175: In Service Of Love

We’re brought into this world by it, we sing countless songs about it, and yet it’s the only thing we haven’t got enough of in this world. Love, the mysterious force that holds all things together. Some have called it “gravity” or “attraction” or even “spooky action at a distance” but I know the truth. The truthiest truth is actually what we all know but most of us don’t know we know: love is the answer. The first moment I let the truth melt my heart, I was in an indignant rage over some kind of comment or tone that had rubbed my ego the wrong way. I looked at the person who was the target of my anger and a wave of helplessness washed over me; I had no idea what to do. I could leave the discussion in tears and hope that he gave in, but to what end? I saw myself in him. That was the key. I didn’t want him to suffer because my self-conscious ego needed stroking. In that moment I chose not just to love the separate part of me, I chose to serve the uniting force that keeps societies and families together. In service of love I laid down my ego and chose togetherness.

Choose love and there are no cons, only pros. The best part? It gets easier every time.

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173: Un/Conditional Love

I have this lover. I know that we were destined to meet because our palms bear identical lines and he is my mirror in every sense. At times he is a perfect image of me, and the rest of the time he is my perfect opposite.

However, this does not mean that our relationship is charmed, quite the contrary. You see, Hollywood taught me how to behave when a boyfriend cheated on me or didn’t get along with my best friend, but the challenges we two star-crossed lovers face are of another kind all together. For instance, today we found ourselves in the middle of a lively discussion about the nature of un/conditional love.

Struggling to express a concept I vaguely grasped, it was only a few moments before the effort brought it sharply into focus. I was left speechless at the realization that I understand more about the nature of love than I had been willing to admit. Meditating on my heart chakra, the nature of “unconditional” love always eluded me until today and now, here I am, trying to tease out the fine hairs.

Nature Never Fears

I thought I didn’t know what unconditional love was. I thought that I was utterly selfish, untrained by narcissistic and inept parents and that without an image of what that kind of love looked like, I was never going to find it showing up in my life. Well it turns out to have been there all along, I just wasn’t appreciative. It goes something like this: I am a giver. I am the friend that gets sucked dry by an insatiable desire to help others and a keen healer’s eye. My friendships have all but dissolved in the last year as I came to realize that the only thing I was receiving from them was the feeling of being needed and I sought a healthier start.

I never thought of myself as the doormat, the forgotten giving tree, or the tired old sweater – soft and comfy to the touch but the last thing you look at when a fancy prince comes to town. I knew there was nothing sustainable about this pattern of giving and never replenishing, it is inherently unbalanced. What drove this unsustainable behavior was not insanity (or maybe it was?) but unconditional love.

Sure, the extreme opposite of the sad old sweater love is giving love only when energetic compensation can be expected and that is equally shameful. No one would argue that love out of obligation is inherently less valuable, that’s for sure. But if a person finds himself making promises only to give as much love as he “is able,” does that not speak to an equally dubious condition? It says, “If I have enough energy for myself then I will give you some love in whatever form you require.” Well that is the very definition of conditional now, isn’t it? sunlovehafiz

So what’s our position on conditional love? Is it just a stepping stone to the unconditional variety? Should conditional love be looked down upon? What purpose does it serve? How can we take Mother Nature’s examples of unconditional love and feel their energy in our own lives? I am reminded of the effortless gift of sunlight which will someday drain our great star of all his life force. Does he ever ask, “What if I don’t have enough?”

I can’t tell you how interested I’d be to hear your thoughts. Don’t hesitate to chime in below!

163: Reflections On Choice, Change & Intuition

Perfect stillness comes from the acceptance of perfect truth.

Humans are channels for the divine

Intuition: channeling the divine

In the last nine months living in Madrid I’ve learned to do some things pretty well like speaking Spanish, making soup and teaching high school students. When I went to Peru at the end of 2012 I didn’t know I was going to meet the girl-angel who would tell me about the perfect next step to take after my college graduation. When I committed to moving to Spain to teach English, I didn’t exactly know why I had to leave the USA but I sensed it was the next step and for once in my life, there was no arguing with my intuition. You see, I never thought about it before but intuition really does play a large role in how I make big decisions in life. Now that I’m involved in all the new-agey spiritual woo-woo like chakras and intention, I realize that every time my mother spoke about following her gut she was talking about her intuition and it’s a shock to me to realize that this habit of listening to my inner voice has actually rubbed off on me.

