Category Archives: meditation

Sanctuary in the Stormy Sea

“Through love all that is bitter will be sweet. Through love all that is copper will be gold. Through love all dregs will become wine. Through love all pain will turn to medicine.” ~Rumi

Throughout the Covid lockdown, I read about so many people world-wide taking this time to rest and reset. What a beautiful idea that was. Sadly, that was not an option for me. I have spent the past couple months just trying to keep my head above water. Seems every time I come up for air, I get hit with another wave of chaos and drama.

I try to rejoice in the negative karmic seeds being burned off, but have been unable to conjure up even a tiny bit of gratitude for this. I have mostly maintained my daily meditation and yoga practice but find I’m not with a single breath. I am truly thankful for all the blessings in my life, but am surprised by how easily the anger and sadness overwhelm me. I am applying every single tool in my toolbox that I’ve amassed these past 27 years and believe them to be the only reason I’m able to find the strength to get to the surface of the raging sea to catch that single breath of air before the next wave hits sucking me further underwater.

I have no sanctuary, no place to seek comfort. Even my home is under attack. Among the stress and betrayal I’ve endured, I now have to stand guard to protect my dogs against those that seek to seize and destroy them for no other reason than their need to win is greater than their capacity for kindness. I’m heartbroken to have given up my beloved Ruby, but comforted in knowing she is safe from harm. I’m on alert and every sound has me peering out from behind the blinds to see if the dog police are here to take my other fur babies away.

I know I’m suffering first world issues and have been mostly spared from the very real problems of senseless violence, severe poverty, starvation, illness and racial persecution.

I try to keep my pain in perspective by practising gratitude for my abundant life. I truly aspire to be of service to others, but, lately, can’t seem to find the energy. My sleep is poor, my stress levels are dangerously high, my blood pressure is often worryingly elevated, my vision is consistently blurred now and I have headaches that are sometimes debilitating. I don’t say all this to seek out sympathy. I say this because I’m genuinely fearful for my health.

I’ve been in survival mode for so many weeks now, I can’t seem to catch up on any real healing. My adrenals are long since worn out, despite my best efforts to support them. I’ve received so much wonderful advice and have really endeavoured to apply it, however, I’m so tapped out energetically that I fear one more helpful suggestion of something I “should” try will push me over the edge.

The most painful realisation has been how weak I feel, despite decades of spiritual practice, emotional work and just plain sheer will. How could I be in such a pit of despair when I have every tool and every advantage available to me? I feel ashamed, which only adds to the struggle.

Outside, I continue to present my stronger self, but it’s a lie. Inside I’m collapsing. The sheer weight that’s been heaped on my increasingly narrow shoulders is too great. This groundlessness has been difficult to embrace. Leaning in to the pain has long been my practice, but have I leaned in too far? Have I embodied the suffering so completely that now I can’t see a way through it? There is a numbness that’s threatening to form…. a well used survival tool from my past, along with anger – my old shield used to deflect overwhelming sadness.

I go out into the world and try not burden others with my pain. I laugh and joke instead of cry. I smile instead of frown. I try to keep my darker feelings to myself and engage all my energy in listening to others and how they are doing, but I fail completely. My self-centeredness knows no bounds these days. All the meetings, workshops, podcasts, yoga, meditation and breathwork inexplicably seems to only add to my anxiety. I’m truly bewildered by this. The warrior in me is wilting…

My mind knows that the sun is shining behind this black cloud. I know everything is impermanent. I know love conquers fear. I know getting out of bed everyday and continuing to do all the things I need to do to stay afloat are not a waste of time and eventually this too shall pass. I know that I matter and my value lies in my BE-ingness, not in my DO-ingness. I know that I deeply love others and that others truly love me. I know all this pain serves to strengthen me. I know I am fully supported by the universe and one day I’ll look back on this time as a time of great shifting toward my awakening. I know that I’ll one day be grateful for these opportunities to learn just how strong I truly am. I’ve said it before… a broken heart is an open heart. I know I’m feeling the depths of this pain because my heart is wide open.

