All Is Love?

Last week I wrote about releasing fear and returning to love. This week has been an application of that lesson, especially as it relates to things I would deem horrific, such as the earthquake in Haiti.

On Saturday I continued reading Marianne Williamson’s A Return To Love. As I sat on the BART train on my way to meet a friend it occurred to me everyone and everything is love. I really felt it. As I looked around I saw how every person, all the seats, metal poles, etc. were love incarnate. I saw how every being is a manifestation of love and the only thing that keeps us from recognizing that all the time is the ego. I saw a woman biting her nails on the train and as I looked at her I realized she and the passengers around her saw themselves as separate. Separate from each other. Separate from an all-pervasive love. They didn’t understand just how big they truly are. How they are love incarnate. Created out of love, steeped in love. How they are God. They are beauty. How a magnificent power runs through them and everyone else and the ego keeps us from feeling that way. (Or conversely we do think we are powerful but attribute the power to ourselves and not to God.) The ego keeps us thinking about well, just ourselves and our lives. That’s what the ego is. The “I” feeling.

I was in such an altered state on Saturday it was hard for me to get out of the BART station. My body had to go on autopilot because as I looked around all I could see was love. I could barely function. I walked into Walgreens to kill time and bought a Luna bar and as I approached the clerk I had a broad smile on my face because I didn’t see him for him, I saw him for the lovely divine being he is. I was so open and uninhibited the clerk smiled back at me and started asking me about my day. My seeing him as love brought out that feeling for him as well. It was contagious.

At the same time I couldn’t stay in that state (or at least I chose not to) because it was hard to stay grounded. I felt like a total space cadet. But I kept the truth and the knowledge every person is love and comes from love with me throughout the week. On Tuesday the earthquake hit Port-Au-Prince and I wanted to weep. How can I reconcile all is love when natural disasters like this happen? When people die and lose their homes? I’m still working on it. I don’t have all the answers and what resonates for me may not for everyone else. But these are the conclusions I’ve come to thus far.

My ego is what places value judgments. My ego decides what is “good” and what is “bad.” What’s helpful and what’s harmful. On the spiritual plane? There is no good or bad. There just is. Things just happen. Period. When it comes to natural disasters the Earth is just doing its thing. Responding to laws that I only mildly understand but laws nonetheless. The real issue I think is my perception. A part of me thinks love can only be “good” things like rainbows and butterflies and kittens. In truth though love is the “bad” things too.

Perhaps it’s time to take out my value judgments, my ideas of what love looks and see that things I don’t like can also be love. Perhaps it’s time to start seeing things more neutrally as just things that happen. To understand I may not like all the turn of events in the world but to understand they are still God, they are still love. Sometimes things like earthquakes just happen.

I also feel it’s important to point out here war, poverty, hunger, etc are due to a lack of love on our part. I understand God is not Santa Claus, doesn’t punish and reward people. Doesn’t create war. That’s what we do. We are the righteous ones deciding who is good and who is bad. We are the ones who create non-natural disasters. God is much more neutral, a potentiality that can go either way. I vote we use the potential to create something that benefits as many beings as possible.

I dream of a world where our ego blinders fall off and we each see the other as the creatures of love we are. I dream of a world where our perceptions change and we start seeing things more neutrally. I dream of a world where because we feel so much love for ourselves and everyone around us we help each other out. We live in a society where there is plenty of food to eat, safe places to live, good medical care for all, and everyone receives an excellent education. I dream of a world so filled with love it’s like living in a utopia.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I can say unequivocally my entire life I’ve had the fear I would be overpowered. I’ve been afraid someone would come in and overwhelm me physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. During the holidays I had a major breakthrough and it’s a fear I carry no more.

I’ve written before about looking fear in the face and seeing that perhaps our greatest fears are not as horrible as we’ve imagined. During the holidays I came to several realizations beyond that.

One, I realized I’ve already lived through all my greatest fears. Not having a job or a place to live? Check. Hello 2008. Losing someone I’ve loved? Triple check. The thing is I went through my greatest fears and lived to tell the tale. I realize I’ve been using fear as a way to protect myself because somehow I thought feeling afraid would keep me safe, or keep things from happening. As if being scared a snake will bite me will keep it from happening. (Um, it won’t.)

