When Everything Fails You, Follow the Loving

There are times in life when we all feel a little (or a lot) lost. The loss of a relationship, or job, a loved one, or our health can all leave us feeling disoriented and alone. In times like these, our self-esteem may take a beating. We may feel broken down, disheartened, and unsure which direction to turn.

If you find yourself feeling lost, confused, and unsure which path to take next in your life, it’s ok. There is a very simple answer. Choose the path that is the most loving. Follow the people, places, and experiences that bring the most loving into your life.

When we are in a place ofLet Yourself Be CArried BY love.-2 feeling hurt and in pain, what we need most is to be loved – to be nurtured, cared for, and held by people and places that are safe.

During hard times, turn away from what doesn’t love you and towards that which does. If a friendship is ending, grieve the loss, feel the love, and let yourself be held by the people in your life who are currently able to offer their loving. If a relationship is ending, let the love remain, and turn towards the loving offered by friends, family, mentors, and teachers. If a job is ending, search for the job where you are wanted, appreciated, and valued. If your health is waning, allow yourself to be nurtured and taken care of by those close to you. If you feel all alone with no one to turn to, allow yourself to be loved by you. There is always loving available, even if its your own.

It is natural to grieve loss, we are meant to grieve that which we once had and have no longer. And when it is time to make decisions about what is next, point your energy in the direction of the most loving. Ask yourself, “With whom do I feel the most loved and cared about?” Nurture that relationship and allow yourself to be nurtured by it. “Where do I feel the most safety and love? Where does my heart expand?” Give yourself time there. “What activities bring me the most joy and connect me into my loving?” Participate in those activities.

We don’t have to constantly focus on the loving that we don’t have. We can focus on all the people and places that do love us. Loving is bountiful. It can never be truly taken away or destroyed. And, when faced with one of those times when you feel broken down and alone, orient yourself to the rays of sunshine in your life, and let them love you and warm you up. Let yourself be loved. And remember that no matter what, you are always there to love you, and always will be. You always have yourself. Give yourself the loving, nurturing, and care that your heart longs for. There is always loving available, always.

Life doesn’t have to be full of suffering and pain. Allow in the loving that is all around you and wants to make its way into your heart. You don’t have to do this alone. You have people and places around you longing to love you. You have you, longing to love you. Let it in.

Let yourself be carried by love.

The Evolution of Compassion – How to Stop Trying to Save the World

“Strong boundaries are essential to loving and generosity.” – Brené Brown

 I’ve been thinking quite a bit about boundaries and compassion lately. As a watery empathic Pisces, boundaries have been something I’ve struggled with my whole life. It is easier to feel other people’s pain and merge with it than it is to separate myself and figure out my own needs and wants. Compassion has been easy, boundaries have not been. Thankfully, my professional and personal life have forced me into continuously working on my boundaries. What I have come to understand, is that boundaries are an essential aspect of compassion, generosity, and loving.

I see now that compassion is always evolving. Many spiritual traditions say that service and compassion are the highest virtues. I don’t quite agree. I have found that serving from inspiration is very different than serving from a place of self-sacrifice or a belief that we have to give ourselves up to get to God.

IMG_3138Right now, I think how we do compassion is evolving. As humans, I think we are here to move from self-centeredness to compassion and then to what I call, “compassionate wisdom.” With compassionate wisdom, we are able to really know and feel that everyone is ok just as they are and that there is a higher loving moving through all people and the universe at large. With compassionate wisdom, we begin to see that we aren’t responsible for making the planet ok. We move from needing to save people, take on their burdens, and over-sympathize to realizing that everything is ok, exactly as it is. We may still be inspired to serve, but we do so in a way that feels aligned and energizing, instead of depleting and forced.

Below, is my take on how compassion has evolved in each of us through our soul’s history.

Stage 1: The Young Soul

We come into the world being totally self-centered, young souls, here to explore and taste and learn. In the process, we end up being a bit self-centered. We don’t really know what compassion is. We are still learning about love and what it feels like. Our thoughts and actions are primarily based on our own needs and wants. We jump without thinking. We’re impulsive and ready to experience anything. Through time, and many lifetimes, we start to learn that our actions have an effect on the world around us. We see that our choices have consequences. We start to see that some of our impulsive actions bring pain and suffering to other people. This is when we start to move into the second state.

