Day 32- A Difficult Story that Ends with Gratitude

Two years ago at this time, I had recently completed an amazing adventure. August 15, 2013 was the last day of a 5 month, 3,000+ mile journey that I made running most of the way across the United States from CA to CT. In Norwalk, CT that day, as I ran into the ocean, I was so happy and relieved to be finished, but I was also suffering immensely. While I was definitely in physical pain, it’s not the physical pain that was really bothering me. It was the mental and emotional pain that was causing the majority of my suffering (and probably causing my physical pain, too). Let me explain. The reason I was suffering so greatly was because I spent the majority of the 5 months on the road denying my own reality and rejecting my feelings and at the end of the 5 months instead of feeling the excitement of what I had accomplished, I mostly felt the weight of what I hadn’t.

You see, by the time I had run to Missouri, I was in a great deal of physical pain. So much so that it was too painful to run. However, instead of accepting this and allowing myself to live this truth, I denied it and secretly hitchhiked and rode in buses and taxis for about 120 miles. I didn’t tell anyone until about 5 or 6 months later when I realized if I didn’t tell the truth, the lie was going to eat me up inside for the rest of my life.

I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last 2 years processing this experience and trying to figure out what lesson I was meant to learn from it. I have wanted to place the blame for my actions outside of myself and it would be easy to do that. However, the more I learn about life, the greater awareness I have that no one else is ever to blame for my how I feel and the decisions I make.

In the blog post I wrote announcing what I had done I said one of the reasons I did it was that “I was so consumed with my goal that I was willing to lie to keep up appearances.” Re-reading that today, I realize that that’s not really the truth. I wasn’t really consumed with my goal. Not finishing when I said I was going to finish wouldn’t really have bothered me all that much. Really what I was consumed with was the story, the drama I had created in my head that rejected the reality of my situation. From day 1 of that experience I was completely unwilling to accept how I was feeling and because of that I created a world of suffering for myself. If I had accepted my feelings and allowed myself to be whatever I was in each moment, I would have made completely different decisions.

As I write about this experience today, I find myself wondering why I’m doing so. Why bring this up?… It’s because I haven’t fully allowed myself to be at peace with what happened. I’m still reliving it in ways and it’s blocking me from truly being in a place of acceptance and power. This experience is part of my journey today because I haven’t allowed it to move through me. I’ve wanted to deny it and I still wish it hadn’t happened the way it did. I have intellectually been trying to figure it out, always wondering “Why?” and thinking I had to learn something from it before I could let it go and that since I was still holding on to it, I must not have learned the deep, profound lesson, yet. In doing all of these things, I have held onto it, instead of letting it run its course.

Today, what I realize is that I don’t have to think about it anymore. There’s nothing to figure out. When a thought of the experience comes to my mind, I’ll change my focus from thinking to feeling and I’ll allow myself to feel whatever feeling arises as a result of the thought. I’ll let the thought be there, too, but I won’t give it my attention. I will feel and be and see where that leads.

The lesson, I know now, is about self acceptance. I have had an opportunity to implement that lesson for as many moments as there have been since the experience happened. But since I haven’t done it, the experience keeps presenting itself and I keep re-living it. The thing is, I really didn’t know what self acceptance meant until these past few days. I didn’t have an inkling of what self acceptance is. Now I have an inkling. I’m so grateful to be where I am in this moment.

Thanks for reading.

Rosalynn

Day 31- This Is Me In This Moment and It Feels Very Vulnerable…and FREEING

Thinking about where I am right now in this journey, some might say I haven’t accomplished much. Some might say that I have nothing to offer anyone else because I’m still so stuck myself. I have doubted whether there is any point to sharing my experience because I don’t know if  writing about it can benefit anyone but myself…I don’t claim that what I write is “right”, in fact there’s a good chance that what I say could lead people astray, since I’m so unclear of so many things. I don’t claim to be able to offer anything that can help anyone else. This is just my experience. And today this is what is coming to my mind as I sit here at the keyboard, so I’m writing it.