Obviously this past year I’ve come to realize the power of my mind. How the thoughts I think have an effect. I’ve come to realize I am a co-creator in my life. So recognizing that, I know I can create for myself a world where people are out to get me, where I’ll be overpowered, where others will harm me, or not. I can create for myself a world where I’m terrified (and quite possibly attract what I’m most scared of), or I can create something else. I can choose to believe I am safe, secure and protected. I can choose to believe I am divinely guided at each and every moment. I can choose to believe I can get through anything. And I already have.

Tapping along with this EFT video I started to believe and affirm for myself I can handle life. That there is nothing for me to be afraid of because even if I get bitten by a snake I’ll deal with it then. What’s the use of feeling afraid now? During the holidays I reminded myself I am fully capable of dealing with anything and everything so I don’t have to feel afraid. Instead I can walk around feeling calm and confident, taking life on life’s terms. Releasing my fear is pretty much a culmination of everything I’ve been talking about for the past year: releasing my need for control, trusting in a power greater than myself, co-creating my own reality, being present and in the moment. It all came together between Christmas and New Year’s.

The big breakthrough though occurred when I went to a yoga and meditation retreat in Missouri. On New Year’s Eve I started crying because my teacher has told me time and time again to go forward, be fearless and know I’m taken care of. The meaning finally sunk in. I started weeping with relief and, I don’t know, emotion, because not only do I protect myself but someone else is protecting me. Someone else is taking care of me, watching out for me, has my best interests at heart. And so my fear? I don’t need it. I am divinely guided at all times. I also want to say it is my firm belief everyone has someone protecting them, whether they know it or not. Everyone has a guardian angel or divine being or something watching out for them, they just may not know it yet.

Lastly, I finally understood love is all there is. That underneath my currents of fear, sadness, anger, etc., is a river of love. I realized my ego constructs all my other emotions and they act as an overlay for the love beneath. My ego masks the ever-present pure love surrounding me. I realized I am in the divine flow and in the divine flow there can be no harm, only love. Love is all there is.

And so I dream of a world where we release all that is unlike love in our minds and our bodies. A world where we deeply and completely love and approve and accept ourselves. A world where we release our need for fear because instead we recognize we are love. I dream of a world where we swim in the divine current, letting ourselves be carried, knowing we can handle life. A world where we feel the all-pervasive love surrounding us. A world where we return to love letting our fears wash away like the ocean smoothing out a beach.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I’m kind of on a hiatus right now what with visiting my family and going to a retreat in Missouri. However, I wanted to post one last message of hope and faith to close off 2009 and begin 2010. For your viewing pleasure I present:

Enjoy and rest assured another world is not only possible, it’s probable. =)

Oh my goodness. I love this audio link my friend sent to me. It’s the scientific proof showing how we feel has a ripple effect. How heart-based living affects the entire world. It’s yet another reminder to me that we, you and I, have the power to make the world better because of how we live our lives. Because of how we are feeling. I love the feeling of autonomy and empowerment I felt after listening to Gregg Braden, “Heart-Based Living.” I thoroughly recommend you check it out: http://www.healingwiththemasters.com/Audio.htm

EDIT: I realize the clip has been taken down. The gist of it can also be found in this series of YouTube clips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKMrE9veo8o&feature=related

Listening to this clip I know another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I really like safety nets. I like knowing if my plans don’t work out there’s an option B. Slowly my safety nets have been taken away from me and it freaks me out. My parents are renting out my childhood home in North Carolina so if my world comes crashing down around me I can’t move back in them. Not there at least. My, “in case neither of us is married by the time we’re 40 we’ll get together,” person is seriously dating someone, which is awesome, but nonetheless he’s no longer an option for me.

What I realize though is I don’t need a safety net. A safety net is an illusion anyway because even safety nets have a tendency to disappear. The thing is though, why even have a safety net in the first place? Why not just go all out and shoot for my dreams knowing I’ll be taken care of? That the universe is backing me, guiding me, protecting me at every moment? Why not go after what I want even if it seems illogical and ridiculous and completely unattainable?

I’m not sure I’m making any sense but I have a little story I’d like to share.

