentation that everyone is expected to have attended” (big-deal being code for the name of the actual presentation).

Now during the warm-up exercise, there is a mix of attendees standing and sitting throughout. UNTIL… that last question. As I looked around to see who else, besides me, had not attended the big-deal presentation, I noticed that most everyone was standing. Then, much to my dismay, the facilitator decided to further bring the point home. “I noticed that a couple people in the back there were not standing. Please stand if you have not attended the big-deal presentation.”

Then… it happened. Uh…. should I stand? What do I do? All of the various reasons why I had not yet attended said big-deal presentation came rushing to my brain. Do I admit my failure and stand up? (Surely others will see me as a complete loser!) Or pretend that I, too, had done what was obviously the expected action? (Liar, liar, pants on fire!)

The interesting thing is this… as all of the excuses and thoughts about whether or not to “fess up” were racing through my head… and there were lots of excuses… and a lot of thoughts (and doubts)… all the while… I noticed my body standing up. What? Wait? Huh?

As my eyes slowly took in the room… from the far left… to the far right… not a single other person was standing. My gaze quickly circled back to my boss, who was sitting on the left side of the room. And then my panicked gaze darted back and forth between my sitting boss and the sitting Director of my department. sitting boss… sitting Director… sitting boss… Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

So, at this point, I have a choice. But the choice is not whether or not to experience the moment… because of course I’m embarrassed. That’s a given. No one wants to be called out as the lone person who did not complete an assignment. I’m not going to pretend that it didn’t bother me. The choice is really in the aftermath. Do I spend the rest of the day beating myself up and worrying about what everyone thinks of me? Do I make up stories about how this incident will surely ruin my career and stain my reputation? Or… do I acknowledge the embarrassment and move on, as difficult as that may be. In an absolutely beautiful moment, I might even be able to appreciate my courage to be authentic… to stand up in the face of impending doom and own my situation.

Here’s what I came to realize… at the end of the day, none of us are perfect. And I’m realizing that being authentic is not about being perfect. It’s about being real. It’s about standing up… standing out… and being ok with who we are… imperfections and all. It’s letting go of the need for perfection and recognizing that there is enormous beauty in acceptance.

So from one imperfect person to another, I invite you to STAND UP… take a deep breath… and love yourself fully!  ~Rashel

 

Good Enuf is the New Perfect

When did being good enough become not enough? I can’t think of anyone I know who’d be excited to get a “good enough” review. Everybody wants to be the best. Or at least, great! Everyone walks around completely frustrated with what they didn’t get accomplished instead of being satisfied, let alone happy, with what they did. Is it just an evolutionary thing… that we had to focus on the negative in order to survive and now we’re just fostering a bad habit that is no longer serving us… or is there more to it?

Why is this tendency to walk around feeling that we are never good enough so prevalent? I think somewhere along the line, we took the notion that anything is possible a little too far. While it’s true that there are people who can do great things… I don’t necessarily believe that any person can do anything they want. Not every kid who wants to get into Yale makes it. Not every person who wants to be a famous actor or singer will make it big. If you think about it, that’s a heck of a lot of pressure on the person thinking that if they just try hard enough, they can be and do anything they want. All of a sudden, there are no boundaries, no guidelines… no reality checks.

Now, this might seem like an odd way to start back on the blogging circuit! I don’t mean to sound so pessimistic, stepping on the dreams of our youth. But the truth is, this whole ‘gotta be the best’ mentality has stopped me cold on numerous occasions as I’ve thought about getting back to writing. What if it’s not good? Or worse, really bad? What if no one cares? Are we creating a world where people are afraid to fail? And if failing isn’t part of the process, then you certainly aren’t pushing yourself to do anything great… because greatness comes with lots of learnings (aka failures). Come to think of it, maybe that’s exactly (or close to) the recipe to greatness… try, good enough, try, fail, try, good enough, try, fail, (fail, fail, fail), try, better, try, fail, try, great!!

Make no mistake… allowing yourself to be simply ‘good enough’ takes courage… it requires feeling the fear of not being good enough and doing it anyway. It’s recognizing that good enough gets you into the arena… while waiting to be perfect keeps you in the stands. I’m realizing that, at least for me, a whole life of good enough is better than a list of regrets for things that didn’t happen because I was trying to get it perfect or scared I wouldn’t be the best. So, I’m going to hold the fear of not good enough, not long enough, not relevant enough, not witty enough… and I’m going to click the ‘publish’ button anyway. Because in case you haven’t heard… good enuf is the new perfect!

