I've been feeling quiet lately.
Maybe my inner winter season is slightly out of sync with the calendar year's. Even though signs of spring are popping up early here in New York right now, I've been in a very cocoon-y place: reading old journals, pouring through the stack of books and New Yorkers I've been meaning to get to for ages and revisiting my beloved list of quotes I keep and add to every time I come across one that moves me.
I'm sharing some favorites with you today, in case you're in need of some inspiration or a good old change of perspective.
I wasn’t looking to improve the conditions of my life. I wanted to change my life out of all recognition. Jeanette Winterson
When my daughter was young she had the most beautiful, cornsilk hair. But it was a full blown nightmare to maintain. Most of the time she looked like the “before” picture in an advertisement for abandoned puppies with matted fur. I would spend a small eternity brushing her locks after bath time but they would be tangled somehow by the time she left the bathroom.
One day when we were running later than usual for school and the dread of all the other things I needed to be doing more were looming above me like a tidal wave, I saw the scissors on the kitchen counter and I decided to just snip through the last clump of rat’s nest rather than carefully separate out each strand and brush it into submission.
Something in me screamed HALLELUJAH and this moment became a metaphor for so many other things in my life.
Maybe it will resonate for you too.
Are there things you’re painstakingly sifting through, trying to set right, when what your Soul is actually asking for is a pair of scissors and a clean snip?
There is a time for patience and a time for action.
There is a time for negotiating and a time to say: ENOUGH.
There is a time for allowing the unfolding to unfold and a time for having a deep, hard talk with ourselves where we admit that we’ve seen enough evidence and now it’s time to do something different. That our “peace” has become apathy or indifference. That incremental shifts will no longer do. It’s time for a radical new way forward.
What worries you masters you. John Locke
A powerful teacher once said to me: Worry or pray. Choose one. You can’t do both.
I sat with that idea for a long time. I realized that what I was calling “prayer”, within myself, was not prayer. It was pleading out loud for all the things I was worried sick about to be resolved in the way my Ego thought best. “Please take ___ away.” “Please bring ____ back.”
Real prayer happens when we open our hearts, in the spirit of surrender, seeking alignment with what is higher and wiser than us. It’s a conversation. The way a pilot calls out to ground control. Because ground control can see things the pilot can’t see from the cockpit.
“Show me.”, is a prayer.
“I don’t know.”, is a prayer.
When we worry, we lock ourselves into a negative feedback loop. Louise Hay used to say that the habit of worrying is like praying for and affirming what we don’t want for ourselves.
Worries are thoughts. Any thought we think over and over again becomes reinforced in our psyche. Thoughts we think repeatedly, over time, become belief systems.
What worries us masters us because it limits us. Our worries become the bars of a cage which contains us.
Gay Hendricks talks a lot about worrying as a form of self sabotage. When we’re getting close to a breakthrough or a profound change which might make our old life look fundamentally different to us, we may go into deep worry mode. This pulls our energy away from the steady upward climb toward a finish line and into the weeds of the “what ifs”. Like a needle into a balloon.
Worrying is destructive and expensive in terms of how much life force energy we hemorrhage in this mind state.
When you catch yourself worrying, ask yourself: is there any meaningful action I can reasonably take on behalf of the issue I’m worried about? If there is, give yourself permission to take it and see if that helps break the cycle of obsessive, negative thinking.
If there isn't any meaningful action to be reasonably taken, see if you can lovingly, gently remind yourself that you're hemorrhaging life force and encourage yourself to shift into prayer mode instead. "Please show me how to release all fear around this."
Remind yourself that worries are thoughts. And all thoughts are capable of being managed by their thinker.
Any harmful thought can be replaced by a skillful one. Through this act, we re-establish a painful perspective with a positive one.
Nothing could be taken from me, I thought, if I had already given it away. Ocean Vuong
When we were kids, to save face, we would say things like: “I don’t care” or “I didn’t want it anyway”, in the face of heartbreaking disappointments.
Many of us have carried this coping skill into our adult lives where we’ve learned to kill our joy before it can turn around and kill us first. We’ve given up on our real desires. We’ve settled for shitty versions of what we wanted most. We’ve lowered our standards so the other people in our lives can jump the hurdles with ease.
Nothing can be taken from us if we’ve already given it away but nothing can come to us either. Because a preemptively broken heart is a collapsed heart. If the roof has fallen in, there’s no capacity in the rooms it once sheltered.
So how do we keep our hearts open in the face of disappointment?
To ask this question is to explore what it means to be open and protected at the same time. These feel like opposites but maybe they’re not.
If our true protection comes through our alignment with our higher self and with the energy of Love itself, to keep that connection open and flowing is the most powerful way we can protect ourselves.
In this scenario, we don’t have to avoid disappointments. We transmute them instead. We grow our container so vast and generous that there is no sadness or hurt it can’t dissolve. No difficulty it can’t metabolize and turn into fuel.
I don’t demand a translation of the unknown. Elizabeth Gilbert
Your magic doesn’t want to be analyzed. It doesn’t want to slide under the microscope. It doesn’t want to be explained or justified. It’s a butterfly that wants to land on your shoulder and flap its wings ultra gently for just a moment in the middle of a summer afternoon. It’s there and then it’s gone and then it’s there again. Because you are steady enough to let it leave and return. Again and again.
Your magic is your capacity to see beyond the obvious. To feel what isn’t demonstrably there. To interpret what falls outside the scope of ordinary perception.
Your magic wants to be what AH Almaas refers to as “living daylight”. Sunshine glittering on the surface of the water. Beauty for the sake of itself. Life dancing around.
When we demand translations, when we need to know things concretely before we’re willing to believe in them, we are in Ego. We are depriving ourselves of Life's nectar.
When we are able to locate that part of us which is still willing, after everything that’s happened, to TRUST, then we have a shot at real joy. Real peace. Real reconciliation of our many fractured parts.
Resentment is soul suicide. Gabor Mate
We talk a lot, in the context of codependency, about resentment as poison in our relationships. But we don’t talk enough, in my opinion, about how poisonous resentment is inside the relationship we have with ourselves.
Guilt is always a signal that we feel wrong for wanting what we want and resentment is always a signal that we have betrayed ourselves - saying yes when we meant no and giving from an empty cup.
The Soul knows exactly what it’s here for. It doesn’t apologize for feeling what it feels or longing after what it longs for. The Soul is clear. The Ego is the complicated one.
When we live in an internal state of resentment, we create disease and disconnection from our Souls. This is not only painful, it’s dangerous.
When my children were younger, I encouraged them regularly to listen to their intuition. To not go with anyone that made them feel unsafe. To take it seriously if they got “icky” feedback from within themselves in any situation. That they should get to know and respect that voice, not override it.
But I only talked to them about intuition in the context of safety. Until recently, when I made this connection, I wasn’t talking with them more broadly, about how the voice of the Soul is our guidance in every big life decision. It doesn’t exist strictly to keep us safe. It also exists to bring us into our deepest joy and purpose.
Resentment is an alarm going off. It’s a signal that we’re way off track. We’ve slipped out of alignment, like an injured vertebrae along the spine that holds the rest of the body together.
When we feel resentful, the question is: where have I stopped telling the truth?
Where am I no longer listening to my Soul?
Am I willing to let my no’s be true no’s? Am I willing to say YES to what my Soul is hungry for?
Happy pondering friends!