In 2007 when I worked in Washington, D.C. my coworkers had a Mother’s Day jewelry sale. I went looking for a gift for my mom and passed by a mother-of-pearl shell bracelet with a T-bar and circle clasp. I didn’t think my mom would like it, plus I don’t like buying parts of animals, so I went back to my cubicle empty handed. But I kept thinking about the bracelet. I wanted it – not for my mom, but for me. So I rushed back upstairs and purchased it (and said a prayer for the mollusk who died to give it to me).

Shortly thereafter I went to a WNBA game with a friend of mine. As we started walking toward the exit I looked down at my wrist and realized my bracelet was gone. (The bracelet is a little bit too big for me and so the T-bar has a tendency to slip from the clasp.) I started searching around me in a panic, checking my pockets, my sleeve, the ground. I retraced my steps, went back to the bathroom to see if it had fallen on the tiles. I scanned the crowded hallway and couldn’t find it. My friend and I went back to our seats and there it was, on the cement, directly below where I was sitting.

Yesterday while I sat at my desk at work one of my coworkers came up to me, with my bracelet dangling from his fingers. “Is this yours?” I hadn’t even realized I lost it but nonetheless, my bracelet found its way back to me.

Last night on my walk to the chiropractor I realized I lost my bracelet again. I scanned the pavement looking for it. I kept my eyes trained on the ground for six blocks looking for it to no avail. I probably lost it somewhere on my mile walk from work to my apartment. Since I work from home on Thursdays I couldn’t even look for it today so I called one of my coworkers and asked her to keep an eye out for it. But what are the odds I would find it? It could have fallen off anywhere. Someone else could have picked it up; it could have been thrown away by someone sweeping the sidewalks. It could have fallen into a sewer grate. In all likelihood my bracelet was gone.

This morning as I went to the basement to do some laundry I looked at the windowsill in the stairwell. And there was my bracelet, waiting for me. Of all the places it could have been, of all the possibilities, my bracelet found its way back to me.

I bring this up because some things seem completely illogical, unreasonable, and far-fetched but if they’re meant to be they will happen. If you’re meant to have something, you will. If you’re meant to be a famous actress, the stars will align. This bracelet belongs to me for now, wants to be with me for now, and so it keeps finding me over and over again despite all odds.

A safety net? I don’t need it because in truth there is no option B. My life will work out the way it’s fated. My dreams may not stay the same year after year, but if they do, that tells me something. If after surrendering, if after opening myself up to whatever is in my best interest I still get pointed back toward something then it will come to pass. Whatever it is will defy all odds. Miracles happen everyday. Just look at my bracelet.

I’m not going to tell you I don’t have any doubts some days, because I do, but I can tell you I’m trying to release them. I’m using EFT and affirmations and whatever else to truly believe what the universe is trying to tell me via signs and “coincidences.” I’m releasing all doubts because all I can do is aim for option A.

I dream of a world where we can trust in ourselves and the universe. A world where we shoot for our dreams full force knowing if it’s meant to be it will happen. A world where we know everything happens for a reason in our best interest. A world where we know magic happens and the impossible is possible. A world where we know our “safety nets” are our dreams because that’s what we’re being guided to do.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I spent Thanksgiving with some family friends of mine in Ithaca, N.Y. While I was there I sat next to a woman who it turns out met me years ago when my family lived in North Carolina. Talking to her brought up a very particular memory that I would just as soon forget.

Around the time this woman met me, when I was 8 years old or so, my family went to a group meditation regularly on Sunday nights. Usually the kids would go outside and play in the front yard while the adults meditated. During one meditation my brother, three years my senior, said something or did something that set me off. I was so angry at him I sat on his back and started pounding his head into the grass. As soon as my outburst finished I felt so ashamed and so embarrassed I sat in the front seat of our minivan for the rest of the evening. All I could do was cry and berate myself for lashing out. I felt so horrible I didn’t even go into the house for dinner.

I’ve rationalized the event many times – it was years ago, I learned my lesson, I won’t do it again, etc. – but the burning pit of shame stayed with me until now, 17 years later. Meeting this woman I still felt a burning pit of guilt/shame/embarrassment.

