4 Steps to Personal Freedom that I Sometimes Forget

I’m self-aware enough to know when I’m failing.  I feel it deep down inside that something isn’t right, and then I have to think long and hard as to what it is that isn’t right.  There is something about living a spiritual life that requires vigilance, especially in today’s transitional society.  In order to begin the path to find your spirit and your true self, it takes the challenging of one’s limiting beliefs, and the shedding of anything negative that one deems as holding them back.  Simply put, it takes a phenomenal commitment to do the sometimes large amount of work inside of yourself.  Then, to make things even more spicy, once you do get going there will be several tests presented to you strengthen your new found path of following your bliss. They may be physical challenges, or mental, and can even come in the form of people. Sometimes shit just smacks you in the face and the goal is to meet it head on while staying balanced, centered, and compassionate so that you can follow your intuition. Inevitably, the further along on the path to enlightenment, the more frequent and the more challenging the opposition.  Prior to this post, I’ve fallen victim to procrastination, and I’ve been doing a lot of talkin’ and not a whole lot of walkin’.

Walking your talk is a phrase used by many to point out whether or not someone practices what they preach.  For the past month, I’ve been talking about loving people even if it’s from afar, while there are two people on this planet that I despise.  Absolutely despise.  I don’t despise them as people, I despise their behavior.  Their judgement, their lack of compassion, and common sense.  I despise them for the fact that they are mean spirited, insecure,  dramatic, and are self-absorbed to the point of dangerous, yet point the finger at everyone else as being those things.  None of the traits that I despise them for are permanent, they are all things that can be changed, but each person would have to make that choice for themselves and actually do the work.  The hard core, pride swallowing, sometimes painful, most definitely uncomfortable work of changing themselves from the inside out.   Now, I ask myself, who am I to judge these two people for not having begun to examine their negative behavior? Furthermore, how do I know that they haven’t begun to understand their behavior is having an adverse effect on everyone around them? It’s their journey after all.   Aren’t I supposed to love them for who they are like I preach? Where is my patience for my fellow mankind?

Patience is not my thing. Never has been, but it has dawned on me that it is my time to grasp this virtue, because raising children requires a lot of patience.  Being in a relationship with someone requires even more, but more over I have to learn to have patience with myself.  So what of all the other crap that I whole heartily believe in yet am all of a sudden having a difficult time putting into practice?  I talk about organization and having your home be your haven, meanwhile the dog hasn’t been out since 8 am and I overdrew my account last week due to sheer laziness of taking out a calculator and transferring money. The biblical foundation that I pride Michael and I’s relationship on, was tested when I snapped at him the other night for no reason. No reason. Not one. The plentiful friendships that I preach about nurturing…I have a condolence card for a friend’s lost loved one from a month ago sitting on my desk, 6 un-returned phone calls, one friend who needs me the most right now, and countless family members that miss me and haven’t seen Dylan since his birth…7 months ago.

What about my spirit that I need to nurture, “me” time and all of my art of self-care that I preach about? How about my grays that still need to be covered, or the fact that I haven’t had my hair cut in 6 months. A far cry from the standing appointment that I used to have. My back hasn’t been cracked or rubbed in months, my horse remains saddle-less from the last time I rode, I have books and CDs to read and listen to stacked up next to my bed, and I ate a bowl of ice cream for dinner last night.  I’m burning the bacon.  Badly.

This zen thing isn’t always zen. Sometimes I end up feeling guilty, because I have all of this knowledge that is sometimes hard for me to put into practice, and I should know better.  I’m frustrated that I’m spinning my wheels and I’m feeling guilty that I’m not as good of a friend as I used to be, or neighbor, or daughter, or niece, or partner.  I have so much to be thankful for and so many people that I appreciate with every fiber of my being, and I remain overwhelmed as to how to repay the kindness.  The only thing that I am good at is being a mother in the sense that my child is well cared for and happy.  He’s spirit is nurtured just like his intellect, but I would be lying if I wasn’t upset at the fact that he bounces just a little higher and smiles just a little brighter at Michael than me because Michael is home during the day, and I am not.  This does nothing for my feelings of guilt and frustration.

I think that there is a stigma attached to spirituality that spiritually motivated and people living a positive life are always happy and are always grounded.  Some may be, but I think that with true spirituality there is always some struggle.  In the beginning, there is struggle when you are challenging your limiting beliefs, struggle when you realize that all that you have been taught or have learned isn’t for you anymore, or never was. There is most definitely struggle when it comes to personal change. Which may just be where I am right now.   But it’s all mental, and it’s all temporary if you learn how to re-frame your thoughts, and take steps to evolve.  A zen master I once practiced with taught us to always allow emotion, but to observe it too. Observe it in order to find the root of where it is coming from, then release it.  All of it. The root of it’s existence, as well as the emotions. So often these periods of emotion makes us look and feel so maniacal that we want the quick fix. We run to adderal, or zoloft so that we just don’t have to deal, but we are meant to feel these feelings.  We are meant to take some time out in order to feel and process.  It builds empathy, and therefore character.  If you believe the notion that we are all spiritual beings having a human existence  feeling your feelings makes even more sense.  We can’t evolve without change, and we can’t evolve without having different experiences, with those two things comes emotions.  But who wants to feel anger, or pain, sorrow, or fear right? It’s only fun when we feel happiness, joy, elation, and accomplishment. Screw the rest of it. But if we are spiritual beings having a human experience then we need to be willing to take the good with the bad.

