Q+A: A Conversation with the Scales

Where am I?  I whisper into the night. Why am I here, in this place, at this time?

I wring my hands and crack my neck and stay worried all the same. Nothing feels grounded, nothing feels right about this place, this ephemera – this ME.

The constant swirl of dogma. The constant berating threads from social media and how EVERY fucking person needs to express to the world their feelings, and have them legitimized in some fashion.

And, of course, every single fucking person is RIGHT about what they feel because, well, it’s what THEY feel. WE don’t feel it, so how in the world are we supposed to tell them how NOT to feel it. Insensitive, right?

“Ugh.” Inner critic chimes in and scoffs at this thought. “These people are just expressing themselves. The problem is that every expression gets amplified and routed around like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. People will have opinions – this is fucking normal! – what is NOT normal is how we are bombarded with every single one at one time and then expected to nod our heads and tell everyone ‘I respect your viewpoint.’ Because we don’t, really. Not our inner selves. Not our heart.”

{ Inner critic has a point. }  Yes. I see it. So what about these other people’s opinions that we don’t respect? What’s going on there?

“If their opinions differ from yours, it will be a challenge – difficult even – to hear their side of things. You will have to exercise good listening skills and empathy –things that do not exist in great numbers! And are not supported or encouraged by social media and sound bite data streams. People these days listen to speak and react – not listen to learn. Listen to observe.

“But back to topic: you are certainly not going to agree with everyone – it will NEVER be Kumbaya and hugs all the time because there are billions of people with all shades and shadows of disagreement to what you think and what you believe. You will never find solace really.

“But somehow we convince ourselves that it is possible. That maybe – just maybe! – if we create a nice safe box to live in, where everyone looks and acts the same way, then we can finally be at peace. We can finally feel safe in our own skin and our own comfortable canon. But that’s just because people these days don’t know how to have disagreements with others and not feel existentially threatened. A shame really.”

Whoa, Inner critic. On a roll there!

“Yeah, well – needed to get that off my chest. Whew! Felt good. You’re not going to broadcast this on social media now, are you?”

What! And let this gem sit in a Word doc forever?

{ I am causing my Inner critic to deal with hypocrisy, and it makes me snicker so what the hell. }

*

{ But….. I linger on the conversation a bit. I can’t leave it alone. Picking the scab open further, I keep at it. }

So what was that part about not respecting people and that coming from the heart – what in the world does that mean? Because what I have been led to believe by my own heart-searching is that all people are of unfathomable worth and equal in the eyes of God. Why in the world would my heart not respect some of these people, brothers and sisters that share this planet?

“Oh I never said the heart does not respect the PEOPLE, I just said viewpoint.” Inner critic jumps back in with zealous rigor. “People don’t equal their viewpoint. Viewpoints change.

“But yet, to find a viewpoint that the heart truly and deeply disagrees with is a difficult one. I imagine the figure of Lady Justice inside of the heart, mother of the Fates, blindfolded and holding the scales and sword. That is her true home. If you weigh something against your heart and the scales don’t measure right, that is the sign that the heart will find it difficult to respect, because it will weigh against the heart of humanity. The wrongness will ring, and make it difficult to ignore.”

But….what? How do I know if this is the case? I am troubled by this train of thought, it sounds a little religious-right to me. Like, “I feel this is morally wrong because my heart/religion/God told me so, and so I cannot respect you.” A little bullshitty and hive-mind and not intellectually sound.

Inner critic pipes back, “Ah – but that is the hard part to discern. Was it truly the heart we are weighing against – or the words of man interpreted though another mouthpiece and mistaken as heart?

“If it is truly the heart, then you will know it as truth. If they are words you have heard or been reflected to from another source, then it’s not truly the heart. It might be something that aligns with your heart-logic, but it might also be something that aligns with your “safe little box” guidelines, and so they FEEL right. Heart-logic informed solely from mind-logic, which is easily influenced by “safe little box” logic. An erroneous place to start from. Remember that these visceral feelings are fleeting, and should not define a person.

