Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Archive for the tag “God”

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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Love, Laughter and Tears…

I was planning to blog about my intentions for 2013. I was planning to share my three words for the year. I was definitely going to say Happy New Year and start my blog for this year, having taken some much-needed time off from work and hobbies, with all my ideas of the amazing year that lies ahead. Then I got a phone call…

My best friend’s husband died. He was 39 years old. They have two kids under the age of 8. Her entire life just got knocked upside down. Where do plans and intentions fit in a world that is so unpredictable and chaotic? It’s true that we will never know our exact path… but does that mean we shouldn’t plan and intend? Is the process of planning still important, even if life throws you a curveball, or in this case drops a bomb on your head, and changes everything? Part of me is wondering if we have any control at all… (reminds me of a saying “You want to know how to make God laugh? Tell him your plans!”), and the other part is insisting that we do and demanding that I step up, be courageous and leave a legacy.

It might be too soon to have realizations, but something struck me last night when I was talking to my friend. She was describing the juxtaposition of the unbearable pain, grief and disbelief she’s holding in her heart… with the gratitude of love and support that is flowing from every nook and cranny, from family, friends and strangers, to hold her up in this difficult time. There’s a part of me… the small, little part that isn’t totally pissed off that life could be so cruel… that realizes this outpouring of love IS what life is all about. People move through grief, tragedy and all sorts of terrible situations and inevitably they come out on the other side. I’m not sure people would make it through if it weren’t for the love.

There is so much pain in my heart when I think of my friend and her children. When life delivers such a leveling blow… how in the world do you recover? There are so few answers… and so many questions. I won’t pretend to have advice. I will listen. I will provide a shoulder. I will love. I will make my friend laugh as much as I can… for I believe laughter to be an amazing healer. And though I have questions myself, through all of this, I will hold tightly to the belief that there are greater reasons beyond our ability to understand. That there is love. That it will be enough to get us through.

This Saturday I’m going to an Intentions Event. I will sit in a room with 50 or so other amazing women and chart my plan for the next year. I will think big dreams and set my intentions. The part of me that feels compelled to step up, be courageous and ‘leave a legacy’ will win. And for this, I am thankful. Pay attention to the love… the love that can be spoken… the love that can be acted upon… the love in your heart that you give to yourself and to others… that is what truly gets us through each day.

With love, laughter and tears   ~Rashel

A way to contribute

Non Striving… huh?

I was reading a little bit about Zen principles and one theme of Zen is that of non striving. I get it in theory. Yes, I’ve heard and recited to others the notion that we are exactly where we are supposed to be for our evolution and growth. Yes, I’ve told myself in times of uncertainty that all things are as they should be. I’ve even professed to myself and others that all things happen for a reason. However, and this is a very big however, the idea of not striving for something different? something more… something better… something – at the next level of what currently exists… NO WAY. I can’t imagine it. Wouldn’t that mean that I had no passion? Wouldn’t that mean that I was lazy… depressed… detached from life?

It makes me think of Byron Katie‘s work… which she so happens to refer to as, “The Work.” When I read her book, Loving What Is… it really shifted my perception of life. I often ask myself, when I’m feeling upset, indignant, or unhappy with what currently lies before me… can I really know that this is not exactly what is supposed to be happening for my ultimate spiritual growth right now? I mean, bad things happen to everyone. There is not one single person that you can name who hasn’t experienced hardship of some kind… and if you think you know someone… I invite you to dig a little deeper!  It makes me think of the analogy of the pearl… the rough sand is required to rub against the pearl to shine it into the beautiful gem that we have come to know and love. Without the scratchy, rough friction, the pearl would never be transformed into a beautiful gem…. and the true fulfillment of its greatest nature.

So, lets say that we are accepting the current state of our lives. We are, potentially, accepting and loving what is. (And I’m not saying that this is my current state… just the state that I aspire to)… Where does non-striving come into play? If I maintain a state of non striving, does that mean that I am succumbing to the current state and will never move beyond my current situation? I believe this is one of those quirky life paradoxes where instead of being either/or… the reality is both/and… I am BOTH succumbing to the current state AND moving beyond my current situation.

Here is what I believe, even if I have not been able to fully embody the truth that is set forth. The more we can get ridiculously excited about our current state… the more we invite events and situations into our life that are worth getting excited about. And on the flip side… the more that we focus on, talk about, and commiserate about the hardships, setbacks and irritations in our current state, the more we invite similar negative experiences into our lives. It is such a simple and straightforward concept to talk about… and so very difficult to enact. Even believing, as I do, that this concept is 100% accurate… I still find myself complaining, and commiserating with others. It is human nature, I suppose, to pay attention to the potential negativity and issues that could prove problematic. What I hope is that we can teach ourselves to move past this initial reaction, and as Byron Katie’s work suggests, we could question ourselves into a place of greater awareness and utmost content.

One last thing I want to address… does non striving mean not doing anything? NO. Non striving means not beating yourself up for not being other than you are in this very moment. It does not mean that you do not continue to act and think and believe in greater days ahead. The biggest discrepancy between non striving and where I feel that I am today, is that I do not spend enough time honoring my current state. Non striving involves much more appreciation of what is… of where you are currently on your journey… of what you’ve accomplished to date! I’m sure there is much more to learn about non striving… but I’m going to take a moment to be content with what I have learned thus far… and know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be on my own journey to non striving!

Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel

Ebb and Flow…

“I easily adapt to the ebb and flow of my life.” ~Louise L Hay – Power Thoughts

This is a power thought I need to work on! I’m realizing I’m not so good at honoring the ebb and flow of my energy. My habit is to go, go, go until my mind and/or body collapses… and then… to rest only as long as absolutely necessary until I can jump back into the game. What I’m realizing lately is that this need for constant motion is entirely my own doing. I’m not a high-profile public figure – I don’t have hoards of people clamoring for my attention every day – no entourage of people waiting for me to give them the ok on things.  Nope… just a normal, busy working Mom who may be her own worst enemy when it comes to chaos!

If I take a long hard look at where I put my energy… much of it tends to go toward taking care of others rather than myself. I do get satisfaction from doing for others… but sometimes at my own expense. There is a part of me that knows the extent to which I do for others is related to my people pleaser self. I want others to like me… to see me as nice. Taking time for myself doesn’t make me look good to others… it makes me look selfish. In reality, I’m not sure that’s true… but it must be an underlying belief that I hold, cause I sure do act as if it’s truth! Often when I do take time for myself, I end up feeling guilty or trying to make up for it by working harder when I’m done. Why, why, why?

Now, I’m not trying to pass myself off as a martyr here. It’s not like I’m doing slave labor 24/7! First of all, no one is making me work so hard at ignoring my own needs. That’s 100% me. Secondly, I have amazing people in my life who love and support me. Many of the things that I do for “others” in the name of helping, could be better served by having them done themselves. For example, my kids could be doing a lot of the stuff that I “take on” in their name. In fact, they’d be better off for it. The problem is, this requires me to be consistent about making them do it. Nagging them to do chores makes me feel like the “bad guy.” While doing it for them makes me feel like a great Mom. In reality, I’m fishing for them instead of teaching them how to fish. Why, why, why?

There are always a million things on the to-do list. And somehow, no matter how many things I get through in a day, the list is always just as full tomorrow. I really want to learn to honor the ebb and flow of my energy. And if my body tells me it needs a “time out,” I want to just take one – and not feel guilty about it. Just honor the fact that sometimes I run at 150%… and other times I need to crank it down to 50% and be ok with that.

What about you? Are you regularly stopping to fill up your tank… or do you run on fumes most of the time? What happens when you hit the lulls of energy and your body needs a break? Do you allow it… or push through it?  Curious how others cope through the demands of the day!

Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel

 

Define… HAPPY!

So much of what I’ve read lately talks about being happy. It even goes so far as to say that there are no right or wrong answers in life… as long as you are true to yourself and the decision makes you happy. Do you buy this? I’m struggling a little bit myself. I tend to be a people pleaser. I know there’s a lot of us out there… it’s probably what allows us to coexist on this planet! It makes me unhappy… or at least uncomfortable… to confront others. Especially when I believe that what I’m going to say will be met with anger or resistance. So much so, that I sometimes avoid conversations that I think will result in conflict. On the one hand, this makes me happy because I’m avoiding discomfort… but in the long run, if what I’m avoiding really needs to be addressed, it can cause me great unhappiness… and frustration… and resentment… oh my!

So… is discomfort the same as unhappiness? Well, if I reverse the question it becomes, is comfort the same as happiness?  Now that’s a question I’m more familiar with. I’m “comfortable” not going to the gym, not working out regularly and staying up late to watch television. I’m “comfortable” eating bacon, spreading on the butter and drinking wine. When things become habitual, they tend to feel very comfortable. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will make you happy. On the other hand, I’m uncomfortable getting up early… but completing a yoga video that made me stretch and sweat feels pretty great. I guess it has partly to do with instant gratification vs. delayed gratification.  Say, what? What makes me happy in this moment isn’t necessarily the same as what will make me happy a week from now… a month from now… or years from now whereas what makes me a little uncomfortable right now could lead to great happiness.

Lets get back to the conflict. Not something you will hear from me very often but, yes, I just said that! Avoiding conflict in this moment is instant gratification. I avoid feeling uncomfortable right now. Unfortunately the fact that it’s “right now” is often a huge factor. The alternative is to address the conflict right now to increase the likelihood that my position will be heard and respected. It’s also likely that after avoiding conflict I will feel relieved, but not happy. If I learn to speak my mind, despite the potential for conflict or reactance, I will potentially become happier with myself and the outcomes that result. The trick, I suppose, is getting more comfortable with the discomfort!

So let’s say I move into the discomfort and become more apt to speak my mind. Now here’s another little conundrum. I’m happy because I’ve stated my needs clearly and concisely despite potential conflict. In the process, I’ve totally irritated someone else, who is not happy at all with my clear and concise needs. How does my own drive for happiness, if it ultimately diminishes the happiness of another, impact my overall happiness? Or does it? I guess if I’m responsible for and take accountability of my own happiness, and others are responsible for and take accountability of their own happiness… we all get what we need, right? No? Maybe nobody gets what they need. I don’t know… I’m too busy trying to please other people and take responsibility for their happiness to find out!

This week… I will pay more attention to my own happiness. What makes me happy? When do I hold back from asking for what I want? Who’s happiness am I protecting and at what cost? Just how uncomfortable is it to go for the long-term happy instead of the now happy? Join me!

Love and laughter to you! Thanks for reading along.  ~Rashel

 

 

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