My Last Blog on Anger…..I Promise

Ok, this is it on the anger subject, but during my ruminations this past month I came across several truths that it seems are important for me to remember.

1.Whenever a brother/sister attacks you, hear it as a cry for more love.  (A Course in Miracles…paraphrased).  In other words, “don’t take it personally.”

2.When someone is angry or defensive toward you, recognize it as the parts of themselves that they haven’t loved enough.  (Matt Kahn, Whatever Arises, Love That)  In other words, “don’t take it personally”

3.Right before a walk last week I had just read from Tosha Silver’s book, Outrageous Openness, this story:

A person in an airport line got frustrated with her and lashed out.  This was her response,

“As she attacked, a sense arose within me, ‘Wow, this poor disturbed lady.  She can barely get through the day.  This has nothing to do with me.’  I grinned into her steely eyes.  I could feel the poignancy of her explosion.  I had an overwhelming sense of someone who had never been listened to, whose own voice had never been heard.  No wonder she was so pissed.  All I could feel was, ‘This is how she talks to herself.  This is how she was treated.’  I remembered some of that from my own childhood.  ‘She just never knew she could change inside.’  Waves of compassion arose as I mentally sent her good thoughts.”

So the learning for me is this:  Instead of constricting in hurt, or defensiveness when someone is upset with me, I can open my heart wider.  I can allow the feeling and then choose to expand so that I see with clarity the other’s pain and acknowledge their suffering.  I can remember to not take it personally, which helps my heart to open.  This doesn’t preclude expressing what my needs are or sharing how the outburst affected me, but it does mean that when I do take action it will come from a more compassionate place. It also doesn’t hurt to take a few moments to gently examine my part in the interaction.  Not taking it personally doesn’t mean I don’t own whatever part I played.

Iyanla Vanzant is a well known author and teacher who hosts a reality show on the Own network called Iyanla, Fix my Life.  When asked in an interview how she dealt with attacks from others she explained that she felt we should always speak up, but to do it with a loving and compassionate heart.  Here are two ways that she herself responds to an attack:

“Beloved, I did not give you permission to speak to me in that way.”

“Please forgive me for anything I’ve done that made you think you had permission to speak to me in that way.  Please tell me what it was.”

I think one would need to be careful in saying these phrases to not put a sarcastic spin on the words.  But the idea is still valid…..we can speak our truth while our heart remains open and compassionate.

One of the tools that I have used for many years when I’m dealing with any personal conflict with someone is to sit in silence, open my heart, and send them a lovingkindness blessing.  “May they be at peace.  May they be free from suffering.  May they remember the beauty of their own true nature.  May they live their life with ease.”  It’s very hard to hold onto any angst toward someone when you are blessing them.

Tosha Silver in her book, Outrageous Openness, says this, “Sometimes the people with the most anger need the most help. You never know what sending them blessings can do.  You might be the only one on the planet winging good their way.”

Amen to that.

 

Anger is my Edge, Part III

Well, as predicted in my last blog, the learnings around anger continue to come my way.  After the first two incidents…….three more appeared.  So now I’m really focused on what all of this means to me and how I operate in the world.  So far this is what I’ve gleaned.

  1. The new attitude of “indifference”, the practice of loving whatever comes and the readjustment of my focus on my higher self, …..these I discussed in my last blog.  Since then:

 

  1. A re-commitment to courageously speaking up about how their behavior affected me.    In two of the cases where friends were angry with me I spoke about how I felt and asked if there was something we needed to work out between us that might be causing the outburst.  I felt resolved once we had processed the interaction.

 

  1. I believe the above approach is helpful because I always want to be aware of how my actions affect other people, but when I examined why I was habitually questioning if they were upset with me over something, I realized that once again I was more concerned with their feelings about me than I was in just stating, “I don’t want to be treated that way by my friends,” and then stating clearly what is acceptable behavior. As someone once said to me, “We train people how to treat us by what we accept and what we expect.”

 

  1. A strong determination to be much more mindful about boundaries.  I totally overstepped my bounds with two people I love very much.  I really need to get this lesson because it keeps coming up and I want so much to be aware of what is appropriate and what is not and not hurt the people I love. There are all kinds of reasons why this is such a big issue for me, but nevertheless I need to pull up my big girl pants and get on with it.