As I think back on my experience so far, I’ve been through a bunch of phases. Here are some that come to mind. There are definitely more. Some that I haven’t written about at all:

1. Marvelling at the fact that I can be in communion with the Great Creative Life Force of the Universe at any moment and getting to know what this feels like.

2. Refusing to allow negative thoughts and fear to occupy space in my head thus realizing that there is a different reality possible.

3. Reaching out to the divine and inviting the divine into the reality of my life, moment to moment.

4. Becoming acutely aware of certain blocks to my spiritual growth.

5. Becoming aware that I have to accept those blocks instead of rejecting them or trying to change them.

6. Becoming aware of the difference between doing and being.

7. Becoming aware of the difference between emotions and feelings.

8. Becoming aware of what being in the moment and accepting myself in each moment feels like.

9. Practicing being in the moment and truly accepting myself.

So, this is where I am. Outwardly, it seems like nothing has changed because I’ve only just begun to actually accept myself the way I am and just begun to become aware that I don’t need to change anything to find divinity in my world. I’ve just started to explore the depths of presence within myself, just started to awaken to the truth that can only be found by accepting things exactly as they are and allowing them to be- and the freedom that that creates.

I am no different on the outside. I don’t think that anyone in my presence would feel me radiating divine love or serenity, or anything divine (although I pray that I can express divine energy in all that I do). I have been emotional and negative and all the things that some may say prove that I have gained nothing out of this experience. But I know that I have. It’s the beginnings of self-awareness and self-acceptance. It’s just the beginning. I’m being honest. It’s also honest to say that self-acceptance feels like a whole new world to me inside. Inside I’m exploring uncharted territory. I know with out a doubt that the most important thing I can do in this moment is to experience myself just as I am without wanting to change myself and without caring what anyone else thinks. I have never know that so clearly. I have never known so clearly that I am divine, that I am perfect, and that rejecting or trying to change myself is rejecting divinity in my life. Mentally, I haven’t stopped rejecting or thinking I have to change myself but there is now a little bit of myself that knows who it really is (just a little bit). Otherwise I would have never allowed myself to write this post.

Thanks for reading.

Day 30- Transforming My Sense of Failure

…whatever your battle is, instead of thinking of how bad and weak you feel, you need to take action. You must take action.- Sira Masetti. 

I was tempted today to think I had failed on my path. I was so emotional last night and this morning and I couldn’t seem to snap out of it. The quote above is from this post about failure, in a blog called the theseeds4life. I read it last night after my wave of anger started to subside a bit. When I read it, it hit me that I could use the momentum from the anger that I was feeling to propel me in the direction I want to go. Although it took quite a while for the anger to pass through me, now that it has, I feel renewed. I feel a new surge of energy that has sharpened my focus again and what I experienced over the past 24 hours doesn’t feel like a failure anymore, but a release, that has filled me with renewed vigor.

What was different about this emotional breakdown? I did my best to allow it to happen and to put my attention on the feelings in my body. However, there were multiple moments during which I was completely overwhelmed by my emotions and wallowing in self pity or blame (instead of feeling the feelings in my body). The main difference is that I let myself come out of the experience naturally. I didn’t force myself to cheer up prematurely.

The feeling of putting a smile on my face when I feel tied up in knots inside is one that I know well. It’s true what they say, that if you physically smile, even when you don’t feel especially happy, you will cheer up. I’ve done it. But the first 10 minutes, or so, can be seriously painful…in a very strange way. Like my body is rejecting the action. Most times after a while of forcing a smile I do feel better. In the past it’s felt like a victory- forcing myself to be happy. I see that with a different perspective now.

