Sunday, July 13, 2014

Am I Worthy?

“Am I worthy of doing what brings me joy, pleasure, and a feeling of fulfillment?” This is where the rubber meets the road for me every. single. time.

After I wrote and published my last blog entry on “Embracing Destiny” earlier this past week I watched myself spin into judgment and give my inner critic the best seat in the house. This time it was not so much the usual judgment about the content or even how long it was. I’ve come to appreciate that some of the most successful and respected authors (in my opinion anyway) are very loquacious with thousands or millions of readers. I’m learning it’s really not about that at all even though it seemed that way because I’ve been criticized and felt rejected all my life because of it. The practice of writing this blog, even sporadically, seems to be helping me embrace my own innate loquaciousness without the inner critic being my first “commenter” with “TLDR” (too long didn’t read). ha! That’s progress. Facing the fear of being judged and silenced, feeling shamed and rejected by others was my intention for starting to write this blog. Hooray! I can almost give myself a gold star today! ;)

I was in a very inspired, uplifted state, feeling very excited and passionate when I wrote about embracing my destiny in becoming more fearless and the magic of divine timing. I’d stayed up into the wee hours of the morning writing the first draft and then re-visited it the next day with fresh eyes before final edits and the official publishing of it. It took a good part of my day to do that and that was when something deeper and darker began to emerge and reveal itself to me. After publishing it, I spent the rest of my day beating myself up for “wasting my day and not accomplishing anything”. I flashed on my blog knowing that this was where I’d “spent my time” that day. Wow. I took a step back and went into deep self-inquiry. I flashed on how much true joy I felt around what I’d experienced and how fun and freeing it was for me to write about it. It had come easily this time even though it was time consuming. I had given myself permission to feel my excitement and joy and to express it all in my own words with abandon. I even gave myself permission to put it out there without lingering fear, doubts or attachments. I was celebrating. And then I turned around and judged it all as a “waste of time”. Really?! Whoa. What is that really about?!? Why was all of that inspiration and joy now suddenly such a waste? The answers, more questions and an inner dialogue came quickly...

Because I did it for ME. Just for me.

Writing brings me pleasure. It’s a means of creative expression. It puts my world into perspective for me. When pleasure, creative expression, communication, connection and a new perspective all come together it’s magic for me. I feel happy, content, peaceful, fulfilled and “on purpose”.

Where is the value in that? Really?! C'mon now! Joy? Pleasure? Fulfillment? Of course there's value in ALL of that!

You stayed up too late and just wasted your day writing about it...

Ohhhh. I get it...(digging deeper)...this is "about me", isn't it?! This joy, pleasure, and fulfillment is about me, isn't it?!

Am I deserving of all of that? Where is the value in ME?

I have a million other excuses and answers but deep down this is it. This is the ROOT of it all. I got it in spades that day. This is “why” I hold back and don’t write for my blog when the inspirations come. This is why I don’t write my own songs. This is why I don’t pick up my guitar or play my harmonium or go to the piano and noodle away and allow my creative voice to come through my own music every day in a playful way. This is why I don’t paint and draw anymore. This is why I don’t spend hours with my beadwork anymore. This is why I choose work over play or I punish myself and hold myself hostage and don’t give myself permission to play or have fun if/when the work’s not done or I feel lazy. This is why I can’t finish clearing the clutter in my home.

Because when I say yes to all of those, I’m saying “yes” to me. 

Where IS the value in ME?

