Choosing happiness

Someone posted a clip of Mo Gawdat on Facebook (I have a habit of opening stuff like that in another tab and not viewing until later; then I don’t remember who pointed me there ūüôā ) and his message about happiness turned out to be so in line with things I’ve been thinking.

I particularly love the distinction he makes between fun and happiness — much like my thoughts about over-stimulation often being mistaken for joy. ¬†Though there are longer videos in which he discusses this in greater depth, I purposely chose to use this short clip to make it easier for you to get the gist:

Being Positive, Discovering Issues and the Fine Line Between

Many times over the years I’ve circled around to a contemplation of whether I need to dig around in my past and discover old issues or it would be better to hold positive thoughts. ¬†I’ve wound up after landing for periods of time on both sides, concluding that most of us need a combo. ¬†And maybe there’s a time more for one and a time for the other.

I started off in the “You Create Your Own Reality”, positive-thinking and affirmations mode. ¬†Initially, when I was in total excitement with discovering this whole new way of thinking and being, it worked magically well for me (which certainly fits the theory of the Law of Attraction). ¬†But — at least as I see it — I eventually hit the wall of negative beliefs which permeated my being and it seemed like my spiritual progression ground to a halt.

Still clinging to a belief that this spiritual path offered a better way forward, I kept plugging and wound up being guided to Ellen Margron’s marvelous version of the Fisher-Hoffman Process (Ellen has since died and as far as I’m aware no one else had similarly developed or taken on the longer and more comprehensive process she created). ¬†Massive amounts of digging around in my belief system and releasing (“processing”) beliefs that no longer served me transformed many aspects of my life and I became a firm believer in the need to do some excavating.

Over the years I’ve periodically run into teachers who feel it’s more important to hold positive thoughts and not necessary to examine the past. ¬†Initially I couldn’t even compute what they were trying to say. ¬†I now get it if I think of neural nets. ¬†Creating new positive thoughts and beliefs can build new neural nets and your unconscious will often start taking down the old thinking patterns as it recognizes how much better the new pattern feels– or at least guide you to behave/respond from the newer nets.

But many neural patterns are so intertwined and complex and well-established, I decided somewhere along the way that just saying affirmations and “thinking positive” is kind of like aiming a drip of water at the top of Mt. Everest and waiting for the mountain to erode…. ¬†And I also noticed how often people’s determined positivity seemed more like denial than a true shift.

During “The Process” Ellen taught us about layers of being. ¬†The divine essence or true heart is in the center, then the next circle is the negative thoughts and beliefs we develop as we’re taught that we’re not divine and perfect and then around that we circle the mask of the personality we choose to present. ¬†The most fascinating piece for me was the news that meditating or affirming, etc. while determinedly avoiding the roiling circle of negativity in the middle CREATES ANOTHER LAYER AROUND THE OUTSIDE instead of taking you into the heart.

This really describes the sense of denial I sometimes feel from some peoples’ “positive outlooks” — like a big layer of plastic is covering something they’re avoiding. ¬†In pursuit of spirituality or calm or peacefulness they’ve thickened the layers hiding the true heart instead of illuminating it.

That said, after years of digging and excavating I’ve come to see you can also get kind of caught up in the other direction and turn life into a constant process of finding what you need to fix. ¬†For those of us who already suspect something is deeply “wrong” with us, it’s an easy trap in which to land.

Having cleared a great deal, I’ve come to a place where I feel a lot of benefit from holding to positive thoughts. ¬†I keep watch for negative belief patterns but instead of feeling I need to pursue and “process” them, I work at staying mindful enough to turn around the thought to a statement that carries the belief I’d rather hold. ¬†I’ve written before about some of the other ways I submerge myself in affirmative thinking so here I’ll just say I can feel the neural nets changing from all the steps toward thinking more positively.