“Also, you inferred that you cannot respect a person if their opinions offend your heart-logic; that is incorrect. They are still fallible human beings that are capable and deserving of love. Sometimes they know not of what they are doing. They just want to be safe in their boxes. And just because you don’t really respect their opinions doesn’t mean you can’t love them and hope they will find unconditional love for all beings.”

Yeah… sorry Inner critic, but I’m having trouble getting on board with radiating love to all people if they are spouting horrible hate-rhetoric, even if they “know not of what they do.” That sounds like it would feel weird and horrible.

“But it is not a silent love – it is a noisy love, a love in disagreement. Because you care. And it will feel weird and horrible maybe. But it will also weigh right against your heart and against humanity. “

OK, shit.

That is true. It feels true.

Thanks Inner critic for this dialogue. Didn’t know you were into love and stuff on top of questioning everything I do.

“Yes, I am 100% dialed in. And remember: if things are done in the name of good, but are detrimental or demeaning to others, then they are not wholly good. 100% goodness is a rarity. Just be comfortable with loving on your fellow people and doing it more noisily. Because you care. That is a wonderful goodness. Just be sure to self-examine once in a while to ensure you are not getting swallowed up in “safe little box” logic.”

Ok – but I’m an introvert sooooo…… can I love noisily on a blog?

“Oh absolutely.”

Wait – are you really my Inner critic, or are you a brand of heart logic that I wasn’t recognizing?

“You’ll have to weigh me against those scales and see where I fall.”
😉

 

Um seriously? A winky-face?

“I’m funny sometimes. Just you wait.”

“You Exist Because You are Loved”

“You exist because you are loved.”

These words popped into my head after work one day, out of the blue.

I remember right where it happened: I was starting the first leg of my pedestrian commute, walking block one out of eight. Headphones on, music loudly playing. And right as I was passing a giant, red-neon, laughing Buddha at the Asian fusion restaurant across the street – BAM!

“You exist because you are loved.”

So for me, this phrase of insight that came to me so unannounced and sudden is intricately bound with the image of a red, laughing, neon Buddha.

And now it is for you as well.

The meaning of these words might seem a bit backwards at first take. A little voice in our head reasons with us: “We can be born to a family and not loved,” or, even more sadly, “I’m/she/he/them are not particularly wanted or loved, but I/he/she/they exist!”

If I hold these statements in my heart, though, I don’t think they can be true. My heart offers a different interpretation.

“You exist because you are loved.”

IF you are here or have been here, and you are reading this, or if you are existing elsewhere and not reading this – my heart posits that you were meant to be there in that moment. Therefore, you are loved infinitely more than we can fathom.

This is a world of creation, and what is creation but a form of love?

That voice of reason, the shoulder man, is there again interrupting. Reminding me that we exist because of reproduction – a biological imperative. Nothing more and nothing less.

But I think there’s more to it than that, and the girl on the other shoulder implores me to hesitate in coming to conclusions. She is wary, skeptical – but tells me to listen to my heart.

So I chase the seemingly reasonable, logical, and analytical voice away. This voice of mine is rooted firmly into the realm of what can be seen and concretely measured. Palpably observed. And these words that I am contemplating defy a logic that could ever be measured, graphed, or perhaps even fathomed –  let alone scientifically analyzed and promptly debunked.

“You exist because you are loved.”

There is so much in this world that we don’t know, yet so much here that we DO know, if we would just open up. Recognize it. Imagine the unimaginable. See a world without divisions and separations.

Life – ALL of life – is here because it IS love; therefore, it is loved. It is all connected, and we are an integral part of it.

The shoulder voices ask me many things at once: Will we ever rise up and realize these truths? Will we let our hearts guide us as much as our mind? Can we pause our logic for a moment to imagine the unseen?

I hope these words catch you in your heart as they did mine. A little stumble, a double-take at the laughing Buddha. Opening your eyes a little wider, and an offering of peace of mind – and peace of heart.

May it be a little freer, and more loved, than it was before.

