“Until you find your center within you will go round & round in circles in search of peace & joy.”~Amma
As a collective society we are not imbued with a sense of moving slowly, being still or letting go; to be more in the moment. Even if you read spiritual teachings about slowing down and be-here-now, most likely we are still running around in circles.
I was always a busy-body and was taught that in life you needed to work hard and always be busy doing something. It took a lot of loss and continual letting go to find a place of being more still. The pinnacle of success and joy were not the mechanism that brought me closer to a deeper sense of slowing down, it was through having to learn an advanced lesson in detachment. This lesson was not one of letting go of material items; it was a profound lesson in letting go of the assumptions that I carried about who I perceive myself to be and the person I wanted to be.
“If you feel that your dreams aren’t coming true, you might think that you need to do more, or to think and strategize more. In fact, what you might need is less—less noise coming to you from both inside and outside—so that you have the space for your heart’s truest intention to germinate and flourish.” Thich Nhat Hanh
I have always been a fighter, in the sense of striving through all challenges to achieve my goals. I have practiced this my entire life. Through this action I have broken barriers in my life, which most likely would not have been possible if it weren’t for this intense resilience to keep moving forward. Regardless of loss, family death, rejection and severe character defamation; I continued to persevere against all odds.
However, my advanced lesson came on the heels of returning from India, where my husband and I had spent almost 6 months in our spiritual teachers ashram. The years that followed were filled with any number of extreme challenges. Most of the impediments I could more or less let go of, however the sense of how I saw myself and who I kept fighting to be; were the most difficult aspect to lay down in surrender. Yet, to some larger degree it happened only after having almost everything I identified with stripped away.
“Learn to discern if a given situation is one you should try to change or one you should accept.” Amma
I found myself with infinite amounts of free time alone. It was one of the most profound experiences of my lifetime. I tried to fight against the reality I found myself, running here and there. It took a lot of time and through my continual spiritual practices that I increased with my free time. I was able to let go. A deep sense of peace pervaded each day, filled with a bubble of joy waiting just under the surface. This experience was not something that I had ever been accustomed to. It took time to let go of the anxiety of waiting for the bottom to collapse in someway.
“You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you and allowing that goodness to emerge.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Then, I had nothing left to fight for, there was no reason to resist the beautiful life that was being offered to me in this moment. I began to focus my days on all that I had loved, yet had lost over the years. My love of organic food and cooking resumed its intensity, along with my love of tea time, and yoga.
My life consists of a pattern that is currently devoid of stress. The afternoon spent almost each day at the beach with my little dog, followed by afternoon yoga and then preparing some amazingly delectable healthy meal for my husband. I was able to experience this time of rest and rejuvenation due to my husbands deep love, support, and understanding. He understood the necessity of this space and time. Through my own unwinding I saw a sense of peace and joy come forth in him as well.
I have spent my entire life running away from myself, trying to be a person I thought I was. Yet, the reality was that I have always been here, waiting, witnessing and quiet. I realized that over the last two decades I had essentially lost that deep connection with the essence of who I am. In this time of letting go, I came back to this innate essence, that we all carry like a small flame within us. I realized that I did not have to run or fight or search for the person I am or the life I wanted to live. It was always right here, waiting for me to slow down enough to find it.
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