I’ve never before grasped how important it is to just allow myself to be, in whatever way, shape, form that presents itself. “Self improvement” has been a strong focus of mine. I was always ready to do whatever it took! Tell me what to do- meditate, run, fast on juice, read books, go to a seminar…whatever it was I was willing! I felt like I was well on the road to mastering “doing”. The problem was, it didn’t feel like it was getting me anywhere! Not where I wanted to be.

Here’s a quote that describes my life for about the past 15 years: “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” That busy person was me and I could get it done, whatever it was. This new way of doing things is completely different, though because it’s not doing, it’s being. It’s so subtle a thing that it can easily get lost amidst all the busy-ness of the world going on around me. It really requires a quieting down and a slowing down that I definitely don’t feel that I am anywhere close to mastering yet. But that is my path. I can feel it.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Rosalynn

Day 29- Life As An Experiment

emerson

I was angry tonight. Really angry. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I took a walk then just sat on my bed with my eyes closed and did my best to focus on what it felt like in my body to be angry. Waves of tension swelled up and ebbed, mostly in my stomach. I had a lump in my throat. My brow was deeply furrowed. I sobbed off and on and tears dripped off of my nose and my chin. My nose got stuffed up and it was hard to breath deeply.

I kept consciously relaxing all the muscles in my body over and over again. That felt really good.

Angry, blaming, self-pitying, judgmental thoughts kept filling my mind. It was difficult not to get lost in them, in their comfort. It felt strange to take my focus off of my thoughts and put it on my body. It felt uncomfortable. unnatural. My thoughts kept calling me back. And I would almost get lost in them every time, but then I would shift my focus- over and over. I did this for about an hour. What an interesting new experiment!

As an aside, one interesting thing I’ve found is that everywhere I turn lately, I see things related to feeling feelings. It’s like I’m tuned into the “feeling feelings vibration” and more and more things about it keep turning up in my life. I like it.

Well, I guess that’s all for now.

Thanks for reading.

Rosalynn

Day 27 and 28- Truly Allowing and Accepting Feelings (I wasn’t doing it before)

When I am perfectly clear,                                                                     what is is what I want. – Byron Katie

I started this journey expecting to go on a certain path, in a certain direction.  I had expectations. I started heading in the direction of my expectations and for a little while the path was nice and wide and clear. However, somewhere along the way, the path I started off on didn’t feel right to me. So I drifted into a nearby wild field. What often happens with I enter a wild field is that I am surprised by the reality of the experience. Fields that appear soft and lush from afar are often filled with sharp grasses and uneven ground, by thorns and other things that prick me or scrape me. Then there are the bugs and plants that cause me to itch. But that’s the reality, the true experience. Expectations are meaningless. And so with this experience.

Anyway, in this field that I’m in now, I can’t see a path, really. Now, it’s up to me go my own way, to simply keep moving forward and trust in the process of life and experience what happens one step and one moment at a time. Who needs a path? My path is: I am where I am in each moment and I accept that. When I experience what’s happening along this journey intellectually I keep thinking “Now I don’t know if I’m going in the right way”, because I think there’s a right way. Oh, thinking mind, oh false-self..always trying to make my world and experience smaller…

Enough metaphors, though. I had a realization today as I was doing a meditation for feeling feelings. I was introduced to it after reading F(eelings as the Medicine) (A-Z #6) about the alchemy of feeling, in a blog I’ve been following called The Invitation. Here’s my realization: Feelings are not thoughts! Oh my gosh, what a revelation! I know it sounds obvious but I’ve spent a lifetime thinking that my thoughts were my feelings. I’ve been playing out all these mental dramas and stories and thinking those were my feelings. They’re not! Feelings are feelings! Feelings are energy that moves through my body, if I allow it to. If my mind starts to take over by judging the feelings and therefore rejecting, repressing, or clinging to them, the feelings aren’t allowed to move through my body. They get stuck and I get all blocked up and stuck in my mind. I don’t want to be stuck in my mind anymore! I want to be free and open to all the ideas in the universe!

