My “Two-Minute” Video for this Week: What Really Matters!
How well do you know who you are, really?
Of course, you know your name, your physical history, where you were born, etc. You might know your Sun sign to look up a horoscope in the newspaper. You probably know your parents’ names and your grandparents’ names. But who are you, really?
Do you know your thinking style? Do you know where your attention goes when you are presented with a situation or event? Do you know your Life Purpose, your Life School and your Life Lesson or Blind Spot? Have you examined your limiting beliefs? How about those negative self-talk thoughts you carry around with you? Are you clear about your values and your priorities?
I could continue the list but it is too long. There are so many facets to a human being, so many aspects to the personality, that we often think we are simpler beings than we really are.
And what is true for you is true for everyone around you.
For example, you have a certain learning style. Most folks are visual learners. They process information by seeing it. Have you noticed that you remember something better if you see it written than if you just hear it? That’s because your preferred learning style is visual.
Some people are auditory learners. They need to hear material so that they can better learn and remember. For these folks, just seeing the written word isn’t good enough – they need to also hear it spoken or to speak it aloud themselves.
Now if you are a visual learner, you use phrases that reflect this, like ‘Do you see what I am saying?’ or, ‘How does this look to you?’ If, however, you are an auditory learner, you resonate better with language that reflects hearing, like ‘Did you hear about this?’ or ‘How does this sound to you?’
Can you see/hear how this difference can impact communication between two people?
This is only one example of how important it is to know something about yourself.
What about other tools for self-knowledge that give you more detailed information about your tendencies and inherent energies? Astrology. Numerology. Enneagram. Myers-Briggs. DISC. Scientific Hand Analysis. Chinese 5-elements. Your Chinese astrology star number. There is a long list of ways that you can understand yourself more deeply.
Have you explored tools to help you understand where you are coming from? What about where others are coming from? Do you value the differences in how people approach learning, or life, or do you expect everyone to see things as you see them? To listen and to hear exactly what you hear? To feel the way you feel?
All Love Flows from Self-Love.
To love another you must first love yourself. Learn more about yourself and love it all. There is nothing better about one Enneagram type over another, but the more you understand about your tendencies the more conscious you can be about choosing how to respond to stimulus as it is presented to you. One Astrological chart is as good as another but they can carry very different lessons for the person to learn.
I can often shift a person from feeling conflicted to being more peaceful simply by pointing out how differing human beings can look at the same scene and describe differing points of view. This is most beneficial if you know your own point of view first.
Explore tools for self-knowledge and get to know yourself better. It can change your life!
So often we get stuck in a place where we’re feeling as if there’s something we’re missing, some clue that is just beyond our vision, some message that we just can’t quite hear. And while we seek the answer we forget to ask the right question.
Today, ask yourself, ‘What is my WHY?’ What’s your reason for the choices that you are making each day? Is that reason the same reason that you made that choice in the first place or has your ‘why’ changed since then?
For example, you might have chosen a job because you knew some folks who already worked there and you liked them. Now, though, you might have moved farther away or they might have left and you might have totally different reasons for continuing to work there.
Or you might have started a business because you wanted to help people and now that business isn’t supporting the lifestyle you desire.
You might have had kids and your ‘why’ might be something about providing for them but your choices were made at a time when they weren’t in the picture.
Looking at your ‘why’ is important for many reasons.
Your reason to get up in the morning has to be more compelling than rolling over and going back to sleep. Is that what you wish you could do every morning? Then maybe you need to examine your ‘why’ and make some changes in your life.
Everyone hits rough spots in life. Your BIG WHY keeps you going over those boulders in the road. If you’re not sure what your ‘why’ is you might find it more difficult to endure those bumpy spots.
And your ‘why’ can change as your life changes, as you grow and develop. What your ‘why’ was in your 20s might no longer be so important in your 40s, 50s, 60s. You might even find that your ‘why’ keeps expanding into a huge reason to get up every morning!
For example, I have a friend who feels her BIG WHY is to end illiteracy. She earns money, in a business unrelated to illiteracy, so that she can contribute to causes that help to educate populations around the world. Another’s is to help women heal their shame around childhood trauma. This might not be the immediate cause in which you see her involved but it informs what she does because it is based on WHY she does it.
So what is your WHY? What do you hope to accomplish in your lifetime? What motivates you enough to struggle through the tough spots and feel exhilarated at your successes? Can you see an expansion of your WHY as your personal growth has expanded?
I recently did an exercise to examine my ‘why’ by starting to look at what I don’t want, what upsets me. It really bugs me to see people believing that they are less than the Brilliant Light that I see in them. I want to help each individual to reach inside and find that Light that I can see and shine that Light out into the world. Because I see the dimensions that most others can’t access I can see how much that individual’s Light is needed.