A very old, deep, wounded, shadow part of me still believes “I am not deserving. I have no value or worth.” Another old, deep, wounded part of me also believes that value and worth must be tangible and measurable. Creativity is not a very tangible thing that one can easily measure although its expression makes it more tangible. Those negative thoughts are not really my truth but they are beliefs I've carried. Like many or most of us, I was raised with a strong midwestern work ethic of “work before play”. Creativity wasn’t a part of my world and by the time I was 5 or 6 years old I was too afraid to break the rules and express it anyway. It’s also deeply embedded in my innate energetic blueprint as a strong Virgo/Capricorn to be that way. Woman or not, in my world the work is never done and I’ve always struggled with giving myself permission to be playful and creative. If I’m not “working” in a physical way then I’m “working” on myself. All my travels over the years have combined training and studies. I haven’t had a non-working, "real vacation” in so many years I can’t remember the last time. Yes, I’m a hard worker and that’s okay. I came in that way, I value being a hard worker and it has served me well. It just has a tendency to get very out of balance and come out sideways - at me - far too easily.

This shadow piece for me of unworthiness is not an epiphany in and of itself. It’s been there with the fear and the shame and the guilt I’ve carried all my life. It’s no coincidence that I just went very deep into healing more layers of guilt and shame in the two weeks preceding this newest awareness of my shadow of unworthiness. Doing that work allowed this next layer of unworthiness to be revealed. I know and understand that this core belief of unworthiness, shame and guilt began for me in the womb, it’s in my ancestral lineage and is imprinted in my energetic blueprint from many, many lifetimes before this one. It’s all connected and part of the fear I’m here to overcome. I’ve done years of talk therapy and years of personal healing work through many alternative avenues to face, embrace and heal this wounded part of me. I still do. I always will. I have to. It’s the space I hold for others through the work I do now through my private energetic, shamanic, intuitive, vibrational healing arts practice. But my ability to see in the dark, to see my own shadow and see through the veils is ever changing and I am seeing more layers now of how I re-create this wound and re-wound myself in my everyday thoughts, beliefs, actions, habits and patterns of living. This “seeing” is also progress. Once I see it, I can begin to heal it. The three A’s of recovery come back to me: Awareness, Acceptance, Action. In that order. One day at a time. One layer at a time. This was just another swoop in the spiral loop, as my beloved teacher, Star Wolf, would say.

Those who know me well know that I deeply value, honor and support my husband’s and children’s incredible talents, creative expression, and passions unconditionally. The irony is I have struggled all my life to be able to give that back to myself. It’s only natural to give freely to others what we most want for ourselves but even that only goes so far. I know only too well that my own creative vessel must be filled in order for me to give as much as I want to give to others, whether that’s as a mother, wife, healer, singer, friend, daughter, or sister. I’m happy to say I'm getting there in fits and starts and I know I’m blessed to have their full support in return.
I’ve been told so many times over from astrologers, intuitives, and teachers that I’m here to “share a big message with the world” and that writing is one of my pathways for sharing. That’s always been so mystifying to me and I still have no clue whether it’s through a blog, a book, my music, all of the above or something else entirely unknown to me. I also feel like time is running out as I am turning 60 this year. Whoa! More blogs to come around that rite of passage! I can feel the “crone/wisdom” energy moving in powerfully now and hope and pray that with that passage will come some clarity, refinement and direction around fulfilling my destiny. In any event, if what “they” say is true about my destiny to share a big message with the world then what I do know today more than ever is that I won’t “get there” (wherever “there” is) no matter how many years I have left unless I can first value myself enough to value the time and energy it takes to put into bringing the creative expression of that message, whatever it is, into form, in my own unique way. Words make life tangible. Music makes life tangible. Beaded amulets and pieces of art make life tangible. And yes, even a clutter-free, lovingly tended home, inside and out, becomes a sacred, creative expression and makes life tangible. The latter may not be near as much fun in the process of creating it but it’s just as important to someone like me. The mundane is just as sacred as the mystical.

As long as I hold back from writing, singing, being playful, having more fun, and creating the kind of home environment that frees up the space for me to "be me" and to create in, I will continue to hold on to the belief somewhere unconsciously that I have no value or worth. It’s a way that I self-sabotage my own success, happiness and my own destiny. 

