Where do we look for the exit from this spinning hamster wheel of survival fear? There must be a way we can we make 2021 different, more positive than 2020.
As individuals we may not be able to do much about the world events swirling about our lives, but we can look to our inner environment. That’s where we can create a 2021 that feels and lives on a different, more positive level than we may have in 2020. We can hop off this hamster wheel, open the door to the cage and step out into the fresh air, one appreciative moment at a time.
The other day I was enjoying our backyard. It is bordered by trees, standing like sentinels at the edge of a grassy field. The tallest are the black locust, their bare black-brown branches reaching high into the sky. In front of them stand the junipers, dusty green and full. As I gazed at the treetops high above, branches outlined against the sky, I saw two squirrels chase each other up the trunk of a black locust, all the way out onto the twiggy ends of the uppermost branches that just barely supported their weight. Then they leapt into the air, one after another. The grey forms seemed to hang suspended in midair, their agile bodies curved like commas in a sentence, heads, tails, and paws reaching for the juniper branches below. Then the juniper caught them like a loving parent, in branches that bent and swayed beneath the aerialists, breaking their fall. The squirrel chase continued on down into the thick foliage of the juniper and I saw no more of them.
The image of that leap stayed with me. Later that day, this quote from Abraham-Hicks showed up in my email inbox. I had to laugh. The message was clear.
“By thinking and speaking more of how you really want your life to be, you allow what you are currently living to be the jumping-off place for so much more. But if you speak predominantly of what-is, then you still jump off —but you jump off into more of the same.”
2020 was our jumping off place, the twiggy ends just barely supporting us as we leapt off into 2021. The question is what are we jumping off into? Will it be more of the same?
As I type, a fire crackles in the woodstove beside where I sit, embraced by our once white, leather barrel chair. The chair is marked and speckled with years of laughing, spinning grandchildren and territorial felines. Golden flames dance above the dark shadow of wood in the hearth and the fire warms me as I turn to look out the wood-framed bay window of our living room. A wintry mix of rain, snow and sleet is decorating the branches of the crabapple which shelters the front of our home. Frozen droplets of rain hang like twinkle lights strung along every branch. Tiny, burgundy red crabapples dangle below, each one encased in ice. A slate sky hangs above, contributing an increasing supply of much-needed moisture to branch, berry and ground. The usual community of birds who frequent the crabapple are nowhere to be seen. No doubt they are hunkered down within the sheltering branches of the junipers.
It feels good to hunker down myself, safe, warm and dry, and consider this transition time in which we now find ourselves.
The biggest lesson for me from this passing year is that of letting go of how I think things should be and appreciating what is. Throughout the year, unexpected and unwelcome events kept piling up and it became clear that I couldn’t anticipate what the next month or even the next week would look like. I had to let go of my ideas of what was, and allow what is and what could be. Most of all, I had to learn to take pleasure in the positive parts of my life that I might have taken for granted, but do no longer.
I learned at a whole new level, how to enjoy the little things, spread over the branches of my life, like berries from a tree, waiting for me to savor and appreciate. A warm fire, a good roof over my head, the beauty of nature just outside the window, the antics of my grandchildren as posted on Facebook with riotous subtitles by their Dad, the love and health of family and friends, my own health, learning how to use Zoom, my small yellow-lab, dancing and twirling on the end of her leash, hip-checking the neighbor’s huge, young golden, plenty of toilet paper, paper towels, and food to eat. And did I mention toilet paper? I have a whole new appreciation for that humble roll of white. Everyday life, so easy to take for granted just because it is always there.
Until it’s not.
We are lucky here in the Midwest. The shortages of supplies have been short-lived. The pandemic has been survivable for most. The political situation hasn’t affected our everyday lives too, too much. Yet, as each thing threatened from the outer world, the little everyday things we depend on became that much more precious.
I look out the window once again and a single robin, harbinger of hope, alights in the crabapple and helps herself to the frozen crabapple banquet spread before her. 2021 stands before us, a banquet of tiny, delicious moments awaiting us. May we be as the robin, hope-filled, braving the storm, and appreciative of each moment of happiness and enjoyment spread before us in 2021. May we be as the squirrels, leaping off into a new year that supports and holds us in loving embrace.
Happy New Year to you, dear friends.
I had it all backwards. Self-care is the foundation upon which all else rests. I’m not just talking about eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising. I’m talking about spiritual Self-care. With a capital “S” for the larger self, the God self. As you have probably figured out if you’ve read any of my blog posts, the spiritual path is central to my life’s journey. How odd is it then that connecting on the inner has been so sporadic for me?
I think about God and Spirit a lot. I think about how the Universe works. I see Spirit moving in my life. I write about it all and feel that sense of connection through the writing process. But still, I know there is more. I yearn for it, and now that I’ve reevaluated my priorities, I’m willing, driven even, to take the time to pursue what that yearning is all about.
What is taking priority in my days now? Care of Self.
What does that look like? It begins first thing in the morning. Now, instead of getting immediately out of bed when I wake and stumbling into my usual morning routine, letting the dog out, feeding the dog, emptying the dishwasher… you get the idea, I stay in bed for an extra few minutes and listen to a guided meditation about visioning who I want to be (as in being rather than doing. Or, I’ll place my hands over my heart and mantra my way into heart/brain coherence. (See the blog post Got Heart.) Then, when I get up and move into the usual morning routine, it feels different, better, more graceful. During the day, at odd times, I refocus through gratitude, breath and prayer. In the evening I do another guided meditation. The result is that I’m sleeping better and feeling more aligned and balanced throughout the day.
