How To Settle In

Have you ever heard the expression, ‘getting up on the wrong side of the bed’?

In case you haven’t, it is commonly understood to be the cause for waking up in a bad mood. You can’t think of any particular reason, but you know you’re sad, angry, testy, or otherwise unhappy.

I wondered about the origin of the saying. A little research produced a popular explanation based on superstitions that getting out of bed on the left side is bad luck. I presume that it originates from a time when beds were narrow and you had a choice of getting out on the right or left, without having to crawl over someone. It made me wonder, what if you always sleep on the left side of the bed…would you always start your day in a grumpy mood? Hopefully not.

Recently I woke up and felt as if I’d ‘gotten out on the wrong side of the bed’. For no reasons that I could think of, nothing felt right to me. My body ached and was uncomfortable, my mind was disjointed and there were lurking tasks to be completed, which I had no energy or ambition to accomplish.

Ordinarily I love getting up and doing my exercises, then journaling, before I come downstairs for breakfast.

But not that day.

So, what was I going to do about it?

If you’ve been with me on this journey for a while, you can probably guess. I opened up a conversation with god, in this case, Lia, a clear, beautiful feminine voice of grace and love who is always with me.

She explained, “There is an ebb and flow to life and your energy level, as there is for everyone. Accepting this reality fully will ease your mind and you can allow it to settle into you. Once you do this, your feelings will pass. If instead you decide to offer some resistance, like saying to yourself, ‘that it shouldn’t be this way’, your feelings are likely to persist. They can in fact pick up steam every time you invoke the word ‘should’. Trying to tell yourself you are some sort of victim, decreases your energy and power. So, if you’d like to do yourself a favor, allow whatever comes to you, to pass through you.”

This sounded like extremely good advice and yet I had a question about how I could ‘settle in’ to feelings I did not want to feel. I did know that resisting would be counterproductive, but what I needed to know was what alternative(s) were open to me.

So, I asked for more guidance and receive this, “You tell yourself it is okay to experience whatever you are experiencing and encourage yourself to accept whatever comes your way, knowing that once you do, the feelings will begin to recede and light will begin to enter you.”

Lia went on to say that each and every thing I encounter in my life is there to ‘serve’ me.

I balked a little at this. “Really?” I could hear myself say and then wondered if my constant questioning ever ‘bothered’ her.

“No,” was her reply, “never. I love you no matter what you choose and nothing you ever say to me will change that. Please remember that my love for you is eternal.”

I was reassured, but I still had a nagging question. I understood that by feeling my feelings, then releasing them, rather than holding on to them or resisting them, I could contribute to my own peace of mind and heart. What I could not understand was how she could say that everything I experienced in my life was there to ‘serve me’.

Lia explained that this is how our lives are structured, but that we often do not understand this because we don’t see it from a distance. We are too close to observe the whole picture, but that once we do, we can find the clarity we desire.

Lia told me we could have as many conversations about this as I needed…and so, I’d like to invite you to join me for my next post to discover more about how my/our experiences always ‘serve’ me/us.

Releasing Expectations

Recently I noticed that I’ve been feeling like a prisoner, held captive by some of my expectations.

Have you ever experienced this? Has one of your expectations overwhelmed you, making it difficult to concentrate or focus energy on anything else?

I find this feeling very challenging and perhaps you do as well. I wondered what I could do about it and decided to ask Lia (an ethereal feminine voice of god that comes to me whenever I have questions I’d like answered). I felt I needed a breakthrough and wanted to know what she would tell me.

Her clear voice sprang forward, “It would be helpful for you to know that the basis of all your expectations comes from your cultural upbringing. As you grew up, important folks in your life placed expectations upon you, sometimes specifically and sometimes generally. Depending on your performance you received either rewards or punishments but were never entirely sure which it would be.”

I thought about this for a few minutes and decided that she was absolutely correct.

Of course, my next thought was, what can I do about this? I wondered what my options were and asked for some further guidance.

“At some point in your life, you came to the conclusion that decisions and choices were now up to you. You’d essentially grown past having to be told by others what direction to take. And yet, instead of rethinking setting expectations according to your own rules, you chose to continue your cultural training, allowing these preset decisions to guide your life.”

Yikes, that didn’t seem like a wise move on my part.

I couldn’t deny the truth of her statement. Surely it would be smarter to make reasonable and conscious choices about what to expect from myself and it would be a sound move to strip away any defaults that cause me stress and unhappiness.

So, how is this to be accomplished?

Lia chimed in, “Within each and every expectation there is the existence of that which serves you and that which does not. The simplest way to tell the difference is how they make you feel.”

I wondered, is it really possible to use ‘how expectations make me feel’ as a legitimate barometer? After all, is it truly possible to rely on ‘feelings’ as a measurement of success and forward movement?