In the end I’d have to say I feel it’s both. ¬†If you hold a huge amount of negative thought patterns — especially if they’re ancestral patterns of thought that have been passed down for generations — I think some excavating out of the past is the only way you’re going to step beyond¬†it. ¬†And I really think if you feel absolutely determined never to examine your life¬†there’s a big issue just in that to explore. ¬†Why are you unwilling to look into whatever may be holding on and hindering you?

It’s kind of a juggling act I’d say between exploring issues as you become aware of them and creating a new structure of thinking. ¬†And I’d guess in the early stages of the journey most of us need a bit more on the digging around side and as we clear issues it becomes more fruitful to work on building new neural nets with positive thoughts and beliefs. ¬†I’d love to hear some chiming in from some of you deep thinkers out there! ¬†What’s been your experience?

Note: ¬†Zoe at HopeDreamWait¬†has nominated me for a Cramm Blog award. ¬†I quit participating in these blog awards some time ago, but I am so grateful to Zoe for nominating me — thanks!. ¬†Her blog is fun, so check her out!

 

Subtle shifting

English: Beach, Grescleit. The sands are shift...

Shifting Sands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spent several weeks recently reading my way through Life Loves You by Robert Holden and Louise Hay and sort of doing the practices.  Some I did exactly as provided, some I re-crafted to use similar practices I know..

It’s been a return to the sort of practices and info I devoured at the beginning of my spiritual journey.¬† On one hand I’ve very much enjoyed the return to the basics as well as seeing how much more these things flow after years of clearing away emotional debris and physically opening my body.¬† On the other hand, counter to their predictions for big change, this far down the road and after the huge amounts of change and release I’ve already undergone, to me the impacts of this work were subtle.

Getting my mind to quit running old tapes and stop reacting out of inter-generational habits has been one of my great challenges.¬† I’ve finally reached a place where the kind of positive thinking, gratitude and forgiveness practices in this book grab hold with greater ease and I’m so pleased to feel the years of work on affirmations and retraining my brain are resulting in finally seeing a bigger impact from such practices.

The piece about which I’ve been most excited was a little change that suddenly happened with my lovingkindness chanting several weeks in on the Life Loves You venture.¬† As you know, I’ve been a fan of the lovingkindness chant for years and since the election I’ve established a regular practice of chanting it for 10 minutes 4 or 5 times a week.¬† Suddenly one night I found myself saying it with a change of emphasis while simultaneously being flooded with a sense of the meaning of each separate affirmation:

  • I am filled with lovingkindness
  • I am well
  • I am peaceful and at ease
  • I am happy

It’s hard to describe the inner shift as I say it now.¬† Over the years I’ve mostly said it as one continuous piece.¬† It’s always been powerful for me, always opened a big flow of energy through my heart.¬† But now I’m saying it with a great consciousness of each phrase being an affirmation of something I truly assert to be true — and the powerful feeling has grown.

Another phase of major unwinding has been unfolding as well, opening some significant pieces where my left eye, cheek and jaw have all felt crunched together.  Still not done, but open enough to feel something significant is happening.

Then the other night I had a bunch of tabs open on my browser and as I moved from one to another I noticed I had 5 FB notifications, 5 new posts waiting on WP, 5 notifications from Pinterest, an ad with a big “5” in it….¬† Although I find it interesting, I’ve never had a conscious experience of one or more numbers repeating like that.¬† Linda over at litebeing chronicles does pay a lot of attention to numbers and knows a lot about it so when the first post I saw on FB the next day was from her and IT had “5” in it, I asked her about the meaning.¬† “Change,” she said.¬† I also found a site with spiritual meanings of numbers and “manifestation” came up.

Feels like the Universe is giving me a big thumbs up and confirming big change is afoot!

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A little catch up, a little FYI …

Robin 2017

Robin in our back yard 2017

Muscles in my face are still going nuts and when they’re not I can’t seem to stop sleeping (possibly something to do with thousand of hours of sleep deprivation — and yup, I figured that out with all kinds of math formulas … not ūüôā ) so I have posts floating in the recesses of my mind but haven’t been able to sit down and focus enough to write them.

