There is a crack running through the cement in our backyard.
Awhile ago, a little plant sprang up from it. Although I know this should be seen as a nuisance, as it will only cause the cement to deteriorate further, I couldn't help but feel awe and wonder over how this plant so effortlessly brought life to a place where it seems no life should be.
I looked closely at this little plant, wondering how a seed got in there in the first place. Did it fall from a bird in the exact perfect way so as to land right there? Did the wind blow it in, knowing that below this hardened surface was fertile soil? And how did the seed grow a plant right up through the crack? It's not like it had a map to the surface!
As I looked at the crack it made me think about cracks within myself. Cracks from fear, cracks from anger, cracks from disappointment.
There is an oft repeated quote by Leonard Cohen that says, "Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in".
When I saw the little plant, I realized that cracks aren't just how light gets in, but also life, seeds, the possibilities we can't see.
What I see as a personal detriment, like overwhelming fear, is really a crack waiting to show me something unexpected and beautiful. The very thing that makes me so afraid, such as a big, scary new career step, is the very place something miraculous and transformative can happen.
To never feel afraid would mean nothing new was happening. It would mean I wasn't exploring, growing and reaching for new heights. And without that growth, which leads to the cracks of fear, I would never open up to seeds that come from places beyond me.
Just as the seed in the cement came from an unknown place in order to bring the exact plant that was meant to grow there, I too can receive unknown gifts which come in ways I cannot control or plan. But it will only happen so long as I allow myself to stop trying to be shiny and perfect. I must give myself space to crack open to my inner depths.
Fear and anxiety are some of my biggest inner blocks. But I am now realizing that they aren't bottomless voids holding me back. They are showing me hidden potentials.
Within the fear is the potential for something strong to grow. Something so hardy and centered that it would not only not be dettered by cement, it would break through it, calmly and patiently planting itself deeper and deeper, growing bigger and bigger, until that which seems bigger and harder has no choice but to cede to the beautiful, life giving plant.
The cracks of fear and anger and pain are not the things holding us back in life. They are places where the seeds of our courage and strength take root and grow, showing us the true meaning of persistence and the power to change the seemingly rigid and fixed.
"As you unfold the new self, remember to move into that state of mind and body that feels invincible, powerful, absolute, inspired, and overjoyed.
Let the pictures come; see them with certainty, with a knowingness that unifies you to those events or things. Bond with your future as if it is yours, without any concern other than expectancy and celebration.
Let yourself go and begin to free-associate without concern. Become empowered by your new sense of self. With clarity, hold the image of each manifestation in your mind for a few seconds, and then let it go into the quantum to be executed by a greater mind …then go to the next one …keep going …this is your new destiny.
Allow yourself to experience that future reality in the present moment until you convince your body to emotionally believe that the event is coming to pass now. Open your heart and experience the joy of your new life before it actually manifests."
- Dr. Joe Dispenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself
I have no idea who made this, and if anyone does know, please let me know in the comments so I can update this with a reference. This was shared on Facebook, and I think it's one of the most helpful things I've ever seen. I've caught myself using trite positive expressions before, and will certainly refer to this when I'm struggling to find the right words.
If you'd like to share it, you will see icons for Facebook, Pinterest, and to copy the link when you hover over the image. Or else you can download it and share it directly by right clicking on it and selecting "save as".
Watch the waves in the ocean.
The higher the wave goes, the deeper is the wake that follows it.
One moment you are the wave, another moment you are the hollow wake that follows.
Enjoy both -- don't get addicted to one.
Don't say: I would always like to be on the peak. It is not possible. Simply see the fact: it is not possible. It has never happened, it will never happen.
It is impossible -- not in the nature of things.
Then what to do?
Enjoy the peak while it lasts and then enjoy the valley when it comes.
What is wrong with the valley?
What is wrong with being low? It is a relaxation.
A peak is an excitement, and nobody can exist continuously in an excitement.
A few weeks ago, I felt guided to listen to The Golden Thread guided meditation every day for 40 days.
I created this meditation over a year ago, and I play it from time to time, but this was the first time I got a specific message about it: try it for 40 days in a row and see what happens.
I wasn't sure why, except for the knowing that doing something for 40 days can be a sacred and life changing experience.
