Clearing Space

There are three teachings that I aim to apply to my daily life and work that are especially complicated when I’m stressed and dealing with trauma. I put them under the headings: Love, Loss and Letting Go but they are all interrelated. Love is about authentic presence. It’s learning to be in alignment body, mind and spirit. It’s practicing self-care and kindness. Loss is observing and accepting the temporal nature of all things. Letting go is about releasing and clearing space for novelty. Today, I want to talk about Letting Go.

The purpose of Letting Go is to make space for something new to enter your life when your inner being is ready. It involves releasing elements of the past and the feeling of control. The opposite of Letting Go is clinging. We can cling to an object, a person, a way of life, a view point, an identity. When we hold onto something that is no longer beneficial for our stage of development, it weakens our life energy. Letting go can be difficult and painful when it involves cutting off something that once provided us with joy and purpose. It’s like a warm hug that’s now turned into a choke hold.

In order to let go, we first have to accept Loss, the temporal nature of all things. Then, we can begin to turn to our behavior and decision making to see how we either assist or stifle emergence, that is, our transition into a new state of being. The longer we resist change, the more we suffer and eventually suffering can become a longstanding part of our reality. When we choose the practice of Letting Go, we are courageously opening ourself up to a life of freedom and possibilities.

When we are stressed or experiencing the effects of a trauma, we have a tendency to cling. We are vulnerable, tired and weary and we really just want to sleep. Sleeping requires very little space so the clutter serves you well in this state of mind. But, if your will power is strong or the current of life pushes you forward to your potential destiny, you’ll be faced with a dilemma. Sleep or experiment with Letting Go of something.  

The practice of Letting Go starts with asking: What am I holding on to that is consuming my energy, holding me back or causing me suffering?

With this question in mind, thoughts naturally arise. It’s an excellent starting point for meditation. In meditation you may observe the patterns of your thinking. Perhaps it is an object of your clinging or a fear. Your clinging will have a language of its own, but it generally runs on in your mind like a fixed narrative, or a loop with no outlet. When we meditate on this, we may find that we justify why we’re clinging. We may think that suffering is simply part of life and loving. Still, when you listen to your body and spirit, you become aware of not feeling at ease. You may feel tense, frustrated or angry.

In my experience clinging is attached to deep rooted fears. A deep rooted fear stems from childhood or a trauma. There are many clairvoyants who believe that fears can hold over from a past life time. A fear of scarcity, for example, will have you clinging to money. You may have become greedy or miserly. Fear of being alone or unlovable may have you clinging to a person or an unhappy relationship. Fear of death may have you clinging to excessive health routines or young people. When we cling, we have over identified our self with something and feel lost without it.

When we’re faced with a sudden life change or trauma, we’re forced to reevaluate everything. It can be difficult and painful Letting Go in these circumstances because we find ourselves managing Loss and Letting Go simultaneously. It can be tricky figuring out the needs of an emerging identity and releasing attachments at the same time. We worry that if we let go even more we may lose everything! At first, it’s normal to sit with your suffering. Pain is a natural part of life and change. But in our sitting practice we begin to realize that we feel imprisoned by old thoughts and circumstances. Little by little we learn that what is most important in life is never really lost or in jeopardy.

In my practice, I alternate my daily meditation with Love intention and Letting Go. This provides me with the strength, self-care and kindness I need. Trust that you will naturally want to feel lighter and free. Trust that you will naturally lean into your most promising life energy.

What are you holding on to?

Do Relationships Matter in Happiness?

Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.”

~Eckhart Tolle

I think we underestimate the essential role of genuine, mindful relationships when it comes to wholeness and joyful living. When we are in a genuine relationship with another, we feel seen, loved and free to be who we really are and that brings happiness and relief into our lives.

Eckhart Tolle talks about the pain-body, an emotional pain that leaves a residue on the spirit, a wound that can easily open with a trigger or simply linger over you like unhappiness and exhaustion. He describes it as a negative energy, a filter that can distort your interpretation of reality preventing you from allowing more happiness into your life.

Most of Eckhart Tolle’s work centers on happiness and peace by raising consciousness and meditation. He suggests that you bring light to your pain-body by becoming aware of your thoughts. With light, the pain-body begins to cease and you are left with peace of mind and readiness for joy.