“You exist because you are loved.” And you love because you exist.

Upshift

I feel like I’ve been in an incubation period. Insular and isolated. Not by any specific day to day circumstance, but by my own inner need. Some form of metamorphosis.

This is, I realize, a very grand term to apply to my own personal growth, and rather presumptuous. But what else emerges after a period of incubation but some form of life, put together out of the immortal slime of potentialities?

I personally need these times of introspection greatly, not only because I’m an introvert and recharge in silence, but for the need to be alone, without distraction, just to make sense of things in general. To make sense of the entirety of life, in thought and in emotion.

When I read books I usually come to a point when I need to put them down and psychologically gnaw on the new ideas and let them percolate. Allow them space in my own psyche to simmer and assimilate. As such, sometimes I get halfway through a book, or even three-quarters, and I have to put it down to think. Then, unsurprisingly, I have a hard time picking it back up again as I let too much time elapse for mindful thought. It should be no surprise that given this predilection, I have seven books in progress right now, not counting three or so kindle books.

(This specifically applies to non-fiction; I tend to race through and lose myself in fiction books, to the detriment of all other pursuits. In this way I am very careful and cautious about introducing fiction titles to my life.)

This start and stop nature is frustrating, but as I was reading this evening and trying to revel in a large chunk of personal time in which to really sink my teeth into a book, I got fidgety. My mind’s own thoughts started to outweigh the words on the page. I had no choice but to put the book down. I could not concentrate on a single concept any longer.

I have to upshift my focus – yield to the unrelenting vastness that bubbles over and in.

When dealing with new concepts, ideas, histories, facts, spiritual themes, and even other more mundane areas of life – I absolutely lose my narrowed focus after a time, and can only gain it back and reign it in with great, great, great effort.

Introspection and rest are the only ways to gain this back without a fight. My conscious attention to details, to information gathering, becomes exhausted and I have no choice but to stop and open the aperture to bask in a larger picture of light.

So maybe this little incubation period is a necessary thing that is leading me to wonderful places; maybe it is just a resting place, to gain back energy. Either way, writing is a way to structure some of the unfocused thoughts that stream around in my unconscious opened aperture. Much needed therapy and a welcome outlet.

My “hibernation” of mind, and slow down of blog posts, are both reflections of the busy-ness of the holiday season and the uptick in general of ideation that I have been subject to in the past month. Ideation that has forced me to put the book down and gnaw and percolate.

As much as incubation is necessary, I look forward to less information gathering and more information formulation in the coming year. The pendulum swinging back from its moment of rest.

I’ve said a few times in entries here that I sometimes feel like a conduit of thought – a mere single point of light emanating out of another, grander source. Just repeating and processing what I receive. This feeling has not subsided – it has only grown, and provided a substantial foundation for my personal philosophy and spirit.

Cheers to the 2016 New Year – to new thought, upshifted focus, and the general expansion of heart.

Tears of Equilibrium

Sometimes I feel that becoming a parent leaves you with your guts poured out on the floor. All of you, in its messy gloriousness, spread everywhere for the world to see.

As it is literally with childbirth, I suppose it is only rational for the rest of you – the inner, emotional you, to follow suit. The inner to mirror the outer.

But I don’t think you need to have the physical experience of birth to feel this way. To be a little “inside-out.” For the outer façade to crack a little, letting your inner ‘innocent self’ leak out. Tears streaming.

I have throughout my life felt I was naïve. Vulnerable. Maybe a bit emotional. And our culture certainly does not value being emotional or naïve. So I – like many others – have adapted my personality and behavior to avoid appearing this way, and detouring around messy spills of myself onto unsuspecting passersby.

Because the last thing anyone wants is a bunch of stares and sideways glances, of people wondering “Why is she crying? What’s happened?”
Hidden for so long under the stoic surface, emotive force was always a hairsbreadth away from cracking my calm, still demeanor. I feel that I reach this emotional cracking point, or tear-stricken ‘event horizon,’ multiple times per day. And it is not due to sadness or melancholy or grief in humanity, although those things are indeed everywhere you look.