Now that I'm half way through it, I'm starting to understand what this is doing for me.
Usually, when people play this meditation they have a vivid dream, either right after playing it or after a few listens. I'm 20 days in, and although I've had interesting dreams thus far, last nights' was one that really told me something special was happening. In the dream I had traveled somewhere else, somewhere I can't recall, only that it wasn't where I live.
I had two choices: go back to where I was and what I had been doing, or follow whales as they swam around the earth.
When I saw the whales I knew instantly, I would follow them, and I did. Watching them swim and traveling through the oceans was the most beautiful, open, free and happy dream I've had in a long time.
I believe part of the reason this meditation creates vivid and interesting dreams is because the imagery works on very deep levels of the psyche. There is the conscious experience you have while you play it, what you feel in your body, and then there are subconscious things happening that unfold and reveal themselves over time.
The meditation guides you to look up to see a large white cloud. Hanging from the bottom of the cloud is a large gold thread. The thread comes down from the sky, weaves through your entire body, and then drops into the soil, spreading out like roots. This is a very calming and serene experience, and one that will help you to feel supported and highly energized in the present moment.
It also does something much more, something I had an idea about but wasn't totally sure of until I started this.
I am understanding now, this practice of weaving the thread through you is one that helps shift you from separation back into wholeness. It unites you with You. As the thread weaves in, you consciously and subconsciously reunite mind, body and spirit. This is a wonderful way to gently and lovingly bring your ego into balance, to help it feel loved, wanted, supported and part of something bigger.
Many spiritual teachers will tell you that you must get rid of the ego. This comes from good intentions, as most of us have egos run amok.
But to aim towards elimination will cause you more feelings of separation and turmoil in the long run.
The ego is what focuses you in this world, and although it can take over like a monster truck with the gas pedal fully pushed down, trying to destroy it or eradicate it is like trying to destroy yourself. You are here as you for a reason, with unique gifts, insights, goals, and perspectives, and those shine through you because of your ego. You being you adds color to this world.
Instead of trying to destroy your ego, your point of focus, what we want to do is lovingly bring it back into balance, and more so, we want it to surrender to our Higher Self so the two can work together. Getting your ego to work in harmony with your Higher Self will bring in feelings of peace, love and harmony like never before. Everything that makes you special, all of your dreams and desires, will come to fruition so much easier, and with so much more ease and grace.
Weaving a gold thread through you does even more than bring your entire being back into harmony and balance.
Visually, the thread comes from the sky and drops through you into the earth.
It's bringing you into wholeness and connection with the Earth, the sky and the whole Universe. It truly returns you to a deep level of wholeness and connection on all levels. And all with ease and grace. You don't have to do anything except listen.
In fact, the less you do the better, because this is about stepping away from control and into allowing.
To experience this kind of connecting, or perhaps reconnecting, is something that will uplift and benefit your life in many ways.
It will help you to turn your troubles and worries over to be handled efficiently by your Higher Self, or I AM presence. It will help you to practice letting go of old stories and allowing in new and better things. It will help you to remember what you are, so that you feel better about yourself and your life. And it will do things that are unique to you, that personally benefit your life and your journey.
The Golden Thread is 30 minutes long full or you can play the 12 minute abridged version. For the deepest healing experience, play the full one as much as possible. However, the abridged version was created to be just as powerful, and was created for this kind of experience - as something that can be used every day.
If you do go on this 40 day journey, I would highly encourage you to keep a notebook by your bed to write down any dreams you have. They may not come every night, but there will be at least a few that you'll want to remember. I wish you love and light on your journey of self-exploration, expansion, deepening your connection to your I AM presence, and adventures in consciousness.
There is no place where the Universe ends and you begin. And there is no place where you end and the Universe begins.
You are the Universe.
There is nothing you must do to prove your worthiness to your self. What created you loves you endlessly.
There is nothing you have to do, or feel, or be in this life. Every feeling you have deepens the Universe's expression and expansion of itself. It feels what you feel. And it never judges. It just feels with you.
You are the Universe.
There is nothing more magnificent than you.
If you would like to meditate and reflect on this further, I have a free ten minute meditation here. This meditation will take you on a journey to the cosmic core of your Self, connecting you to the power of the Universe within you.