I’ve still been trying to keep up the regular chanting practice (lovingkindness chant + Gayatri Mantra + Om Shanti Shanti) yet also work my way through the practices in Life Loves You.¬† Also weaving some of the kundalini yoga sets I used to do regularly¬†back into my practice schedule along with the yoga/Robert Masters/exercise bike routines I’ve been doing and trying to hit the Eight Key Breaths, and Five Tibetan Rites as well.

Sometimes I feel like I know so many practices and exercises that I could get up in the morning and start doing them and just keep going all day long if I wanted to hit everything faithfully…¬† So many different ones serve different purposes in energy or muscles or feeling tones.¬† Right now I’m just juggling in a “go-with-the-flow” kind of thing, seeing what feels right each day during the time set aside.

Wanted to also mention a couple of new things I’ve run into that I think would be of interest to some of the regulars around here.¬† Belinda Witzenhausen has started a blog hop thingy devoted to promoting stories of love and positivity.¬† You can sign up on a linky page to participate and the first posts are to go up on March 31.

I’ve also signed up for a class offered through Daily OM called Release Yourself from Family Karma.¬† As you know, I’ve been working on clearing ancestral issues for some time now and this class looks like a good opportunity to identify and clear some remaining issues.¬† And they nicely allow you to choose your payment¬† on a sliding scale of $10.00, $25.00 or $40.00 (the default seems to be $25 but if you click on that it opens up to a menu with the three options).

And my time to chant is calling now…¬† Peace, out…

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Hold the Loving Space

I’ve been a little silent lately.¬† Partly because the unwinding is back with the usual discombobulation accompanying and also because I’ve been ruminating on current events and what I want to say…

It’s been an amazing time for me in general.¬† As I mentioned recently, my daily chanting into heart-fullness¬† has brought me face to face with some remaining issues about worthiness, self-love and my ongoing journey to transform my ancestral negative thinking habit into positive thinking; it’s been a far tougher transition over the years than I’d have imagined when I started out and blithely assumed a few months of affirmations would fix everything.

Since my last post, I’ve been guided to “The Cure Is…“, which I LOVED.¬† I was given a link to see it free on Vimeo but I’ve found the DVD at Amazon and am thinking I want to buy it and add it to my growing collection of positive thought movies.

And then a friend sent me a link to this lovely — and fairly short — video of Martha Beck on YouTube, which I found to be the PERFECT message for these times and reflects how I see it working:

The piece that’s been bugging me lately has been the handful of friends on Facebook who can’t seem to stop fear-mongering even though they have spiritual knowledge and practices that should help them step out of that space.¬† I’ll be posting more about those issues — theirs with the fear and mine with being bugged by it ūüôā later.

But this little film from Ms. Beck helped me to see the message I most  want to spread, the one I most want to be my message:  Be the Peace.  Hold the space of lovingkindness.  Let your heart be filled with love and compassion.

Being in fear only helps them.¬† What we need right now is for as many people as possible to be clearing anything within them that stands in the way of peace and compassion and also meditating, chanting, praying their way into higher consciousness. The higher we take the consciousness, the more that pyramid she’s depicting melts into the sea of love.

BE THE LOVE!

P.S.¬† A little extra.¬† I have also found great comfort in this YouTube video from Patricia Cota Robles.¬† I’ve been listening to it every night as I go to sleep.¬† Some of it’s pretty woo woo if you’re not into some of the I AM stuff but the basic message about transforming the world into eternal peace is spot on:

Gratitude, blessings and change afoot

of light and shadow

of light and shadow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m seeing reason for hope in the turmoil since the U.S. election.¬† And I’m seeing many ways in which it is facilitating healing in my life.

I started a chanting practice within a day or two after the election to replace the fear with love and compassion.¬† Although I’ve loved and used the lovingkindness chant for something like 20 years, I generally just say it to myself a few times a day and occasionally do a week of practice when something comes up that warrants it.