Brand New Day

After blogging pretty much every week for over a year, I just stopped. I’m not sure it was on purpose. I just got busy and skipped a week. And then the next week was really busy, too… and pretty soon, it had been a month. And then two. And then… well, you get the picture! It’s been 4 months since my last blog post. It feels like an eternity. I’ve been seriously wanting and meaning to blog again for the past month or so… but a funny thing happened. All of a sudden I shifted into all or nothing thinking and couldn’t keep myself from getting overwhelmed at the thought of blogging every week again. Apparently, if I’m going to blog, it needs to be every week!

So anyway… here I am. I have to admit on some level it’s a bit of a forced activity. When you’re blogging every week there’s a bit of a rhythm that ensues. Not so much has happened in a week that you can’t narrow it down into a topic of choice. With 4 months… it’s a bit daunting. On one hand, there’s a lot I could write about. And on the other hand, I kinda want to say there’s been this major transformational experience… I mean, it’s been 4 months for cryin’ out loud!  Surely the Universe gets a kick out of our ego-centric naiveté!

I’ve decided to keep this post short and sweet. Partly because there is a part of me that wants it to be perfect… the big comeback post (with that transformational epiphany we talked about earlier!) and partly because of a new concept I’m trying to embrace, which I’ll talk more about in future posts (how’s that for a teaser?!).  In the meantime, remember that today is a brand new day! Carpe Diem…

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Baby Steps, Indeed

I think I was just tested on spiritual maturity… and I may have failed.

I interviewed for a job promotion recently. I didn’t get it. I was Super disappointed (you’ll notice that’s not just regular super… that’s Super with a capital S!). I tried to talk myself into a spiritual place… you know – saying things to myself like, “things happen for a reason,” “it wasn’t meant to be,” “now you’re available for the right thing that’s going to come along soon,” etc., etc., etc. The problem was, my ego wasn’t going for it… it had a field day. “You’re not good enough,” “You’re not appreciated,” “You screwed up the interview,” “You’re not as great as you think you are,” “You didn’t really have a chance in the first place.” I could go on… but you get the drift. My negative thoughts were definitely outweighing the positive.

I happen to be reading Wayne Dyer’s book ‘The Shift’ at this very same time (synchronicity, perhaps?). The book talks about our journey from ambition to meaning. It explains how we move from initially recognizing ourselves as separate and needing to compete for everything… to a place where we are connected to everything and can trust in the Universe to take care of us.

“Our highest self doesn’t feel threatened by others because it doesn’t embrace the concept of separateness. Not feeling separate, our desire for a purposeful life nurtures a sense of unity with all other beings. This feeling of connectedness flows in the direction of compassion; ultimately, we reach out to the world with gentleness, humility, and kindness because we’ve returned to our original nature.”
~The Shift by Dr. Wayne W Dyer.

Ok, so let’s say I get to the place of believing that we’re all connected… and one person’s joy and accomplishment does not come at the expense of my own… isn’t it pushin’ it just a bit to believe that we will all be taken care of? There is definitely a part of me that is doubtful. I look around and see plenty of examples of what I consider to be “NOT” taken care of. Then again, this implies that I know, better than God or the Universe, what it means to be taken care of. I’m pretty sure we can all think of times in our lives when we thought something was horrible… but then it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. Not necessarily easy, or pain-free… but good in the sense that it helped us grow… or be where we needed to be when something else came along.

Now, even when I get to the point of talking myself into the possibility that we are taken care of in this world… I still struggle with what it means to “allow” for this possibility. I’m quite certain it does not mean we go sit on the couch and wait for things to happen. I guess the best answer I’ve come up with is that “allowing” is when we let go of all the struggling and stressing and tune in to our own wisdom.  The irony is that you need to slow down and stop being so busy in order to hear… but we’re constantly pushing ourselves to hurry up… do more… compete… get ahead. How did we get it all so backward? It reminds me of when I’m working on a crossword puzzle and I can’t think of an answer… if I walk away and distract myself for a bit, the answer comes without effort. I think somehow it could be that easy… if we could figure out how to detach from the process and the outcome… hahahahah… easy, peasy!!!

Well, if the last couple weeks have taught me anything, it’s that I certainly need to do some work around trusting and allowing. I guess you could say that not getting promoted was the best thing that could have happened… not easy… not pain-free… but definitely filled with opportunity for growth and development.  So really instead of being Super disappointed, I should be Super appreciative… Well, I might not be there quite yet, but I’ll work on it!

Trust… Allow… Be thankful… Trust… Allow… Be thankful.   ~Rashel

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