Do you ever wish you had something that would help you fall asleep and assist your self-healing while you dream?
If yes, I have a selection of meditations that can also be used as sleep tools. They are designed to release density, reprogram your thoughts, uplift your spirits, and more. They'll relax your mind and spirit and can lead to powerful and healing dreams. They are my longer meditations, and most have extended music on them that will continue to play after the meditation ends.
Infinite riches are all around you if you will open your mental eyes and behold the treasure house of infinity within you.
There is a gold mine within you from which you can extract everything you need to live life gloriously, joyously, and abundantly.
Many are sound asleep because they do not know about this gold mine of infinite intelligence and boundless love within themselves. Whatever you want, you can draw forth.
A magnetized piece of steel will lift about twelve times its own weight, and if you demagnetize this same piece of steel, it will not even lift a feather. Similarly, there are two types of people. There is the magnetized person who is full of confidence and faith. They know that they are born to win and to succeed.
Then, there is the type of person who is demagnetized. They are full of fears and doubts. Opportunities come, and they say, "I might fail; I might lose my money; people will laugh at me." This type of person will not get very far in life because, if they are afraid to go forward, they will simply stay where they are.
Become a magnetized person and discover the secret of the ages.
- The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Chapter 1
Fear is something I think about a lot.
It's also something I feel a lot. Oftentimes when I tell people this, they're surprised, because fear doesn't seem to stop me from doing the things I want to do.
But I will tell you a secret. Fear doesn't always show up as a massive blocking force, like some mountain in your path. Sometimes it shows up as an overwhelming terror that says DO NOW GO GO GO. It's the fear that tells me I'm not good enough, and I must go as fast as I can because if I stop and think about that, I'll drown in my feelings of inadequacy.
Rather than asking myself why I feel inadequate, I put all my energy into outrunning the fear and insecurity.
If you move fast enough, it all becomes a blur, and you actually don't have to feel anything. You can go so fast you convince yourself of a faux confidence, which says, I'm moving and hustling so I must be doing something right!
The thing with movement is, it's not always accelerating us in positive directions. Movement does not always equal productive outcomes. Sometimes we're just racing towards a brick wall.
If you ask me at any given time what I'm doing, I've always got half a dozen things on the stove top. I'm writing a screenplay. I'm revising another one. I'm learning calligraphy. I'm learning Spanish. I'm making a meditation. I'm making another meditation! I'm writing a blog post! I'm writing a podcast! I'm doing a 30 day challenge!!! I'm tap dancing while juggling chainsaws!!!!!!
Okay, the last one isn't real. But pump me full of enough fear, and by God, I'd do it. Which is often times the exact opposite message we are told about fear. Most conversations around fear tell us it's the thing stopping us and holding us back. But for a lot of people, it's not stopping them at all. It's the thing shoving their foot down on the gas pedal, driving them 90 miles per hour through a treacherous mountain pass.
Sometimes it causes us to become workaholics. Sometimes it causes us to try a million different things in an endlessly frantic state. Sometimes it gets us travelling all around the world, forever on the go but never addressing the inner void pushing us on.
Fear has never stopped me from doing anything. In fact, it's acted like a fuel that's launched me at breakneck pace into all kinds of adventures. This probably sounds good, but it's not.
I'm not doing these things because I love myself and I'm excited about life. I'm doing them because I'm too scared to pause and ask myself if I feel worthy when I'm doing nothing.
Could I feel worthy in a state of nothingness? At this time, no. If I had nothing on the stove top, and I had to stand before you with nothing to validate my existence, I would crumble like a sandcastle in high tide. Here's the plain truth: my ambition is more often than not an armor to my inner vulnerability.
We sometimes see people who achieve great things and think, wow, that person must really feel great about themselves! And they very well might. They very well might have healthy self-esteem. But they also might be like me, needing ever greater accomplishments to prove their worthiness.
To try and feel worthy without anything but my own self makes me feel like I'm walking around naked.