 

  1. Remembering that I always get a deeper understanding of things when I sit in silence, align to my Soul and ask for clarity.  In one case I realized I still had some angst about one of the people who was angry with me even though she apologized and offered to process whatever I needed to in order to get clear with me.  In meditation I could feel my appreciation for her willingness to work this out and her ability to take ownership of her part in the interaction.  When I could connect with that….the angst disappeared.

After the month of outbursts I read the astrology post from Chani Nicholas that described the energies that were going on at the time of these incidents.  I’m always amazed to see how accurate astrology can be….and of course, it’s always convenient to blame our moods, etc. on the planets, but in any case this post was particularly relevant to what I had just gone through.

Your journey might get a little rocky this week. Your need to “speak up and tell it like it is” might become too tense to tame. You might have to risk some of your security in order to reclaim some freedom. But this could help you break new ground. This could help you see your path more clearly. This could help you to harness your energy and move it in the direction that you most wish to go.

Take the risk. Revealing ourselves can be a spiritual

experience. Telling the world who we really are requires

that we have enough faith in ourselves to get through any

response we might hear.

 

This week starts and ends with abrupt squares to Uranus,

the planet of upheaval and change. The first is between

Mercury and Uranus on Monday. These two aren’t

at terrible odds with one another thematically –

they both speak to ways of receiving and

transmitting information. But squares cause

friction. This one is about being able to speak

about and to discord. Mercury, the messenger, is still

in Cancer, the sign that deals with home, family, needs

and nourishment. Uranus, the planet of rebellion,

upheaval and revolution is in Aries, the sign of the courage

it takes to become an individual.

 

Still working on it!!!!

 

 

“We cannot live in a world that is not our own,

In a world that is interpreted for us by others.

An interpreted world is not home.

Part of the terror

Is to take back our own listening,

To use our own voice,

To see our own light.”  Hildegard of Bingen

 

 

 

 

Anger is My Edge, Part II

Here’s how my life seems to work sometimes, I have an ‘aha’moment, there is a new clarity and something seems to shift, then a challenge occurs relating to the new awareness.  If I can hold the clarity I received through the challenge then the new insight becomes embodied…..more easily accessible….overriding the old instinctual pattern. And there seems to be a synchronicity to it all.  When the challenge occurs there is almost always help available to help me make sense of it…..like a passage in a book, or a conversation with someone.  And if I can recognize the underlying purpose of the challenge, (I call them fgo’s……another f****ing growth opportunity) then I can more easily detach from the emotional reaction.

So when two times in one-week people become angry at me it causes me some distress, some worry and I have sleepless nights after each encounter.  So I write my blog on anger.

(https://mygentlemusings.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/anger-is-my-edge/)

Now, I’m participating in a webinar called, “Glamour, a World problem.”  Glamour is loosely defined as any response that triggers your emotional body.  Well, certainly my emotional body was triggered as I struggled with how to deal with my feelings about people being mad at me.  In this webinar we are asked to name a particular glamour we are aware of.   Immediately I think, “my sensitive emotional nature.”  It’s a glamour, you see, because it is not my True Self.  It is not my essence.  It is my egos’ response to a perceived threat.  There is a lot that I like about my sensitive nature.  I care deeply, I can easily perceive another’s pain, I have empathy and compassion.  But when it takes me over, when I lose myself in it….then it’s a distortion of that pure energy of the Soul.  So the next step in the seminar was to do a meditation to help dispel that particular glamour.  After we had finished I went to open the book called, Glamour a World Problem, by Alice Bailey.  I happened to open it to the page where it defines, “indifference”.  Here’s what it says,  “Indifference means, in reality, the achieving of a neutral attitude towards that which is regarded as the Not-self……it signifies a refusal to be identified with anything save the spiritual reality as far as that is sensed and known at any given point in time and space…….It is active repudiation without any concentration upon that which is repudiated.”  So I took this to mean that the antidote to my “sensitive nature glamour” was to practice indifference.  To attempt, in a situation where I feel entrapped in my emotions, to try to become neutral to my feelings.  To not give them soooo much attention.  To focus on the spiritual reality as far as I can access it.  It doesn’t mean denial or repression, it just means don’t get lost in the emotional field…..scattering and dissipating your energy.  Next, I came to this passage in which the Tibetan master who dictated the words to Alice Bailey tells us not to identify with all of the obstructions, all of the difficulties we struggle with in our personality nature, but to constantly remember the truth that we are the Self.  (the Soul, as I translate that)  So to me that was helpful because I could see that identifying with my higher self when trapped in my emotions I would be able to more clearly see the truth…..that this emotional reactiveness/sensitivity was just an ego response.