It has become the basis of better days.
It is true that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
Enter the guided meditations by Dr. Joe Dispenza. Dr. Joe as he is affectionately called, combines science and spirituality, teaching his students how to access and rewire their energy systems for healing and mystical experience. He has done extensive research into the effects of meditation, providing the explanations and proof for the Western mind, as well as the methods for how to achieve higher levels of consciousness.
His combination of rational scientific explanation and inspiring, exciting, guided meditations strikes the right balance for me. I am like a kid at a candy store, wanting to practice the many different guided meditations he offers on his website.
So, why is it that in the past I’ve given up on meditation? I’d stick with it for a little while and then I’d go back to focusing my attention and energy on the mundane aspects of daily life.
I believe there is a natural ebb and flow of energy between our small self and our large Self. Our small self, our ego, has a job to do. That job is about survival, which equates to managing the ins and outs of daily life. The ego will usurp all our attention if we let it. Focusing all of our time and energy into the 3D world of doing and having. That is until the large Self, our God Self, gently reminds us to refocus upon our being.
My God Self has reminded me not so gently during this year of 2020. The highs have been higher. The lows have been dark and deep. It has been challenging to find my balance, and even more challenging to maintain it. Fortunately, I’ve discovered an unexpected ally in my search for balance. Through the meditations I’ve had the unanticipated, loving experience of connection with my God Self and the inspiring experience of something very much greater. The natural effect of that is a desire to give back, to be of service.
This year of one calamity following another is a wake-up call. Now is the time to focus attention on what is most important. For me, that looks like putting the connection with my God Self, that is, Self-care, at the top of my list of priorities each day. From there, all else flows.
The way this plays out in our individual lives is that we are more prone to fearful or angry thoughts, and the stress and anxiety that creates, than we might have been otherwise. In the general atmosphere of fear our survival instincts are on alert, looking for the danger. If there is no immediate, life-threatening danger the subconscious will choose something that is going on in our lives to focus the fear on and create a story about it to explain our feelings. The result is that we’ll feel more fearful, angry or stressed about that particular thing than we might have otherwise.
In my life, the stress shows up in various ways. Sometimes, I’ll stress about all I need to get done and feel so tired and grumpy I don’t want to do anything but lie on the couch and escape into a good book. The book works for a day, it feels like a relief. But as soon as I stop reading, the anxiety-provoking thoughts return. I feel more stressed because I took the day off and I didn’t get done what I wanted to get done. Other times, I am on overdrive and feeling like I have to get everything on my list done this minute. I plan and organize down to the last detail, and I feel crabby about sticking to that schedule because I’m forcing myself against my natural flow of energy. Sometimes, I just feel fearful or angry about something that feels very real to me, but when I look at it rationally, I realize that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill.
There has to be a better way.
I watched a Bashar video yesterday in which he spoke about staying within the eye of the storm and allowing the storm of 2020 to rage all around us without getting caught up in it.
It got me thinking, what if I stay within the eye of the storm? How would I do that?
The eye of the storm is a state of being. We are living in trust and love, knowing that everything that happens, happens for a reason. We trust that everything is working out for our highest and best. When we are caught up in the winds of the storm we are in a state of doing, trying to fix, control and force things to be the way we think they should be.
So, it comes down to trust. Trusting God/Spirit/Higher Self and trusting in our inner guidance. The more we trust, the more easily we rest within the eye of the storm. The more we trust, the better we maintain our inner balance, the more easily we can set our inner radio dial to the God/Higher Self channel.
When we do that, we are able to trust what in the past we might have been trying to control or force or fix or bury. When we trust we turn it all over to God, to our Higher Selves.
Creating a Better Way
Creating is choosing what we want, then following our inner guidance and allowing it to blossom in our lives. Creation feels like taking an ego-step back, releasing the need to control and force things to happen. Rather, it is setting one’s intent and letting go of the how of the creation.
In order to be able to create in our lives we have to show up fully, we have to be in balance and alignment. Otherwise the mind is haring off into past or future worries, planning and fixing, and we are not fully present. When we show up fully, we are in trust. Trusting what is. Trusting that all is exactly what we need in this moment. Trusting that the energy is guiding us to exactly what we need to be doing right now. Trusting that what needs to get done, will get done, in exactly the way it is needed. Trusting that we are cared for and guided.
Here’s What We Can Do
We can understand that the energetic milieu in which we are immersed at this time is full of fear, swirling around us like a hurricane. That doesn’t mean we have to live in fear. We can choose to stand within the eye of the storm. Just being aware that we may be affected by the general atmosphere of fear, supports us to know that we have a choice.
It’s good to remember that we have a choice if we find ourselves falling down the well of stress, anxiety, fear or anger. We can remember that the fear that feels like ours may not all belong to us. We can remember too that just because we think a thought doesn’t make it true. We do have a choice about the thoughts we think and how we respond to what’s happening in our lives.
We can choose to trust. We can choose to be the conscious creator of our everyday life. We can choose the positive thought. We can choose to use the energetic tools we have to bring ourselves into balance and alignment. As we do so we step out of the hurricane and into the eye of the storm.
Here's what I’m doing to support myself, perhaps it will support you too.
Life is full of spiritual lessons. Some feel good, some not so good. All support us to grow. This blog is about my life lessons. Perhaps you'll find yourself within these stories.