For me, this ‘cracking point’ is most evident in ordinary moments of life. In loving my family, feeling profound love, talking about oneness, seeing people come together. By being thankful and bowing to greatness within. Being happy and moved by whatever that “Cosmic Infinite Source” is.

This makes going to any kind of church or having spiritual conversations without tears impossible. So I tend to avoid them. Or to tread with caution.

Because I don’t desire to be a blubbering mess (as society has trained me to believe is “weak” or “inappropriate” outside of grief), I close myself off. I will avoid eye contact. I won’t first reach out to hug someone in distress or sadness. I may clam up and not engage in conversation. I mentally wander away in order to avoid the subject at hand and keep my eyes dry. I push past things without realizing it. I put up walls.

I have been told many times that I am “grounded,” or calm under pressure – and I take these as great compliments. To be a calm within the storm. To exercise my control in the situation, and remain as still as the rocks at the shore. To be pummeled by the waves, but showing little evidence. But sometimes, usually after the fact, I think I come off as cold.

Cold, hard and jutty – just like those rocks.

Maybe it is okay to be a part of the storm from time to time. To join it. To feel it.

I often use these “grounded” compliments as excuses not to cry joy at everyone I meet every day. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as our neat and buttoned-up world would like me to acknowledge, but being a blubbering mess does hinder my communication verbally, and would lead to many stares and personal assumptions from others. My want to keep my emotive forces under control in daily life is my adaptive behavioral response to a messy, spiraling, stormy world around me. A world that makes assumptions and sometimes labels me unfairly – whether I wanted to be or not.

We humans like exercising control, and if we cannot control the government or the Syrian refugee response, then we can at least control our emotions and other people’s perceptions of ourselves. Right?

*

In a past entry, I hypothesized emotions as a divine ‘energy’ or ‘force’ that perhaps we pull from the Cosmic Soup and translate into a specific type of kinetic energy – emotional energy. An energy that we use to drive forward and compel our lives and that of the world.

Some energy is draining (fear and hate), and some insanely uplifting and life-giving (joy and love). Depending upon the energy you express, you will interact with and achieve typical results from either of the two.

In essence, we use our emotive forces to propel forward our world and society around us.

I read some articles recently (here and here – among others) that crying is the body’s biological response to excess stress – and that some studies show people who cry in times of duress are more likely to get their anxiety and stress more quickly under control than those that don’t.

This made me wonder…if crying is a stress response of the body, does that essentially mean it is a stress response to an overload of kinetic energy? An overdose of divine cosmic energy, flooding through you as a particular emotion? Maybe an overreaching thought, but an interesting one.

As someone who cries at ANY powerful emotion no matter what it is – anger, sadness, frustration, happiness, friendship, love, joy, passion – it seems a good explanation. It means I have just pulled too much energy for my body to biologically make sense of, so it must create a response to calm me down and get back to equilibrium. That in fact, through the act of tears, I can be swept away by the storm, but am able to be brought back to the shore more quickly and resolutely.

That in losing yourself in the tears, you will also find yourself – and ground yourself – reliably.

Even taken with a grain of skeptic’s salt, this thought gives me solace. But not necessarily the green card for sobbing at the office in order to gain equilibrium for a mounting workload.

More and more, though, my rocky surface is starting to erode. The storm starts to poke through. The stoic gates come crashing down much more easily than it ever did before.

Once you let the flood into your heart, it returns and pours fondly. Again and again.

Fear: Shutter of The Heart

Is Fear the most dangerous thing of all? Does it really serve a good purpose, or is it hiding the true reality? The thing I find myself fearing is fear itself, and what it’s doing to us as a culture, as human beings.

