Saturday, November 24, 2012

When was the last time you were really brave?

"There is a morning inside you
waiting to burst open into Light."

Lately, I've started writing status updates on my Facebook page that are more in depth, more honest, more reflective. Usually, I save these philosophical and personal explorations for my Hawk and Lily page, where I know the people who've subscribed to receive updates are aligned with what I believe, but somehow and someway, I decided to be more transparent on my personal page too, blending all of my worlds into one of authenticity.

This requires vulnerability. It requires courage and bravery in putting yourself out there and facing risk, because quite possibly, I may be met with opposing thoughts or beliefs. It means showing more of myself in a venue where many seem to reveal what they would like for you to believe. I have doubt, and wonder why I do this, whether it means anything at all, but I'll often receive thank-you's from people I would not expect, people who are grateful that I am sharing what I am, because they are experiencing similar events or interpretations in their own lives in their own ways. 

I don't really know any other way to be. Since I was young, I was very sensitive to all the elements around me, which proved immensely difficult when the environment was intensely abusive at times. Then, when I grew older, boyfriends and friends would tell me that I was being too sensitive and thinking too much. Essentially, they were discounting my feelings and I was letting them do so until I realized that there's a flip-side to everything. My sensitivity and introspection enables me to foster a deep intuitive sense about the world and the people in it to the point that others often ask if I happen to be in their heads. "How did you know?! I was just going to say that!" they often exclaim in surprise.

How I feel on the inside, while sometimes not congruent with what I speak aloud, is definitely noticeable in my demeanor. If I'm unhappy, you'll see it in my face. If I no longer want to be participating in the moment with you, I'll exude a silence that thickly wraps the air. Ultimately, I really can't hide what's happening on deeper levels, which is why in many ways, I've given up trying. This is where the transparency in my writing comes into play. I can't lie through the words that I write — I am not very good at writing fiction, because unless it's based on a real emotion or experience, this making-up-of-things is very challenging for me. My narrative has always been one of memoir, non-fiction, true.

When I saw Gary, my craniosacral healer recently, we engaged in a discussion as we often do about life in general. Through our conversations, we help one another come to life. I talked about how I recently read the qualities of a visionary and how so many elements seem to fit my persona. When I was young, I also knew that I was destined for a greater purpose on this planet. I would be shy to speak this aloud, especially growing up in an Asian-American household, where we were taught that humility and self-deprecation were number one qualities to being a good human being. There is nothing more important than "saving face." Now, having become a yoga teacher and pursuing what I believe is my path, again and again I am reminded internally and externally of this awareness that there is something I am destined to do, so the more I can work on removing my ego and doubt to forge ahead anyway, the more I am being of service to the greater good. 

Gary reminded me that often, people who are meant to play a bigger role in the world (if they choose to answer the call) usually go through experiences that are extremely challenging and painful, because by overcoming those events, they can speak from a place of connection that goes deeper than any studying of books could reveal. Here is where my sensitivity comes into play again, because I didn't just feel what happened. It informed my viewpoint of the world and transformed who I became. Again, this could be seen as both "good" and "bad," but Gary likes to come back to the philosophy of balance again and again. Walk the middle path. Be here now. Sway from one side to another, but always come back to your center.

I love Brene Brown and her words drop into my consciousness like melting gold. Her recent interview with Krista Tippett from On Being (one of my favorite podcasts about spirituality in our culture) offered this about bravery: 

"I always ask a very simple question to people. I just say think of the last time you did something you thought was really brave or the last time you saw someone do something really brave. You know, I think, without question and I can tell you as a researcher, 11,000 pieces of data, I cannot find a single example of courage — moral courage, spiritual courage, leadership courage, relationship courage — I cannot find a single example of courage in my research that was not born completely of vulnerability. And so I think we buy into some mythology about vulnerability being weakness and being gullibility and being frailty, because it gives us permission not to do it."

What she says about creativity is amazing as well. In the end, there are no guarantees. People who live "whole-heartedly" as Brown likes to say, embrace that understanding. Their worthiness and need to be loved is non-negotiable, but it doesn't mean everything is always coming up rainbows in their lives. Instead, they accept that "our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be broken-hearted."

When working with Gary this past weekend, he said that the awareness coming up again and again for me was that the Universe has been patiently waiting and now It's kind of annoyed. It has been waiting for me to live my truth in all of my power and do what I have been put on this world to do, to help much greater numbers of people, yet here I am dilly-dallying in my ego tripping of doubt and how I'm not good enough. He's not the first person to tell this to me, and I know it. I have been asking for kindnesses from the Universe and it has shown me opportunities again and again that I then kind of shirk with "I'm sorry, I'm not ready, never mind." 

"The Universe needs to learn to trust you again, Judy," Gary told me. "Give it a reason to trust you. Let it know that you're ready and willing to do what it takes to live your purpose."

I'm off to meditate now, because that's when I feel re-connected to everything that's real. It brings me to a deeper sense of spirituality, and lets me know how best to move forward. I know there are blessings unfolding all around me, but I've been so lost in myself that I haven't been able to see it clearly. That's why these moments of silence are so important, as it helps me hear what my soul is trying to share with me. 

I pray and ask the Universe for help. When I meditate, the Universe answers.

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