Untethered Soul, Chapter 8

If you’ve been reading The Untethered Soul, or at least these chapter summaries, you know now that you are not your name, age, or profession. You know that you are an inner witness to all that happens around and in you. You also know that experiences can become held inside of you, leading to reactions of either avoidance or grasping.

In the last chapter, the book’s author, Michael A. Singer, suggested that it’s possible to “transcend the tendency to close” when inner fears get triggered. Now, with Chapter 8 called Let Go Now or Fall, we go deeper into how to transcend. This chapter launches the next unit of the book called, Freeing Yourself. And the key word in this chapter title is, “now.” You’ll see why.

Singer says that by trying to control life, based on how we think it should go for us, we think we are protecting ourselves, but that what we are really doing is creating fears.

If you attempt to arrange people, places, and things so they don’t disturb you, it will begin to feel like life is against you. … You will feel that anyone, at any moment, could cause you disturbance. … That makes life a threat. That’s why you have to worry so much. … You’re either trying to figure out how to keep things from happening, or you’re trying to figure out what to do because they did happen. …How did we come up with the notion that life is not okay just the way it is, or that it won’t be okay the way it will be?

Instead, what if we can live without fear and just let life be what it is. Live without fear?? That seems unlikely. But what would it be like? Just imagine. No fear of money problems. No feel of being abandoned. No fear of failure. No fear of safety.

Singer says we’re hanging onto our “stuff” (our blockages, fears, etc.) and when something happens that triggers that stuff we get thrown into a tailspin. He says you have to LET IT GO IMMEDIATELY, because it’s harder to do it later. If you get sucked down into the energy of disturbance, it is through the “haze of your disturbance” that you will see things and try to handle things.  You lose control because you got pulled away from your seat of consciousness, which is where the freedom is. Now you’re in your survival instincts…again, how to protect my “stuff” from getting triggered again. And over and over we are in this cycle.

Singer paints a pretty bleak picture of what it’s like when we act from this lower energy once we’ve been triggered. We listen to our survival instincts to tell someone off, quit our job, drink a little more, whatever it might be. Other people are impacted and then THEIR stuff gets triggered. We take the energy of our own blockages and we pass it on to others. (Not very zen of us.) The negative energy we put out now has to come back in kind. We are weakened and MORE stuff gets triggered more easily. Etc, etc.

What if all you had to do to avoid all of this was to let go in the beginning?

Fair question.

Singer says when a blockage gets hit, it’s a GOOD thing. Because it’s time to let go IMMEDIATELY and get some purification!

It’s time to open up internally and release the blocked energy. If you let go, and permit the purification process to take place inside, that blocked energy will be released. When it’s released and allowed to flow up, it becomes purified … then strengthens you instead of weakening you.

Again, this takes practice.

Just turn your eyes upward and relax your heart. You do not have to leave the seat of Self in order to deal with the darkness. … Getting involved in the darkness does not dispel darkness; it feeds it. … No matter what goes on below you, open your heart and let it go. Your heart will become purified, and you will never know another fall. … let all of your blockages and disturbances become the fuel for the journey. That which is holding you down can become a powerful force that raises you up.

Readers, if you’re like me, this sounds like just what the doctor ordered, but it also sounds pretty daunting. For the rest of the week, I’m going to go for it. It’s going to be a challenge for us…maybe with certain relatives, maybe at work, maybe with kids or with pets, definitely in traffic! But isn’t it worth it to try and see what happens?

I hope that this week finds you freer than the last! Go for it!!