Leaving the perfect boyfriend for a largely unknown reason was hard to explain. Suddenly I was marching off to Spain as a high school English teacher leaving behind the opportunities offered by a 3.6 GPA and an architectural thesis that had won two awards before I graduated. Whenever I tried to defend my decision to either myself or another, I was silenced by a heavy stillness deep inside me and a deafening silence rang out from someplace between my heart and my diaphragm. Over the course of surviving this decision the universe made for me, I have realized the stillness is the physiological manifestation of my psychic senses speaking to me. You can’t imagine how odd it is for me to see those words pouring out of my fingers and forming a sentence. “Me, psychic? Ha. Okay,” says the old Veronica but the new one realizes that these are just the words we use to speak about touching our true center.

Intuition is the guide to creating the best version of ourselves.

Growing up, my family was heavily immersed in the submissive paradigm. I recall being lectured on how children should be seen and not heard and that parents had to love their children but were not obligated to like them. I also recall knowing this was not the way things should be. Where did that sense of right speech come from? Who taught me that truth? I had no role models growing up who taught me that I deserved affection and attention but something inside me has always known that to be true and has always sought spaces where that truth is alive and well. I guess that must be my intuition too.

Anyway, the point is that we all know things without intellectualizing them. Having said that, what makes a long-held belief more valuable than one that is foreign to us? When the inner voice can lead us to prosperous and healthy ways of living, what makes consciously intellectualized beliefs more or less valuable? Just because we’ve lived our whole lives by one set of rules, what is stopping us from changing them?

natureteacher

This is about advocating for our own abilities to create ourselves. Like all self-critical humans, I spent a few years thinking about how I wanted to be, what things I needed to change in order to live a certain paradigm and eliminate certain habits. I was an obnoxious and worried mess until the stress became so intollerable that I just knew there was no way to keep surviving in that mental space; so I started to do some reorganizing. But why wait for the breakdown and the burnout to make the change? This is about our power to change the very fabric upon which we paint our daily lives, simply based on choice.

Crossing the threshold and breaking the cycle of negativity…

So you’re angry a lot; you lie in bed at night listening as the voice in your head screams at the people in your life and the world in general. Amazing! You’ve just crossed a threshold with the simple act of acknowledging that negative pattern, your eyes are now open. Now change the pattern. Seriously, just do it! Find stillness and listen to the inner voice that wants to help you shape better habits. You already know how to be your perfect self. Mindfulness is not easy in comparison to blindness but it’s your only choice. Once you open your eyes there is no way to go back into blissful oblivion. The only way out of the crushing depression that comes from a self-depricating spiral of naming negative habits is the satisfaction and affirmation that comes from the knowledge that at least you’re doing something about your character flaws.

After we make the choice to do something about our negative patterns we have broken the cycle and from there it is all uphill. Like any uphill climb it is harder than going down in the opposite direction and at times the journey can be quite discouraging. Fatigue is inevitable and breaks must be taken but always if the ultimate peak is to be reached the sojourner must keep in mind only two things, the direction of the final destination and the ground immediately beneath her feet. Keep walking. It’s hard, no one will ever deny that who has walked the path of affirming themselves, but we can all tell you: the view from the top is unimaginable. You are already on the path the moment you open your eyes, the only sensible thing to do is keep moving.

Choose change with patience, respect and compassion for yourself.

Fake it until you make it. So you’re not feeling especially adventurous today? Perfect. Take a seat on that bench over there and spend time looking out over the valley you’ve just started to climb out of. If you’ve even taken two steps up the hill, you deserve validation. Tomorrow you can climb some more and if the day after that, you realize you need to climb down a bit, that’s okay too; you’re the only one who’s going anywhere – the mountain is not. You’ve opened your eyes to the fact that valleys and peaks even exist at all when yesterday, there was nothing. Congratulations! I’ll see you at the top.

compassionAt the beginning of my journey into myself I didn’t know that’s what I was doing and I certainly didn’t have any proof that it would work out for the better. I didn’t know that what I would find at the center of me was my intuition, I just did what all the most successful adventurers have done: I jumped. The more times we take that leap of faith that comes from following a hunch or listening to our gut, the more easily we begin to recognize the intuition’s cues which guide us to our gorgeous mountain top. We are never alone, there is always a still, peaceful place at the center of our being just waiting for us to return for guidance. A deep breath will take you to your center and then it’s only a matter of choice: will you listen and choose action or won’t you? You’re already on the path, you might as well take advantage of it. With your intuition as your guide choose change; keep moving and keep your gaze on the ground ask you tackle the journey one step at a time and feel the distance to the peak of perfection as it shrinks .