I received a resounding “yes” from Lia.

And then this, “It is all about what you are aiming for. Ask yourself, what is most important to you?”

I came up with several answers.

Lia asked me whether my answers came from my feelings or my thoughts.

“Feelings,” I responded.

“It matters what you choose to release and what you choose to embrace. When you release others’ expectations and their attached rewards and punishments and consciously embrace your own softly held expectations which align with what is most important to you, your life will change enormously.”

I liked the sounds of that. A lot.

I needed one more clarification. “Softly held expectations?”, I asked.

“Yes,” Lia said, “softly held implies you allow for a range of outcomes and accept whichever occurs, knowing that each holds some value for you.”

I am so grateful for the release I feel. I am no longer a prisoner and can move about freely, knowing I have a choice. Thank you Lia for your wisdom.

Any Open Window

I find it mysterious that there are certain defining moments that have occurred in my life without my notice. An event will happen, and I’ll have an awareness that something of value is present but without connecting any dots, I fail to recognize its importance to me.

And yet, under the surface of my life, a switch has turned ‘on’ or turned ‘off’. I’ve learned that these switches create default settings inside me and that every time a similar event occurs, my auto settings generate my response.

I’d like to think I am more in control than that, but most of the time I’m not.

I’d like to share an example with you and maybe it will trigger something inside you that will provide clarity or insight.

A small warning. This does require a bit of bravery, but the reward is so worth it. When you recall events in your life, please allow yourself to be strong enough to know you will be okay. Better than that, you may find a treasure of great worth that you can keep for the rest of your life.

When I was young (perhaps 9-12 years old) my parents would tell my sister and me that we were going for a car ride. There would be no discussion about where we were going nor how long we would be away. And, we were given no choice about participating, so we got in the car and off we went.

My parents immensely enjoyed driving and within minutes we were in the country and traveling rural backroads. This was a ‘hobby’ for them and a torture for my sister and me, held captive in the backseat.

To get an accurate picture of this experience, here’s what would happen. We would slow down every time we came within sight of a house, and they would begin their conversation about what they would do with the property if they owned it. Mind you, the houses we looked at were decrepit run-down disasters. Broken windows, doors off hinges, partially collapsed walls, roofs caved in disasters. I am not kidding!

The worst part was I thought they were serious. They sounded serious and my father being an architect, I knew he could eventually resurrect the shambles we looked at.

At my age, this was a traumatic situation and without consciously realizing it, a big switch clicked ‘on’ inside me. The switch label read something like this: you have no real choice (only they do), you will likely be forced to move (not being able to take care of myself), no friends will ever be able to find you or visit you (no matter what your parents tell you), you will be isolated (at least until you go away to college) AND, you cannot trust your parents to be concerned about your feelings (they are not considering the impact of this ‘game’ on you).

I found that this switch was connected to another switch. The label on this one read: since you are going to be isolated (you had better become self-reliant), since they may force you to live in the country (you need to become resourceful), AND since they have no regard for your feelings about moving (you have a decision to make about how much trust you will give to them).

Of course, all of this was happening below the surface of my awareness, but it set the stage for what was to come in my life and my feelings of not being ‘safe’ here.

It was only recently that I offered myself the opportunity to revisit these parental outings. Some part of me knew there were truths to discover. The first one to appear was that I was never meant to rely solely on my parents, nor on myself, for that matter. A greater truth shined forth about my true nature. It is something I wished I knew then.

I am part of the divine and am always loved and connected, cared for, and protected and SAFE. I am inseparable from my divine nature and can communicate at all times. When I do this, I feel whole again and when earthly disappointments and challenges come my way, I reach out and talk with the sacred within me. I open my heart, mind, and spirit to be filled with love, for love is the treasure.

And I allow all of my switch setting that no longer serve me to go out any open window, released and set free. I am only captive if that is what I believe.

Fortunately, it is not what I believe, nor is it something you need to believe. We are always free to connect with our divine, sacred, inside self where all answers reside.

How to Compost Your Fears

Recently I was thinking about the whole composting issue and whether I wanted to be a part of this revolution. In the middle of my research a thought occurred to me. Might it be possible to compost my fears in the same way I compost my left-over food scraps?

Before I continue, I want to share that this is a two-part post, the first part today and the second part on Thursday, January 20, 2022.

When I began my research, I only had a vague idea about the process of composting. Maybe you already know a great deal, but in case you don’t, here’s a little background that might be helpful.

The whole idea revolves around combining decomposing plant and food waste and other organic materials. The end result is a mixture rich in plant nutrients and beneficial organisms that can be used to fertilize and improve soil.

In other words, you are able to grow really good stuff with it.

