Dar's an inveterate reader, and always has a couple of "real" books, as well as an audio book on the go. Her latest read is a novel by Deepak Chopra, called The Daughters of Joy.
I gotta warn you - Chopra's no novelist. (Scott Peck gave novels a try once, and quickly returned to non-fiction.) However, buried amongst the stilted prose are several gems, three of which stuck in my mind.
"You can't change the fact that the unknown lies ahead, no matter how much you grasp about the past. Life is like driving a car with a rear view mirror but a brick windshield; looking backward won't help you more forward." (pg. 204)
Q: Does love always bring happiness?
A: Yes, but perhaps not in the short run. Love isn't a feeling and is not the same as pleasure. You won't be happy while love is working to correct your distorted energies. But don't get depressed. Allow the process to unfold. Instead of saying "This is my time to be happy," say "This is my time to get real." (pg. 237)
There are certain feelings that immediately tell you that you are thinking or feeling or acting without love:
Whenever you feel fear.
Whenever you hate or react with anger and hostility.
Whenever you doubt yourself as someone who is loved and cared for.
Whenever you blame someone else.
Whenever you feel needy.
Whenever you feel victimized.
Whenever you want to defend yourself or punish another.
Whenever you judge or reject anyone else." (pg. 212)
I amuse myself with how bits and pieces fall into my lap, always "just in time." As we've said, endlessly, there are many polar opposites for viewing life. One is to look at life with "external eyes" and see problems, difficulties, victims and victimization, threats, fear and attack. The other is to look with "internal eyes" - to notice that life is simply how I describe it to myself - and to see that life is unfolding, and always does so as it should.
Now, I know, you're wondering if I've lost my mind (answer: yes, I did. It's in a freezer at Haven...) and am ignoring the newspaper. People are killing each other! People are hurting each other! Drama exists at every turn!
Well, guess what? It's always been that way. Each generation confronts its own horrors. You notice what's happening now because you're alive now. The scary, perpetual reality is that much of life is completely and absolutely out of our control.
Unless you choose to refrain from scaring yourself. The question is never, "Why is the world so screwed up?" The question is: "How authentically am I dealing with the only thing I can deal with - me, as I interact with life?"
I gotta tell you, I don't like the state of the world, and I also know there is not one thing I can do about any of it, other than to live with integrity and compassion in my own little corner of the pond. Having said that, the next step is to pull my attention to how I am dealing with my life, or perhaps more correctly, the story I am telling myself about my life.
I particularly liked the "brick wall, rear view mirror" analogy of the first quote. Most people are really stuck in grasping onto past definitions and casting them into the future. The future, however, is a vast, unknown territory that can and will be experienced only when we get there. Worrying about it is simply a waste of time.
I certainly am not exempt from this twisted little drama. The Port Elgin experience has triggered exactly all of the "unloving" behaviours listed in the 3rd quote, above. I'm not embarrassed to admit that, as I am quick to acknowledge my humanness. I am still occasionally swimming in resentment and hard-done-by-ness. I can then go to, "No one appreciates me (loves me), anyway." And of course, the cosmos, almost immediately, provides me with a "thank you" e-mail. It's gotten to be so regular and predictable that, when I get one, Dar just laughs and says, "No one loves you. Except that person."
The problem, for all of us, is that we want an exemption from the "rules." We want to be special, to be treated "differently." I can't tell you how many people have come into my office at the time of a relationship break up, and how few have simply said, "Here's how I messed up this relationship." No, I get a lot of how it's the "fault" of one's partner, and then the person blames him/herself for being an idiot.
Nice, but neither true nor helpful.
There is nothing to do, really, in our individual lives, other than to focus in and take responsibility for where we are and for the games we play. That list in quote 3 is quite brilliant, if annoying. Every time I am out of love with myself and out of love with others, I feel lousy. That's it.
Now, if I am in a relationship that is not helpful to me, I need to leave. Non-functioning relationships are not something to be endured. They are to be fixed, quickly, or abandoned. No exceptions.
The quick fix is an agreement, which Chopra describes thusly:
"The most a woman can do for a man is the same as what a man can do for a woman. Work on your own energy and support the same work in your partner."
Energy work, in this case, is letting go of the need to be unloving (as is described in quote 3.)
Bodywork works in the same way. It's a physical method of moving (through sound and motion) stuck emotions and energy. The sludge of life accumulates until we notice. Griping, complaining and making ourselves physically and mentally sick is not noticing. Letting go of the sludge is the "gentle" process of letting go of what is not working.
Again, and again, and again.
As this process unfolds, it is possible to feel the weight of fear and anger lifting, to be replaced with simple presence. This lifting is in a sense the rising of the energy of compassion or love. And primarily, this love and compassion is self love and self compassion.
I know. You were told not to be selfish. Well, you need to let that one go too. All you have is the life you are living, and your "job," such as it is, is to free your energy so as to be of service and to gain in wisdom and understanding. The rest of it - jobs, careers, relationships - are tools in the service of this self exploration.
To see yourself as last on the list and stuck by circumstances (or whatever) is to abrogate your responsibility.
Now is the moment for letting go. And now. And now. This endless process is accomplished by monitoring your state of mind, heart and spirit. If you are unconscious, wake up. If you are externally focused, bring your attention back to yourself and your moment by moment experience. If you are in pain, find a way, a path, to let go.
In the end, all there is to do is to be yourself, and to reach for ever more "self-ness." There is no walk for you, other than yours. There is no drama other than the one you are spinning.
Let go, find your passion, and live it. It's enough for a lifetime.