I receive a lot of substantive, gooey, well-written, messily-written, gorgeous, gushing, articulate, precise questions from people in our community. Here are some gems:
From Margaret: “Should I be teaching my kid all the things that I’ve learned about wellness and spirituality and self-improvement… or should I let them figure it out on their own?”
I teach my son everything that I’ve worked so hard to learn. I know that prayer and contemplation and meditative practices help me feel more loving, more expanded, help balance my brain chemistry. If it’s helped me human better, you bet I’m sharing it with my kid. And if he wants to diverge as his own philosophies develop, then he’s free to do so.
AND: be willing to evolve. Have the courage to change with your children. “You know, I used to think that, but now I think this,” or “I just heard that talk,” or “Let’s try this prayer…” And they’re going to see you growing, and expanding, and searching, and discovering, and celebrating—and they are going to learn how to do the same thing.
From Lauren: “I live with an illness that affects a lot of aspects of my life, but the most obvious is how it affects my memory. There are events (that most people would consider major) that I only have a vague recollection of. Entire conversations totally wiped from my memory. All this to say: when doing reflections on the past, I get exceptionally stressed out because I know I am missing major events or things that are important to me. So here’s the question: How do I deal with that while trying to improve myself now and in the future?”
Please take what you want and leave the rest because I can only speak from my limited perspective on physical illness…
One part of me wonders if what you’re going through could be an opportunity to be more deeply present. What if not having memories that interrupt our experience of the present could be a blessing? A lesson in living in The Now. What if you don’t need your memories? With breath, with vigilantly loving thoughts, and with gratitude, we can tap the flow. With presence, we can ride the wave of The Infinite.
I believe that ALL experiences are imprinted on our souls. Just because you don’t cognitively remember it, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. The basket of your human spirit is carrying that experience. Maybe there’s some comfort in knowing that something forgotten is still being honored in another dimension.
And there’s also this: maybe you don’t have to worry about “improving yourself in the future.” Maybe you’re going to get to tomorrow/next week/three months from now and realize: you’re not broken and there’s nothing to fix. There’s such a fine line where self-improvement can become self-criticism. We can be eating clean, and meditating, and praying, and listening to a personal development podcast, and having courageous conversations… but what’s the motivation underneath those actions? Are they acts of self-loathing, or acts of Love?
From Claire: “How can I learn not to be afraid of grief and losing what I love?”
I’ll respond to this vast topic with a small poem…
The Goddess of Grief is celebrating the depth of your love. She swallows your agony and lets it tear her apart. Beautiful birds fly from her belly, each one an insight into life and your power. Grief brings the whole flock to your window, and she waits, and waits, to reveal universal truths to you. Grief goes to the depths with you, and she rises with you. Grief will not rest until you swallow the medicine she made especially for you, and you tell her the story of death and life.
From Claudia: “I have a full-time office job, a long way to commute, and my head keeps telling me that I cannot ‘afford’ to take time off for what my soul needs. Could you talk about how to integrate desire into a life that includes an office job?”
I once met a monk who taught me, “There’s room for householders on the path to enlightenment.” There IS space for those of us who watch Netflix and have jobs, we’re no less “spiritual” than someone who’s living a full-on monastic life.
And, there’s this: How can we get better at saying no to things that aren’t life-affirming? Like the toxic overworking, over-consuming, over-scheduling, over-busyness, and over-socializing that’s getting in the way of your devotion to The Higher, and to your heart. (PS. Your heart is the access point to the higher. At least mine is.)
And finally, can you “afford” to take the time off? (My intention is not to use scare tactics here, but to try to make this useful.) Can you “afford” to not be living your most easeful, happy life? I’m going to be really dramatic here… if we continue to make choices that are in favor of death versus life, then death is going to start showing up in our lives—Illness, mental wellness struggles, viruses, brain fog. Eventually soul-sickness may force us to take time off to heal our systems.
From Denise: “One of your #Truthbombs says: “Seeing the futility is liberating.” At first I loved that concept. I could apply it to many a subject and keep things in perspective. However, I’m going through some kind of deep personal shift, and sadly, I’m seeing the futility in life itself… Human existence in itself is a form of entrapment, and my most prominent Core Desired Feeling is freedom. It’s hard to get around that. Any deep insights you might be able to offer to shed light on this and provide renewed perspective would be enjoyed.”
All I can offer is some potential hope based on my suffering, and finding meaning in it. I mean every word you’re about to read…
Do I want more of it? Hell no. But—all of it expanded me.
I came out of my “dark night of the soul” as a more loving human. All of that made me more gentle, more beautiful, more attractive to what I want. It made me more aware of my power to create joy. It made me more prosperous. It made me more well. Suffering… life… is anything but futile. It’s 100% meaningful, on time, and right now.
From Anne: “I have been through so much pain in the last few years, processing childhood trauma. I feel both like totally giving up, and at the brink of the life that has been waiting for me… but I don’t know if I have the stamina to find out—”
Yes, yes, you do.
“Of course, I will choose to find out…”
I knew you would.
“…But it’s so damn isolating to be in this space. And that’s coming from someone who loves being alone. Here’s the question: Does this resonate at all with you?”