My need to overpower my fear and go faster and faster only creates deeper, more catastrophic fear. Without ever resolving the core issue, I'm just lighting the fuse to my inner TNT. I am so afraid I'm not good enough for the things I want that I leap before looking, not pausing to ask why I feel insecure, and never bothering to stop and check if there's broken glass in my path. The only thing worse than the thousand cuts I get is the inner pain of always shouting down my inner voice.
Be quiet inner voice, I'm trying to be fearless, which is only making more fear, and I need you to shut up so I can concentrate on over powering all this fear and if I stop to listen to you I'll actually feel all this fear and I can't do that!
I can even be found going at the speed of light when it comes to spirituality. I read every book I can on meditation, self-help, and divinity. And then I journal, reflect, and read more. Then I meditate for hours. I do yoga. If it sounds like it'll help me to heal, I'll do it. All of it.
Except for the part where I just stop and breathe.
My inner voice is constantly whispering to me, Please, just slow down. Just pause and breathe.
Because all my fear is basically rooted in a fear of rejection, and I am now rejecting my own voice, I only end up digging myself deeper into the fear hole. I push down on the gas harder, knowing I'm going too fast, I'm losing control, and this is making more fear, and so I just go faster, until I either run out of gas or careen off the side.
It's at this point, when I've been forced to stop and rest, that I begin "self-care". But it's not really self-care. True self-care is what we give ourselves far before we ever reach the point of burn out. Self-care and self-love administered when there's no other choice is more like crisis management. Real, heart based self-care and self-love is preventative, and not done retroactively.
It's the thing you do that says, "I am valuable and I am worthy of my own love and attention. I don't have to go a thousand miles an hour to earn this nourishment. There is nothing to earn. I am valuable just as I am."
Which isn't to say you shouldn't do self-care when you've reached burn out. We all have to start where we are. But learning to value and treat ourselves with respect before our inner world is burning down is something few have mastered.
Maybe especially me.
After all my years of meditating, studying spirituality, and reflecting on my self and my path, I have come to see I am still a beginner in it all. The facade I built that made me believe I know what I'm doing has cracked and broken wide open. I have so much to learn about myself and my inner world. I have an ocean of feelings that sometimes rise up like a tidal wave, reminding me of my own power, and what happens when I use that power in self-destructive ways.
In the past, I have done things that literally made my legs and voice shake with fear.
At the time, I felt like this was a good thing. I felt like if I didn't do this, life would pass me by. But what is life if it isn't about honoring and treating our own selves like precious cargo? Bullying myself into fighting my fear wasn't life. It was exhausting. I no longer see pushing myself so hard that I want to panic as any sort of positive quality. I just see it as fear based motivation, and nothing in my life that was fear based ever worked out in a positive way.
I now choose to take action from a place of love. If I feel myself pushing too hard, I stop. If I'm tired, I stop. If I feel insecure, I tell a trusted friend (shout out to Susan and Rachael!). I give those negative thoughts space and let them know that there's no shame in having them. They are a part of me. I don't have to juggle a thousand plates in order to distract myself from their existence.
I will get where I'm going. I will get there in my own time. I will rest as much as necessary on the way there. And when I'm there, I hopefully won't collapse from exhaustion. Rather, I will rise up higher, full of energy for whatever adventure lovingly shows up next.
We've all said it. Even me. Yes, me. I make meditations, but I have said many times in my life, "I hate the sound of my own voice."
But I won't ever say it again. And I'm going to ask you a favor. Please, don't do it either. Not for me. For you.
Your voice is the most valuable thing you have.
Your voice is your expression. Your voice is your ability to speak your truth. Your voice is what you use to cry for help and sing for joy.
If you tell yourself, "I hate my own voice," what you're saying is, "I don't want to hear me." And what happens when you don't want to hear you? A million other voices rise above your own. Voices that might not know what's best for you. Words, thoughts and beliefs are powerful. If you believe your own voice isn't worth hearing, how can you ever hear your soul when it whispers to you? How can you hear You?
Your voice isn't just that thing you hear when you leave a message. Your voice is your guidance, your inner compass. Your voice is the clarity that rises above the chaos, guiding you like a candle in the dark.
Valuing your voice means you value it in all forms. When you hear your voice in your mind, nudging you this way and that, it's still your voice. You cannot hate one part of it and cherish and connect with another. Hating your physical voice while honoring your inner voice creates disharmony. That kind of inner discord is not serving you. It simply allows you to devalue a vital part of your physical being.