Truly allowing and accepting my feelings means not getting caught up in a story or a drama. It means not forcing the feelings to go away. It means not having the need to name the feelings or to ask anything of the feelings (all mental activities) It means being open, aware, present and patient.

So far, in this journey, I have spent a lot of time replacing negative thoughts with more positive thoughts, mantras, or affirmations because I have been afraid of experiencing the feelings that come with these thoughts. Now I can see that I don’t have to be afraid of the feelings. My thoughts are a separate topic, though. I’m a little unsure at the moment if replacing the thoughts in the way I was doing it, is what I will continue to do. Maybe it will feel right. I’m not sure. Right now, I’m going to focus on feeling my feelings and see where that leads me.

By the way, at the beginning of this email, I eluded to having certain expectations about this journey. I’ll explain what they were. I expected to be finding ways to connect more with the divine and to experience the divine in the world around me. I expected that I would be talking about experiencing the divine while watching the sun set or experiencing the divine in other people, or expressing the divine to other people. I didn’t expect to be focusing on my thoughts and feelings. Unconsciously, I thought focusing on my thoughts and feelings was in a different realm. A realm of self-improvement that was not directly connected with inviting the presence of the Great Creative Life Force of the Universe into my life. The experience I’m having in this moment feels so personal and somehow not divine…That,  however is a thought of the mind. It’s a judgement. In reality, experiencing what is happening in this moment is divine! Somehow, connecting with the reality in each moment is connecting with the divine…

Thanks for reading.

Rosalynn

Day 26- Learning How to “Be”

Oh, the unraveling of the false self…Learning to “be” whatever I am in each moment, truly accepting every aspect of my experience of the moment- I don’t think I’ve ever done that. There are so many layers of rejection and refusal of myself and my experience, for one reason or another. And how can I truly feel the presence of the divine if I am so often busy rejecting who I am and my true experience of the moment, which is an activity of the mind (my false self)? Always doing, doing, doing. Never being. What a distraction. If my mind is creating and shaping my experience, I’m not truly able to connect with the divine source/force within or all around me.  So, I suppose this is another starting point. I feel a very vague sense of direction. I feel for the first time that I am catching a glimpse of what exists underneath all of the layers of false self. It feels elusive at the moment, kind of like a mist that I can’t really see or touch. I feel it though.

I read this article yesterday and it was very helpful: Freedom From Suffering: Feeling Feelings

Thanks for reading.

Rosalynn

Day 24- Taking an Honest, Fearless Look at Myself (Working Toward Self-Acceptance in Each Moment)

Things to accept about myself so that I can take my power back and transmute the energy into something more productive:

1. I have a lack mentality. I think that I don’t have enough of anything- not enough money, not enough time, not enough knowledge, not enough resources, not enough connection with the divine, not enough compassion, not enough generosity, not enough honesty, not enough courage, not enough uniqueness, not enough creativity, not enough confidence, not enough trust, not enough faith, not enough love and acceptance for myself, not enough joy, not enough talent, not enough beauty, not enough love and acceptance of other people, not enough independence, not enough intuition, not enough control, not enough humor…

2. I care a lot about what other people think of me. Pleasing others and proving myself to others is one of the driving forces in my life. I seek approval from others to assure me that I have the qualities I feel I lack.

3. If someone expresses to me that they don’t believe I have one of the qualities I want them to see in me, I suffer a great deal and I feel like a failure because I wasn’t able to convince them of my worth.

4. Most of my actions are motivated by proving myself to others. I don’t know if I do anything for the “right” reasons/with a pure intent. I don’t even know if I know how or what it means to do things that way. I do a lot of things out of guilt or because I think I “should” because I don’t want to make others feel bad (that would mean they would think I’m not a nice person.)

5. Anger that I feel is often related to my feelings of lack. Most of my anger relates to money and time. I get angry when I feel like I’m not in control of my money and when I feel like I’m not in control of my time.

