Travel Tuesday: French Connection

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
― Marcel Proust

A psychic once told me that she foresaw me taking a trip to a place where I had lived during a past life.

“Wow. I hope I’ll know it when it happens,” I replied.

“You’ll know. You’ll know it in your heart and by the intense feelings you experience.”

I’m not sure about the truth to all that, but nonetheless, it is an intriguing idea. There are those moments when you have such an unexpected reaction to a place as you step your foot on the ground. Similar to how a smell can elicit a strong sense of deja vu.

DeJa-Vu by HongNian-Zhan

DeJa-Vu by HongNian-Zhan

As I was thinking about this–about places I have been (in this life) and what feelings are attached to those travels–my junior year of college quickly came to mind. I lived and studied in France that year. As an adult, I carry a sense of disappointment with me about what I made (or didn’t make) out of that experience.

“I didn’t immerse myself in the culture as much as I wanted to.”

“I didn’t speak the language as much as I should have.”

“I am not the grand traveler my family wants to imagine I am.”

Simply, I feel like I wasn’t brave and that I came back a bit of a fraud.

As you might have sensed, it’s actually a lot of Me being too hard on Me….a habit I’ve become quite good at across life contexts.

Still, there is a seed of truth in all that self-flagellation which warrants a gentle, compassionate consideration. The seed shows me it is time to have that inner-child conversation of forgiveness and resolution. To let 15-years-ago be what it was. To love exactly who I was then and to be grateful for the part that year played in creating who I am now. (Look at that–I think I might be having the inner-conversation right now!)

There is another level of resolution that beckons to me too though: I want to reconcile with France. I want to return, sit down with France, and have a new conversation…the one you have with your ex once you’ve both moved on and truly forgive and appreciate one another. I want to just go love it for what it is and be in the moment amidst all it’s glory.

I wouldn’t go to France again carrying the burdens of the nagging “shoulds” with me. They are much to heavy no matter where you travel, I have found. No, I would like to be back on those Mediterranean beaches with no other goal than to feel the sun and taste the salt. I would like to walk in Paris with no other expectation than to be me in Paris. I would, with gratitude for it, speak my broken French if I wanted to, and I would be equally grateful for my fluent English whenever it came in handy.

I would like to make peace with a place, to help make peace with me.  I have found that innerconnection happens in so many different splendid ways. Why not on the TGV while humming past the countryside of Provence?

french-countryside

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Untethered Soul, Chapter 2

Welcome back to our summary series of The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer! So far we have used the introduction and first chapter to inspire simple noticing. We are noticing the voice inside our head and are growing more and more curious about the fact that we can separate ourselves from that voice. If we can separate from it, then we can consider ourselves the listeners, yes?

Well so what?

Enter Chapter 2. It is called The Inner Roommate and it’s a great metaphor for realizing the power that the inner voice has over our decision-making and our perspective on our lives. It also introduces us to our own power to disentangle ourselves from that voice. The metaphor goes like this…

You have a roommate. This roommate is with you ALL THE TIME. And the worst part about the roommate is that they jump immediately to worry, fear, and doubt with news about almost anything. fd98525722a532d71ebb65851cd0ad0d.wix_mpIf you want a quiet time by yourself. Too bad. There’s that roommate popping in and interrupting with a barrage of thoughts, questions, judgements and worries. You want to watch a movie? Too bad. The roommate is there to tell you everything else you should be doing. Want to enjoy your new romance? Too bad. The roommate is jabbering at your ear to freak out about everything that might go wrong, or right, or wrong, or right….

Imagine how crazy you would become if that were a person in the flesh! I would be looking for a studio apartment quick!

Now that you’ve been noticing your inner voice, isn’t it kind of like that though? The inner voice sees almost everything as a problem to be solved. But if we could step back, disentangle, and be curious about why that part is feeling fear or worry or doubt, then we would experience a new kind of freedom. After all, it can be a GOOD thing that there are protective parts inside of wanting to shield us from hurt and loss. But that benefit ceases to exist when we they begin to reign. As we grow spiritually and personally, we need those defenses less and less; we become able to allow potential painful situations to happen.

lion

And so, just as we would never tolerate an actual roommate like that in our life, Singer suggests that part of spiritual growth is not tolerating our complete identification with that inner roommate.

This is the essential difference between a spiritually minded person and a worldly person. Worldly doesn’t mean that you have money or stature. Worldly means that you think the solution to your inner problems is in the world outside. You think that if you change things outside, you’ll be okay. But nobody has ever truly become okay by changing things outside. There’s always the next problem. The only real solution is to take the seat of witness consciousness and completely change your frame of reference. … The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality. Once you do that, you’ll be clear enough to deal with what’s left.

One of the most common thread between spiritual practices is the goal of releasing ourselves from this predicament of ego versus self. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” has been one of my favorite Bible scriptures for a long time.

Spiritual practice isn’t about being better than other people or being right. It’s not even about vanquishing all fear. It’s about being able to recognize those fears, those anxieties, those worries and be in the seat of consciousness in the midst of them. Prayer, yoga, meditation, chanting. All of these things are means for us to be more centered in our Self throughout our daily life.

Meditation-Collage-small-300x282

Your will is stronger than the habit of listening to that voice. There’s nothing you can’t do. Your will is supreme over all of this. … Stand firm in the seat of the witness and release the hold that the habitual mind has on you. This is your life – reclaim it.

How do we find that will? How do we “stand firm in the seat of the witness?”

Next week, chapter three will take us a step closer to answering that question. Until next Wednesday, let’s agree that we believe there is more freedom than we allow ourselves to experience when we hear only our psyche, our inner voice. Let’s entertain the possibility that we have the ability to not be at the mercy of its every changing thought and that our inner roommate need not rule the roost.

As I am becoming more and more familiar with that “seat of consciousness” from which I sit back and observe my inner roommate going about her up’s and down’s, I will be using affirmations to till the soil for the garden of growth I seek! Join me in letting these words permeate your own life this week. Say them a few times a day. Write them and put them around your home, in your car, at work.

There is more to me than my inner voice.

I have just as much potential as anyone else to be free from my fears and worries and anxieties.

My life is evolving, always, towards this freedom.

I find myself at peace in my seat of consciousness and am more and more embodying my true Self.

 

Thank you for reading, waves. Be well and here’s to our growing together.

~~~S Wave~~~