With faith in you and your inner Self,

~~~Simone~~~

 

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A Valentine’s Exercise from Loving What Is

You either believe what you think or you question it. There’s no other choice.

-Byron Katie

Staying on our theme of love for this week, I want to share something I’ve been practicing that I learned form Loving What Is by Byron Katie. I’ve only just begun the book, but this one thing is something I’ve already found to be helpful in my daily efforts to remain the free, happy me that I am. We all want to be more free right? Free from the the ways (e.g., habits, ego, past fears) that we lose the beauty of individual moments as we get lost in regrets about the past and worries about the future.

One of the first exercises that Katie walks the reader through involves, in part, the question: What if you didn’t have that thought? It doesn’t matter that I give you the exact example from the book….honestly I don’t remember it and I’m listening to the book on Audible, so it would take me forever to find it. So let me just explain what I got from it.

Consider one of your habitual thoughts that always keeps you worrying about how someone else is going to judge or wrong you. Maybe the thought is something like, “He never listens to me,” or, “I wonder what she thinks of my new job,” or, “I’m so nervous about my presentation…what if everyone laughs at me.” We all have them. Pick one of yours. Got it? Okay.

Now, close your eyes, imagine yourself in exact same situation that led you to have that thought and imagine you didn’t have that thought. How does it feel to not have that thought, to not have all the worries and stress that follows it? If it seems impossible to even consider, try this: Imagine a fictitious person (we’ll call him/her Sam) in the same situation. Sam never has had that thought you just had. How does Sam feel? Sam probably feels much happier and much more free to just be Sam.

Katie isn’t saying that we can stop having certain thoughts.  On the contrary, she says that,

Thoughts just appear. They come out of nothing, and go back to nothing, like clouds moving across the empty sky. They come to pass not to stay. There’s no harm in them until we attach to them as if they were true.

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Her point is that we don’t have to attach to thoughts.

So I’ve been trying this out. During regular days I’ve been trying it out, while at work, at yoga, walking down the street, meeting new people, etc. Here’s what I’ll do. I will notice a thought that is one of my worry thoughts or fearful thoughts. (It’s worth noting also that this act of noticing thoughts ties in so nicely with what we’ve been practicing through the study of Singer’s The Untethered Soul.) I will then imagine that I just didn’t have that thought…that it is a thought that has never crossed my mind in just the same way that an alien language would never cross my mind…it’s just not a potential thought for me to even have. Or, if it’s easier, maybe I’ll imagine I’m Sam and I simply never think like that.

I have to say, the effect is instantaneous! When I don’t attach to it, the thought just drifts away like so many clouds in the sky. The worries and fears tag along and they just aren’t there. I have to work to find the worries and fears again, like trying to grasp for a balloon string as it drifts upward. When I just let it all drift away, I actually feel a bouyancy too, a greater lightness.

I’m going to keep up this practice and see what else I discover. How about you? Why not try to be Sam now and then. Try to imagine you didn’t have those thoughts of yours either. Feel it all drift away. Feel it. ….

With love,

~~~S Wave~~~

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Revilers Will Revile…and then nothing changes

Oh my gosh, I’m starting a post with a dictionary entry. What’s become of me??

REVILE verb (used with object), reviled, reviling.

1. to assail with contemptuous or opprobrious language; address or speak of abusively.

In this post you’ll read the word “revile” a lot. I chose it over “hate” because “hate” has lost its punch if you ask me. And the meaning I am looking for is to regard someone with boiling contempt, to despise them, or to wish them ill-will, so “revile” seemed a better fit. I also liked, “despise.”

Okay, read on…..

Did you hear about the cow who ran for her life? Literally? Well, she lost it in the end anyway. Here is the whole story.

Just like many other people (there were 1,488 comments on MFAs FB post of this story last I checked), I was disappointed about how the situation was handled. I think there must be better ways to deal with a loose cow than to shoot it dead, right? I also feel sad for the cow since its story represents a fight for freedom, the saga of an underdog and because it suffered. I am tempted to villainize the police officer who shot the cow, (especially because the picture gets me emotionally revved up) and to appoint him as a “bad person” in my mind.

I said I am tempted.

I’m writing this post to suggest that despite that strong urge, it is absolutely necessary to check my revile-o-meter level and get a grip. Because when revilers revile, nothing changes. 

Let me give you an example. Here are some comments that were made on the Facebook post of the story:

MFA FB posts

That is some of the more moderate reviling that was there. These don’t represent all of the comments of course. Most of the commenters were simply sad and frustrated and incredulous as to why the cow wasn’t simply tranquilized or corralled.