However, this doesn’t ease my pain. I need this “knowing” to find its way into my heart.

I will resist the urge to shut down and go numb. I will strive to be fully present to everything as it unfolds. I will be vigilant against the dark thoughts and practice compassion for myself and others.

My salvation lies in creating a sanctuary… a bubble of love. I will continue to call in the forces of light to illuminate my path and show me the way through. I will remain open to healing and insulate from useless negativity. I will find the balance between opposing forces and walk the line. I will move through the discomfort of change, this shedding of the old skin that no longer serves me. I will continue to stand up to injustice and endeavour to protect the vulnerable.

I will call the cops on this pity party and find my bliss! In the meantime, please continue to send some love my way. I could sure use it!

Namaste. 🙏🏻💖🕉

My Bubble Has Burst!

“Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.” ~Jim Morrison

For the past few years, during my meditations, I have been working with the imagery of me sitting within a vibrant pink bubble. Within my bubble I am safe and radiate love and serenity.

Whenever I am faced with an external situation that threatens to burst my bubble, I imagine the skin of my bubble thickening to withstand all the poking and prodding. This practice usually works a treat and I am able to return to my centre, to solid ground.

These past couple of months have been a huge test of my bubble strength. My bubble has been unmercifully beaten upon and last week, it burst…spectacularly!

I was thrust into a swirling vortex of pain, mistrust and uncertainty. The depths of the betrayal and vitriol was shocking and overwhelming. It’s not so much this particular situation that is to blame, but the wounds it uncovered of so many old betrayals.

I was genuinely surprised at the level of suffering I was experiencing. I’m usually able to pull out of a downward spiral before crashing to the ground by applying any one of the many tools I’ve accumulated over the years.

Intellectually I know not to take this recent event personally. I know that the behaviour of others is a reflection of their inner world and has nothing to do with me. I understand karma and accountability and always strive to enquire as to what my part is…. what the lesson is that I need to learn.

This time is different. Why? Perhaps because of my higher than usual levels of exhaustion and stress, and also the constancy in which I’ve been engaged in this particular issue has simply exceeded my endurance capabilities. I know everyone in the world is suffering to lesser or greater degrees than me and I should strive to be more grateful for all the blessings in my life. These are unprecedented times and we’re all in this together. Compassion and kindness are the keys to emerging into this New Earth.

Still….. I am overwhelmingly sad. I feel utterly betrayed and hurt, not only because of this latest punch in the gut but for all the times my heart has been broken. However, the level of deceit and manipulation in this latest trespass has been hard to accept. I feel stupid for believing the lies so easily. Who can I trust and depend on?

Beneath these feelings is an undercurrent of emotion that I recognise as ancient. These events have triggered an old storyline that tells me I deserve all this because I am unworthy of love, loyalty or even common courtesy… that I don’t matter.

I know all of this is untrue, but I feel as though it is. I know that feelings are not fact and that all of this is delusion. I know that the opinions and actions of others has nothing to do with me. Everyone is responding (or reacting) to their own inner storyline. I absolutely know all this to be the truth. So why do I feel so defeated, so beat up, so triggered? Then comes the storyline that tells me I’m supposed to be made of tougher stuff than this and I should be ashamed for feeling so low and allowing this to affect me so deeply.

What a palaver! How do I maintain an open heart and have faith in people when so many are simply untrustworthy? How do I remain vulnerable to some but protected from others? How do I began to trust again when my ability to do so has been so shaken? How do I know who has my back and who seeks to harm me? I’ve always believed I was a great judge of character, but I guess times like these reveal who people really are beneath their masks, their gushy platitudes and false devotion.

To maintain equanimity in such turbulent times goes beyond my capabilities at present. To be completely honest, I’m tapped out. My cup is empty and my heart is broken. 💔 My bubble has burst.

So, I’m calling out an S.O.S. to my loved ones, my soul tribe, the healers and the light workers. Please share your love and wisdom, not only for my sake, but for everyone who is suffering heartbreak, loss and uncertainty.