6. I am a controlling and judgmental person. But in a very disguised way. I tend to think I know what’s best for others and when they don’t do what I think is best, I make a judgment about them in my mind. I usually don’t tell them so, though, because I don’t want to be seen as judgmental. I also judge myself quite harshly. My judgment tends to put things into one of two categories: right or wrong. I want to control others into doing what I think is right because I think they’ll be better off, but I often don’t tell them because I don’t want to come across as controlling. It’s mostly with the people I feel closest to that I express my judgment and control.

7. I worry about things I say and do all the time. If I say or do something that I feel in some way causes me to look foolish (un-cool foolish), judgemental, critical of someone else, etc. Then I end up regretting it and wishing I hadn’t said it and wishing I could take it back. I worry that the other person now thinks less of me or that I upset the other person in some way so he/she will now be upset with me.

I’m sure there are more things about myself that I have to bring to the light of day and accept, rather than hide and ignore, but nothing else comes to me at the moment.

I have to remind myself why I am bringing these things to the light of day. It’s not to punish or shame myself for these things, or to feel bad about them. It’s not a confessional. It’s so that when these situations occur, I recognize them and accept them as part of my experience in that moment instead of judging them as wrong. If I judge them as wrong, I lose a great deal of energy and power trying to cover them up or push them away or deny them. This takes me out of the present moment and steals my awareness and connection with the present moment. If I can bring these things into the present moment in a conscious way, notice them, and invite the divine, creative, life force energy to share the moment, I think there’s potential for something productive to happen. I’m not sure what it is, yet. I’ll keep you posted, though.

Thanks for reading.

Rosalynn

Day 23- On lightening Up

Bringing my awareness to my inner blocks has been key in my experience so far. It’s part of a process of freeing myself so that I can have a stronger connection with the divine. Anger, anxiety, fear, stress, doubt, judgment, shame, etc…all of these come in the way of my connection with the Great Creative Life Force of the Universe. They steal my attention and my awareness and make me unconscious. They drag me down with their weight into a world of a lower vibration, of suffering and loneliness. The higher vibration is where my true potential lies. For that I must lighten my load. “Lighthearted”. “Enlightened”. I must be light.

This morning, when I woke up I felt a sense of emptiness. There’s still something major within me that is blocking my connection to the divine reality that surrounds me, that’s a part of me, that I’m connected to. If I were truly feeling connected to the amazing world and to the Great Creative Life Force of the Universe, I don’t think I would feel empty or lonely as often as I do. Would I?

I don’t know what the block is. The other day while I was taking a walk, I started wondering about the serious side I have to me. Nature walks are such a time for meditation for me and my awareness of many things expands a great deal on my walks. Anyway, what I started to become more aware of on this walk is that there’s a seriousness to me that prevents me from being silly, especially around others. Sometimes I’m silly when I’m by myself, but hardly ever around others. I know I’m serious far more frequently than I’m silly and I’d like it to be the other way around. What is the seriousness all about? Is it protecting me from something? I’m sure it is. It’s also preventing me from being completely free. I’m at the point where I feel I’m ready to face whatever the seriousness is protecting me from. I’d rather deal with it and move on. It may be painful to deal with, but that’s ok.

For the moment, however, I suppose I just accept where I am. I accept the emptiness and seriousness. Not accepting is choosing the lower vibration. Acceptance gives me access to the higher vibration. So even in the moment when I feel heavy, I still have a choice to feel heavier or to lighten my load. There’s always an opportunity to lighten up through acceptance of what is. Wishing reality were different than it is: heavy.

It always comes back to that, doesn’t it? It always comes back to the simple act of acceptance of each moment. I’ve been so used to trying to figure out how to change myself but coming at it all wrong. Wishing I were different. That’s really heavy. The concept of acceptance is still sinking in. I just need to keep reminding myself and I know eventually I’ll get there,…or maybe I am there!

Thanks for reading.

Rosalynn

Day 21- A Conversation with Anger

Anger: ROAR!!! I’m mad!