It is these types of comments though that I am writing about today. What does that kind of thinking and expressing accomplish? And I don’t mean for the cow…I mean for our evolution as a species for goodness sakes!! I agree that we are an incredibly violent species. I agree that we are complicit in impossibly egregious actions against animals through our indifference and disinterest. But I also believe that each and every one of us is capable of doing horrible things depending on what our path has been. But for the grace of God, and so on.

We are submerged in a culture that inundates us with messages of violence, consumerism, competition, fear, and selfishness. We are constantly hypnotized into believing that these things are the truth and other ideas of reality are considered ridiculous and feeble. There are simply people out there who do not know that this does not have to be the way it is. Can revilers not see that they are just adding to the suffocating culture of separateness that is the problem? A slaughterhouse worker says, “F*** you, cow,” and you say, “F*** you, slaughterhouse worker.” What’s the difference?? You, the cow, and the slaughterhouse worker are ALL the same. Let’s get up and above all this status quo reviling! Let’s recognize the interconnective repercussions that our thoughts and intentions have! We are not going to change a thing by spreading more of the same.

*sigh* I wrote about this in the past regarding the Taiji dolphin hunt. I think I write about it because I have a hard time believing in the good of people. I have a hard time trusting people. I have a hard time not giving into the temptation to revile. So I’m writing to myself also. Because I know that when I agree to not send that hateful energy to a person I have never and will never meet, whose life and struggle I cannot know, I feel better. I feel more powerful, not less. I am more of Self and less of ego. That is when change can happen. And we need some serious change don’t we?

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Before I go, I want to recognize that I haven’t posted the next installment of The Untethered Soul review this week. I was planning on it tonight, but as you can see I got on a soapbox and couldn’t get down. 😉 Don’t worry though…it’s coming soon!

Love from a recovering reviler,

~~~S Wave~~~

Keep Me Hanging On

Start by doing what’s necessary;
then do what’s possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

– St. Francis of Assisi

This week has been especially disturbing to me in terms of farmed animal welfare. Two new undercover videos were released from Mercy For Animals (MFA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The first, from MFA, shows dairy farm workers at an Idaho farm sexually molesting dairy cows. You can read about it and/or watch the video here.

The second, from HSUS, chronicles a practice in a Kentucky pig breeding factory of feeding ground up body parts of piglets back to the mothers. These piglets apparently die from severe diarrhea, so that is in there too. You can read about it and/or watch the video here.

What?? (sigh)

Meanwhile, I was also reminded this week of the Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness which was signed in 2012 by a group of neuroscientists. It states that based many non-human animals have “neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors,” including all mammals and birds.

Interesting juxtaposition. We exploit and abuse animals. <—> They might be conscious like we are. Quite an implication for us.

Now I know that science competes with itself, so is the Declaration based on “sound” evidence? I don’t know.  But I know that it shows that there are people alive, now, who are discovering animal consciousness to be at the least a possibility.

Don’t you feel sometimes like your pets are self-aware or are connecting with you or other animals emotionally? Don’t you sense that they have true affection for their babies? That they fear? And love?

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Then why not a pig? Then why not a cow?

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It is hard for me to imagine any sound argument supporting our culture’s current treatment of our fellow creatures. Whether you base your reasons in the science, the spirituality, the indigenous traditions, or just the gut reaction you have to animals in pain, doesn’t something seem off? Doesn’t it seem like something should change for the good of our OWN species, let alone all the others? I’m not talking about “extreme” changes like a vegan world or animal rights being written into law…I’m pointing just to a basic respect for non-human animals. A humbling of ourselves to recognize the impact our choices have on them and to entertain the possibility that we, as a species, could treat them better.

I personally believe that our future survival really does depend on a change in consciousness. It requires an end of division and competition at the levels we suffer now and a new collaborative, cooperative civilization. Not just with each other, but with the Earth and its other inhabitants with whom we should be sharing this home. It is the hope of that civilization (brought about by necessity, compassion, and divine guidance) along with my own proactive efforts to propel change that keep me hanging on.

So hang on! To each pig crammed into a gestation crate, each elephant shackled in a concrete shed for our entertainment, each of you that feels like it’s too much to try and change….hang on. It might not be in my lifetime or yours, but I believe that things will change. Or, I should say, that they MUST.

In the meantime, go to those links, sign the petitions, get some more meat out of your diet, keep on improving your own choices to align with what you believe and FIND YOUR HOPE! There is always hope. Truly.

I think I might be a broken record when I’m writing about this. 🙂 And I’m guessing that I’m probably preaching to the choir. So be it. There’s too many reasons to keep writing.

Love to you all. The world needs you!

