In 2013, I learned my most important lesson.
First, I want to explain what I think the “journey” is. Even if a person is not fully aware, the journey we are being called to is always the journey back home to our Selves. It’s that simple, but it is never easy.
Simply put, we have an essence, our Truth (with a capital “T”). That is who we are at our core. Over many years of life, we have learned how to survive in this world, to protect ourselves, to do what we need to do to get what we want/need, etc. We have developed our personality, our defenses, our egos. None of that is bad, it’s an important developmental stage in life to do just that. But at some point, we get called to go on this journey back to ourselves, to our Truth, to our essence. That means we need to go through that mucky, sticky, icky stuff – the darkness, the pain, the struggles, the defenses, the judgements – to reveal who we really are.
We spend years and years resisting and trying to hide all that we don’t like about ourselves (our neediness, our behaviors we don’t like, decisions we made, our need for validation, our bodies, our failures, our pasts, our pain, our quirks, our fears). We criticize ourselves (and others). We push ourselves to do better, faster, and more. We don’t cut ourselves slack for fear that we will do nothing or be nothing. We get busy so we don’t have to pay attention to the things we don’t like about ourselves or the emptiness we feel inside.
And then, we get called back to our core, to our essence. Whether we get called by a crisis or just a gentle whisper, we eventually realize we are being called on this journey back home to ourselves. Sometimes we spend years resisting that calling. We get busier. We may even engage in self-sabatoging behaviors (drinking, eating, working too much, over-analyzing, etc.) just to avoid this journey. Some people complain that something is just not right, that they feel a hole in their heart, or some emptiness that they are trying to fill. That, my friend, is the whisper to go back home to your Self.
The secret to getting back home to your Self is what I want to share with you today – this is the most important lesson I have learned. It’s very, very important because it will make this journey much easier than it may sound when you imagine it.
“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” ~ Mark Twain
“To me, wholeness is the key to aliveness. It is more than just physical vitality, it is radiance, coming from being at one with yourself and your experience. Life then flows through you and radiates from you.” ~ Richard Moss
Now, you wonder, how in the heck can I do this self-acceptance thing? Here is how you can get started:
First, in 2014, vow to get quiet. Don’t busy yourself all the time and take 5 minutes, then 10, then 20 and maybe even up to an hour to be quiet (I know you are busy, but it’s no longer an excuse, if you want to have an amazing life, you need to make the time). Sit in silence (not necessarily “meditating”), in nature if you can, observing, not judging, just quietly being (not doing – we are human beings, right?). Try to quiet your mind, not by criticizing yourself for having monkey mind, but rather by noticing and allowing thoughts to move in and out of your mind. When you notice you have been thinking, gently move yourself back to the moment you are in right now. It’s all good and it’s time to welcome everything – sad feelings, happy feelings, good and bad, pain and joy, and all other polarities that you can imagine. It all just IS. It is part of life. Accept that life is messy and it’s exactly as it is supposed to be rather than spending so much time trying to change it. It’s all okay. For some specific techniques, check out Jenai Lane’s Spirit Led Instead (a Type A person’s guide to getting back to your essence).
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV
Second, notice and be grateful for your judgments. Judgments are merely a reflection of what is going on in your inside world. Each judgment you make of another is a part of you that you have resisted or have banished into hiding (at some point in your life you were given the impression that it was a part of you that was not safe to reveal to others). In the beginning you may disagree with me. But one day you will notice you are welcoming judgments on your path to getting whole…your journey back home to yourself. You will realize that it is your judgments that help you to see where you still are not whole. Trust me on this. To learn more, read Byron Katie’s Loving What Is (an inquiry process to help you learn from your stories and judgments).
Third, cut yourself and others slack. When you notice you are being tough on others or yourself, breathe, and then cut them and yourself slack. You may think that high expectations, willfulness, and “getting shit done” is your path to happiness. It’s not true, I used to believe that too. It’s in cutting yourself slack, accepting yourself for who you are, empathically connecting to others, and “being” rather than relentlessly “doing” that is the path to true happiness. To learn more about this, read and listen to Brene Brown’s work. To begin, watch her TedTalk.
Can you please consider using 2014 as your year to find YOU?
Believe it or not, it’s much harder work to live life with all of the social personas and false selves we put out there than to live from our essence. Yes, I admit that the journey can be a bit difficult at times. Sometimes it might feel too dark, you might wonder if you are entitled to or deserving of happiness and that you are somehow different and destined to stay in this darkness. It’s simply not true. Ask for help from someone who can guide you back to the light. And as you get closer to your Self, I promise you will feel better, lighter, and more whole and there will come a point where you will be deeply grateful for the journey, the struggle, and even the waves of darkness.
Much love my friends! Happy Holidays!