I’m aware of the pain-body. All pain body (emotional wound) occurs from some relationship or another; it is a result of some interaction with another in the universe. While awareness and some healing comes from meditation, applying awareness to relationship brings it full circle and finality to the pain-body. I believe we are drawn to others precisely because of our thoughts, desires and needs, including the need to heal our pain-body. Therefore, a relationship in our life is an opportunity. With this person, we can choose to reveal ourselves, unravel the pain-body. Yes, you are doing work when you are alone in contemplation, yes– but you also need to do this work with another human being. This mindful sharing and revealing leads to renewed trust and bonding. You are reorganizing the dynamics of your inner world, you are creating a new consciousness, a new thought pattern, a new beginning.

It’s actually a tender, loving willingness and it can be very gentle and beautiful when you feel it happening together, with the person of your choosing.

This exchange can happen over a long period of time, or instantly. In long term relationships there may be several elements of pain-body interacting and healing. Stagnation and pain occur in a relationship that is not willing to reveal this inner world, open up, be vulnerable. I’m not suggesting that relationships come together only to share and heal a suffering, as in a pain-body… although this may be true in some cases. I’m saying we’re drawn to people for a shared purpose and part of this purpose is to move into peace and happiness. We all need to be seen, loved in our nakedness, be washed over by the light of unconditional love.

Becoming Mindful of Golden Key Memories

When we are unsure of ourselves, lost or grieving, we can get trapped in past memories. When we allow them to be through mindfulness, we find that buried in a memory is a golden key; a hidden message that can trigger a shift in consciousness for healing.

I’d like to share one such memory.

It was an ordinary evening before my husband died. He had gone into the study after dinner while I sat in the living room alone. A profound feeling of sadness came over me and I got up and went to the study. I leaned up against the door and watched him stare into the computer screen. When he looked up, I remember thinking his cheeks were pale and his eyes weary. We had been married for 25 years and we considered ourselves warriors.

 “You can go,” I announced. “You’re so tired and you deserve to be happy.” The words just poured out of my mouth.

Under ordinary circumstances, that kind of remark would have seemed out of place, but in that moment he didn’t blink. He just looked at me and I looked at him and it was as if we were remembering our entire relationship. There was love and care in that moment and I wanted to cry, but I kept calm.

“You don’t have to worry about me anymore,” I continued. “And our kids? They are amazing. They’re grown up now and it’s okay. I just want you to know it’s okay, if you go. You deserve to be happy.”

My husband’s eyes closed and opened in slow motion. He was tired and kind. “What are you talking about?” He asked gently but somehow the question felt rehearsed. “Where do you want me to go?”

“You’ve been taking care of us for so long and you don’t have to worry any more. I’m strong now and time is passing so quickly and you’re so tired. You don’t have to take care of me anymore,” I said, getting emotional now. “You can be free. You can leave.”

He cocked his head to one side and a lightness of being spread over his face like when we were twenty something. “Where do you want me to go?” he repeated.

I just looked at him as if he’d forgotten.

Then, my lip quivered. “Home,” I said.

I remember feeling possessed with the thought that I had to give him permission to leave me, leave us. That he would not be happy if he stayed because it was obligation when his spirit wanted to be free. I imagined him running off to the country of his birth and living by the sea. How much he loved it there! Mostly, I imagined him at peace and carefree. His happiness was the most important thing.

“How am I supposed to leave without you and the kids?” He asked and then chuckled softly, gently.  

The moment filled with compassion.

Then, he turned away and after a moment, I walked away.

Back in the living room, I sat. I felt tender, sad and powerless but then the moment passed and I began to feel a little silly and confused like, what was that all about?

A few months after, my husband died. Later, when I tossed his ashes into the deep blue sea of his country, I thought he was finally home and his spirit was free. He had found the courage to go home and be free without me. At least that’s what I thought then.

Now, it’s been a year and I think, yes, he’s home and he’s free and even though we are not together, we are gentle kindred spirits with deep compassion for each other. What happened then and what’s happening now are simply part of our destiny. Becoming open and caring and mindful of these golden key memories have been part of my journey. That one, in particular, taught me how souls speak to one another and there are moments in life that transcend all reasoning. There is a language of the spirit and in death, in loss, in grief– we can open this window to reveal hidden truths about who we are and who we’re meant to be.