~~~S Wave~~~

Month 2: Putting Down the Crutch


pain of change

I’ve been stalling on writing a new post because this newest month of Here I Am! is both personal and challenging. Even on this blog that offers some anonymity I hesitate to share the part of my life that will be receiving my attention and intention this month.

But before I dive into that, I want to share that month 1 went swimmingly! If you recall, my first month was focused on my body, my physical health, and my appreciation of this beautiful tent that I have been given. And what a month it was! Yes, I set up an exercise routine that I am still in. Yes, I began to educate myself about calories (boring!). Yes, I feel stronger, more confident, and more in control. I learned that my entire daily exercise regiment could be beaten to a pulp and tossed into the ditch by the number of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups that I like to consume every night. So we had to break up.

It's not you, peanut butter cup, it's me.

It’s not you, peanut butter cup, it’s me.

But the most important thing that came from this first month was a reinforcement of my sense of empowerment. I was reminded that “we have the power to choose moment by moment who and how we want to be in the world.” (See our facebook page for the source of that magnificent quote!) It was this self-assurance in month 1 that has led me to take on a much bigger intention in month 2. On my Here I Am! list there is a lockbox, number 7.

My list of intentions

My list of intentions

This intention is private and locked away for only my consideration. It is an intention to break a dependency, to drop an unhealthy crutch on which I have leaned on for a long time. For this month, I will allow myself to spread my arms and stretch in the freedom that I can have without that crutch. I will stir up the power that is inside me and all around me that tells me to have courage, put down my crutch and , “Walk!” If any of you have tried to do this before—let go of an addiction which, by the way, can come in all shapes and sizes—then you know that even day 1 can seem like torture!

So now more than ever it is important for me to reiterate to myself and to you, dear readers, that making a change like this requires grace…not just the grace of God but your own grace toward yourself. Therefore, this is my mantra, my prayer, for this month:

I am thankful for this month of thoughtfulness.

I embrace the challenge, knowing that I am surrounded by love.

In me is all the strength and love that is needed to walk freely and without addiction.

I do not judge myself for weakness but simply notice the thoughts and desires in my body and mind. Always with love.

A new vision and calling awaits me as I decide, moment by moment, who and how I am in this world.

Lastly, I want to leave you with this thought, lest you feel that this journey I have been writing about is unrelated to our theme of connectedness. I believe that there are times in life when we must grasp the reins of our own choices, actions, words, habits and redirect ourselves once again in order to be prepared to step into the next opportunity for giving, sharing, healing. When we are our better self then we spread that betterment to others. The connections we make in the visible and invisible realms are then blessed with more authenticity and grace. There must be a beautiful quote about that somewhere out there! If you find it, let me know. 🙂

As always, thank you for reading.