The diamond in the rough was shining brightly that day when I realized that the greatest purpose behind my writing a blog or whatever I write is not about the message I may or may not be sharing with the world or fulfilling any predicted destiny as a “writer”. The purpose it’s serving is to open up the space for me to really see myself, to show up just for me, to really dig deep and find my own value and worth in what I see, what I have to say and what I want to create.

This means I must value myself in all my forms and ways of expression and showing up every day - tangible or not - because I am here to become my own best creative expression and to have fun and feel fulfilled by doing just that. The rest is just fluff, as they say.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Embracing Destiny

Between man and God there are two paths: The path of fate and the path of destiny. Those who will give distance to their destiny shall fall into the path of fate. When you walk on the path of fate, you may feel very happy and be an egomaniac, but when the fatal moment comes  -  you will be lost again. When you walk on the path of destiny, it doesn’t matter what distance you cover. When the fatal blow of death comes, you shall be liberated. That is the difference.”
-Yogi Bhajan from Success and the Spirit: An Aquarian Path to Abundance

I became a student of kundalini yoga a little over two years ago this spring and it has been my saving grace and a powerful teacher and guide. I still consider myself very much a novice and I continue to marvel at the magic of it all. 

I love that the path, teachings and focus of kundalini yoga is a spiritual one and the body follows the heart as the mind surrenders and a heart-mind connection is created. I love how simple it can be yet deeply challenging, how powerful it always is and how quickly it shifts the energy. I love the kriyas with the combination of very specific, focused and continuous breathing patterns, mudras, chanting and meditation. 

My discipline and commitment has naturally waxed and waned and I find it easier to keep up a practice or discipline in a class/group setting than privately at home for most things in life and especially yoga; yet surprisingly I was guided to commit to a solo (global/online was the 'community/classroom') 40 day sadhana within the first 6 months of beginning my practice. The energy of that sadhana was called "Releasing Fear and Becoming a Conscious Leader" and Aadays Tisai Aadays was our mantra and kriya. I knew fear was holding me back from becoming a conscious leader in my life but little did I really know how profoundly so. Through a series of very synchronistic connections after a yoga class I requested my spiritual name through the website. Nirinjan Kaur, Yogi Bhajan's Chief of Staff, was trained personally by him for over thirty years in his method of determining names. It is based on one's birth date, numerology, and meditation with the Siri Guru Granth Sahib sacred text. Before his death in 2004, Yogi Bhajan gave his blessings to Nirinjan to continue his work of giving names to those who request them. Expecting it to take up to 2 weeks to arrive, quite auspiciously on the 3rd day of that sadhana I received my spiritual name: "Nirbhao" (pronounced "near-bo"). I learned that Nirbhao means "fearless" and in this tradition one's spiritual name is symbolic of your spiritual or soul identity. It's a roadmap to one's destiny. It's a rebirth in consciousness. I cried all day the day I received my spiritual name because I'd never felt so seen and understood on such a deep, soul and spiritual level as I did through the energy of that name and the destiny it carries. Everything in my life suddenly made sense to me. No wonder I grew up in an angry home that fostered judgment and fear rather than love. No wonder I have been paralyzed in life by my fears and especially by the fear of failure and of being seen, judged harshly and rejected for who I am. Overcoming fear is not just what I'm here to do because I'm a human being, it's my personal destiny! Not only did I feel the challenge of overcoming my intense and paralyzing fears was validated and understood but for the very first time I was able to look back at my life and recognize when and how many times I had already been courageous and fearless in the face of my fears. I'd already survived a lot and I wasn't a total failure after all. I've been living my destiny successfully all along. Being able to appreciate the glass half-full instead of half-empty and see the courage and strength in myself from a place of love from within me for myself was an incredible, healing and humbling moment and gift. I've done a lot of deep, personal healing work and been held in the arms of the Divine more than once. This moment surpassed them all because I was able to see myself through my own eyes of Love, not just through the eyes of others or the eyes of the Divine. In that moment fear no longer held me hostage. I felt no separation from Love. I could be the dark and the light and it was enough. 