I think many people feel the same way about something they’ve done. I think most of us, if not all, have some moments and some memories we’re not proud of. Things we wish we could go back in time and change. For me at least, tied into the guilt/shame/embarrassment is love. My inner dialogue goes something like this: “I’m a bad girl, I did a bad thing and now no one can ever love me. How could they? What I did was horrendous.”

The truth is what I did was not so horrendous, not so horrible. And even if it was, that doesn’t mean I’m any less deserving of love. I know this isn’t the popular point of view but I firmly believe even pedophiles, rapists, mass murderers, etc. deserve love. No I don’t think they should go unpunished, I don’t condone behavior that harms others, but that doesn’t mean those people are any less deserving of love. And nor am I.

What I’m learning is to forgive myself for everything I’ve done in the past I don’t like. To look at what I’ve done and do more than say, “Well, I know better now.” To look at what I’ve done and say, “That wasn’t your best moment but I love you anyway.” That’s what unconditional love is. Love no matter what I do or say or think or feel. I also know God’s love for me will never diminish. There is nothing I can do that will make God love me any less. And I’m moving to a place where I too feel the same way. Where I know there is no act I can commit that’s so horrendous I don’t deserve to be loved. A place where I love myself deeply and completely no matter what.

I have the same wish for others. Because truly, making mistakes doesn’t mean you deserve love any less.

I dream of a world where we can look into the depths of our pasts with love and compassion. Where we forgive ourselves for everything we perceive to be “bad.” Where we let the past go because we know we deserve unconditional love no matter what. I dream of a world where we not only love ourselves unconditionally but those around us. Where live in a world filled with love and light and hope. A world where love is boundless and plentiful.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Right now I’m in Chicago, sitting on the bed in my hotel room. This past week has been hectic for me because I started off in Boston, trotted up to Ithaca, and then ended up here in the Windy City. When my life starts to get crazy it’s easy for me to lose sight of myself. To become engrossed in getting from point A to point B, finding something to eat, and accomplishing everything on my to-do list. My mind gets wrapped up in the mundane and I forget who I am.

Tonight I passed by the Holy Name Cathedral on North State St. and I felt compelled to walk in. Even though I’m Jewish I love Cathedrals and feel no compunction about attending other people’s religious services. (Even if I have no idea what’s going on.) I sat in the very last row and soaked in my surroundings. The high arched ceiling, the wooden pews, the stained glass windows, the maroon robes of the choir. I allowed all my cares and worries of the day to ebb out of me as I looked at the magnificence that lay before me.

As I sat in the last pew wearing my bulky lavender winter coat, my shopping bag next to me, the choir sang the introit:

Ad te levavi animam meam: Deus meus in te confide, non eru bes cam: neque irrideant me inimici mei: etenim universi qui te exspectant, non condundenttur. Ps. Vias tuas, Domine, demonstra mihi: et semitas tuas edoceme.

Which translates into:

Unto you have I lifted up my soul. O God, I trust in you, let me not be put to shame; do not allow my enemies to laugh at me; for none of those who are awaiting you will be disappointed. V. Make your ways known unto me, O Lord, and teach me your paths.

At the end of the introit, the choir at Holy Name just kept repeating the word “animam” over and over again. Animam is a Latin derivative of the word for soul. The closest I can come to sharing my experience with you all is this YouTube video from some other place:

As I listened to the choir chant “animam” again and again I was reminded of my true nature, of who I really am. I remembered I am more than this body, I am more than this mind, I am more than this life. I remembered I am that. I am that song, that music, that person, that feeling of expansiveness, that indescribable spiritual something that separates the mundane from the celestial. I am that.

It was such an awesome and lovely reminder and I sincerely hope when others are entrenched in the hustle and bustle they too will gravitate toward something that gives them a feeling of expansion, whether it’s a sunset or a gorgeous piece of music. It’s easy to get caught up in it all but we are so much more than we give ourselves credit for. It’s just a matter of remembering.

I dream of a world where people know who they truly are, know they are more than flesh and blood and bones. Where people know they are magnificent, divine creatures capable of anything. Where people sprout metaphorical wings and soar above the clouds coasting on a spiritual high. A world where people see magic in the everyday and feel expansive and uplifted at all times.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

There is a quote (and I can’t for the life of me find it) that says something like, “If a child speaks the truth accept it immediately. If even a great teacher proclaims a falsehood, reject it at once.”

