Some people cheered and some felt my last post was “harsh” on Benedict and religion and the rampant hypocrisy. The only reason I could “see” it so clearly is because I’m the biggest hypocrite I know. Life always and only mirrors and we see that which is inside of us.
There is a huge distinction between gratification and fulfillment, that which truly sustains us. The only way to have an abundant, fulfilled and thriving life is to engage with totality of our being in self-love. We are human and divine, matter and spirit, meant to experience both. Our humanity illuminates and reveals our divinity.
That’s it. Life is a mirror and self-love.
At the moment of birth, we enter life with a basic trust that life, reality is inherently good and we are “held”; life is felt as a part of us without separation. Essentially this is our initial relationship with “God.” For many if not most of us this trust has been “violated” in some way, either through trauma or conditioning and we took on a belief in separation. This is a lynchpin that generates our life experience, reinforcing and perpetuating this belief, which is a thought tied around a feeling, generally an unexpressed, denied, unprocessed emotion. Everything, and I mean everything, in our life is a projection and reflection of the conscious and unconscious beliefs about our relationship with our true, divine nature. This is a huge gift because in every moment, life is reflecting our beliefs as an invitation to grow and rebirth our totality of being. Pay attention to what your reactions and judgments are, they are telling you what is going on inside of you. How we separate ourselves from our true nature is our blind spot.
How Come Every Time I Get Stabbed in the Back, My Fingerprints Are All Over the Knife?
After the death and capture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, in the wee hours of a morning I was awake and contemplating how these young men and the young men responsible for the shootings in Aurora and Sandy Hook felt so alienated they chose to live a life of deception and violence. What came to me gently was my own belief that my own value, worth and being loved was based on maintaining deception. Protect the “lies” at all costs. On top of this, if I failed then not only was I going to be punished by burning in the fires of hell, everyone I cared about was going to hell along with me. Where did this “story” come from? The experience itself is not important and I have no direct memory of it, but the story I took away is a belief that I’ve held subconsciously since I was a small child that has generated my life experience.
What is the result of this “story”? I’ve lived for close to 60 years with a compulsion to hide. I hated hide-and-seek as a child; I did not want to be found, we were all going to hell. When I spoke “truth”, said what I sensed or “saw” or “knew”, I was “punished”: A dear friend suggested that I hedge what I say, not say what I “know” with certainty to give people “wiggle room.” She also got angry with me for apologizing for “my ego pandering to her ego” – which we were. Another person I care deeply about called a knowing a “fantasy” and wanted no further contact. Being open and truthful brought the pain of rejection. Believing I was only loved for maintaining deception, resulted in my responding with passive aggression: For the most part, if I couldn’t be truthful, I was going to “hide” or otherwise avoid confrontation. I didn’t want to be part of this life and withdrew.
The essence of my work is about “truth” and living and leading with integrity and authenticity. And, the more I came out with what I know about life and love and spirit, the less work and income I had. I had reached a point of being mentally, emotionally and financially depleted. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. My mind and thoughts (subconscious) created my own hell on earth (which is what hell is and we all do). Life was reflecting to me my own belief that by not maintaining the deceptions, maintaining the denial of who we are, by telling the truth, I was worthless. While we all hold the belief that our value is based on maintaining “the” deception to some degree or another, this was my blind spot, how I separated myself from my true nature. All the other “stories” that I subconsciously told myself continue to unravel and more and more is revealed. It was my lynchpin, initiating the absence of basic trust that we are lovable without condition. The mirror of my life was distorted by this one belief. Without the lynchpin we trust the goodness of life, of reality, as infinite loving awareness.
Fear and judgment lock belief into place to replay over and over until we look deeply and choose love. I tried to make Leading as Love “fit” with the prevailing paradigm; it just never would or could. The majority of our organizational and societal practices perpetuate the deception that we are separate from our spiritual nature of love. It could be said that deception is the foundation of our social interactions. The truth is we are connected to source and all that is; love is the inherent core of our being. Disowning this wreaks the chaos, melodrama and overwhelm that we experience.
The physical (external) is not the foundation for life, the spiritual is. It is the core of our being. Spirit is our “higher” intelligence, the loving awareness within, the witness to our experience. Next comes the emotional (heart), then the mental which all show up in the physical. We get caught up in the physical (material) and mental (thought) and ignore or suppress the emotional and spiritual and literally have lives half-lived. We have nothing to “give up” other than the stories we tell ourselves; it’s about bringing balance and integration to all aspects of our being: spirit, emotions, thoughts, and actions.
A couple of summers ago I experienced chronic foot pain, along with knee and back pain (remember the song, “the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone”…?). I was anxious that I would have to give up my power walks in the Oswegatchie Hills with my beloved golden-doodle, Moriah. This is my regular exercise that I use to maintain my weight loss. I went to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine. He essentially dismissed me saying it was arthritis and to live with it… and keep walking. Didn’t matter that my feet hurt. A lot.
