Doing it anyway| Amritabha new moon theme: Accepting your power
Accepting your own power is this new moon cycle’s theme here at Amritabha. And it’s really got me going on all levels. It figures, since you can’t accept your power „just a little bit“. Either you’re doing it or you’re not. Daring to accept your power doesn’t mean everything will run smoothly once you made that decision. That’s the challenge: when you dare to do that, it means that you accept entering a situation without being sure of its outcome. Those who dare to do that don’t do it in the spirit of „I know how to do this 100%“. We do it in the spirit of „Maybe I don’t have it all figured out but I’m doing this anyway“.
What if I don’t have it in me?
During my stay here at Amritabha, I scored an amazing writing job. I was stoked. Up until the moment when it was time to finally sit down and get started. I freaked out. What’s worse: my mind just went blank. Yikes! I was admiring this person whom I was supposed to write for so much that I ended up putting myself under a ton of pressure. This just has to turn out GREAT! What if I can’t do it? What if they are wrong about me, and I just don’t have it in me?! Gulp. This. Is. Not.Working.
Ideas don’t come from me – they come through me
Suddenly I remembered: I can do this. That’s why I got this job in the first place. Of course it’s not going to work if I’m panicking. The only thing that does work is this: reminding myself that it’s not actually my mind that has to make all this up. When I write – no; when I write well – it doesn’t come from me. It comes through me. It’s ideas, sentences, thoughts that are floating out there in the space surrounding me, waiting for me to catch them. The only thing I need to do is be aware of it, open myself to the process, and allow myself to become the channel for these ideas and words. It’s simple yet challenging. This approach only requires one single thing of me: unconditional trust in my intuition. The certainty that whatever it is I am perceiving is exactly what wants to be said.
Clearing myself, opening up, being present – I want to live my life the way I give crystal healing
I discovered this technique, this understanding of the creative process, during my crystal healer training with Dauri Neumann. Somehow I just had this trust in myself there. It was easy for me to accept that I couldn’t plan the sessions ahead or prepare them in any other way. The only thing I could do was clear my mind, open up, and be present – to the recipient of the treatment, to the healing that wanted to come through me and the stones, and to the assistance of the divine. That was a very powerful experience, and I thought „I want to live my life the way I give crystal healing“.
This approach comes pretty easy as long as I’m writing for myself. I’m free, don’t have any particular point in mind I want to make, I can just allow myself to see where my writing is going. That copy job had different prerequisites, so my mind started rolling this film like I’ve trained it to do for years: You should know your stuff better! I can’t say anything meaningful until I’ve done more research! You have no idea what you’re doing! So far you’ve always managed to get by but this time they’ll call your bluff! And so on. It was a total blast from the past, the high school and university years. My performance was always excellent, and still I always panicked at some point when writing my papers.
You don’t deliver because of the stress but in spite of it
Back then I thought that this pressure, this stress was the part of the process that made sure I delivered. I think differently now. I did not deliver because of that fear of failure. I delivered in spite of it. The way I see things now, I was afraid because I didn’t know where my thoughts really came from, and why they were good. How could I possibly be sure it would work the next time? For my thoughts didn’t come from my intellect back then, either. They came through it. It was the same principle at work there, even if I wasn’t aware of it: thoughts were buzzing in the air around me and I just caught them. Of course you need to dive into in a topic, do your research. However, if I’d been aware back then of the learning/writing process the way I see it today, I probably would have trusted my instinct with more ease, when it came to determining what was enough information.
The message of listlessness: this isn’t going anywhere
That feeling did exist: it entered the stage as listlessness. I thought I needed to make myself read more (it was never enough!). I often failed at that. That brought on the guilt: You’ve done way too little again! There were few moments where I could acknowledge the thought that I was reluctant towards work because it was not really meaningful. It was only serving one purpose: soothing my conscience, so that I could assure myself I’d done enough.
Accept your doubt just as much as you accept your power – that way you’ll be able to get it done
This look at the past that this writing job granted me was an opportunity to break the spell. Not only do I know now that I want to live my life the way I give crystal healing treatments. I am finally convinced that it’s possible.
How do I prove myself I’m right? Very simple, very challenging: I’m doing it. With my fears, doubts, and my resistance. It helps to remember that all they want to do is play. You can do it anyway.