DO NOT EVER TELL ME YOUR VOICE HAS NO VALUE.
I won't accept it. I won't ever agree that your voice is worth hating. I want to HEAR YOU. I want to hear your dreams. I want to hear your pains so can I heal them. I want to hear your victories so I can celebrate them. I want to hear you in every way, and I want you to hear You also.
I want to hear your voice when it shakes with fear. I want to hear your voice when it sings off key, because fuck perfection, we're here to live. I want to hear your voice when you've got the spark of an idea, and you need a safe space to speak it into existence.
I want to hear you.
You deserve to be heard. You deserve to speak free and clear and to never doubt your voice is worth hearing. You deserve to trust your own guidance, which is powerful and divine, and leading you to your greatest potential at all times.
I promise you, there's nothing wrong with your voice. You're just not used to hearing it. You're used to hearing everything but it. If you want to learn to love it, give it a chance.
Here's one way: Make a small recording of yourself. Thirty seconds or so. Say something like, "I'm here. I'm with you. I believe in you." If you play it enough times, the judgement will fall away on its own. What sounds off will disappear. What sounds right will come to the forefront. Trust me. I know. Because I was you.
I used to dread hearing my own voice. But now I know it wasn't my voice that bothered me. It was the fear of being heard. It was the fear of making noise and calling attention to myself. I felt safe in the silence. I could bury myself and hide, and so long as I didn't make a peep, no one would know I was there.
We're so used to smothering our voices that we don't trust we have something worth saying. But we do. We so very much do.
So please, don't tell me you hate the sound of your own voice. Tell me about the time you laughed so hard you cried. Tell me about the scar you have that no one can see. Tell me loud, so loud that people look and turn to stare, because you don't just deserve to be heard. You deserve to be seen. You're here for a reason, and I want you to shout until your throat hurts, and to hell with anyone that doesn't like it.
I bet there's a lot that's been bottled up for a long time, and ain't nothing like a good scream to break all that up and set it free. Trust me. I've been there. And if you don't want scream, then sing. Sing so loud you feel it in your whole body. Feel the vibration of your voice, that powerful part of you that speaks worlds into existence.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Liz Gilbert speak at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco. It was a conversation guided by Lisa Congdon, a fine print and graphic artist. As I post more quotes and selections from her talk, I'll be tagging them all under Elizabeth Gilbert for easy finding.
Passion is very much unpredictable.
And it's very much at the whims of the Gods. It will come and go. And when you've got it, ride it. And when you don't, back down and rely on curiosity.
Curiosity is a much more mild, gentle, impulse.
Passion is something like: burn your house down, get divorced, move to another country, and get a face tattoo. Curiosity is more like, pottery's interesting! And you don't have to sacrifice anything - passion demands the full sacrifice. Curiosity just asks you to turn your head a quarter of an inch and look a little closer at something that's got your interest.
When I'm in a place where I don't have any ideas, and I don't feel any passion, and my head's not on fire - which is most Tuesdays - what I pay attention to is 'what's got me interested? What's like a little blip the radar?'
Awhile ago, I'd just bought a house and I thought, I'd like to put in a garden. I was just messing around with it.
It was as simple as 'this is nice. I want to do this.'
Over the course of the summer of creating this garden, I wanted to know the history of the plants. I found out that a lot of the plant people were women, and that botany was the only science women were allowed to participate in during the 19th century.
And then I'm like, I'd like to read about that. Wait - I might even like to write about that! All of a sudden it's growing and growing, and the next thing you know I'm writing a 500 page novel about it.
I didn't wake up one day and say, "I want to write this book." This was a year and a half after my garden was planted. These things take awhile. To me, curiosity is a series of clues on a great scavenger hunt. I've had things in my life that I've created out of passion, but mostly, of the stuff that I've done, it came from curiosity. If I waited for passion to strike, I would've written maybe one book.
There's this song that pops up on my Pandora from time to time. Every time I hear it, I feel both energized and relief.
