Each year so many of us start out super enthusiastic about change. Yet, by day 3 or 4 or week 3 or 4 of the new year we fail. Why?
The biggest reason is because we live in Multiplicity, or many parts of self. We have multiple 'I's - I want this, I feel this, I need this, I believe this, I think this, I don't want that.
Overtime, because of unprocessed pain and trauma, we mentally and emotionally split off parts of ourself from our sense of original wholeness and these parts eventually take on a life of their own. They are not real, but are mental constructs we create to protect ourself and help us make sense of the world. We keep these parts alive by continually feeding them (listening and giving into their demands). So there is a part that loves wine, a part that wants sobriety, a part that rationalizes, a part that feels, one that loves shopping, another that is a minimalist, a part that is cluttered, the good girl, rebel, mediator, meditator, jokester, and so on.
There is a part that wants to do better, to self-improve, and it thinks the New Year is a great time for change. Unfortunately, this part often gets taken over by another part (ego/false self) which sets up grandiose, unrealistic and overly ambitious resolutions. A pure part started the process wanting change, but the ego/false self comes in wanting BIG CHANGE and RESULTS NOW. It doesn't take into account time, energy and the reality of our schedules. It also does not take into account our habitual patterns and default emotional comfort zones that have been conditioned over time. In other words, it forgets about the other parts which will eventually surface for their piece of the pie.
So this part sets these lofty goals - I am going to walk 12000 steps, go to the gym for an hour workout 4 times a week, eat zero sugar, sleep 8 hours a night, and drink 3 gallons of water everyday. Fantastic! We are pumped and ALL IN on day 1, 2, 3.... maybe even the first whole month. And then, one of the parts finds a reason to sabotage our efforts, often because the original intentions were too many, too much.
Not to worry on this though... Multiplicity has you covered because as soon as you fail at completing your commitment... as a protection, another part of you will come in with convincing excuses and justifications - I got sick, a friend needed my help, work got too stressful, the kids needed me, I will get back to it tomorrow, I can't be perfect, etc. Yes life happens, and we need to make space for this... but often when life happens, we don't actually get back on track. This is again because of multiplicity and ego. The ego (various parts) wants all the rewards with little-to-no effort.
Another way we can fail is by setting unmeasurable (aka unaccountable) goals - I am going to be more loving, less judgmental, I am going to drink less, eat more raw foods, etc. This sounds good but is simply another way of spinning on the hamster wheel.
Here are a few tips to succeed with your ReSOULutions:
1) Set Measurable Baby-Step Actions you can do daily - I do 32 day processes and started my first one on January 1st with 5 self-care goals daily - minimum of 6,000 Steps, 32 ounces of Water, Meditate 10 minutes, Conversation with my Higher Self for 25 minutes, and Study A Course in Miracles lesson.
2) When possible, get as many of your self-care practices done early in the day.
3) Track your progress on some sort of checklist daily - in a.m. and p.m.
4) Get the support of a friend (I started a 32 Day Facebook group).
5) If you miss a day, begin again the very next day.
6) Be gentle with yourself, but not a pushover. There are parts of us that do not want to do anything hard, boring, ordinary or uncomfortable. Those parts (hint: ego/false self) should not be leading.
A couple years before I quit my teaching job I saw a psychic who said I was going to quit my job and become a free agent spreading hope, love and inspiration in unconventional ways. I was upset (and doubted her intuitive abilities) because I couldn’t wrap my head around how I would survive financially. She offered little in terms of comfort except to say that I was a free spirit. This actually brought up more anxiety because I was rigid, orderly, rule-oriented and controlling and although I admired 'free spirits,' I also cringed at the idea of being that wild, carefree and potentially irresponsible.
She went on to say that I did things backwards which would be a great advantage for me. She said many free spirited types who come into the world and live unstructured, unplanned, free-flowing lives often end up in midlife broke, battered and bitter because they lacked the necessary discipline and drive to get their earthly shit together. It gets harder as you get older to build structure and support systems, and change is much more difficult.