A friend’s mother recommended her podiatrist. He diagnosed collapsed arches (exacerbating the arthritis that I do have). Six hours after I started wearing my custom orthotics, I was in the ER with appendicitis. Coincidence? Our feet represent our grounding and foundation in this world and they enable us to move forward. The appendix is viewed as an evolutionary vestige and no longer needed. Wake-up message from my body: Shed the old and establish my spiritual foundation for being in this world. My podiatrist thought I was kidding when “blamed” my appendectomy on the arch supports. For a new foundation, it was out with the old. This was 18 months ago. I continued to fail to see the message about deception reflected in my work/financial situation. It took a “world stage” event for me to see what was inside all along. Looking directly at the blind spot, the illusion dissolved its hold on my life. The game, the illusion was over. And life offered a miracle to meet my financial obligations – taking a lump-sum pension payout.
Over the past several years, not contributing in a meaningful way with others and the ending of several friendships has been painful for me. I have come to appreciate that my real “work” throughout this time was witnessing my process, midwifing my own rebirth, and embracing who I Am in order to truly and fully engage with the world. It’s been a priceless experience. I am deeply, deeply blessed and grateful that Alexander has stood by me (with considerable, justifiable frustration) during this time.
Outside of our personal experiences, the world is mirroring for all of us that our choice to cut off from spirit and love – fear-based living – is no longer viable or sustainable. It’s breaking down, corrupt, bankrupt, blowing itself up, collapsing. The winds of change are roaring to make way for the new. How many of us feel we are in “pressure cookers” ready to explode? I find this world stage fascinating, not frightening, to watch: We are witnessing our own internal relationships with our true nature play out in life as a mirror.
Every experience is a metaphor of our relationship with our divine nature. Every experience is love calling us home, like a treasure hunt. Our challenge is to avoid nothing. Our challenge is to meet life on life’s terms in the raw experience of it all.
One last story. A number of years ago, I was on the train to NYC using the time to prepare to meet with a potential client. I was thinking what, in my past experience, would bolster my “credentials” to take on the engagement. I “heard” just be present as love. So, I put my notes away and relaxed for the rest of the trip. The meeting was an effortless success and this practice has become how I consistently prepare for any client engagement.
Several years ago, I used this practice and received feedback that a highly positioned client called me a “lightweight.” At the time I was embarrassed and devastated by the perceived “insult.” This is when I started to withdraw. In hindsight, it was great that the client reflected the real me that showed up. On death, the ancient Egyptians believed that one’s heart is weighed. If the heart had nothing weighing it down, it was as light as a feather and the deceased was allowed to pass into the afterlife. I now appreciate that by being present as love I mirror clients’ heart and soul to them; this is my gift. Our lack of self-love blinds us to our own light being reflected.
Self-love is all about our relationship with our spirit, our soul, our true nature, our essence. Self-love is the giving of our soul, essence, spirit to life. Self-love is the acknowledgement and acceptance of our innate divinity and its purpose to create, grow and evolve. Self-love is true empowerment and engagement that allows our soul’s full and complete expression. Self-love is an open heart and mind that allows love to move us and move through us. Self-love is integrated wholeness, the unity, the totality of being as body, mind, heart, and soul; actions, thoughts, feelings, and spirit. Each aspect of being is meant to be lived to the fullest. Self-love is the remembrance of who we are. Self-love is being in alignment and harmony with our true nature. Self-love is the love of love.
“Loving” only our body and mind, definitions of ourselves and what we have accumulated is not self-love. Our masks, roles, beliefs are incomplete leading to self-serving self-interest, arrogance, narcissism, pride, and vanity. All of our labels, definitions and names limit and cut us off to the full experience and expression of life as love.
Self-love and mastery is a never-ending evolutionary process. Striving for mastery as a goal is fruitless for love is ever renewing and rebirthing itself and expanding into more.
Instead of allowing love to be our life, we try to “control” our spirit’s expression within the context of what we think life should be. Open your heart and mind and gift your presence in life to spirit as a conduit of love. There are no rituals, rules or requirements other than to relax into the totality of being.
Don’t want to give up “control” of your life? Look again. How much “control” do we really have when our actions are driven by conditioned beliefs or personal stories outside of awareness? What is the source of your discontent? What subconscious stories do you tell yourself day-in and day-out? The pain we all feel (and avoid) is that of separation, the belief that we are somehow “unlovable.” Our stories are not truth; they are an illusion, we made them up. We can change them at any time. When all the “stuff” that we have taken on as our identity dissolves, what’s left is love – spirit – to shine through our human form.
Coming out of the closet is coming out of the dark, illuminating that which hides the truth. Coming out of the closet into the fullness of who we are requires no announcement or pronouncement, just open the door. Do you love yourself enough to choose unity of being, integrated wholeness for your life? Are you willing to break through without breaking down?
