Sunday, January 9, 2011

Take your medicine!!

Each and everyday it is more apparent to me, the futility of believing and following thoughts, up and down, like an endless rollercoaster, going nowhere, I feel like I have an exreme case of motion sickness... "Let me off!!" I yell over and over.. I want off of this crazy ride.. looking outside of myself for what I can actually only find within.. satisfaction, fulfillment, serenity, peace, love, well being... the conditioning is so strong that I'll find love in a relationship, security in stable finances, well being in a career or in being with my kids... and who knows maybe i will, but one thing i can count on for sure is that it will always change, men leave, people die, there is meanness, cruelty, injustice and dishonesty that occurs.. it happens.. living from perceptions, viewpoints, belief systems, personal perspective, identifying with this that continually opens and closes, this is a crazy ride...

For a long time I think I actually liked it, I liked the insanity, it made me feel alive. Striving, achieving and accomplishing, going after a goal like being a top producer or getting that man felt great, it made me feel special, extra special, powerful, I played the game of getting and winning and 'better than' for as long as I could ... then the bottom fell out.
It really all stopped working, none of it made me feel better and there I sat ... in the rubble of my life that resembled a train wreck...
Rather rudely, I suddenly realized... i was not all his stuff, these structures.. i realized that I had stopped caring about all the labels that had once meant everything to me.. Waking up and realizing that I was not actually any of the labels I had thought myself to be, wife, mother, business person, successful, spiritual, smart, long term sober person, mentor, teacher, I knew that I was not any of this, they did not define me.. these were like clothes that I wore, they didn't describe me accurately or completely nor did they touch or impact what I actually was.
I got a clear sense that what I actually was, I was fortunate enough to see this very clearly many times.. this awareness, presence, this that I can't define or really describe, was vast, open space, untouched by any of life's experiences.

This was not an entirely happy occasion, although i did enjoy a sense of expansion and liberation for a time... but as these aspects (ideas I'd felt myself to be) fell away for me, I found that there was no new identification that came in to offer comfort or familiarity.. not only did new stuff not come in.. but it kept falling away, pride, self esteem, sense of personal power, drive, ambition, goals, strong sense of self reliance.. I felt stripped clean, naked, groundless, surrendered... vulnerable, lost at times, irrelevant and more than often confused that I could not seem to rediscover myself in my life experiences ..

Yes it's true, I have been praying and sitting in silence for many years, asking only for one thing.. truth, show me the truth, let me be guided by truth, let the truth of my being be revealed, let truth penetrate this life called JoAnne, fully, gently, now.
I just want to experience truth.... I did not really know what it was that I was praying for..
I did not know that it meant that I'd have to experience in a conscious way all of my delusion and self deception, this has been a rude awakening. I had no idea the degree of false identification I entertained, it's been quite an intense last 5 years.

It seems that all of life is conspiring to wake me up, not that the little idea of me actually wakes up, more like waking up from the dream of being a me, something separate and apart from everything else. I've come to see to this sense of separation as a sickness, a disease, a sense of dis-ease that is mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. This sickness is part of the human condition, it feels like a hole in the gut, something just feels wrong.. the mind is forever reflecting this by thinking .. something is wrong, with me, with them, with this picture, this scene, there is not enough ______ (love, money, security, peace, well being, acknowledgement, praise, resources, etc..) And... I need to do something about it is the next logical thought.

To believe that 1. something is wrong and 2. I need to do something about it. is to be on the wheel of samsara.. the roller coaster, it's forever.. it is to forget who I am, forget what is always here, forget truth, forget the well being that always is.. it is to fall asleep to what is..

So if you are sick, you often take medicine.. this can be rest, stopping, asking for help, building community in recovery circles, work with a therapist or mentor or spiritual teacher, receive guidance, support, sit in silence, meditate, go on retreats, use inquiry methods, ask who am I? bring about an awareness of awareness, presence, clarity, well being.. connect to the divine, that which is always here, stable, always available, pause and pray, reflect, notice what's here, allow it, be tender with myself, take mental health days, etc...

I've done all of these .... a lot... these days I am in greater and greater awareness that this security, well being and love that I sometimes think is not here.. is always available ... so I keep taking my medicine, stopping and pausing many times all through the day to notice presence and clarity.. stopping thinking for a moment to notice what's here, this stillness, awareness.. it pervades all thoughts, experiences, feelings, everything.... it's like the paper that life is drawn on.. no paper, no life, awareness is what everything comes from, the substance of all form and all of life.. so this is where my reliance must be, 100% commitment to this clarity... ahhhh

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Do you know about the "unwritten contract" in relationships? Most people don't even know the contract exists.. until that is that the contract is violated. The contract has to do with expectations, it's about the stories we tell ourselves about how love "should" be expressed, how people "should" treat us, how they "should" behave. The contract is our belief system about how others should respond if they tell us they love us or if we think they ought to love us. It also applies to dating, business relationships and friend and family relationships.
Here are some aspects I've noticed lately about my 'hidden contract'...
If someone says they love me, then they "should" call me frequently, be thinking about me, include me in their plans, definitely call me on holidays, they should be showing me that I am special to them, speaking to me in an affectionate way, with warmth, playfulness, expressing interest in me and what I am up to. They "should" want to connect with me, spend time with me, be excited to see me, they "should" be telling me often how attracted to me they are, how pretty I am and how much they want me.
If they don't do this.. then I start telling myself stories... They don't really care about me, they don' t really love me, something is wrong, maybe something is wrong with me, maybe I don't deserve it, I'm not _______ (attractive, sexy, together, fun, interesting, resolved/healed, ambitious) enough.
When I start to feel like someone that I love is not showing up for me, not responding in a loving way, (even a friend that won't return my calls) I feel overexposed and want to contract and go into self protection. I often don't even notice that this is happening. Rather than looking at my own belief about the "broken" contract, my beliefs about how love "should" be expressed and what is arising for me when my expectations are not met, I often go into a story about how the other person is doing something wrong, they are unkind, unfeeling, not caring or sensitive enough. I'll notice that I feel sad that the interaction feels cold rather than warm, I'll focus on what I am not getting and I'll contract and pull back.
After many years of striving to see this, often I still don't. I'll go straight into "the story" about what was happening rather than noticing what was actually happening.
So what was actually happening? Really nothing is happening.. but here's what my head says..
I want more, I am not getting enough, enough love, enough calls, attention, affection, consideration, I am not desired enough, I don't feel special enough. I feel a sense of emptiness, a restlessness.
When I believe this stream of thoughts, it feels bad, I feel bad, I feel sad. Often I will share this with whoever I want to be doing something different. It might sound like complaining. This time it did not go over so well, it was actually totally ineffective and as I think back, often this is the case, when you tell someone they are not meeting your expectations, that they are not doing enough for you, they are often defensive and the result is exactly the opposite of what I want, more distance.
Another response might be to
1. notice my desire for things to be different
2. notice what story I am telling myself about how this behavior means this... how it should be.
3. notice how I feel when i believe the story, that they violated the contract, they are wrong!
4. instead of focusing on getting, focus instead on giving what I want, to myself and them.

It's a crazy dynamic.. wild how when one person is super open, ready to really love and cherish and flow the love.. how the other person will run like the wind.. what's up with that?

love to hear your feedback..