Before this week I really wanted to follow someone blindly. I really wanted to be shrouded in ignorance and let someone else discern the truth for me. I wanted to be led and not have to worry about anything. I wanted someone else to know all the answers and to just tell them to me.

As a child the people I followed blindly were my parents. It was painful when I learned my parents are indeed human and thus make mistakes. After I learned I couldn’t follow my parents blindly I turned to spiritual teachers. Spiritual teachers must know everything and thus I can accept whatever they say, right? Except the spiritual teachers who encourage blind faith, who encourage their followers to never question anything, have a tendency to be the drink-the-Kool-aid variety. Yet, a part of me really wanted that. Really wanted someone else to come along and fill my brain so I didn’t have to think at all.

I don’t know for sure why people join cults but I think it might be so they don’t have to discern anything for themselves. It’s so tempting to surround one’s self with someone who speaks with conviction and confidence. Someone who claims to know all the answers. Someone who talks about the future and seems to know things. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of, “So and so said” to give authority to a statement. “Well if so and so said it, it must be true!” I think most people long for an ultimate authority, an ultimate truth, and that’s why Christians quote Bible verses and Jews the Torah and Muslims the Qua’ran. People are looking for a lasting and inarguable Truth. A truth above all other Truths.

I am no different. But this week I painfully learned no person speaks the Truth for all people at all times. The guiding principle I must rely on is my own higher self. The divinity within me. The only voice I must listen to is my intuition. If I think something is wrong, then it’s wrong for me. No one else has all the answers because everybody is just trying to figure out things for themselves. Beside the fact, as far as I know, all spiritual faiths say divinity resides within. We don’t need to go outside ourselves looking for answers. How can I truly honor that notion if I think someone else will be able to tell me how to run my life? Or that someone else knows better than I do what’s in my best interest?

The entire point of the spiritual path is to find God within me, and that means looking to myself for answers. Tapping into my higher power to learn my own Truth. It means living awake, it means discerning for myself what is in my best interest and what is not. It means trusting myself.

And so while learning the lesson of self-discernment was painful, I see now I am walking toward enlightenment. And enlightenment means knowing truth resides within me.

I dream of a world where we honor the God within us. Where we trust in ourselves and our intuitive ability. Where we seek within for the answers to our questions. Where we become self-discerning and autonomous knowing the truth within us is authority enough. I dream of a world where we allow for multiple truths, realizing the truth looks different from person to person. I dream of a world where we wake up our minds and bring our God-hood to the surface.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

“Why didn’t she dedicate a song to me? Why didn’t he mention me in the thank you’s? Pay attention to me! Why aren’t you showing how much you care???”

For the past month these thoughts have flickered through my mind. I’ve wanted people to pay attention to me, to love me, to show they cared. And when I didn’t get the attention I wanted I felt dejected.

Last weekend I went to a reiki workshop a friend of mine led. He said whenever we have those thoughts, that neediness, the craving for attention from others, it’s a red-flag. It’s a message to us we’re not giving ourselves the love we so desperately need. If I’ve learned anything in the past few months it’s that everything comes from within. So when I want others to pay attention to me that really just means I want to pay attention to myself. The outside world is a reflection of my inner world, a projection if you will.

My friend reminded me I can give myself all the love I need. I have an endless supply ready and waiting at all times. He told me, “You are the love of your life.” That sentence really struck me because I am the love of my life! I don’t need to find someone else to give me love because it’s already within me! The more love I give to myself, the more it’s reflected in the outer world. The more I treat myself with love the more others do the same. When I’m feeling needy and clingy I can shower the deserted spots of my soul with love so the flowers can bloom.

I guess I just want to say it’s so easy to fall into the trap of seeking outside for the things I need. I’ve been conditioned that way – the entire capitalistic system of the U.S. is predicated on the idea. But I don’t have to buy into it. I can deeply and completely love and approve and accept myself exactly as I am right now. I can treat myself with love. I can give myself the love I need. I can shift around the love in my heart so it waters the dry parts of my soul. I can take care of me and love me and pay attention to myself. Everything I need I already have.