We keep focusing with good intentions, to “fix” what we see as “wrong” with the world around us. We fail to appreciate that it is a projection and reflection of that which is within, our lack of self-love. When we focus on the relationship within, all else will fall into place. World change is the ultimate result of self-love.
The Answer to How Is Yes
If you are asking “how”, the answer is “yes.” “How” is looking for a structure or framework and there is none. Asking “how” is frequently an expression of ambivalence, not being clear of what we really want and are willing to let go of. Each of us is unique, our lives are unique. Life unfolds as life unfolds, reflecting how much “stuff” that is piled on our spirit, our inner core of love. Life reflects a confluence of all our thoughts and emotions and actions that have gone before. The commitment is to attune and align our body and mind, actions and thoughts, with our soul and heart and allow love to lead the way. The commitment is to be present as loving awareness. It is loving awareness that brings the capacity to transform, allows us to see what we most need to see about ourselves. Life is the mirror that is our guide. Everything in life is a metaphor or symbol of our unity and our perceived separation.
Life is about loving who we truly are. Life gives us what we need to grow and evolve, not what we think we want. Nothing else matters. Get this down and we are home free. Truth or consequences. Love or fear. That’s all there ever is. We get to choose. All it takes is relaxed openness, a “yes” without a “no.” I am so grateful. Life is our teacher (informs); we educate (call forth) ourselves. We are midwives. The love inside is our guru. Every moment, every day. Every person, place and thing is there for us to choose to experience love. Love is not a feeling. Love is the alignment, the conscious participation with life and our growth and evolution. Love is the spaciousness that is full of possibility; unconditional love is what is present when we drop the mind’s conditioning.
Here is something to contemplate. It is we who give “God” conscious expression and the experience of life in physical form. It is we who give “God” purpose and meaning. It is we who give “God” an opportunity for relationship and contribution. It is we who give “God” the experience of growth and evolution. It is we who give “God” the opportunity to experience love or not by our choices.
The lynchpin is our primary belief about our relationship to life, to love, to “God.” It carries with it a primary fear. My fear is shame and humiliation of being a “phony”, a hypocrite. It also shows us our greatest expression of self-love. Mine is humility which means living, speaking only truth.
Self-love is the commitment to life, not to a particular practice or an experience. There is nothing to “fix” or “heal.” The commitment is a willingness to take responsibility for the life we have created. What ways are you contributing to what you are complaining about? Relax into your perceptions, the insights will come. The answers are always within as to what we are projecting. Truth, understanding, wisdom, deep knowing are of the heart that “sees” all, beyond the “facts” of the five senses or cognitive analysis. In this way, we are responsive; active receptivity as a conduit of love. The choice in each moment is “yes” or “no” to love, self-love. Self-love is being wide open to life – all of it. Life obliges us to die to the old and rebirth ourselves over and over again. This is why I treasure seeing the turkey vultures around our house; they are a constant reminder of rebirth when we soar with the unseen currents of life.
Alexander’s mother died peacefully the week before Easter. It came to me that at a very deep level we don’t grieve death; we grieve that they didn’t consciously live their totality of being.
Universal Leadership, Leading as Love, is self-love, integrated wholeness of personal leadership and authority that enables collective leadership to actively co-create a thriving life for all. Universal Leadership serves that part of you that is a radiant, eternal expression of source, the love of spirit that is the core of your being. To co-create we must be fully present in the now as loving awareness, relaxed openness. No planning. No goals. No expectations. No needs or wants. Life unfolds moment by moment. Universal Leadership allows us to go beyond what we believe is possible. Only two things to remember: self-love and it’s all a mirror.
There are no frameworks, structures, concepts, steps, striving for self-love; it is an open-minded and open-hearted process of exploration and discovery of what life is reflecting back to us. A “marker” – not goal – is a place of neutrality, equanimity in the experience of life as it unfolds, where the only desire and choice is to be present as love. Without spirit – the infinite loving awareness that we are – we cease to exist.
I stand for compassionate truth. I am here to call forth and witness the conscious re-emergence of spirit in matter, merging the sacred with the secular. I am here to reflect your radiance and to approach everything from the perspective of self-love for you personally and organizationally as leaders. I am here to walk with you in a process of mutual self-discovery as you midwife your remembrance that you are infinite loving awareness, the full expression of your totality of being.
We are the heroes of our story. Discover, embrace and be the greatest expression of yourself. Put your attention, your love, on the truth of who you are and the rest will take care of itself. Self-love is all we ever really seek.
Here in the United States this weekend we are celebrating Memorial Day. No matter where we are, let us all celebrate by committing to fully remember and live who we are – the relaxed stillness of loving awareness expressing freedom, peace, joy, and wisdom.
The divine in me honors the divine in you