Open yourself to the wonders that want to come into the world through you
That’s what I mean when I talk about accepting your power: opening up to the wonders that want to come into this world through us (the small ones just as much as the big ones). Trusting that we are provided with everything we need to manifest them. Not to waste our power fighting our doubt but keep trusting. Trusting that our power is sufficient to both manifest our dreams, and carry that doubt.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was a real eye-opener for me when it comes to the creative process. I was especially inspired by Gilbert’s description of how she deals with fears and doubt. It makes it impossible not to love them. According to my not so humble opinion this book is a must-read. Not just for artists but for everyone who wants to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Find clarity, love yourself, be joyful
There has been a lot going on in my life lately. Internally as well as externally. Something has been put into motion, a lot of wonderful, happy things have come my way. Along with them came old fears. The fear that that happiness could be taken away from me again at any point, for example. The fear that this kind of happiness, the effortlessness of it all, cannot be real. I sometimes have a hard time talking about what’s happening to me when I’m still in the middle of it. Partly because I am reluctant to show myself being „undone“, partly because I simply lack the clarity to express what’s going on. Sill I want to share with you whatever it is I am capable of expressing. So here’s „the facts“ of what’s been going on lately:
1. I did Sina Nanasi’s Inner Child workshop. It’s been two weeks and I still haven’t written much about it since I keep thinking „I need a quiet minute to do this“. Thing is, there’s really never a quiet minute around here, there’s always something going on. I guess I’m just going to have to make time one of these days. This much I can tell you right now: My mind is completely blown, and I am crazy in love. With myself, with Sina Nanasi. With everyone and everything. Pretty much all the time. Except for when everything sucks all of a sudden. The spiritual term for that is „being in the middle of a process“. Or having issues. Apparently it’s a part of this life on earth. Anyways.
2.As I was saying: never a dull moment around here. After the workshop, which lasted six days, there was the meet-up week of Fe San’s students. I knew I was going to be involved (I got to help redo the unicorn power place) but I could not have imagined the extent. I met lots of wonderful people, and I felt like I fit right in with the group. I also had the pleasure of taking lots of pretty pictures of both the lovely students and their/our activities.
3.Speaking of pictures: I’ve had the honor and joy of being requested for three photo shootings these past weeks!? Photography has totally been a „just for fun“ thing for me, so this was completely unexpected but still very welcomed. Writing is fun, too, but I think I have accumulated so many expectations and ambitions in that area, that sometimes it’s hard to keep that effortlessness that you have when you are new to something. I was very much into the filming classes I took at Midsweden University and Ung Film in Sundsvall, Sweden, which both helped me understand a few things about what works and what doesn’t in photography. Still I never considered this as an option for me, career-wise. So it’s like I said: sheer fun. Perfect proof that this is what life is about: when I am doing things for the fun of it, I do them pretty well, and it’s that joy that speaks to others.
4. I realized that there is plenty of space for several great loves in my life. I don’t nee to choose between photography OR writing. Writing is here to stay, of course! I’ve scored some freelance work there, too. It’s just starting, and I am super excited about the project!
All of this is new to me, and at the same time it’s a very liberating „I knew it!“. It’s new to deliberately express the things I have been feeling withing for a long time (for ever?). It challenges me from time to time. It makes me face practical questions on freelance work in general, which I have been reluctant to pursue because it seemed daunting (yet I’ve had this feeling I might not be among those who are happy with the classic 9-5 employee situation).
The biggest challenge which this living joy thing is that it is facing me with my doubt whether this really is possible. This doubt shows up in the form of fear that I might get so caught up in these moments of joy that I forget „Something Really Important“ – and that I’ll get in trouble for that. Hasn’t happened yet (well, I have spaced stuff, but not „Something Really Important“ yet, and I haven’t gotten into trouble for it, either).
Doubt also shows up when it comes to the money part. Suddenly I am becoming aware that I have this funny notion that I couldn’t possibly ask money for something I enjoy doing so much!? Let alone from people whom I like so much!? There’s that part of me that finds this outrageously brazen. Sure, since working with something I don’t really enjoy, with people I don’t care for all that much, is such a wonderful alternative. Not.