One night two weeks ago, I had to practice what it is that I know and what I talk about, and feel my bottled up/pent up feelings.  While cleaning my barn, I kicked my horse’s stall door a few times and buried my head in a horse blanket hanging on the blanket bar and screamed bloody murder and let out my anger.  Later, Michael held me while I cried my eyes out.  Sometimes a good cry is just what the soul needs.  I let go of the guilt and all of the rest of it and came to terms with the fact that my life changed so fast that I was angry at myself for struggling to keep up by not living in the moment.  Disappointed in myself that I wasn’t being secure enough to accept the great blessings that have come to me by always looking for the bad or waiting for the “other shoe to drop”.    I was hurt, angry, tired, sleep deprived, malnourished, and just plain frustrated.   Then I realized that I was all of these things because the picture of what should be doesn’t match my reality.  We should sit down to dinner at 5:30 pm to freshly cooked all organic dinners.  Last night’s dinner came in a cardboard box.   I know better than this.  I know that life is beautifully imperfect.  It takes embracing the imperfections and allowing life to flow the way that it is meat to in order to be truly fulfilled.  Squeaky clean floors and emails that are answered immediately isn’t really part of God’s plan.  Human interaction, feeling emotions, collaboration, building and nurturing family, taking care of yourself, being a good person, following your passions, loving one another, and living in service to others is.  In the days following my soul washing cry, I went back to the following four things that have always put me right, and always will;

  1. Getting into nature.  Nature has it’s own rhythm that it follows.  The flower buds don’t open to the sound of an iPhone alarm, they follow a natural pattern guided gently by nature.  That same pattern will naturally set your insides right as well.  Put all electronics away and get outside.  When I have the worst days, I sit with my back to a tree.  The older the tree the better, because the energy that permeates is wiser and more restorative.  I find that while in nature, I can talk to myself, or talk to the animals, and just allow ideas to naturally surface because it helps to…
  2. Talk it out.  I recommend finding people that can be trusted.  Those that will honestly want to help you, not take what you say to other people, or only listen as to gain some gossip.  I am lucky where there are several different people that I can go to who are un-biased and will gladly tell me about myself if need be.  If I am at odds with someone, they can help me separate my behavior and point out what it is that I may be overlooking, but also tell me where the other person is overstepping too.  They ask open ended questions, or questions that help me draw my own conclusions.  They also sit and listen while I yell, scream, and cuss a blue streak.  If I am talking about an impasse with someone, they are not gossipy, mean, or assassinate anyone’s character.  They will never take that information and disseminate it to the masses, or ever use anything that I say against me in anyway.  I go to certain people for certain things based on their strengths.  If I want a frank and very simple insight, I go to my boss.  If I want to be coddled just a bit, I go to my mother.  In the past several weeks, I’ve gone to all of them for some insight and looked at the common denominator in what each said to me.  The common thread this time was patience.  I can’t believe that I am still battling something that I’ve been battling since birth.  Maybe that’s the problem, maybe I shouldn’t “battle” but just allow.  Feel the impatience, observe it so to learn from it, and then let it go.  Which brings me to…
  3. Feeling any and all feelings.  Without getting bogged down in any one of them for too long, I felt and release every feeling that came to me.  I felt sadness, allowed it, released it.  Frustration, allowed it, released it.  Anger, allowed it, released it.  Feelings are fleeting and they are not facts, they are temporary unless you grip on to any one of them like a life raft – which I know I did with fear for awhile, they are meant to come and go.  If you do get bogged down in any one or them, go back and see #1 of this list.

My problem is very rarely self-examination, I am always willing to go deep inside and see what my issue is.  In fact, I love to do it, however my shortcoming lies in the fact of putting into motion what it is that I know when it’s the most inconvenient/uncomfortable to do so.  It’s easy for me to be kind to a stranger, much harder for me to be kind and loving to the two people in which I despise.  But this is what my journey is all about, and learning patience and kindness under all circumstances is part of my lesson for right now.  The one thing that I can always agree on with myself is that in order to raise the emotionally healthy and productive children that I so deeply desire to, to remain the kind of partner to Michael that grows in love everyday, and to nurture a healthy  extended family, then I have to ensure that I am the healthiest that I can be.  Physically,  and foremost spiritually and emotionally.  Which brings me to #4;

4.  If you can’t begin to do it for yourself, do it for the greater good.  I will master these lessons and put into practice all that I have come to know thus far with regard to spirituality and self-development everyday and not just when it’s convenient.  When I would rather watch Real Housewives than meditate, or clean my floors again in clear avoidance of facing what is testing my patience, I think of my son.  I think of what I want him to witness from me as he grows.  My desire for my family far outweighs the un-comfort that I feel because I know that this world will change for the better one healthy person…partnership…child…family…neighborhood…community…city…state…country…at a time and that it all beings with ME.