Shortly after taking in that understanding I began listening to a podcast by Sounds True…….an amazing site, BTW, where you can get free downloads of Tami Simon’s interviews with spiritual teachers around the world.  In my opinion she is one the best interviewers I have ever heard.  She asks in depth questions that always seem relevant to what I am thinking. (soundstrue.com)   In any event this particular day she was interviewing, Matt Kahn, the author of Whatever Arises, Love That.  Matt suggests that a wonderful practice for living a life that is love filled is to begin with ourselves.  He suggests that several times a day we pause and just say to ourselves, I love you. I began using this practice as I noticed feelings come up around the anger issue.  I would begin to feel angst, and I would silently just say, I love you…directing it at the angst.  I would feel hurt, “I love you, hurt.”  Whatever feeling arose, I would just pause and send it my love. Buddhism has a similar practice where you hold everything that comes up in your compassionate heart, but for some reason saying the words, “I love you” felt more powerful.  When I could love all of the feelings around people being angry at me the intensity diminished, the anxiety fell away, and my own level of self-acceptance grew.  If I want to consciously participate in my own evolutionary process, in a healthy way, I need to look at everything that comes my way as an opportunity to grow.

I’m sure there are more revelations to come around this deeply held issue, but until they come I’m resting in the love for my self.

 

Love after Love

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here.  Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was yourself.

Give wine. Give bread.  Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes.

Peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

 

-Derek Walcott

 

 

 

 

I Build a Lighted House and Therein Dwell

This is the mantram for the sign of Cancer.

On this day of the full moon, sitting in meditation these thoughts come to me. 

How big is my lighted house?

Can it house the whole world?

Can I invite all of humanity into my “house”, into my heart to be fed and nurtured and loved?

How do I do bring more light into my house?…..invoking?….opening?…..being willing to receive?

Sacred light can dissolve the obstacles, transmute the hindrances, dispel the illusions.

I welcome this light into my life, into my “home.”

                How much light can I tolerate?

                How do I expand my capacity to hold more?……purification, aspiration,  dedication,

                Steadfastness.      

Usually the light does not come as a blinding flash….it creeps in slowly…..one ray at a time until the body becomes a radiant expression of love.

My prayer becomes, “Pour down upon me the love, the light of the Christ.”

This is my dwelling place…..within this love.

 

 

“I reach into the light,

And bring it down to meet the need.

I reach into the Silent place

And bring from thence

The gift of understanding.

Thus with the light I work

And turn the darkness into day.”  (Alice Bailey)

 

Anger is my edge

It’s not often that people get angry at me.  My “accommodating” nature doesn’t usually ruffle peoples’ feathers.  So when it happened twice in one week I paid attention.  The first event happened at a gathering at a friends’ house.  This particular friend and I don’t see eye to eye on some things and I thought we had sort of reached a truce with that.  Each accepting that we would probably not change the other’s mind and resolved to co-exist peacefully in spite of our differences.  So I was unprepared for her outburst at me while we were gathered around the table having a bite to eat.  Not thinking, I sort of fired back, but in a defensive mode and with no more rational thought than she had given to her outburst.  The table went silent and then someone thankfully changed the subject.  As the gathering ended and we prepared to leave my friend came over and apologized.  I demurred and acted like it was nothing and “no worries, I’m fine.”  But I wasn’t really.  I kept regurgitating the conversation, over and over, in my mind.  I was mad at myself for reacting on the same level as she had.  Why hadn’t I just named what was happening, like I do with my grandkids when they get upset.  “Wow, you sound really angry.  What’s going on?”  But I reacted and then tamped it all down.  I didn’t sleep well that night, pondering how I might have handled it differently.  It felt abusive and part of me wishes I had just called it that, “you are being rude and disrespectful.”  But this is a fairly new groove that I’m trying to etch into my brain.  How to appropriately deal with anger….especially when it is directed at me.  I grew up with my father’s way of dealing, “It’s not worth getting angry about,” so I didn’t see many outbursts in my family of origin.  Occasionally my mom would emerge out of the bathroom with puffy eyes and we knew she was upset, but she would never cop to it.  So it all went underground.  On the surface, one big happy family…..and to be honest about it, we mostly were.  But there were no models for what to do when things weren’t so rosy.  So I went on to marry a person who had known too much rage in his family and only knew that way to deal with frustration and anxiety.  It was a good schoolroom for me in that I learned that there needed to be a mediating way….between complete denial/repression and out of  control, abusive rage. Unfortunately there was no way to mediate the differences within our marriage and we divorced.