No matter what obstacles came up in my everyday life I didn't miss a beat or a day for the next 40 days. That 40 day sadhana then morphed into 90 days and it really changed my life profoundly, forever. Since then, I've been patiently waiting for the next kundalini yoga sadhana to be revealed. I tried a few on here and there but they didn't stick. I've learned I don't go looking for a sadhana just like I don't go looking for my destiny - I trust and know the sadhana will find me as long as I keep my heart open to it just like I trust my destiny will. And so it did, quite magically, and I couldn't be more excited and elated!

It's been a particularly challenging spring and start to the summer for me with a shoulder injury (for no apparent reason), getting very sick for an extended time from a toxic overexposure to mold (something I am highly allergic to), and other areas of stress in life needing all my focus, energy and attention. My yoga became more internal than ever while I allowed my physical body to rest, regenerate and heal as much as possible. Last night I was able to attend my regular weekly/Monday kundalini yoga class for the first time in 3 months. Even as I was acutely aware of how my body had contracted and lost some of its flexibility over those 3 months it was like coming home again! I was amazed and in awe of how quickly my body remembered the warm-ups and responded to the mudras and movements, especially when I used my breath to breathe into the discomfort or restrictions to release the tension and let go. It felt almost effortless. How could that be?!! It's supposed to be so much harder when we've been away from it for an extended time! My shoulder was strong and flexible with an easy, graceful and fluid range of motion once more (thanks to the healing magic of acupuncture tacks and a few other non-traditional healing approaches) even though it let me know it still has a catch or two left to clear. All in good time. I've learned to bless and honor the limitations of my body as much as I celebrate its ability to push and move past obstacles. The kriya we did worked with the navel, the hips and shoulders and I felt the pulse and wave of the energy at my navel at the end of that kriya in the relaxation phase more powerfully than I remember feeling in a really long time. What a surprise and joy all of this was for me!

I am in awe of the body's ability to heal itself and move beyond its limitations when we honor the limitations without judgment, anxiety and fear and give it the time, nourishment, care, attention and love it needs to heal. What an incredible messenger our bodies are! I am in awe of how the mind can be re-trained with practice and discipline. I am in awe of how our inner Spirit and Divine Self and Source guides us to whatever is our destiny in our highest and most divine timing when we surrender and trust the flow and choose to be a co-creator with Source rather than trying to force our way through life with agendas that are egocentric and fear-based. 

Ever since I read this story a few weeks ago about the 2nd Sutra meditation Jaap Sahib I've felt a strong draw to make this meditation my next 40 day (or longer) sadhana. So much so that I've kept it open in a browser on my computer since then as a reminder...yet not so much so that I felt the call to really "begin". Until last night! Ahhh! The magic of synchronicity and divine timing! Much to my surprise and delight we ended our class with this meditation and now I know it's time and I'm ready! I plan to keep it simple and start with 5 minutes once a day and go and grow from there as my body and spirit guides me. This 2nd sutra meditation is said to be one that removes fear and obstacles and brings us closer to our destiny. I Am Nirbhao Kaur ~ "fearless princess/lioness of God". I understand that the fear is mine and I am my only obstacle and so I am ready to begin and to embrace this sutra mantra for the next 40 days. I am ready to continue on the path to further embrace my destiny.

I am so grateful to Sat Inder Kaur Khalsa for being my most beloved teacher and for being my Divine messenger to bring my next sadhana to me so auspiciously. I so appreciate her ever constant heart and spirit, love and guidance. _/|\_  

By the way...I'm just going to put this out there...If this meditation calls to You and Your divine timing is Now, please feel free to join me on this 40 day sadhana journey to move through obstacles and embrace your destiny! Whether near or far we can connect here, in a google circle, and in the ethers! It's so much fun to share the journey together! We can inspire each other to keep up!

Wahe Guru! Sat Nam!  Nirbhao Kaur

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