In my experience, the #1 misconception of people striving to live authentic lives by living from their heart, is that they are always happy. I am here to tell you that is not true. You know that old saying, “take the high road”? There is a reason that road is usually vacant. The higher path can be the lonely path. You are still judged, and maybe even more so for not “blending in”. You are still at the mercy of other people’s perceptions, bad moods, injustices, and blatant spiritual attacks. The only difference is that people living a positive life know that the only way to counter any of these is to love. “Fight back” with love, understanding, grace, and compassion. The one thing that I can guarantee when you live this way, is that there will be plenty of opportunities for you to prove how committed to your way of life you actually are. It’s like the Universe wants to see just how serious you are when you say you wish to be the change you want to see in this world.
Maybe Eckhart Tolle or Deepak Chopra don’t have bad days. Maybe there are those who live such spiritually enriched lives already, and are so awakened that they can move through a bad day with grace taking mental note of the life lessons they are receiving. But I’m still a novice. I am emotional, blunt, and you can tell which side of the bed I awoke on. There are days where I shout “fuck the system” and then chose to eat chips and watch Real Housewives over meditation and self-introspection. That is what I mean by spirituality for the rest of us. Because some of us are still over here on the spiritual spectrum that is closer to middle rather than Mother Teresa level. We understand that our thoughts create our actions, and therefore our reality, but there are days where our thoughts are so dark and nasty that it is just too hard to try and change them. Raise your hand if you have had angry back and forth conversations with your “nemesis” in your head, and it felt a hell of a lot better than the “love and light” that you know you should be sending them. Picturing their face when you tell them what for in your mind’s eye and let them know just how bad they hurt you, and then immediately feel guilty when you know in your heart that you should have compassion because they probably don’t know any better. I am guilty of all of this.
I am only blunt and straightforward because I am at the point in my spiritual journey where I recognize all of the time that I wasted, and mis-communications that I caused by beating around the bush for the past 30 or so years. Or how all of the “no, it’s ok’s” that I gave instead of sticking up for myself ended up doing deep emotional damage. In an attempt to avoid all of that now, my mouth has no filter and I have not yet grasped the concept of diplomacy. In fact, I feel that diplomacy is a waste of time. Think about it, you have the audacity to run around town talking smack on me and I am supposed to be diplomatic when I tell you to stop?! (The answer to that is yes by the way. Remember that bit about the high road? Well here is the fork in the road where you get to practice what you preach.) I don’t understand talking behind the back because I seriously appreciate honesty. People can help me help them by helping me navigate right around them if their signs blink “stuck-in-bitter-resentment-over-my-divorce-30-years-ago-and-hate-everyone.” Or “Joy-robber-because-I-have-none-and-don’t-want-you-to-either.” Just so that I can go park myself next to “optimistic-because-I-have-faith-in-humanity.” I also appreciate uncomfortable conversations, and I am just now realizing that not many people feel the same way. There are some people that I still need to speak with in connection with somethings they ain’t gonna want to speak with me about. I know that the only way for me to get over the deep pain that they inflicted on me, I need to tell them personally. I also have to give them the chance to say their piece to me. The end result will be that my journey with that particular pain will be over, and theirs may just be beginning.
So you see that this stuff can be complicated at times. Deep thinkers are rarely rewarded with complete bliss. Even when we know that excavating your true self is really the liberation that we all seek, we still have to freakin’ excavate. While we are doing this, we somehow have to make our way in the world, navigating all what and who comes with life. Recently, a friend of ours was in town and we all had dinner together, our son included. This came on the heels of a pretty upsetting past week that will make for magnificent writing material, but doesn’t feel so good right now. I can tell that my friend was looking to be uplifted. We had not seen each other in a year, and all of our hang outs have been fun times, so he was probably looking for more of that. I did not have a whole lot to give during that dinner. Every time I opened my mouth, bitter came out. Then I would find something positive to say. 10 minutes later, resentment came out. Eventually he joked that his guru may be a fraud. He didn’t mean anything by it, but yes, that night I was a fraud. Not wanting to disappoint or re-schedule yet again knowing full well it could be another year before we got together, I pushed it and he did not get the best of me or Michael. In the end, he is a close friend and close friends know who you really are, and he actually gave me a great gift…a reality check. One that serves to show me that my external reality is matching the reality in my head, which is the opposite of positive.
So how do you change it? How do you deal with the fact that where you are right now emotionally is less the high standards that you have set for yourself by seeking this life? By acceptance and forgiveness of self. Sounds so complicated right? It isn’t. We make it complicated. The power and the control lies solely with us. We can change our thoughts and our actions/patterns at anytime that we want to. I can take my angry thought and chose instead to think of something great. Something better. Something more in alignment with the reality that I wish to create. I have a ton to be grateful for, (so do you. If you are reading this with your own eyes, then there is one thing right there) I can chose instead to think of those things. The power and the choice is mine. Not the people that I am angry at. The second thing that we have to do is to stop dramatizing everything in our heads, which is really our egos trying to sabotage us. It is not a bad life, it’s just a bad day. Ok, bad week. Month? Doesn’t matter, this is temporary. Fleeting. Unless we keep the perpetuating the negative. When we decide to step off of the crazy train, and change our thoughts, we won’t really remember this. At least not accurately. The brain cannot remember pain. Think of the last time you stubbed your toe. You remember that it hurt, but can you actually remember the pain? See. All that you will remember is that it isn’t a highlight. Or is it? Can this time period serve as a reminder of what it feels like when you stream hard core negative thoughts into your brain instead of changing your mind to loving thoughts? Can this serve instead as a reminder that you need to release your emotions in a healthy way? Running, kickboxing, yoga, etc.? Every cloud has a silver lining, but it’s up to you to seek it.