What do we do when we live in fear? We shut down. When we act from fear, we literally process information in ‘life or death’ terms and activate our ‘fight or flight’ response in the body. This mechanism exists to keep us safe and keep us alive. But in doing so, our immune system shuts down. Our brains turn off. Creativity drains away. Infinite possibilities evaporate. Open arms and hearts close up, barring entrance from anything or anyone suspicious. We process only that information which benefits the situation and the final ‘fight or flight’ decision. Only that and nothing else. Why would your brain waste precious energy in a life and death situation trying to be creative and open-minded? Doing so might cost our life!

Yet even with all the life-saving functions, we were not meant to live in fear ALL of our lives – only for small instances where we needed to outrun someone with a club, think fast on the road, survive an encounter with a bear, or save a loved one from scary situation. But the fear response, and what it creates and does to us, cannot possibly benefit us if we are living it every moment of every day. A dark cloud looming overhead. This emotional force was designed to save our lives in short bursts, not to be endured for an extended period.

What a toll this fear is taking on our health and our hearts. Constant fear certainly will not nurture our souls so we may grow and evolve as humans.

It seems to me that fear cannot inherently exist where there is love. Real, infinite love. If you are operating out of love, you have no fear, only confidence of the moment and the person or situation in front of you. Fear accomplishes nothing; Love accomplishes everything.

Without fear, I really do think we can see things as they really are – and not through the lens of darkness that fear creates. What illusions might we be seeing that we are interpreting as real? That are only shadows from a deep fear in our mind?

Who plants the seeds of those shadows? How can we remove them, shine the light to reveal their true nature and source? Will an open heart reveal them, lift them from our shoulders?

Fear puts words into our mouths that are not our own. Fear ignites motivations that stem from false truths. Fear paralyzes us, but tricks us into thinking we are doing great things and protecting the common good. Fear does not encourage us to think outside ourselves and our own interest. Fear shutters our hearts and minds from infinite love.

Belief in God… the three-letter-word

I’ve recently been trying to define my belief in God, or map it in some way, but it’s hard to describe. I’ll cut to the chase:

I think the subconscious is a direct line to God. I think the subconscious IS God.

I don’t think this is a sensational thought. In fact, I thought this to myself today and sighed in relief, as I think this is where I’ve been headed on my spiritual journey; finally, a destination of some sort has been sighted!

My own belief in God has been greatly enhanced and catapulted by recent readings from neuroscience and psychology, and also by physicists and other scientists who are trying to figure out what is this “cosmic background” that we are living in; what is “Consciousness.” And I naturally then start to wonder where the consciousness, raw emotion, ideas and imagination comes from. Within us? Without us? I personally don’t think these things originate only within ourselves… this only seems part of the equation.

I think it is entirely plausible that we are all receptors of God-consciousness and that every time we engage our imagination, feel emotions, and ideate, we are connecting to the ‘Cosmic Source’ – a divine source. I find that I am coming to the conclusion that ideas do not originate inside the bony, squishy skulls our thoughts call home: they originate through the subconscious, through the heart.

And that the heart – the spiritual, subconscious heart – is the receiver, the direct line within us of God’s divine force and intelligence.

I keep going back to the idea that the subconscious activity – as opposed to the conscious activity – is what is really driving the bus, and scientists agree. But we aren’t consciously aware of this. Why? Because we don’t have to be. We live in a biological world that has no biological need to.

Our brains are evolutionary wired to only tell us what we need to know to survive and pro-create, no more, no less. In this sense, it makes zero sense for us to know and feel all the subconscious activity that is going on in our brain. If we did, we would not function! Think about all the automatic processes that your brain is doing right now for you, and that you are not even aware: your brain is filling in holes in your vision in order to read this, your brain is automatically regulating your breathing to get your body it’s needed oxygen, your brain is creating quick, rapid-fire first impressions on my writing as you are reading this, most likely based on all your past memories and emotions in order to sort out if you should feel happy, sad, or upset – or whether or not to activate some kind of fight or flight response.

ALL of these things, and many, many more, are happening right now without you having conscious knowledge. And we do not need to know about these things, because if we had to consciously focus on them we would not have the brain function left to focus on other things, like building things, imagining things, thinking things, dreaming things….