I am happy to welcome all these processes, issues and this doubt into my life. They are part of the package if you choose the good stuff. And I wouldn’t want to miss out on that! There is no security, there is only this false sense of „security“. I’d rather experience life with everything it involves than avoid it. One of my insights from the inner child workshop.
On living truth vs. speaking truth
For the most part of my life I have been hasty in my actions. I always thought that if I don’t do things right away, that means I will never do them. Or – another classic – if I don’t do them, no one will.
Last year I was finally able to see that that sort of reflex-like compulsion has nothing to do with acting on your gut instinct, let alone going with the flow. The real gut instinct kind of impulses don’t even give you time to consider – you just find yourself doing what needs to be done, and your actions come easily, there is no fear, you’re so engaged in the task that the mind doesn’t have time to fret over what will happen if you don’t do this or that.
First there was a situation at work, a meeting, where I felt that there was a huge gap between the content of what was being said and the truth of the situation addressed. Really, an elephant fit snugly into that gap. The „If I don’t say how I really see things, then I am responsible if this continues“-reflex was beginning to kick in. At the same time, I suddenly knew with absolute certainty that if I did speak my truth, the only thing that changed would be that I exposed myself to people who were not interested at all in changing the situation.
I said nothing, and for a while I felt like I was going to pass out or have a heart attack. Then that feeling passed, and suddenly I was completely at peace. With everything. Myself, my work place, the world. Literally everything. For the rest of the day, I could see everyone and everything for who and what they really were, and I had nothing but love for all of it. The shyness and awkwardness I normally felt when entering an office full of people was gone, I could joke around with anyone, and everything I said came straight from my heart, sans detours via the mind.
I didn’t understand it at the time but this is how I interpret the situation today: If I had said what I thought I had to say that day, it would not have been me living my truth. It would have been me looking to others to confirm what I myself wasn’t able to face. Which they could not have done. So when I realized that speaking up wouldn’t have gotten me the reassurance I wanted, that was the moment I had to do the job myself: acknowledge my truth.
The second situation was also work-related. A colleague said something that I suppose was well-meant advice but it pushed a button, and I felt „I need to blog about this because everything about what she said is just so backwards, and I cannot let that fly! If I don’t make a stand and say how wrong this is, then it’s my fault that people thinking like that rule this world!“ Thanks to the no internet at home situation, I was yet again stopped from acting on my compulsion.
When I turned to my friend and healer La for advice, she suggested that I write it all down just to get it out of my system. She also recommended that I don’t publish anything as long as I am emotionally involved. That, my friends, is some of the best advice I have ever got, and I can not stress its value enough. I found that writing alone was medicine for my bruised ego. There was nothing that sharing my rage could have improved on. Through writing I reached the core of what was really my issue here. Again, it was a truth that I had not been able to accept myself, and therefore I wanted to direct my anger at someone whom I wanted to assert it for me. Which she didn’t do.
This situation taught me that it’s not always a good idea to share everything on your mind instantly. There is greater benefit in working through the rough stuff in a protected environment, alone or with someone you trust one hundred percent.
The most important part about truth is that we ourselves understand and acknowledge it. Only then can we live it. And truth wants to be lived more than it wants to be spoken. That might sound a little strange coming from someone who spends so much time on finding the right words to express her truth. For a while I did in fact struggle with the point of my writing when I understood that words really aren’t that important. Then I realized that for me writing is a big part of living my truth. Regardless of whether or not that means anything to anyone. When my writing comes from my awareness that I do it mostly for me, not to convince anyone of anything, I can do it with ease. Those who „get me“ do so no matter what. Those who don’t will always have an opportunity to find wrong both in my words and my actions.
Eckhart Tolle writes about that phenomenon in The Power Of Now: that words/language can be used as signs pointing to the truth but that they themselves never are the truth, never can be. If that is the case, there is no need to burden my head with the struggle to find the perfect words. Instead I may trust that when I write from the heart and keep the editing to a minimum, I am producing the best kind of signs. You know, not the ones that point you to my truth but the ones that point you to your own.
On blogging again
So. I guess I’m blogging again. Yay! How terrifying! There has been an ongoing internal debate over the past weeks (months?!) on that issue. 1. whether or not to blog at all, 2: if so, why and why now, 3: what and what not, and finally: how to begin.