The situation with my friend had an unusual component in that the group was disbanding so I probably would not see her again.  We hadn’t ever socialized outside the group.  So I had nothing invested in maintaining a relationship.  Because of that, or maybe just out of cowardice, I decided not to confront my friend with my feelings.  However I did begin the practice that I wrote about in another blog. (Just like Me) I began to see how sometimes I am also unaware of how I come out and can be unintentionally rude or disrespectful….and after all she did apologize.  Case closed.

 The second event was resolved amicably, nevertheless because it was the second time within a week that I had been confronted I decided I needed to take a good long look at what these outbursts had aroused in me.  I saw my discomfort, my tendency to freeze and not be present to the moment, my hesitancy to speak from my authentic voice, my desire to have harmony no matter what the situation. I remembered these old patterns, my old friends, so I tried to just notice them and not judge myself because they had come to visit me again.  Telling myself, it’s alright, I’m still learning. And I have learned a lot since those early childhood days.

In my close, intimate relationships I’ve pretty much learned to be ok with my vulnerability.  To speak when I’m hurt or upset and to try to examine and admit to my part in a disagreement.  And after all, this happened in a Gemini month where we were being asked to lovingly communicate what we really feel and accept responsibility for our part.  So I guess it’s absolutely appropriate that this issue came up for me at this time.   But anger is still my edge…….what is most difficult for me, so I make a deeper commitment to being more mindful, aware and present.

 

“If you can find a path with no obstacles it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”  Frank A. Clark

“Never forget that conversation is a form of activism and what you allow in is as much a revolutionary act as what you speak up for.”  Chani Nicholas

 

flowers in the garden 2014 004

Honoring the Summer Solstice…The deep root on which we live.

So thinking about the Solstice today when the energy of the sun is available to us for so many hours I ponder what this means.  What does it mean to be the recipient of so much solar energy?  How can we let that light ignite the spark that is within each of us?  Can we use it to expand our consciousness, to radiate more fully the love that is our essence?  Surely it is a day to honor the Mother, Gaia, our precious earth.  We give thanks for her abundance for her beauty.  Perhaps we can use this day to connect more deeply with Her essence.  We do have a co-creative relationship with the earth.  We can learn to tune in and connect to her wisdom and guidance.  It is a partnership.  I think this involves sitting in silence, asking to see what our part is and then doing it.  From there we practice letting go.  We release our idea of how things should turn out.  We surrender our time line for when things should manifest and we trust in the “deep root on which we live.”  This, from Anne Hillman,

“I tend to think that new life emerges from seeds, and forget a far more ancient truth.  Today, I find myself celebrating the way it can also arise from the very old—-like tiny seedlings sprouted from the living root of a giant redwood tree.  This new life simply claims the giant’s root as its own, surrenders to its impetus, and grows towards the light.

How do we cooperate with life’s gradual shaping of the human mind—its painstaking work of drawing us toward the light of greater awareness?  As I see it, the action required is to trust the great root on which we stand—and learn to surrender.  Some see surrender as defeat, a capitulation to an outer force, but it is really an inner relaxation—into the root.  What does the use of the word ‘root’ mean to you?  That matters.  For when you know what you rest on and can relax into it, your heart opens to life’s secret—its creative impetus conveyed beneath thought:  a feeling, an intuition, an image, or a confirming synchronicity.  Subtle clues like these remind us that there is infinitely more to life—a reality we barely notice but that the body knows intimately—a wisdom built into the great root on which we live.  When we remain exquisitely attuned to life’s presence in this way, it will often surprise us: nudge us to be more authentic, to improvise, to move in a new direction.  Its whispered hints may feel absurd, even impossible.  But if you dare to follow them, you will be adding more light to life’s deep need for it at this time.”

 

“I thank you God for this most amazing day,

For the leaping greenly spirits of trees,

and for the blue dream of sky

and for everything that is natural,

Which is infinite,

Which is yes.”   e.e. cummings

THE ANTIDOTE TO WORRY

I’m stealing a blog post from the wonderful Danielle LaPorte because I don’t believe in coincidences and after writing my blog a few weeks ago on “worry”, this blog appeared in my email. It will make your day if you have the “worry gene” like I do.