We don’t know where our ideas or emotions come from because we don’t need to. We just feel them and think them, and they propel our lives.

I often think of ourselves as being suspended in a cosmic “soup,” within our machine-like, bio-computer bodies, and are permeable to the God-consciousness – the “God Soup” – that surrounds us. And this God-consciousness, or source, or the Infinite, or the cosmic background, or just God – whatever you would like to call it – is everything and nothing, all at the same time, continuing on into infinity, forever and ever and ever. This is how I think about God. And I think it possible we can access Him with our subconscious; that our subconscious can access infinity. A crazy thought.

When I think about God being ‘permeable’ it increases my relationship with Him (– or It, She, You, Me, whatever pronoun you prefer). God being permeable means He is more accessible – He is no longer “distant” or disconnected or omnipresent and omnipotent; what we think of when we think of an ‘infinite unyielding God.’ No – this is a God that we are co-creating with. This is a God that we are in intimate relationship with every day of our lives. This is a God that we are connected to. Permeable.

When I pray, meditate, journal, write, or do stream of consciousness writing, I feel like I’m connecting with something beyond myself. Outside of myself. And if I ‘go with the flow’ in this reflective state, I often activate my imagination. Here, in these creative thoughts or imaginative prayers, I find true passion, peace and ultimate love. God is not somewhere else; He is here.

And what is God but love – infinite, undefinable, no-restrictions love. The love that comes no-strings-attached. Feel it? Feel that love? God is within you.

***

When I define my belief in general terms, it comes down to two main thoughts that guide me:

  1. Separation is an illusion. This applies to all things: material, spiritual, God.  To tear down walls is to remove the “Us vs. Them” psychological prison so we may be more present and observant of our true connectedness.
  2. Live in love. Everything in love.

I’m not perfect, but I’m making strides. These two principles might come and go on my journey, but they strike me as the best guides that I have in this moment.

If I get a sense of “Us vs. Them” I know that the situation has been built on lies or untruths. If I am feeling that something is not being said or done in true, no-strings-attached love, I know it has been built on lies or untruths.

I am a seeker, and I will continue digging and seeking if I find untruths in my life and in others’ lives. Because we are all One in the Heart. Because I am You. Because You are Me. Because this is important. And the only way I think we can find these untruths is through the two steps above – nothing more, nothing less.

This is my obligation as a piece of humanity – my obligation as a piece of God.

In this way, I do not simply have a belief in God; I have a knowingness of God.

***

Thank you fellow heart-led blogger Mel at Mel’s Mouth, for inspiring me to write and think deeply about my belief in more distinct terms… Pushing me further down the rabbit hole 🙂

Children

Dear Daughter,

You are almost 2 years old and I’m not sure where the time has gone. And weirdly enough, I am already bracing for the time when I won’t see you every day. When you will leave home and live a life that runs parallel to my own, and not still on my track. You are so much more than I ever hoped for in a daughter. You are so young, yet truly – know that I feel this deeply.

Having you in my arms is the most complete feeling I have ever known. This is saying a lot, I know, but you are a piece of me – and it has never been more evident that you are a piece of myself that has been knocked loose and will never rejoin. I have to be happy with the feeling of complete non-completeness. With the feeling that there is a hole that will never be filled. But yet – a hole that was meant to be?  A hole that was destined to be there?

Yes, yes, a resounding YES. Not one single, infinitesimal regret.

In this way, you have taught me what the word ‘children’ really means. I’ve read it a thousand times and I’ve never truly understood it until now. The concept of ourselves as children – or the children of God – never made perfect sense until you have revealed this to me: That we are all children –  both of our parents and as pieces of God –  knocked loose, never to rejoin. Complete non-completeness.

But God, as the parent, exists in perfect love, perfect stillness, never judging, always embracing, as we embark on a parallel track to His own. A bittersweet, joyous and momentous occurrence. A feeling, a place, that I could not begin to fathom before now.

Thank you V, so much, for choosing me.
Love and endless Light, your Mama