Over a soft electronic beat, it repeats, "Don't think about all those things you fear, just be glad to be here." As I listen, I feel my fears and anxieties melting away as I remember all the things I have to be excited and happy about. There's something so perfect about this song. It's called "Hayling" by FC Kahuna.
And remember, don't think about all those things you fear. Just be glad to be here.
Just for today, I will radiate success with my whole being. Not tomorrow, not next week, and not someday. But today.
What makes me feel successful today will change tomorrow. And each day after that it will change, as I change and evolve my idea of what success even is. I know that today I am further than I was yesterday. I'm a little wiser. A little stronger. A little more centered.
Today is the day that I won't just believe, but I will know, I am successful. It doesn't matter if I haven't achieved the thing I set out to achieve. It doesn't matter if I'm not holding the results of my dreams within my hands.
What matters is that I valued those dreams and gave them space to breathe and grow. What matters is that I dared to believe in the value of my own ideas. I am successful because I took the first shaky steps in realizing my full potential. I am successful because I am here, learning, growing, facing my fears, embracing my fears, embracing me, and becoming one with all that I am, in all ways.
What makes me successful is personal to me.
No one knows where I started. No one knows what I went through just to get to this moment. No one knows the mountains I climbed and the valleys I traversed just to show up today and say, "Here I am day. Bring it on."
Today I will celebrate my own personal idea of success. I will look back and realize that I have overcome a lot. I have achieved a lot. I have done things that shook me to my core. I have changed in ways no one will understand the impact of but me. I have even torn down my idea of self, questioning the very nature of who I am and what's possible for me, without any idea of how I would land safely on my feet.
What makes me successful is not always even success.
Sometimes I fail, and in that failure, I know I succeeded because I tried something. I dared to step outside what was familiar and known and tested the boundaries of my world. My failure is the seed from which my dreams will take root and grow.
And when I fail, I allow myself to be one with my disappointment and insecurity. I remember that success is not always about winning and being the best. Sometimes, success is about honoring where I am, nurturing my wounds, and taking time to rest before picking myself up and trying again.
No matter where I am at, or where I'm trying to go, today is the day I believe in my success.
Today, I am successful because I refuse to let other people project their fears and limiting ideas onto me. Today, I believe in my own idea of success, and I don't need anyone's approval in order to declare, "I am successful!"
Even if no one sees it but me, I will value and cherish my success. I will nourish it with my love, and I will guard it from the judgement of others.
And by the end of the day, if I no longer feel successful, if I feel down and defeated, that's okay. This is only for today, and tomorrow will be a new day, full of new opportunities, new people, new ideas, and new energy. I will wake up tomorrow and tell myself, "Yesterday I tried my best. And for that reason, I am successful."
But tomorrow isn't here. There is only now, and so for today, and only for today, I will believe fully in my success.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Liz Gilbert speak at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco. It was a conversation guided by Lisa Congdon, a fine print and graphic artist. As I post more quotes and selections from her talk, I'll be tagging them all under Elizabeth Gilbert for easy finding
When I think of creative entitlement, I think of the poet David Whyte. He says that one of the qualities that you have to cultivate to have a spiritual and creative life is what he calls the "arrogance of belonging."
I love the re-appropriation of the word arrogance. And what the arrogance of belonging is, it's not pumping your first in the air and saying "I am the best." It's putting your hand on heart and saying, 'I Am.'
That's it. I am recognizing that I'm here. And I'm part of this story. I'm part of the human family. I'm part of what we're all creating here.
I'm not going to pretend that I'm not here.
There's a great Leonard Cohen poem in his recent book where he says something like, 'If there were no other artists in the world, my art would be very important. But there are are, and they're really good, so I'm willing to take my place at the end of the line, and to keep making art.'
Now that's the arrogance of belonging, which is saying, "I belong in the line." I'm not sure if I belong at the front of the line, or the back of the line, but I'm going to put myself in line along with all of this. The humility that is intrinsic in that is not the false humility of self-deprecation, which is not humility, but a kind of a sin.
Self-deprecation is a sort of violation of the remarklebeness of you.
The exceptionalness of you. The extraordinary miracle of the human life. It's a sort of a sin to pretend that you're not a big deal. You exist, and you have consciousness, and you have dreams, and you're here. It's extraordinary.