What happens in the process is that everything is combined and placed in a sealed container and left alone. It just sits there, waiting and doing its thing. Really, it couldn’t get much easier.

So, what I’m wondering is, what if I handed you a container and told you that you could place all your fears inside and seal it shut in the hopes that what came out of it at the end of the process would be rich, fertile soil for your life. Would you do it?

And if you did, what fears would you place in the container? What are you holding onto right now that would feel wonderful to release from your life?

I know this is something I would benefit from doing, so here’s my list.

I am afraid of feeling small and not pushing myself beyond my careful limits. I fear that others may not find worth in what I write and therefore, in me. I am afraid to appear foolish. I fear that I might lose this game of life somehow. I have fear and concern about the future and that as I age, my physical wellbeing will deteriorate. I am afraid for the health of those I love, especially during these troublesome times. I have fear that our world will never return to what is was before COVID and I won’t be able to see others beautiful smiles and hug them. I am afraid that we won’t listen well enough to the earth and to each other. And ultimately, I am afraid of both failure and success, but for very different reasons.

This is just a partial list. It’s what came to me just now. I imagine your list may be very different from mine, but what might be the same is how it feels to each of us deep inside. We may have different names but the same sense of fear.

Okay, let’s imagine that you decide to give this a try. First, spend a minute or two and create a list of your fears and concerns by acknowledging them and placing them one by one in your imaginary composting container. Once they’re all in there, snug the lid on top and push it firmly down sealing it shut.

In the silence I hear you asking me this question, “now what?”

Now you leave them in there and go do whatever fun things appeal to you. Take a walk, play a sport, workout, paint, read, anything you find relaxing.

In a few days we’ll see what’s happened to your fears, but for now I want to share what the world might be saying to us about this approach.

In all likelihood it’s telling us that absolutely nothing is going to happen and that the whole idea is ridiculous. This is how the world often speaks to us, as if it’s invested in the continuation of our pain.

But here’s some very good news, we don’t have to listen to the world. We are not required to pay attention and can always choose our own path. That’s what we’ll be doing this coming Thursday, so please join me then.

Starving Your Inner Demons

Do any inner demons haunt you? Are they offering to rule your whole world for you?

If they are, what are you feeding them? Is their diet giving them their strength?

These may seem like unusual questions to ask, but there is a serious side to them.

Have you ever wondered how much of your behavior is prompted by your inner demons? Are you courageous enough to ask?

I don’t think I know anyone who is completely free. No one that doesn’t hear inner voices calling to them, asking them to come closer.

Perhaps, you are afraid to shorten the distance between you and these voices. That’s one way to approach things, but it has never worked for me, nor for others I’ve spoken with. Maybe you’d like to try another way.

I’ve talked before about the necessity of first feeling your feelings, because without doing so, you are running blind. You can’t see what is right in front of you. And you can’t follow any path forward.

Realizing that the feelings you are experiencing are there to serve you is one way to start. They are not in front of or behind you to threaten you. They merely want to walk along side of you and be acknowledged. They have a message for you.

If you gather your strength and release your attachment to your fear, your feelings will open you to a new perspective. And they will have a chance to deliver their golden message to you.

It is the same with inner demons.

We may think it wise to try to defeat them in battle. We may choose to pick up a weapon to hit them, but they become ferocious with us and will not back down.

If we tell ourselves, they are not there and try to ignore them, they bound around us and stare at us face to face. They taunt us and will not go away.

But perhaps we wish to alter our course and refuse to feed them. Maybe our choice is to without any food from them.

You may be wondering, how is this done?

I have my very own inner demons. It pains me to say so, but it is the truth. Maybe it’s the same for you.

My inner demons have various names. One of them is called abandonment, while another is rejection. They are sort of twins and often work together.

They say they are with me to protect me. I wonder who they believe they are protecting me from.

They cause a great deal of pain, for as long as I allow.

I need to repeat that last sentence, so you don’t miss it.

They cause a great deal of pain, for as long as I allow.

When they arise, sometimes out of nowhere, I now choose to stand still, open my eyes wide, slow my breathing and ask them to speak to me. They don’t want to. They would rather that I become angry, so that they can feed from me. Or withdraw, so they can have my energy. But I make them talk to me and tell me how my feelings of abandonment or rejection can serve me, rather than sap me.

No matter what they desire, I am still the one in charge, so they must share their wisdom with me. The harsh voices they use no longer scare me, because despite themselves they are here to help me. Abandonment tells me that I don’t have to feel or be alone. Rejection says that, although not everyone will hear what I have to say, there are those who want my words and my heart.

They have no choice but to serve me. Everything does, even them. Given no food or energy, they are starved for my attention and willingly lay down and go to sleep at my feet.

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