Namaste. 🙏🏻

Let Go…. A letter from my Soul

“I envy that Autumn, that letting go always seems easy and beautiful.” ~Vishii

As I lean into the sadness,

the despair, the struggle,

I allow my Soul to arise and speak…

“What are you here to tell me?” I ask, my voice trembling.

“I want to tell you that I am here… 

That I need to be seen, to be heard, to be felt.

I need to be acknowledged.”

“Opening my heart to you scares me,” I say, as my tears begin to fall.

“Do not run from me,” says Soul. 

“I am here to tell you that it’s ok to be afraid…

But the voice of fear is not mine.

Mine is only heard in the quiet space,

the space that dwells below the chaotic hum of ego.

I am here to tell you to allow all that arises to be,

but do not grasp it.

I want to tell you that you are safe with me.

You are loved beyond measure.

You matter much more than you realise.

My messages are meant to bring you home.

To show you where you are stuck…

Where you are holding when it’s time to release.

I am the voice of your heart. 

I am here to guide you back to that place of deep knowing,

to ease your burdens, 

to open your heart and mind to your infinite possibilities.

Do not resist me.

I mean you no harm.

When you feel alone…

When your life feels like a much too small dress…

When your words come out all wrong…

When you can’t breathe

and your heart feels like it is being squeezed so, so tight,

Let go.

Do not hold onto the storyline.

Those harsh words you say to yourself is not me speaking.

The unkindness you show yourself makes me weep.

Why do you doubt your place here? 

Your magnificence? Your preciousness?

Why is it so easy to believe your ego when it tells you lies?

This is where the struggle resides.

There is no struggle in truth…. only surrender.

Let go of the idea that letting go means loss.

It is with open hands that you are able to receive.

Create a new truth,

one that fits, that feels soft and flowing, like a silk dress.

Remember, a broken heart is an open heart.

Embrace your tears.

Compassion lives in your tears.

We are birthing a new Earth, 

a unique and beautiful consciousness.

We are healing ancient wounds, 

along with Mama Earth.

Go easy on yourself precious one.

Slow down and allow all that is emerging to weave through you…

Connecting you to your Source.

You are being gifted a fresh start…

a blank canvas on which to paint a different way of being.

How do you want that to look?

What does that feel like?

If it doesn’t feel divine, delicious, honest…

Begin again.

Don’t swim against the flow.

BE the flow.

BE the light.

BE the love.

Follow your bliss.

Please believe you are always fully supported by the Universe.”

Yours in love and service, your Soul

SOME MAGICAL SH*T!

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“Magic is not a practice. It is a living, breathing web of energy that, with our permission, can encase our every action.”  ~Dorothy Morrison

There is some magical shit happening in my life right now. I’m overwhelmed with this intense feeling of power coursing through my body and, in particular, my hands.

2020 is looking to be an incredible year of awakening and connection. I’m both excited for and nervous of all the changes coming for me. The forest is calling me. New lands are calling me. New & meaningful connections are calling me. The healing arts are calling me. My only job now is to simply open my heart to receiving and to not allow ego, in the form of fear, to get it the way. Simple, yes. Easy, no.  I’m reminded of one of my favourite quotes by Goethe, which is quite appropriate now: “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”  I will be bold.

As I sit here writing this, I’m filled with so much love and gratitude for this life and all the people and experiences I’ve been blessed to know. I just want to explode with JOY!

2019 led me on some amazing adventures! It brought me to tears with appreciation for all the opportunities to experience love and connection with both humans and animals. I’ve made the most incredible new friends and deepened the connections with those already in my soul tribe. I’ve deepened my connection with myself and the truth of who I am & what I’ve come here to share.  I’ve also experienced intense mourning for the relationships that needed to fall away and for the aspects of myself I’ve outgrown and shed.

On the first day of this new year, I discovered powerful healing energy coursing through me. I discovered a new calling with a friend that I haven’t quite clarified and can’t articulate yet. I’ve experienced profound love and gratitude that I ‘m unable to find the right words for, other than ineffable. I’ve come home.

