Monthly Archives: May 2011
Life is designed to bring up your stuff.
That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
We can avoid it. We can deny it. We can ignore it. But eventually, we see that to get to where we want to go, we have to work through the stuff we’d rather step around.
There’s never around. There’s only through.
But we hate “our stuff.” And we often hate ourselves for having it. We think we should be “stuff” free. We look around and think, “None of those famous people have to deal with the stuff I have to work through.” Oprah doesn’t. Does she? Tom Cruise doesn’t. Does he? We think we’re the only ones who have it.
But everyone has it. Everyone’s got their stuff. Some people hide it better than others. Some people are honest about it. Others not so much. But everyone is here to evolve through what is uniquely part of who they are.
The key to getting on your path – and staying there – and experiencing all the things you truly desire, is to start confronting the stuff you run away from. The stuff you judge. The stuff you think you shouldn’t have. Or compartmentalize. Or project onto others.
Once you begin to see that the stuff we are here to overcome is what we absolutely need to experience the life we want, you change your relationship to it.
And you change your relationship with yourself. You start being kinder. More loving. More compassionate. More creative. More brave. More risky. More fun.
Don’t be scared of the things that a different part of yourself wants to show you. They are there for a reason. Learn from them. Bless them. Utilize them.
There’s no way you can get to the last chapter without the first nine. They’re all needed. All part of the story that is uniquely you.
“If you don’t have any shadows, you’re not in the light.” — Lady Gaga
Not unlike the DreamWorks movie, if you want to make your Dragon work for you, you first have to know you have one.
Once upon a time, we were given a travel companion to help us navigate through life’s travails. As we grew, so did our Ego Dragon: by processing information, evaluating situations, making judgments based on experiences, remembering the past and making plans.
It had a useful purpose. It helped shape our identity and carried us through the world avoiding things that it registered as dangerous and unknown.
But as we grew, so did our Dragon. Feed me! Feed me! And so we did. We gave it unsubstantiated information based on past experiences. We avoided things that were unknown to us because the Dragon said it was unsafe. We repeated things our Dragon overheard: You’re a loser. You’re fat. You’re ugly. You’re so cool. You’re the shit. (It wasn’t his fault. These were things he heard others say, so they had to be truthful, he thought.)
Our Dragon ended up spawning lots of little Dragons (He is actually a She and a He) and now we really had our hands full. (More than three thousand years ago, the Bhagavad Gita portion of the longest poem ever written, the Mahabharata – stated that we had 100 formidable “Dragons” that would fight us on the battlefield of man’s body.)
That’s a lot of freakin’ Dragons!
Now if you had 100 little babies to tend to – not unlike Octomom – what would your life be spent doing?
Feeding all of our little Dragons: maintaining and defending untruths that seemed real; and cleaning up all their s***!
Walking around aimlessly (Dragon), lost (Dragon) and confused (Dragon), feeling like this, you bumped into a long-lost friend: your Inner Warrior.
This being Los Angeles, he took you to boot camp where you not only got toned and buff but also looked really, really hot in your dragon-slaying outfits. For men and for women. (Oops. My gay gene may have made me do that backwards: Men press here. Women press here.)
Like Thor, through awareness and perseverance you gained insight into a whole other part of yourself you never new existed.
You met your Dragons on the battlefield – and some of them from the Gita you immediately got rid of (meanness, cruelty, ill-will, conceit, pessimism, bitterness) and others you negotiated with (impatience, worry, laziness).
You began to see that you are not alone. Since time began, the real battle every person fights is the battle against the enemies within.
They are conquerable. They’re unreal. They’re there to help us cultivate another part of ourselves that is much larger, much grander and seeks the adventure of the unknown.
So thank your Dragons. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to experience who you truly are.
But for goodness sakes, stop feeding them!
The experiences we are looking for in the world seem to show up out there.
They might be in the form of getting a girlfriend or booking a job or going on a cruise or getting an agent.
But what they really represent is the feeling you are looking for (and actually already possess) inside you.
We think that getting “the thing” is what we need to finally be who we are.
In actuality, who we naturally are already is – ironically – how we get the things we desire.
Life is a circle. It’s not a horizontal line leading to somewhere out there in the future. It’s a journey of coming back to you. As adults we’re trying to get back to that core essence of who we were (and still are) as children. The part of us that is nonjudgmental, innocent, fully-expressed, free, emotionally connected, playful, committed, fearless.
And as children, we don’t wait for “events” to give us permission to express ourselves. We express ourselves fully moment-to-moment in each moment.
Just because we’ve grown up, or gained twenty pounds or have gray hair or seem to have lost our way, doesn’t mean we’ve lost that eternal part of us that is yearning to be expressed again. We just have to reconnect to it and let it show us how to play.
Homework: This week, give yourself the permission to express yourself in a way you normally shut down, control, edit or don’t allow. Just do it.
And remember. Child-like is not childish.
“Adults are obsolete children.” — Dr. Seuss
Judith Lasater, a wonderful yoga teacher and writer, tells a story about “selling the goat.”
It’s a metaphor for taking a step back and gaining perspective on your life when a situation is troublesome or stressful and it’d be helpful to see it with a new pair of eyes. She suggests, “selling the goat” – which simply means, to let go of your fixed, fearful hold on things and see the situation from a more accurate perspective.
I’m taking her idea one step further. To me, “the goat” represents not only our conditioned way of thinking about things and our habituated response from a negative, limited-view way of thinking, but also, it represents the multitude of distractions in our lives.
You know the ones.
Unsupportive friends. Negative lovers. Disrespectful agents. Toxic relationships. Two-timing partners. Mean managers.
Sell it. Get rid of it. Life is too short.
We end up expending so much wasted energy on things (i.e. Drama!) that don’t hasten our growth. That don’t nurture our talent. That make us question and doubt ourselves. That make us feel unworthy and untalented. That support our incorrect belief that we don’t deserve any better.
When you get distracted by such energy-suckers, make this your new mantra:
“I don’t have that kind of time!”
We don’t, people. No one does.
So simply. Effortlessly. Sell. The. Goat!
“We say we waste time. But really, we waste ourselves.” — Alice Bloch
We all have great ideas. Inspired light bulb moments. Thoughts fueled by creativity and intuition. Brilliant flashes of genius that reside within us but are connected to something much larger than ourselves.
And then we THINK about them. (Don’t do that!)
Over and over. And again and again. The more we think about the original idea, the further we move from its original intent: to take action and give birth to the idea out in the world.
We think. Then doubt. We become fearful of what it will take to make the idea come to life. We fast-forward into the future and worry about worst-case scenarios. We over-think and then ask other people what they think. We listen to them and begin to doubt ourselves more. We come up with innumerable reasons why the idea won’t work.
And so it doesn’t. It becomes entombed. Fossilized. Buried. Shelved.
We have this amazing, creative thought. And then we have thoughts about that thought and more thoughts and more thoughts and more thoughts until the original creative idea is buried so deep within our left-brains, it has no outlet for expression.
You would need a backhoe to get it out! And who’s got a backhoe? (Well HARD HAT HARRY does but that’s another story.)
So it becomes yet another idea you let die. It becomes extinct.
Ideas need care and love. They need support and nourishment.
And most of all – they need to be acted on.
So this week, whatever idea – whatever creative thought of something you’ve wanted to do pops into your head and you still haven’t done – you are going to!
It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.
Think less, people. Act more!
“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” — The Buddha