And so my BIG WHY is to reach around the world and turn on that Brilliant Light Within individuals so that the Light can outshine the darkness. I help people access that Light and clear the shadows that they have been hiding behind and under. I am excited by each opportunity I have to help people, individually and in groups.
I know my WHY. Do you know yours?
Life Purpose; Commitment; the Universe is waiting. And:
I can assure you that no one’s Life Purpose is to play small in the world. Remember that there are a lot of other souls waiting for you to show up to play your part.
This is heavy stuff; a challenge! Am I ready? Am I already living my purpose? How can I know, for sure?
A number of years ago I did a values assessment exercise. I listed out my top five or so values, the usual. And I wrote my “morning pages” on each value across several days. I worked hard on this. Then I reflected on these values and I began to reduce them, to simplify them into a formula I could easily follow. The result is pretty simple:
A bit of time after I worked through this exercise, I learned about Scientific Hand Analysis. This approach, to determine things about ourselves from our finger and hand-prints is both fun and pretty amazing. Turns out my fingerprints are all of one kind, loops. And the simple meaning of this is my Life Purpose is Love! I also happen to be in the School of Love and my Lessons revolve around Love.
Now, this too seems pretty simple! (Believe me it’s not!). And it certainly aligns with my values nicely! But here’s the thing: that first word in my “simple” values statement is Practice! Oh, yeah. I’ve got to practice this! Every day, in every way.
And, following Rosemary’s reminder, I have to commit to this 100%. There’s no playing small here. There is no end either; no limits, no boundaries. No perfection!
But then just a day or so ago a poem came to me in an interesting context: on Sunday I had taken a day off, completely off, no practice, no schedule, no thinking, a real day of rest. Then as I reflected on this day off, I came back to my purpose, my values:
Rosemary asks some tough questions in her blog-post yesterday. The key here is to review our values, especially with the question: “how much is enough?” in mind. Rosemary’s challenge: it is important to decide consciously what is a necessity in Your Life.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I ask this of myself is health. I have been struggling for a week with a debilitating pain in my shoulder. I brought this on myself, raking leaves like a madman a week or so ago. And I felt reasonably good doing it. I did and do realize I’m not 40-something any longer. I took my time and only did the front yard. And I expected some stiffness as an after-effect. I did wake up with a few sore muscles the next day. And then it got worse, and worse. Yesterday, over a week later I was almost unable to move without pain. And I realized health, feeling reasonably physically well, is close to the top of my list of necessities.
Of course, clean water, healthy food, clear air, warm shelter, reasonable clothing all contribute to the healthy body; anything that supports my necessity of health by definition is a necessity.
While I was forced to slow down and rest in relative stillness with my sore shoulder I reached for my books. Ah, if I can’t be moving about, bustling about, getting things done, then I can always take time to read. I discovered another necessity: reading material. (And if you were to visit Rosemary and me in our home you would quickly realize how necessary books are in our lives!)
And as many of you who have read my posts may remember, I write three pages of long hand notes every morning as recommended by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. Pen, ink, paper are consumed in my practice. Necessity? This one is on the thin edge. I use my page writing to tune into my inner self, my intuition, and I use what I write, at least in part, as a guide to the rest of my day. Do I need to write it down? Does the process of writing promote the information that comes through to me? Of course there are other ways to receive or get in touch with these intuitive insights. And maybe there is no real need to record the information that comes through. So, maybe I have found a line here.
The point is to “assess.” What are the necessities in your life? How much is enough? It’s a good exercise.
But then Rosemary switches gears a bit when she says:
Humanity is evolving and each of us must step into our power, our empowerment, our Purpose. YOU ARE ENOUGH, just as you are, today!
And you have enough. Assess the necessity of everything in your life. Does it serve your Purpose? You might be surprised at the answers you get when you ask this question!
Wow! I am enough. I have enough. And whatever is serving my purpose is what I need! Health? Check. Books? Check. Pages? Check! My pages do serve my purpose, so they are on the necessity side after all.
Assessing necessity with Purpose as the backdrop is the more meaningful way to answer the question, “how much is enough?
Meanwhile my shoulder got so bad I asked Rosemary for help. I am living with, partnered with a healer! And I finally got around to asking for a healing! As I write this I am feeling much better. We both picked up that my pain may have been triggered by raking, but something else was allowed in, something physical and also something spiritual. The physical is like a viral attack, like a cold in my shoulder; I’m treating it like a cold. And the spiritual? Rosemary detects that my heart-mind center is opening. More on that later!
Do the necessities in your life support your purpose? You’ll feel great when they do!
Tolerance, a “permissive attitude”, can be a lackadaisical approach to life or it can be a philosophy and intentional approach to life. Which is it? Maybe it can be both.