In case you are a more result-oriented person: 1. Yes, 2. Because I want to, because now’s a good time 3. Whatever I want to, 4. Like this.
In case you are
a womaninterested in the journey as much as the destination, lhere’s a more detailed version:
1. Yes or no?
When I noticed the wish to blog again, two sides of me emerged: one wanted nothing more than to get started, it even felt that it was absolutely critical that I start immediately, that any delay would be terrible, and that I absolutely must go ahead. Right. Away. The other side felt like I had nothing to say, nothing to share that could possibly be of any value to anyone. And the internet is already full of people who do that.
Also, the side of me that felt hesitant was concerned about the obvious risk in the instant nature of blogging, or social media in general: you think it’s a great idea to share something you’re going through – and then you realize it’s not. Because you don’t get the reaction you weren’t even aware you’d wished for, or maybe you didn’t want to any at all. Or maybe you did and nobody said anything. Bottom line: All that happens is you add drama to your pain.
At the end of the day, conflicting feelings arise no matter what I do when I do it for the first time (or the first time after a long time). And there are always valid points to both sides. (Coming up: a post on how I deal with these conflicting feelings.) For now let me just say that at the end of the day it’s a good idea to be aware of all your emotions involved in a decision – and then to make a choice and do what makes you happy. That doesn’t mean the other side disappears but you can make active choices on how to handle that side of you.
2. Why, and why now?
I realized that my reason for not blogging had been that for a very long time I was afraid that being visible in that way would trigger emotions within me which I could not calculate beforehand. It was a good thing I listened to that feeling for as long as I did feel vulnerable, and people’s reactions (or lack thereof) to what I would have shared only would have caused drama.
Eventually I came to the point where protecting myself by not putting myself out there didn’t feel good anymore. I understood that, yes, if I do allow myself to be visible, I make myself vulnerable, and that will stir up emotions in me regardless of any external reactions. But I had begun to feel unhappier about not allowing anyone to see me. I realized that I would feel a lot better about just doing what I feel like, and there was even curiosity as to what kind of emotions that would trigger, and how I would deal with them. I simply came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to avoid any potential emotions anymore if that meant not doing something I really enjoy. Because no matter where I go, they are always there with me anyway – emotions, thoughts and ideas of how I/things „should be“.
There is a middle ground. It’s possible to face my doubts without forcing myself to tackle anything I’m not ready to take on. To be honest without unnecessarily exposing myself. To write and share what moves and engages me without navel-gazing. To be spontaneous and following anything that intrigues me without being random and all over the place.
What is the thread connecting it all? I’ll write about what I wish someone would have told me. My earlier mission statement(s) for this blog still passes the test of time: I want to live my life deliberately, and I want to document and share that journey. That is the thread tying it all together, it’s what I’ve been interested in ever since I was fourteen, read Sofie’s World, and understood what it meant to be self-aware. Then came Thoreau’s Walden, and the notion of living deliberately impressed me equally. And a bunch of other books and experiences that are too many to list here (that’s maybe another post – or a gazillion).
My idea of what deliberate living means have changed. For a while I even attempted to follow Thoreau quite literally (although he was never expressly the reason behind the path I’d chosen): living on the country side, growing my own veggies, being close to nature and contemplating what the necessities of a good life really are. I came to the conclusion that for me they were something else. I think Thoreau would have approved because deliberate living is just that: not blindly following someone’s concept of how life should be but coming up with your own.
For me that means whatever makes me happy. I still want to fill my life with as much awareness as possible. Being aware of one’s self is crucial in the pursuit of happiness. At the end of the day, happiness is the meaning of life. Of mine anyway.
What not? I will not share anything that I know still has an emotional grip on me. True, there are no guarantees, comments (or the lack thereof) can hit you unexpectedly. But that is a risk I am willing to take. In fact, that can be a good thing, if you want to know where you still have buttons to push. And I do! (Have buttons, and want to know where they are.)
