Testing Space and Stillness

Life is so much kinder and wiser than your mind imagines. Trust and be still. – Mooji

Some days, I wish my bed would swallow me whole, incubate me for a while, then spit me out, rearranged, refashioned and with the “Forward” button firmly pressed.

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Instead, I’m having to do it the hard way. Get up, get dressed and face the ever mounting brick walls that seem to expel themselves out of the ground, like rogue weeds. They appear each time I do something that I think will move me forward. It seems my idea of “forward” or progress needs redressing.

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Today is just another in a long string of days pushing me into muddy swamps and endless questions. As someone who’s suffered with long term chronic illness of an undiagnosed kind, I did what many people who seek answers do, and that is read self-help books, do courses, workshops, seminars, study counselling – you name it, I’ve done it.

So I get that my thoughts affect my life, that my anxiety has an undercurrent of distorted childhood thinking and these two need to be remoulded into something new and useful. For many years I thought that if I found my “thing”, then the ensuing passion would thrust me forward like a massive tsunami, dumping me on the shore of everlasting happiness, wealth and abundance. That’s ‘The Secret” right? No actually, it’s not.  You see despite uncovering that I make a good counsellor, and awakening my deeply dormant creative interests, these discoveries are not facilitating the miraculous healing I was after.

Instead, the past weeks have brought a hormonally challenged body, a strained back muscle, aches in new places and a bewildered mind that couldn’t understand why my health had suddenly shifted into reverse, again. I felt like I was the passenger in a vehicle with a crazy and evil driver at the wheel. I was sure that doing my artistic pursuits like sewing would provide the answer, but instead both my overlocker/serger and sewing machine simultaneously quit working, with little or no explanation. It seems, my machines are mimicking my physical body. So if I strip away the desire for perfect health, my work as a counsellor and artistic pursuits, what am I left with? Nothing, and therein lies the answer.

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At various times in our life, we are called to strip back, spring clean, sanitise and deodorise our old houses to make way for the new. Years ago, I would have thrown a tantrum the minute my life went AWOL, submerged into a sloppy pool of self-pity, crying, “foul” at the umpire. The gift of being a long-term wellness seeker means that I’ve learnt to look at these obstacles with different eyes. No longer do I seek to blame the universe, or simply think I’ve been cursed for some kind of karmic indiscretion. Instead, I see that failing machines, failing bodies and failed attempts at keeping busy are all attempting to keep me still. Enlightenment can only be gained by being anchored and going within. As long as I’m writing, sewing, gardening or counselling others, I’m not allowing me to be my ‘self’, I’m not creating the space to be still and enter the void, that place that I’ve tried to a-void! But the signs are there. Stop or be stopped. Time to rest and not achieve. Time to be still to be refilled because only then can creativity flow from the great cosmic cauldron of inspiration and creation.

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So if you find yourself suddenly up against an endless row of barriers too high to leap over, step off life’s travelator for a while and just be.  Just as Star Wars heroes Hans Solo and Chewbacca set their intention to enter another dimension, they hit the “warp speed” button and then sat back and watched the light show, knowing that as their craft enters that space between worlds, that they are no longer in control but instead at the mercy of “the force”. They have in mind their destination, but only greater cosmic forces will determine if they reach their destination and their prize.

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Image: dailytech.com

In reading the galactic map around us, stargazing and meditating under a full moon, we will come to know those moments in life that need warp speed and those that need us to be suspended in the void.  Allowing ourselves the gift of stillness means we can expel the old and then refill with the new, giving us all we need to be thrust into the new and unknown frontiers of our evolving life.

Have you found a way to tune in to your soul’s navigational system?

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The not so hidden Christmas gift


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Christmas has come and gone again, leaving in it’s wake a temporary happiness that comes with giving shiny new things, until they fall out of favour and end up in landfill, only to do it all again next year. For me, each passing Christmas has evoked a gentler longing for a simpler gift, like a scented candle, some wool to crochet with or just a sense of peace.  This year however has borne it’s own unique and surprising gift, and not the kind you’ll find in any store.