Tolerance in a carefully machined automobile part is the amount of deviation from a standard that can be allowed for the part to function properly. In this example machining the part further to comply with a tighter than needed tolerance would take more time and energy and would not necessarily improve the functionality of the part. A more relaxed tolerance in this case can save energy rather than expend more energy.
Personally I can tolerate a certain amount of dust on a windowsill or a few dust bunnies under the bed; if I vacuum the rug every two weeks rather than every week I am saving myself time and a bit on the electric bill. The tolerance level here is the amount of deviation from perfection that balances the energy saved with the energy expended on accepting the deviation.
If you are a parent, how much do you tolerate from your kids? Do you have a “permissive attitude” toward their behavior? And how far do you allow that permission to extend? Again, energy can be a measure here: the energy you spend on parenting can be balanced by the energy the children spend on testing the boundaries of your tolerance. They are busy learning about those boundaries and you must be busy setting them so they learn how to be balanced, creative, socially adapted individuals.
And then there are the personal boundaries that we develop and evolve as we grow and mature, learn and expand consciously. These boundaries form the tolerances in our lives. Some are external; they involve our family, friends, community, even country. Some people choose to leave their country of origin because they can no longer tolerate the living circumstances, whether those are political, religious, social, or economic factors. And then there are the internal boundaries, the tolerance levels we set up as standards for our own behavior and how we live life within those standards, or values. It is these values around which we balance the energy we expend on maintaining our adherence to those standards versus the energy drain from letting down our guard and giving in to a lower standard.
As an example one of my standards, a practice, is to write three longhand pages of text everyday, early in the day, preferably first thing in the morning. This is a practice I adopted from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I have been doing this for years, and I find it very worthwhile. It is a way for me to meditate, to journal, to dump the cobwebs from my psyche, to rail at the Universe, to give thanks to the universe, to channel the divine. I love this practice. Do I do it every day, first thing in the morning? No. Clearly there are things that get in the way, that disrupt this practice. This morning I am writing this blog post first before my pages. Lately I’ve been eating some breakfast before my pages. These are tolerances that I can live with; energy spent obsessing about always writing the pages first is not balanced by the positive effect of the writing. On the other hand there are some days I miss writing altogether. When I occasionally miss one day it seems to be OK, I can tolerate that. But when two or more days go by and I fail to get to my pages, I begin to notice the effects: I get more irritable, less tolerant! Then the balance tips in the direction of energy drained from me that is out of balance with energy spent in writing the pages.
How do you measure your tolerance levels? Do you do this consciously? Are you aware when your boundaries are crossed and your energy drained? It’s good to think about your boundaries so you can maximize your energy levels and live fully, in the present.
Now I’m going to write those pages!
Rosemary’s Exploration this week contained a lot of good advice. I too have the sense that there is tremendous energy for change building in the World. I think a lot of this energy build-up is from the extreme polarity that we are experiencing. Whether it is political factions (both within and between political parties), economic debates about the best way forward, religious extremism or raging debates about social issues, people seem divided into camps of widely differing views and value. This polarization is creating the environment that will force change.
And there is another source of this change energy; as Rosemary observes: “It is time to transform. We’re still feeling the effects of the 2012 energy that gave a huge boost to the transformation energy. It’s not over yet!”
Rosemary and I are going through tremendous change ourselves as we are in the midst of packing up for our move to larger space and a greater degree of freedom. With any change of this magnitude comes the combination of excitement and trepidation. The questions: is this the right thing, am I taking the right steps, can I do it, do I have the energy, can we afford it, are followed by answers: yes, this is a necessary step forward, we have the way and the means, … and in the end, we trust!
And where does that sense of trust come from? Inside!
And this is the key response that Rosemary urges: as we face the building powers that are bringing about the changes we sense, we need to go inside to find the empowerment needed to make the best choices, to decide on our next steps for forward progress.
As I’ve written before, I am completely committed to writing my “morning pages” as urged by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. I have been practicing this approach to inner work for years and for me it works very well. As I sit with my pages I move inside and let words flow up and out onto the page; I gain insight, strategies, confirmation, hope, trust…Where does this support come from? Inside, from both my self, and my Self!
If you have been reading this blog much at all you probably already know I have many practices for inner work (and outer, physical work): Qigong, Yoga, sitting meditation, breath-work, cooking (yes, I consider this a spiritual practice!) and even household chores (I enjoy doing laundry!). But when I really need answers I seek my pages and write.
I wrote in my pages this morning about the move, the strategies and logistics, the concerns and the excitement. And I ended the pages with a tremendous sense of hope and trust. Yes, this is a big change; this is a time for big changes and hope, trust, and courage. Fortunately both Rosemary and I are Leos, both born on August 2. We both have courage to spare!