Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Guide to Being Yourself by Jennifer Louden

I absolutely adore Jennifer Louden. She is right up there with Anne Lamott and Brene Brown. She makes it all simple, real, doable, imperfect. This is from an email today about simply being ourselves, which you would think was the easiest thing to be in the whole wide world. Yet so many of us struggle. Here's her take. Savor!
1. Dedicate yourself to wholeness. Perfection appears to be a much sexier partner but is actually a demon lover who will suck you dry and leave you bitter and broken.
2. Acknowledge what you experience and how you feel. It’s not about you being right and someone else being wrong, it’s about claiming your experience. It’s your experience and seeing it, feeling it, sitting with it, helps make you you.
3. Healthy desire birthed all of creation. Let it birth you, again and again. Being yourself springs from knowing what you want.
4. Healthy desire is never about perfection (outcome). It is about going deeper than your mood, deeper than your stories of what is allowed or possible, into the sensations and energy of desire itself, and letting that move you into inspired action.
5. Healthy desire is the source from which you renew your commitment to what matters most to you. Acting on that commitment will mean constantly unfurling into the unknown. The sooner you make peace with doing that (yes imperfectly which means people will be pissed off at you) the more energy you will have for adventure!
6. Every time you say “I can’t because…” you are giving your power away to someone or something else, which is giving yourself away. Power is a foundational spiritual quality. Pretending that you don’t have power or that you are not responsible for your life is the quickest way to hell. Trust me on this one.
7. Have practices that help you open your heart, love yourself, and witness your thoughts and reactions. Because here’s the hysterical truth: there really isn’t a separate self to be and that is the most delicious discovery of all.
8. Waste no time guarding the self you are forever becoming. It’s one thing to have strong boundaries and another to jealously guard your heart.
9. There is no destination. There is nothing to fix. No I to dot, no test score to achieve, no number in your bank account that says, “I’m done! I did it! I’m me!”
There is only this – rice crackers crumbs, cold tea, sun streaming through kitchen window, beating heart, time for a stretch.
Catch more of Jennifer's kindness and wisdom at:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Who Can I Trust?

Not the usual way. I have found over the last few years that there are times you shouldn't trust. When that gut feeling just jabs you at your very core and you justify away, "Oh, that is just my fear. I will forge ahead anyway." Enter lesson, usually at least somewhat uncomfortable, often downright painful.
No, the trust should be in yourself and your own innate knowledge and sense of what makes you comfortable or uncomfortable. Trusting that jab in your gut is the trust I am talking about.
Here's a little background fairytale for you: Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a make believe world. She scaled trees, played with insects, talked to imaginary friends and wise voices in her head. She drew, and painted, and wrote and the world was a safe place. But when she grew up, the outside voices told her that she couldn't continue living that way. That where she needed to live was called REALITY. This new world was quite frightening to her. Whereas in her old world, she knew she could trust without limit, in the world called REALITY, she found that there were often voices with conflicting messages, that asked her to trust things she would never have trusted in her deep world of imagination, of heart and soul. Little twinges emerged, most often in her belly, but she ignored them because this new REALITY was where she was told she must dwell as a grown up. Many years later, as she struggled with fits and starts, heartbreak and confusion, one of those small voices from her past broke through.
"Trust ME," it said.
"But you are from my old world, you are only imagination. I must listen to the voices of REALITY now," she plaintively responded, although the pain in her soul kept tugging at her, trying to get her attention as a small child would.
The voice, strong and clear, emerged and rang throughout her being. "I am YOUR reality. The REALITY of the world is many-faceted and full of illusions and perceptions. It can only be trusted with much DISCERNMENT. I can help you with that, but you must first come back to US, the voices who sustained you with love and tenderness, truth and heart-knowledge.  Please come back. We are here for you and will always be speaking with your highest good in mind."
And so, tentatively, she began to make her way back. Although the voices of REALITY were loud and often quite alluring, she started noticing the little signals that her voices would send. She would watch REALITY and wonder why so many people listened to the loudness, the confusion. She knew that each one of them had their OWN reality, those quite, loving voices, that held their heart and soul with such gentleness. She wondered....
And then she stopped wondering, and went back to her trees, and insects, her drawing and painting and writing. She played in the mud and made fantastical creatures. And when REALITY became too loud, she closed the window and talked to -- and trusted --  the wise voices in her imagination.
The End.
So, this started with the word TRUST. But the caveat is that the particular trust I'm speaking of is born of the self-nurturing inner voices that sustained you before REALITY broke through. Sure, REALITY is there, big and large and, at times, frightening. No doubt, at times, it looks quite appealing as well. Family, job, material wealth (or lack thereof), community all live in that world of REALITY so there is absolutely no way to ignore it. But those little voices of so long ago arm you with intuitive twinges, gut-growling-seizures-of-the-most-epic-proportions, love-warmth, self-honor and heart-space -- DISCERNMENT. Listen. Feel. It may take awhile to conjure those voices up from so long ago, but they are still there. Grab some crayons, write a poem. take a walk in nature...NOT along the side of a busy road, but where there are actual trees, water, birdsong.
Listen. Then trust. Go ahead. I dare you.