Refuse to worry (and how to be more useful for your friends) 

Some precious people in my life are in extreme pain right now. Three friends are sorting through the natural disaster that breaking up brings on. And after a traumatic and poignantly one-in-a-million accident, one of my beloveds is literally patching together a new body and life. I cry with them in cafes and on the phone. I write letters I know they’re too weary to respond to. I think about them throughout every day. I ache, actively. Concerned.

But I do not worry for them. Can’t do it. Won’t do it. Refuse to. Not because I trust in an benevolent universe to carry them (which I do,) and not because I’m disassociated (I’m anything but.) I don’t let myself worry for them because I think it’s not only futile, but it’s obstructive. Worry only gets in the way of good intentions, energy, solutions. It’s toxic.

WORRY vs. CONCERN

Energetically, there is a critical difference.

worry: to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret. concern: to relate to; be connected with; be of interest or importance to; affect.

Worry obstructs possibility. Concern is pro-active. Worry weighs things down. Concern can rise to the occasion. Worry is wistful. Concern is penetrating. Worry tangles. Concern peels back the layers. Worry gossips. Concern enrolls.

Worry is the conjoined twin of anxiety. Of course concern can be riddled with anxiety, but it’s strong enough to turn anxiety into a constructive force.

The darkest, gnawing side of worry is this: it’s an illusory form of control that we might cling to in order to feel important and goodly. Yep, “goodly”, not “Godly.” As in, I’m a good manager, friend, mother, Christian, citizen, leader…if I express my love, smarts, interest by…worrying.

HOW TO TRANSFORM YOUR WORRY FOR OTHERS INTO POSITIVITY SO YOU CAN TRULY BE OF SERVICE

Stand outside of the story. Every fearful expectation has a big “story” behind it. The trauma, the drama, the pain, the plot. Worry feeds on the gruesome details. It replays the potential saga in your head. It validates all the reasons things could go wrong by drudging up the past again and again.

Worry is cleverly building a case as to why you should worry

(you’re a better person if you do, you’re “on top of the details” it’s the sympathetic thing to do, things have gone wrong so many times before, it’s only logical to…worry. And on it goes.)

Don’t let yourself be pulled onto the “set” of the unfolding drama. Stay behind the camera and go where you’re needed to shed light on things. Witnessing is an act of compassion. Whether it’s with force or a light touch, you get to call the shots on how you will show up in any difficult situation.

Keep a soft gaze. No one needs your judgment about why they got themselves into something, or all of the things that could go wrong. Gently observe what’s going on, and stick to the facts. This is really tricky because facts can be relative. Medical test results are facts. So is someone’s immense inner strength. Choose the facts that keep you moving in a better direction. Friends in pain (and we all qualify as friends who are hurtin’,) need love and optimism – critique and prognostication are big fat downers.

Let your heart be broken. Life will devastate you if you get close enough to it. Get closer. In the cosmic fabric, your pain is mine is yours is mine…When we can share this unified space we know how to be of better service to one another – because we can better empathize.

Put a stake of devotion in the ground. How far will you let your concern take you for a friend? (Limits are okay by the way, enlightened concern isn’t about martyrdom.) Are you willing to catch the next plane, withdraw your savings, find a lawyer, change bandages, mix herbs, listen tirelessly?

Your devotion may shrink or expand as the situation unravels. But if you can declare how you intend to be truly helpful, then worry takes a backseat.

Send wishes. This is the single most effectual way to diffuse worry and move into positivity. Worry will crop up. Don’t let it stagnate. Cleanse your worry with very precise wishes. 

I’m worried that he’ll stay lonely. I wish him sweet love. I’m worried the meds won’t work. I wish her quantum healing. I’m worried she’ll do something drastic. I wish her equilibrium. I’m worried he’ll sink into depression. I wish him lightness. I’m worried this will takes years. I wish for swift grace.

While you’re at it, you could do one gorgeous global wish: I wish for the end of suffering and happiness of all beings. That about covers it.

Send wishes. And more wishes. The wishes will nest in your psyche and begin to inform your concern, your words, your actions. When you’re not preoccupied with worrying, you’re free to serve, in so many ways.