My wish for you and all beings is that you find a deep and lasting happiness, are free from suffering, and are able to bring much benefit to the world by sharing your unique and powerful love and light.

Namaste. 🙏🏻

Making Space

  • ED550464-445C-4D73-AA02-04584ACE91F4“Be still and listen. The Earth is singing.” ~ Sarah Williams

Make space for quiet. As I behold the majesty of a beautiful forest, silence is the most authentic reaction. Create space for that kind of silent awe every. single. day. Look for things that inspire, amaze, bring forth a spring of love, wellness and connection from my heart. From this place of pure gratitude, peace is the natural result. There’s no need to force it or cling to it. The more I live in this place of ease & flow, it naturally becomes my new norm, my new habitual response.

Namaste 🙏🏻💖

Love Meditation Offering

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

This love meditation, called Metta Meditation, is adapted from the Visuddimagga (The Path of Purification) by Buddhaghosa – 5th century C.E. and presented by Thich Nhat Hanh – a Zen Buddhist Monk:

To begin, sit still and calm your body and your breathing. Sitting still, you aren’t too preoccupied with other matters. 

Begin practising this love meditation on yourself (“May I be peaceful…”). Until you are able to love and take care of yourself, you can’t be of much help to others.

After that, practise on others (“May he/she/you/they be peaceful…”) – first on someone you like, then on someone neutral to you, then on someone you love, and finally on someone the mere thought of makes you angry. After practising the Metta Meditation, you may find that you can think of them with genuine compassion… 💕

May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.

May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.

May I be able to recognise and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.

May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself.

May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.

May I be able to live fresh, solid and free.

May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.”

May this love meditation bring you so much bliss, you’ll breath it onto everyone you encounter today lifting their spirits.

Namaste 🙏🏻🕉💖

BLISS IN SILENCE

I recently spent 9 days at a Buddhist Retreat in a magnificent part of New Zealand. It was hours and hours every day in meditation and listening to teachings. It was a fairly gruelling schedule that pulled me right out of my comfort zone. Sitting in lotus or half lotus for so many hours every day proved to be my biggest challenge. My knees, neck and back shouted at me pretty consistently, but I had set the goal to remain on the cushion throughout the entire retreat. It wasn’t because the cushion is the fast-track to enlightenment or anything. I could have meditated and received teachings in a comfy chair, but I was determined to achieve my goal.

The primary purpose of my goal was to sit with the discomfort and use it as an anchor for mindfulness… to keep me alert and present. Pain of any kind is the best tool for awareness that I know of. When we’re in pain, whether physical or mental, we are highly present and, usually, single-pointedly focused on it. So, I decided to use it as a meditation tool.

I sat dutifully on my cushion for too many hours to count over the course of 9 days. While I outwardly appeared to be peaceful and content, providing a source of strength and inspiration for a couple of my fellow retreatants, who were kind enough to tell me this, on the inside I was suffering. I felt obligated to let them know the extent of my pain, not to complain, but merely to let them know that looks can be deceiving.

And then came the instruction from Venerable Robina that we were to remain in strict silence for 2 full days. I actually welcomed this as I often engage in pointless chatter to fill the silence instead of embracing it. This proved to be so incredibly beneficial that I found coming back to my normal life difficult. I never fully realised how loud it is.

For a while before the retreat, I was feeling the pull to move toward peace and quiet and away from negativity and drama. I was finding the constant noise of others and my own mind to be too much and needed to reach inward to my monastic nature for refuge.

In silence I more easily find my bliss. Creating a protective bubble of serenity was enabling me to move through the difficult changes I have been going through with much more grace and acceptance. Trying to tackle the bigger issues with so much negative energy swirling around me proved too hard. I had become increasingly discontent. My experience reminded me that I am much more effective in solving my problems, as well as being there for others, when I am in a peaceful and more balanced place. Joining others in their negativity and suffering doesn’t benefit anyone. It only creates more negativity and suffering. Working towards creating a stable mind became my calling, knowing it will bring innumerable benefits.