She said, 'You did it differently. You were born free but became weighted down by pain and experiences. These weights in some ways anchored you and helped you develop great strength and survival skills. You built the inner foundation and structure first. You wanted to get your feet planted firmly on the ground before letting yourself even dream of flying – a sort of full on embrace the caterpillar experience before earning your butterfly wings.'
That made sense to me, though I still had no idea how anything was going to work out – Thank God. Had I known the tests and struggles, I may not have had the courage (or insanity) to take the leap of faith and follow my less-structured blossoming heart.
It’s been one heck of a long, often broke and sometimes bitter road since I taught my last kindergarten class in 2008. I have wanted to give up and run back to the sanctuary and security of classrooms and regular paychecks often - especially this past year. One day, I dream of being able to afford new clothes, real vacations, maybe even a house, and time to socialize and be 'normal' again. But for now I’m living moment to moment following the passions of my heart and the wisdom of my soul. The earthly knowledge and skills my mind has learned along the way are also incredibly supportive. I call the heart-mind-spirit connection the holy Trinity. They are housed within our bodies. Our greatest potential comes through cooperation, communication and collaboration - uniting as a team inside. Spirit (soul) leads the way with purpose and vision, my heart (emotions) brings the connection and passion, and my mind has the knowledge and experience to get things done in physical form.
In consciousness and the evolution of mankind we need both sides – the disciplined, structured, hard working, sensible, logical, responsible, have-a-plan, make-your-mark ego (as in healthy ego) or human-ness. AND the free flowing, trusting, intuitive, creative, rejuvenating, spacious, gracious soul. The form and the flow. The way and no way. Efforts and Grace. Science and Spirit. Masculine and Feminine. Shadow and Light… and all the in-betweens. Through it all I have come to understand deeply one of my favorite quotes...
"It takes tremendous discipline to be a free spirit." ~Gabrielle Roth
Love & Light,
It's crazy out there! Mass shootings, terrorism, insane politicians, religious bashing, racism, hate crimes, broken homes, intense fighting and more. While some say this is one of the least violent times in history, the agenda-driven media and our ability to catch news worldwide can lead us to believe that the world is coming to an end.
I hold on tight.
I know I need to let go.
I helicopter, smother, check and double check.
I know I need to let go.
I micromanage, huff and puff, send too many emails and over-explain.
I know I need to let go.
I try to predict, control, corral and influence as much as possible.
I know I need to let go.
But how the F@#k does one really do this…
simply by the well-intentioned advice of one's self or another?
Just like we don’t break up with that jerk we know is bad for us.
Or get to that job on time and keep our agreements.
Or get to bed at a decent hour so we can wake up earlier.
Or turn off the computer and put away our phone.
Or put down that drink or that cigarette.
Or refrain from yelling at our kids.
Or stop buying shit we don’t really need.
That is… until we do.
In my arrogance and ignorance, I used to think it was so easy…
Just stop. Just change. Just breathe. Just do it. Just be it. Just say no.
Just let go.
Ha! It’s not easy.
And, sometimes it’s downright impossible.
I have been working in the field of social/emotional/spiritual awareness and empowerment for over 25 years now. At first, all of my obsessive study was for my own growth and development. I wanted to understand how to be a better human so I would not hurt as much as I did; So I would not feel as out-of-place in this world; So I could fit in, feel better, and maybe even be more popular and successful.
In some ways it worked.
In others, I feel even more tuned into pain and suffering, and more ‘different’ than ever before.
However, I can say with all sincerity that I do feel better about who I am. I also feel better about the world and what I came here to contribute.
I now understand that earth is a school - a place where soul’s come to master lessons in Love, Wisdom and Compassion. It takes as long as it takes and there is no better here than there. There is no better curriculum, classroom, teacher or student either. We are all growing in consciousness at the perfect level and speed for each of our unique journeys. We each have what we need for our soul’s growth experience – whether we understand or believe this, or not.
There is no race to finish. And there is no prize or greater/lesser standing at the end either.All of the lessons are about love.
Everything here is Love… or an opportunity to expand in Love.
Loving ourself and loving others… as ourselves.
Hmmm, I have heard this somewhere before.
This is why, no matter how well-intentioned another is, no one can ever actually free us from our karmic lessons. We must each grow through what our soul has signed up for, in our own Divine timing and perfection.