Three months in now, I’m finding a daily dose of metta combined with the heart-opening Gayatra Mantra and Om Shanti Shanti chants is pushing buttons, shifting energy, bringing things to the surface and leading me into some healing work I don’t know that I’d have done without the impetus of current events.

And I started being led to teachings and materials that address issues about self love I have not resolved.¬† I’ve been amused to note as well, many of the materials bring me back to the New Age type teachings with which I began this journey 30+ years ago.

First I signed up for a Vow to Love, a series of meditations on bringing love into self and the world by fellow blogger Karen Chrappa and have been very slowly working my way through them.¬† Then I got a head’s up about a new Louise Hay book, Life Loves You.

life-loves-you

After failing to get a free version to show up I found the e-book for $1.99 and started reading and doing the mirror work.¬† I’ve known a bit about her mirror work for 30 years but hadn’t ever done any.¬† Mirror work has been tapping me on the shoulder for about a year now and this felt like the moment to dive in.

abundance-factor

I also found a link to “The Abundance Factor” movie which, for a couple more days is free to watch here (not embedding as I assume it will disappear when the free bit is up), which I found to be a much better version of the Secret.¬† I particularly like that it very carefully and repeatedly acknowledges abundance as more than just material things.

A few other messages here and there have chimed in.¬† Together these little journeys have pointed up the unresolved issues about self-love and self-worth still dwelling in me.¬† It’s not that I haven’t worked on self love issues or improved over the years but I can see now there’s a core place of shame and fear I’ve never touched in spite of massive digging around in my psyche and multiple insights, practices and breakthroughs.

There are a lot of posts and essays floating around discussing the “shadow” represented by the Republican Administration.¬† I agree this rise of conservative and sometimes nasty values represents shadow stuff that needs to be cleared,¬† but I also feel liberals and progressives have a lot of uncleared shadow stuff that’s just as much represented in this rise of hatefulness as any shadows within the government.¬† And that includes me.

Liberals have long had a tendency to see the world in terms of battles and struggles and regularly use words of violence to describe their activities.¬† I first started being disturbed by the dark underbelly of activism in the 80’s.¬† I did a lot of work with public interest groups and noted with growing unease how readily my colleagues stepped up for faceless people in far away places and yet how snotty they could be with people in the same room.

An example that has always stuck with me was a boyfriend who worked zealously on abolishing the death penalty with absolute conviction that it is never right to kill someone.¬† When a CIA operative was killed in the Middle East, this same crusader against death grinned with delight and announced the guy deserved it.¬† “How,” I asked, “do you reconcile a belief it’s not okay to kill anyone with a belief that it was a good thing to kill that guy?”¬† He was LIVID.¬† We didn’t date too long after that ūüôā

I find that sort of hypocrisy — the sort liberals like to point out in conservatives — disturbing.¬† I found the anger behind much of what they did troubling.¬† As I moved more and more onto a spiritual path I participated less and less in activism but grew more and more to believe the world needs peaceful activism, an activism conceived and carried out by loving hearts.

The only heart I can truly influence is mine.¬† So I’m grateful these uneasy times have led me to practices and explorations that are revealing shadow material and allowing me to acknowledge and release it.¬† The more of us who clear these shadows, the more the world will move toward peace.¬† My number one commitment is to release any remaining shadows in me.¬† I want to Be Peace not just talk about it.

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Check out my guest post on Me My Magnificent Self

Barbara Franken has asked for guest posts about compassion on her blog, Me My Magnificent Self, and today my post is featured.¬† I’m so pleased — hope you check it out.¬† And look at the bottom of the post for info on how to participate with your own post on compassion:

The Magnificent Leigh Gaitskill… Author, Blogger and Peace wayshower who teaches us how essential it is to move in peace. Welcome dear Leigh to my NEW Guest Blogger/Author Feature, it is truly my pleasure to shine light on YOU now. IAM honoured to have you amongst my Divine friends here on WordPress, to read your…

via Guest Blogger/Author Feature‚Ķ The Magnificent Leigh Gaitskill ‚ÄĒ Me, My Magnificent Self

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