So, I continue to observe my mind and endeavour to embrace all its crazy story telling and habitual negative patterns so I may one day create a state of equanimity. I’m already feeling the benefits of moving away from negativity with an increased spaciousness and sense of peace. I feel more openness to and appreciation for all the profound gifts in my life. These past few months have given me a deepening gratitude for the abundance and joy all around me when I choose the higher vibration of blissful awareness.

I have a long way to go to remove my habitual responses, as I can still so easily be drawn back into my negative patterns. However, I already feel so empowered by the changes I have made so far this year, that I’m dedicated to continuing to study the Dharma, along with my mind in meditation, and to strive to repair my karmic debts, which block me from enjoying a long-lasting happiness. After all, I believe that finding sustainable joy, loving kindness and compassion is the whole point of our existence.

In the words of John Lennon:

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

Namaste 🕉🙏🏻💖

Change the Channel

“You cannot struggle to joy. Struggle and joy are not on the same channel. You joy your way to joy. You laugh your way to success. It is through your joy that good things come.”

~ Abraham-Hicks ~

Right now, I’m reading a great book called, “A Year To Clear” by Stephanie Vogt. In it she says, “If you’re trying too hard to experience freedom and joy, it’s probably because you got stuck on the wrong channel.”

I really like this idea as it coincides with the concept of pivoting that I’ve been working with a lot lately. If I don’t like the direction I’m heading in, I better pivot, or I’ll end up where I don’t want to be. If I’m running a negative storyline in my head that feels bad, I remind myself to pivot, or change the channel to one that feels good. If we don’t like a song on the radio, we change channels. We don’t even think about it. We just do it. So, it’s the same practice when we have negative thoughts, such as: “I’m overwhelmed, too stressed, too busy, too poor, too fat, too sick, not good enough, not brave enough, not loved enough, not smart enough, etc….”. We can pivot to its positive opposite.

Below are tried and true examples I really find helpful:

  • “Slow down and just breathe, in and out.” Do this all day, every day. It’s that simple.
  • “Everything that absolutely needs to get done, always manages to get done.” So much of our energy is wasted in trying to get everything done in the least amount of time. It’s like we’re in a race with ourselves that never produces a winner. We multi-task, which usually only produces half-assed results. If we do one thing at a time, and are completely present and aware, we will likely have a great end-result with far less stress. This is personally my biggest challenge. I’m a do-er, but am actively practising be-ing (I even wrote the word, “BE” on my wrist brace).
  • “Will this matter in a month, a year, 5 years?” Will we lie on our deathbeds and regret all the stuff we didn’t get done? Or will we regret all the time we didn’t spend with those we love and doing all of the things we love?
  • “I have everything I need today.” List everything we do have and are grateful for. This is so important! Seeing our world through the eyes of gratitude, as opposed to lack, is essential in finding lasting joy. If we focus on what we don’t have (money, health, love, time), we will have more lack in all these areas. If we focus on all we do have and appreciate, we will have more abundance in these areas. The Law of Attraction is not hocus pocus. I’ve personally experienced it over and over as absolute truth.
  • “Money is a useful tool to be of greater benefit to others and I welcome it in abundance.” Money is NOT the root of all evil. Greedy attachment to it is. If we have a negative association with money and/or “rich people,” we will never attract money or have enough of it. We are just cultivating poverty mind. Think of money as a person, named Cash. We constantly trash-talk Cash. We think Cash is bad…evil. We believe Cash is everything that is wrong with the world. We hate Cash. Yet, at the same time, we are always complaining we want and need Cash. We want Cash to come round and hang out with us. We wonder why Cash has abandoned us. We feel sorry for ourselves and are jealous of the people that Cash hangs out with. They don’t deserve Cash’s friendship, we do. Is it any wonder why Cash stays away from us? We’re fricken nut jobs as far as Cash is concerned. Cash would rather spend time with those that appreciate and welcome him/her into their lives with love and open arms. Wouldn’t we do the same?
  • “I am moving toward my perfect weight/perfect health.” We spend so much of our time obsessing about our weight or poor health, that of course we experience more weight gain and worsening health. If we spent just a fraction of that energy doing what we KNOW will create the conditions for weight loss and wellness, there would be far less obesity and illness. It’s no mystical secret what creates good health. We instinctively know what to eat, what to avoid, to move our bodies more and what we need to be happy and well. We’ve just been taught to override our instincts in the name of profit, but good, old-fashioned common sense can lead us back to balance.
  • “I am nurturing my body with nutrient-rich food.” This is a great reminder to eat for nourishment…fuel. Our bodies are these amazing, miraculous vehicles to be honoured and respected. Yet we abuse them by eating crap food, smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, taking drugs and even worse…. hating them. No wonder they eventually break down!
  • “I am nurturing my mind by keeping it open to new, positive thoughts and ideas and releasing the negative ones that don’t serve me.” Our negative self-talk is vicious and defeating. I do it, my friends and family do it, strangers I pass on the street are doing it. How do we escape it? Simple…. just stop doing it (oh, if only it was that easy…..). Our habits are created over lifetimes and are incredibly difficult to break. The only way I know of to move beyond the habitual patterns is to first become aware of them. Catch ourselves in the act and just notice that we’re doing it. Then, aspire to change and practise pivoting or changing the channel. I’ve found that, with practise, I’m catching it earlier and earlier, which has prevented a lot of the suffering that comes from following the negative storyline. As one of my fave teachers, Pema Chodron, says, “Stop kicking the wheel.”
  • “I am nurturing my spirit by surrounding myself with loving, vibrant, positive energy.” It is not only ok, but essential that we carefully select who we spend our time with and what energy we allow into our sacred space. If a person or activity lowers your vibration with negative or chaotic energy, reduce your exposure to them/it. Spend as much time as possible with people and engaging activities that raise your vibration and enhance your energy. And for those times when exposure to negativity is unavoidable, use it as a path to practise loving kindness for yourself and others by not getting hooked in. Joining someone in their negativity doesn’t reduce it. It only increases it and makes it stronger. I imagine a blissful pink bubble surrounding me with the negative energy bouncing off my bubble in an almost comical way. It really helps to keep it simple and light. You’re welcome to borrow my pink bubble anytime you want.
  • “I am enough, just as I am.” You don’t have to “do” to be enough. You are enough just by “be”ing. Any thought that says otherwise is a big, fat lie!
  • “I am brave.” Remind yourself of all the times you were scared and did it anyway. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” In other words, it isn’t brave if you’re not scared.
  • “I am loved and love others.” Picture all the people you love and bathe them in loving green energy. This practice will increase the love you carry with you, always.
  • “I am universally intelligent.” Think of all the times you made decisions or solved a problem that led to a great outcome. We all make mistakes and do stupid things, but the ability to recognise it and aspire to change, shows enormous intelligence. Albert Einstein said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

So, when you catch yourself struggling to find joy, remember to just change the channel.

Namaste 🌈🕉

Thank you Jeff.

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“I fell in love with you because of the million things you never knew you were doing.”   ~ Unknown ~

To my love….

Thank you for your eternal patience,

while I shift, shed, rage and morph into my true essence.

Thank you for your encouragement,

while I struggle to wash away ancient blood and wrong ideas about myself.

Thank you for your warm embrace,

while I cry and grieve the loss of my ego-self.

Thank you for your support,

while I repeatedly and powerfully crash-land trying out my new wings.

Thank you for your tireless efforts to hold it all together,

while I anxiously search for a new life’s purpose beyond motherhood.

Thank you for your stability,

while I move between anger and bliss like a toddler.

Thank you for your generosity,

even when I’m wallowing in self-cherishing.

Thank you for your brilliance,

while I grope in the darkness before my dawning.

Thank you for staying diligently with me on this journey toward awakening,

even when we sometimes lose sight of each other along the way.

Thank you for having faith in my strength and courage,

even when I doubt myself.

Your extraordinary greatness inspires me to grow into my own greatness.

The strength of your love breaks opens my fearful heart.

The equanimity of your being quells my restless and anxious spirit.

I’m filled with deep gratitude to have found my greatest love and teacher in you.