Me: Hello, anger. I hear you. I’m listening.

Anger: Why are you talking to me? Just let me take control.  I don’t want to talk to you, I just want to exert my power over you like I always do.

Me: Why are you here?

Anger: Because you’ve been wronged and it’s not fair! I’m trying to get you to stand up for yourself! You can’t let someone treat you that way! You’re right and they’re wrong! If you don’t stand up for yourself, that person is going to keep on doing what they’re doing and completely take advantage of your niceness.

Me: You’re right! I do have to stand up for myself! I am right! Why should I be the one who goes out of my way! I’m too nice and I don’t want to be taken advantage of!…But wait…I don’t want to be mad…There’s got to be a different side to this…What can I learn from you, anger?

Anger: You can learn to keep control of the situation, make sure everything always goes your way and force others to conform to your expectations for their behavior!

Me: Oh. Why do you think that’s important?

Anger: Because it’s uncomfortable if things don’t go your way and who knows what will happen if you give up control of the situation. Plus, if someone doesn’t act like you expect them to act, then they must not care what you think? Why spend time with someone who doesn’t want to please you and do what you tell them to do? Especially when you’re right and you’re such a nice peson! Why can’t they be nice to you and let you know they care?!

Me: Hmmm…where do you come from, anger?

Anger: I come form a place inside of you that feels hurt, that feels ignored and devalued. I’m here to protect you from those feelings and to assure you that the person who made you feel that way is wrong.

Me: Well…what if I decide I don’t need to be valued by others because I can value myself? What if I don’t depend on someone else to meet my needs? Then that other person can be whoever they want to be. What if the other person wasn’t actually doing anything to hurt me on purpose? What it they are just caught up in themselves and their issues…I understand that…I can relate. So, maybe I don’t need to get so defensive. That’s not the person I really want to be..and besides, I value other people’s independence and free will. I don’t really want to control anyone’s behavior. I don’t have to be afraid of what will happen if someone else doesn’t do what I want them to do! I can handle it, whatever it is…I trust in the process of life and I know I’m safe.

End of conversation.

I really struggled with resolving this conversation. To be honest, no response came from inside myself when I asked the question “Where do you come from, anger?” I listened really hard, but I kept wanting to justify my anger. So, I took the liberty of doing a little research and that’s how I was able to end the conversation. Here are the sources that helped me to finish the conversation:
Source 1
Source 2

Thanks for reading.

Rosalynn

Day 20- Things I Do Differently Now- Part II

Yesterday, I started making a list of things I do differently now that I’ve decided to focus on my spiritual reality. Here are a few more things:

4. When I go on a walk in nature, I talk out loud to the divine force(s) all around me. I feel especially connected to the divine vibration of life when I am surrounded by nature. I often speak as if I were speaking to a friend about all the amazing and beautiful things I see and experience, or I ask for guidance to enable me to connect with and learn from the natural world to my greatest potential. I speak the spontaneous insights and realizations that I have about life, I affirm my commitment to being present in the moment with an awareness of the Great Creative Life Force of the Universe and to continue along the path of knowledge of this force and of my true self. I ask for guidance in sharing what I experience on this path with others. I remind myself of what my true potential is on this path. That I am a co-creator and that I can create my life as I want it to be. I do all of this outloud (as long as there’s no one else on the path I’m on…which there usually isn’t :))

5. I do mini-ceremonies inviting Spirit into my life, inviting Spirit to fill my body and mind so that I may express it in my life.

6. I imagine my life as I would like it to be, realizing my full potential as a spiritual human being, and as often as I can, I live that perspective in my present moment. I act in accordance with the image I create with the confidence that this potential is my reality.

Why do I write about these strange and private things? I’m not really sure, yet. It may be for myself. To help me clarify the process. It may be to simply document the process. It may be to give some of what I am gaining to anyone who finds it useful or helpful. I’m not sure, yet. If I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for reading.

Rosalynn