Like many people, 2015 for me, came with health challenges, ongoing Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the kind that you hope will be resolved with a magical Christmas wish, like the gifting of that elusive key that will unlock the mystery cure .  This year my unique gift wasn’t from a medical diagnosis but from a sudden knowing and insight into what might be the actual cause, and surprisingly, it’s not a physical malfunction, but more of a spiritual and emotional one.

Image courtesy: egoopportunity.net
Image courtesy: egoopportunity.net

You see for the past two years, I’ve been studying a post graduate course that has felt less like I was learning something worthwhile, and more like I was bashing my head against a brick wall. It’s not that some of the material isn’t interesting, but it’s deeply theoretical with few ‘real life skills’ that I really want and need as a spiritual mentor and counsellor. To make things worse, the course is now only available online, with a measly two day workshop mid semester, not ideal when studying counselling, which is all about human interaction and communication.

So, if this course ticked  none of my heart’s boxes why was I doing it? Well because I’d fallen into the “Title” trap and therefore, the only box it ticked was my head’s box, the home of our ego, that insatiable and dominating part of me that said, “Don’t do the holistic diploma course your heart really wants, do the higher level degree instead, because more people will be impressed by this one, and if they’re impressed, you’ll feel special!”

Image courtesy: quotessays.com
Image courtesy: quotessays.com

And I fell for it.  Ego convinced me to trudge my way through this course because it convinced me that when I finished it, I’d feel more important, more “special”, all those sneaky little tricks it uses to make us feel less than.  It didn’t matter that I’d already been working successfully as a counsellor and that my clients were happy to refer their family and friends to me. No, for ego it wasn’t enough, and despite me often telling my clients about the ego trap, I myself had fallen in, hook, line and sinker.

Don’t get me wrong, I love studying and formal qualifications of all kinds have their place, as long as we do them for the right reasons.  If spending all that time and effort brings us a sense of joy and accomplishment and satisfies higher goals, then we know it’s the right path, but if it’s filled with dread and resentment, and importantly starts to affect our mental, physical and spiritual health, then we really need to examine our motivations.

Image courtesy: leadchangegroup.com
Image courtesy: leadchangegroup.com

And so my Christmas gift this year was the gift of clarity, the ability to see that I’d been putting my heart’s desire aside, because my head made it all about perceived ego value, not heart value.  And, whereas my old course took so much time because my heart wasn’t in it and therefore resulted in chronic procrastination, doing a course I love will be it’s own motivator, helping me complete the course quickly, giving me another gift, the precious gift of time, time to pursue my other creative interests like writing, crochet and design.

The silly thing is, I really don’t “need” any more formal qualification because my clients always leave feeling better than when they arrived and that is aim of successful counselling and mentoring.  Plus, not once have they asked about my academic credentials, it was my own ego trying to sabotage my hard-won sense of self worth.

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Sadly in our culture, it’s too often about BIG trophies and about having the most impressive qualifications, the biggest office and pay packet etc. and less about truly loving what you do, even if it comes with a smaller, quieter office, and a more modest pay packet.

Image courtesy: forumbodybuilding.com
Image courtesy: forumbodybuilding.com

So my Christmas gift this year was the magical key of clarity, helping me see that rather than pursue the ego path that has been toxic to my health, I can choose the heart-path.  As a bonus, it frees me to pursue my creative interests, those that nourish me and help foster good health.  So if you are grappling with a battle between your head and your heart, take a moment to breath and see which option feels like you are losing oxygen, and which one fills your lungs with joy and a sense of lightness.

Image courtesy: puputnopitasari.blogspot.com.au
Image courtesy: puputnopitasari.blogspot.com.au

Like me, you may discover that the magical key you were hoping to find to solve your dilemma was in your pocket the whole time.

Image courttesy litaburke.com
Image courttesy litaburke.com