To be able to spend my life living and growing old with you is a most precious gift.

Thank you.

All my love, forever and ever,

Jana

My Balance Checklist

For much of 2017, I felt drawn to the cocoon of darkness, self-reflection and solitude. During this period, a lot of sadness disguised as anger came forward. Another layer of old wounds was revealed. I followed the pain to see where it would lead. There comes a point where there is nothing left to do with it but put it down and leave it behind. There must have been something in the stars because a large percentage of social media blogs and posts were dedicated to this wave of pain and discontent. It seems a genuine feeling of angst was being collectively expressed all around the world.

So, here we are, a quarter of the way through 2018, and I still feel agitated a good portion of the time. I’m easily overwhelmed and quick tempered. I rapidly alternate between feelings of anger, sadness, restlessness and utter bliss like a toddler (or a woman going through full-blown menopause). I have developed strong aversions to toxic people and triviality. I feel a strong pull toward those that embody love and light and are on the path to awakening. My heart feels wide open to all the energy around me, which has been my goal for a while now, but the reality is tipping me off kilter. I know that practising patience and compassion will bring me back to centre and remove my aversions, but I have to say… it’s fricken hard!

I know from experience that I’m on the brink of a big leap forward in my awakening and am both excited and terrified of what will be revealed once all the dead skin has moulted off. What major life changes will take place? What will fall away and what will come forward to guide me through this next level? How will I integrate my old life with this new version of myself? I’ll be honest here, I find myself clinging to my old ideas and habits out of fear. I have gotten used to this way of being and the unknown brings up a lot of anxiety.

Balance will be essential and, as it turns out, that is my absolute weakest link! My greatest struggle in life is finding the midline. I’m far too stubborn to simply accept its location when told where it is. I have to go to both extremes before finding my way there. And even when I arrive, I doubt, question, challenge and push.

I know that I am 100% responsible for my suffering because I am 100% responsible for my mind. Mastering my crazy, wild elephant mind is my ultimate goal. Through this mastery comes awakening. I also know that although it’s important I don’t squander my time here strengthening the habits of anger and distraction, I must also cultivate gentle kindness and patience for myself on this journey. Again… much easier said than done.

So, my Balance Checklist going forward looks like this….

1. Speak up and tell the truth about how I’m feeling without worrying about how others are going to feel about my feelings. My job is to take care of my feelings and allow others to take responsibility for their feelings without taking it personally. I need to remember that not everything is about me.

2. Say NO to what I don’t want and YES to what I do want, without worrying about being labelled selfish. There are worse things than being thought selfish…. like, becoming so unbalanced I get hit with a catastrophic illness. If others want to make assumptions about who I am based on my choice to take loving care of myself, well, that’s just none of my business, nor my concern.

3. Slow the f*ck down! There’s no finish line. There’s no awards ceremony for those who die having the cleanest house, the longest list of accomplishments, the most money earned, being the most crazy-busy (often worn as a badge of honour as code for important and successful), or being the most well liked. Do one thing at a time and do it well; do it mindfully. Effective multi-tasking is a myth.

4. Put down the phone and connect and engage with the people right in front of you. Have meaningful conversations. Exchange ideas with an open mind and an eagerness to learn something new. Share your (often painfully) hard-earned wisdom. Stop engaging in silly dramas, negativity and tedious (and often hurtful) gossip. The best questions to ask yourself before speaking are: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

5. And most importantly, know that we are ALL doing our best at any given moment. We judge ourselves and others harshly for actions we feel are “bad” and “wrong,” however, we all make decisions to act based on the beliefs we hold in that moment. Sometimes, if we have a little self-awareness, we realise later we didn’t have all the true and relevant information, or were reacting to some old wound that this present moment triggered, or were simply being dishonest or selfish out of fear. Regardless of the reasons why we behaved poorly, in the moment, it really was the best we could do. And rather than wallow in shame and guilt, we can perhaps recognise a more skilful way to handle ourselves in the future and strive to do better. In the words of Maya Angelou, “When we know better, we do better.”

Namaste 🌈🕉