With love inside and out,

~~~S Wave~~~

Month 1: Loving My Body!!!

My list of intentions

My list of intentions

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Okay, I promise not to send a daily update, but I do want to write briefly about the kick-off to the HERE I AM! experience that we’ve just started. Last night I spent the evening with my sister and brother-in-law, sitting by a fire and writing out our intentions for the month-by-month, change-welcoming, gratitude-buliding, growth-sparking, connection-forming journey that is HERE I AM! We shared our ideas with each other until finally we each had a list that we felt reflected our most pressing inner desires.

My sister receiving some help with her list.

My sister receiving some help with her list.

And so today begins day one of month one. My first intention is exercise. The universe gave me a nudge to make this my first intention through an innocent comment made by an acquaintance yesterday. In what might be the most horrifying social moment (for both the speaker and the receiver) one can find oneself in, a woman I know paused her cell phone conversation, looked at me with wide eyes and said, “Oh! Are you expecting?” After I recovered from the complete brain combustion that followed, I politely laughed with her about the whole misunderstanding and we both tried to bounce back by profusely explaining that it must have been due to the flowing, baby-doll cut blouse that I was wearing that day (which I have now gladly donated to my sister, who is expecting.) That’s all I needed, universe. Got it. Exercise it is!

Behind this intention of Exercise is a desire to love my body and to honor this temple that I have been given. These are the only feet that I have to walk me through this life; the only hands I have to embrace others, to clap with the beat, and to raise in joy; the only lungs I have to bring me the breath of life; the only muscles I have to allow me to work, explore, and be helpful; the only throat I have to speak. I want to be fit, spry, flexible, ready to go. I specifically intend to not base my judgement of my progress on what I might look like to other people, but how I feel about my strength, power and health. As the process takes place, I will be patient and I will send positive, appreciative thoughts to my soft tummy and my dimpled thighs. I will love love love what I have while giving it more of what it needs.

I will explain the other intentions as their times come.  But before I go, I want to express my support to anyone who is also doing a list of their own. Remember to be gentle and loving. Keep your eyes open for the signs and wonders that might just be shown to you as you set your intention on the good and worthy things of life. To celebrate this first day of HERE I AM!, here is a little something to encourage you onward (wink):

“I am here” or “HERE I AM!”

Life loves the liver of it.

-Maya Angelou

Two years ago, in autumn, I saw a commercial for Dove. A woman is going to an elegant party. As she glides down the spiral staircase in her gown her eyes and slumping shoulders give away her inner insecurity and fear. The colors on the screen are dull and washed. Her hair is supposed to look equally dull.

“Does your hair say ‘I am here’? Or…”

Suddenly the picture changes to bright colors. The woman transforms by flashing a big smile, pulling her shoulders back and flipping that now shimmering hair,

“Or does it say, ‘Here I am!’?”

Dove-Leave-In-Soothing-Cream

The ad made me think about something other than hair. It made me think about the difference between walking through a day (or forbid, a life) in an “I am here” energy versus a “Here I am!” energy. There are days when at the moment my head hits the pillow I would have to honestly confess that it has been an I Am Here day. I have gone through motions. I have done what my schedule required me to do. Maybe I had little connection to others…probably little intentional connection to God. Possibly all because of and certainly resulting in a feeling of malaise and disappointment.

Well, two years ago in October, after seeing this commercial, I decided that I wanted to have more Here I Am! days. I knew there were things in my life that were out of balance. So I gave myself a challenge. I wrote my HERE I AM! list of intentions.  It was an inventory of things that I would like to add or alter in my life. For example, I wanted to reduce the amount of time I spent in front of screens and replace it with time spent with books. I wanted to exercise. I wanted to call old friends. I wanted to give more. For each intention on my list, I designated a month during which I would lend my awareness, my love, and my discipline to it.

For the next four months amazing things happened. I felt like I had shed some skin and I  could feel a renewed hope and positivity. What I was sending out was returning to me. There were inexplicable alignments in life that took place around that time. I met people that I believe I needed to meet. Questions were answered. Growth took place. I wasn’t making it into a fervent, you’ll-get-a-gold-star-IF kind of task. The whole thing was just for me. It was just between God and me.

Now, these few years later, I can feel a desire stirring in me again. A desire to welcome change in my life through intentional awareness and love. It’s not just about a list of goals, and it’s not about New Year’s resolutions (although, ironically, it might be turning into that.) It is simply time to shine the HERE I AM! light no matter where I am and prepare for what is waiting for me for my good, for the good of others, for the good of my community and (why not!) the world. I want to go toward those things with calm, confidence, and curiosity.

Long story short: I am making a new HERE I AM! list of intentions.I’ll be starting soon and look forward to sharing insights with you all.

Do you want to imagine a HERE I AM! vision of your own? Do it! Write it down in a secret private place. Read it to God and to your own heart. Seal it with a prayer and put it in a special place. Send it out there and do your part: acknowledge your intentions in your words, actions, and thoughts. Then just wait to see what happens. I’ll  be encouraging you in spirit and prayer.

Freedom by Zenos Frudakis

Freedom by Zenos Frudakis

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Dear friends,

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~~~Waves~~~