A way that works for me to put myself to the test, regarding where I really stand on an issue – in this case, whether I think it’s a good idea to share stories about my personal development in a public forum – is asking „How would I feel if everyone did this?“. I have to say: I would love that! It’s in fact the number one thing I am interested in. Not interested in what cause you think I should support, not interested in what political party you support or hate, not interested in what ongoing atrocities you think I should be aware of. If I am following you on a social media platform, I am interested in you. Pictures of and by you, and your perspective on life. I appreciate honesty in social media. That includes pretty pictures, words of wisdom and encouragement. That also includes descriptions of how people deal with the not so pretty stuff. At the end of the day, social media profiles show less of how someone is than how they want to be seen. And I appreciate people who dare to show their shadows as well as their light. I was waiting for someone to ask me to be one of those people, respectively to give me the permission slip. Then I realized, that none of the people who do claim their space do so because they were „tapped“ – they just do it, and that’s all there is to it!
4. How to begin
That’s the one my mind can easily get stuck on, a good place to look when I don’t know what’s keeping me. Often it’s simply that I overburden the beginning with significance. The point, of course, is really just to jump in anywhere. Maybe that was one of the best lessons my philosophy studies taught me: there is no „easy“ place to start, you just start anywhere. In the beginning it’s all uncharted territory but the more you dare to venture out there, the more you learn how to be an explorer.
This is the story of how my head came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to blog again – and also what it deems worthy of sharing. And I can appreciate it’s job . It’s not like I have a choice anyway, my mind is debating, rejecting and glorifying stuff all the time, so I might as well involve it in a productive process. You know, like those dogs that need a lot of exercise or they’ll trash your home.
However, the true reason is undebatable, undeniable, completely illogical, and beyond rejection and/or praise: I enjoy doing it. I cannot count the number of blogs I have started and deleted over the years since I was 18 or so. They never made me any money, they never changed the world – but I’ve always had so much fun writing them! When you find yourself enjoying something in and for itself, regardless of external reward, you have to trust that you found the best way to spend your life (or as much time of it as possible).
I have found myself coming to this conclusion over and over again, and sometimes I still keep forgetting it. That writing (and sharing that writing) is that for me. The thing I can do no matter what, the magic process that opens up a space where I am the most me. Just out of curiosity: What’s that thing for you? Is it always there with you, or do you also forget/doubt it? What happens when you do? How do you re-discover it? Do you make any conscious efforts to re-discover it, or does it just sort of come back on its own accord?
As you’ve noticed, I’ve been making more time to write here. Stealing minutes here and there (as Julia Cameron suggests in The Right To Write) really works. Of course, telling myself I’ll write just a little bit always leads to spending more time than I’d originally planned for. Which is exactly the point.
I’ve also been telling myself that to get back into the swing of things on this blog, it’s maybe more important that I write (at least during the week, when I can use the computer) than what I write. So far, that has worked as well. Once I start, there’s always something that wants to be said. I may start by ranting for a few paragraphs, which I most often delete later on. But at some point, something always wants to be said, and it is always something that is worth saying.
Two paragraphs in, I still feel like this is going nowhere, and maybe that’s because the things that want to be said at some point aren’t quite ripe yet. I do believe in sharing the process, and not just the result but sometimes the things we don’t live fully yet are better kept inside our hearts for a while longer before sharing them with the world.
Looks like a rant will have to do for today.
Whenever I check out blogs, I stumble over the disclaimer part. One part of me is all: Oh shit, I don’t have one! Better fix that. It almost seems like that’s the first thing you should write before you start posting! Another part of me wonders: Really? Is it necessary to tell people that I am not responsible for what they think about, and do with what I write? I mean, sure, words are powerful but this seems kind of insulting. I don’t want to assume that my readers are idiots. But I don’t know, maybe I’m naive.
I am curious, though, what would happen if I did the opposite – made a claimer. IF I were to write such a thing, it would look like this:
I hereby declare that I, and I alone am responsible for your thoughts and actions. I am an expert on everything (which is why I write a BLOG). So please do exactly as I say, don’t even bother thinking for yourself, and by all means: sue me when something goes wrong!
What do you think would happen IF I made such a claimer? What would a lawsuit look like IF I did? „Well, I am sorry Miss W. but you DID say on your BLOG that you were responsible for anything anyone thought. So when Mr. Schnickelfritz, after reading one of your articles, cut off his left thumb to see if he could transcend physical pain, it’s really your fault. You did write that claimer, so – this one’s really on you.“
Is this how things work?