As much as I, the helpful and busy worker bee, want to effort in this Letting Go process, it is ironic (and perfect) that there is actually nothing my mind can figure out to do to make this happen any faster than is destined to happen.
The good news in all this is that I am very aware that I will Let Go.
It may be in writing this specific peace.
It may be as I sit singing chants at the Snatam Kaur concert tonight on my 49th birthday.
It may be as I wake up tomorrow, overwhelmed by the massive list of To Do’s for the week.
It may be on August 27th, the first day of this upcoming Teen Experience Seminar (God help me that it doesn’t take that long!)
All I really know is that I will… Let Go
And I will laugh and laugh at the part of me that felt this compelling need to hang on as long and as tight as I did. But I will do this with the sweetest and kindest amount of compassion I can find. As I write these words, I can already feel this tender loving bubbling forth now… which for me makes the whole struggle worth while… giggle… sigh.
Because let’s face it - it’s pretty rough terrain around here in this earth school. And, if we look closely, we are all growing through something.
It’s best that loving kindness lead the way.
Ha! A couple years ago I wrote a blog called ‘Freedom Rocks’
In this moment I’m struggling to find gravity and grounding
in all the freedom I have so effectively created for myself.
I don’t work a regular 8-5 job anymore
I’m not married (except to myself ;)
I don’t have any kids (except my inner child)
I do not own a home or any property
I don’t have a dog, a cat or a fish
Heck, I don’t even own a plant.
We all know the beautiful blessings these experiences can bring - a sense of safety, security, belonging, love, value and purpose.
And, some part of me (my soul) knew that this time around I had to create a life free from identifications and attachments. For as much as these things can bring reward, stability and foster growth, they can also become our greatest burdens, restrictions, and potential breeding grounds for the ego’s fears, insecurities, greed and entrapment games… if we are not careful.
In many ways, I have created an unfettered life - out of the system and ‘off the grid’ as some folks say. It is a life that I quite enjoy. A heartfelt, 'high-involvement, low-attachment' life.
I nanny part time. Coach a few clients. Volunteer for some stuff. Take classes. Write and share supportive resources and messages. Facilitate workshops. Hold monthly events and put on an epic Teen Self-Discovery event once a year… so far.
My social life consists of 1-2 weekly coffee dates with various friends; Walks to Greenlake, the local yoga studio or a grocery store; And a trip to church or something spiritual about once a week. Occasionally, I watch a movie. It’s pretty simple.
I stay up late. I’ve always been a night owl. I wake up without an alarm and usually don't require much sleep. I set my work hours, which are excessively long and include weekends. I get few breaks, rare vacations, no benefits, and very little pay. Financially, I am in survival mode much of the time. This part kind of sucks… okay, it really sucks… for now.
That said, I have no doubt that I am on the right path.
Surely there is something to be said about having the safe and secure parameters of home, family, career, and steady paycheck. And, sometimes I am sad about what I have sacrificed for “the vision.” I am not saying this for a pity party, I know it was my choice… on some level.
And, I also know I didn't REALLY have another choice. I have been fueled by a vision 'to leave the world a better place than I found it' for much of my life. This vision relates to children and teens, families and systems, connection and communication, love and belonging, a sense of safety and security, and a feeling of HOME. Ironically, much of what I could not have for myself this lifetime is what I help create for others. There is a bitter-sweetness to this. And, I know it's what my Soul signed up for this time around.
I am armed with a heart full of grace, endless ideas and SOULutions, inspirational tips, tales and tools galore… and very little to show for it in the material realm.
Most of the time I am happy. And, always... I am true.
I am highly enthusiastic, responsible and committed. And, right now, I’m feeling overwhelmed with too many ideas and choices related to the vision.
Much is happening fast with more on the way. I can feel it. And, truth be told, I am a bit (maybe a lot) scared. I'm not sure how things will unfold, what I can let go of and how… and how to get to any of the next steps. This makes me feel quite uncomfortable. It's sometimes much easier when someone tells you what to do and how to do it.
Thankfully, with this ever-expanding freedom, my Soul is right here with me expanding too.
The only prayer that seems to be left now is "Make Me Ready"and I say it everyday :)