“In the infinity of life where I am all is perfect, whole and complete. I live in harmony and balance with everyone I know. Deep at the center of my being, there is an infinite well of love. I now allow this love to flow to the surface. It fills my heart, my body, my mind, my consciousness, my very being, and radiates out from me in all directions and returns to me multiplied. The more love I use and give, the more I have to give. The supply is endless. The use of love makes me feel good; it is an expression of my inner joy.

I love myself; therefore, I take loving care of my body. I lovingly feed it nourishing foods and beverages, I lovingly groom it and dress it, and my body lovingly responds to me with vibrant health and energy.

I love myself; therefore, I provide for myself a comfortable home, one that fills all my needs and is a pleasure to be in. I fill the rooms with the vibration of love so that all who enter, myself included, will feel this love and be nourished by it.

I love myself; therefore, I work at a job I truly enjoy doing, one that uses my creative talents and abilities, working with and for people I love and who love me, and earning a good income.

I love myself; therefore, I behave and think in a loving way to all people for I know that which I give out returns to me multiplied. I only attract loving people in my world, for they are a mirror of what I am.

I love myself; therefore, I live totally in the now, experiencing each moment as good and knowing that my future is bright and joyous and secure, for I am a beloved child of the Universe, and the Universe lovingly takes care of me now and forever more. All is well in my world.” – an affirmation from You Can Heal Your Life.

I dream of a world where the above affirmation is true for everyone. Where we experience all of those things. A world where we all deeply and completely love and approve and accept ourselves unconditionally.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

On Halloween I sat in the car with my friend and remarked how I loved her baby’s outfit. He wore an orange and white onesie that said, “I want my mummy.”

I remarked, “Little kids and old people can wear anything. I sure couldn’t pull off his outfit.”

“Yes you could,” you said.

“I guess you’re right.”

“You just wouldn’t be buying into social conformity,” she added.

That one comment got me thinking about conformity and what’s “appropriate” for people to wear. What is appropriate and who gets to define it? I understand dressing for the weather, but other than that, why is some clothing more “appropriate” than others? Why do we have a corporate culture that dictates men and women have to wear suits? Why can’t I wear an orange and white jumpsuit into the office? As long as I’m not harming myself or others what does it matter? I also realized I have such admiration and respect for people who wear whatever the heck they want with total confidence. I realized I want to be one of those people too. With more than just clothes.

I realized from my friend’s comment how much I let what other people might think of me dictate my behavior. For instance, as I walk home from work I end telephone conversations with my parents by reciting affirmations. When I get to crosswalks or too close to people I furtively mumble my affirmations or pause while I wait for the light to change. Because, ohmygod what would people think?!? Honestly they probably wouldn’t think anything. And if they did does it really matter?

I’m coming to a place where I realize what other people think is really none of my business. When I get caught up in how others might be judging me it only causes stress and misery. A few months ago I wrote a post about being home alone on a Saturday night and how I choose what I feel. Part of my angst about it stemmed from this notion I’ve carried with me since high school. The idea if I stay home on the weekend I’m unlovable or pathetic or a friendless loser. Guess what? No one has ever said that to me. In fact, I’d wager people aren’t thinking about me and my weekend plans at all; they are too busy living their lives and worrying about their own weekend plans.

The flip side of worrying about what other people think is so what if they are judging me? If people think I’m a pathetic loser freak for staying home on a Saturday, so what? If people think I look ridiculous wearing an orange and white jumpsuit that says, “I want my mummy,” so what? What does it matter and who cares? Why should I let other people’s perceptions (or fear of their perceptions) limit me? My joy and my happiness is the most important thing in my world. Life is too short to spend it worrying about what’s going in my neighbor’s head.

I dream of a world where we move beyond limitation and lack. A world where we do what makes us happy, what brings us joy. I dream of a world where we realize our perception of ourselves is what matters the most. A world where we realize we are free to do whatever we want. A world where we are loved and accepted as we are unconditionally. A world where we love ourselves so deeply what other people think of us doesn’t even enter our minds. A world where we all march to the beat of our own drummer knowing we are in complete alignment with our highest selves and our highest good. A world where we allow ourselves to be who we are in every conceivable way.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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