Stage 2: Waking up to Compassion

As we move into the next stage of evolution, we start to develop this thing called “compassion.” We start noticing how other people feel. We’ve been through enough experiences at this point to know what pain and suffering feel like and that other people must also experience pain. We move from being totally self-centered, to developing compassion for other people and beings. At this point in the journey, compassion meditations, and actively seeking how to learn how to have compassion for others is paramount. We develop our “compassion” muscle and move away from self-centeredness towards seeing we are all connected. For the first time, we begin to see the “other.”

Stage 3: Waking Up to Self-Compassion

In the third stage of evolution, we move from having compassion for other people and beings, to compassion for ourselves. We start to see that we deserve the compassion that we are giving other people. This begins to wake up self-love.

Stage 4: Developing Compassionate Wisdom

In the fourth stage of compassion, we move into compassion coupled with wisdom. We start to realize that yes, we can have compassion for other beings and ourselves but that we also need the important values of discernment and boundaries to go along with that compassion. Old souls have a tendency to get stuck in Stage 2 of compassion. They can see exactly why other people are acting like they are acting, and accept their poor behavior. They may choose relationships in which they unconsciously want to save another, because they can see and have compassion for that person’s wounds and struggles. The task of Stage 4, is to simultaneously have compassion for another individual, while loving yourself so much, that you hold boundaries. It is about loving another, but loving yourself and your right to life, love, and happiness more than you love anyone or anything else.

Stage 4 is about letting go of saving people and fully entering into your own space of self-love. In this stage, we can see other people’s struggles, wounding, and gifts. We offer our loving and service to them when we feel called to, but we stop sacrificing our own needs and well-being to help them along their path. We stop trying to save people and save the world. This is the task of the Old Soul: Loving yourself so much, that you are ready to release yourself from the role of “savior.” This is the highest state of compassion on the planet so far. In this stage, we develop a compassion so deep, that we let people have their struggles and stop trying to save them. We see that sometimes, people need their struggles and it is not in their best interest to have us go in and save the day.

Compassion becomes so total, that we love and accept all things exactly as they are, knowing that each one of us is completely and totally worthy and lovable exactly as we are now. This is compassionate wisdom.

Questions to Develop Compassionate Wisdom

Can you trust that the planet is ok, exactly as it is?

Can you trust that a higher loving is guiding us through everything?

Can you trust that even when things look dark, that sometimes the darkness is what delivers us into the light?

Can you trust other people to the wisdom of their soul?

Can you let go of saving the planet and drop into your loving instead?

6 Myths About What It Is To Be Spiritual

*Originally published on Elephant Journal.

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Ten years ago, at the age of 24, I had a spontaneous spiritual awakening while meditating at our family cabin in Colorado. My awakening blew me open in ways I never knew were possible. My ideas of God, spirituality, our purpose here and just about everything else got flipped upside down. Previous to that, I had certain ideas about what it meant to be “spiritual,” which largely involved compassion, being perfect, and wearing a lot of purple. Ten years after that experience on a mountain in Durango, I can see how my ideas of what it meant to awaken were a bit misguided. Here are just a few of the myths about spirituality that I wish someone had told me so I could have spared myself a lot of self-judgment in the process.

 

  • Myth #1: As you awaken, life will get easier.

 

The truth is, as you evolve spiritually, life doesn’t become all rainbows and sunshine. I had thought that as I awakened, there would be more love, grace, and abundance than ever before. And in a way there is. I experience insane and intense moments of connection, beauty, and loving. However, I’ve learned that no matter how spiritual or connected you are, life will still keep throwing challenges your way. In fact, as we deepen in our spirituality, often times we experience more chaos and upheaval than ever before as we are clearing karma faster and faster. We are here to wake up, not always be 100% happy.

 

  • Myth #2: A truly spiritual being is ok with whatever happens to them because they are so neutral and clear.

 

Part of the spiritual path is about gaining neutrality and developing a witness consciousness. However, there are still times when I get angry, or sad, or feel disgusted. And these times are appropriate.  If you’ve ever read the Bible, you’ll see that even Jesus had moments of intense rage. The spiritual path doesn’t mean losing your emotional reactivity, it means becoming more conscious of where your reactions are coming from, so you learn when it is appropriate to express them. And there are times when it is appropriate to be angry, full of rage, or heartbroken. There are times when what we consider “reacting” is actually Spirit moving through us, helping us to break open into greater understanding.

 

  • Myth #3: To be spiritual is to be all-giving, self-sacrificing, and to put the world’s needs above your own.

 

This is one I believed for a long time and many good-hearted healers, therapists, and teachers seem to share this same belief. The old spirituality was about sacrificing ourselves for other people or for a higher cause. But we are in a new era now. In this new era of consciousness, we are here to love our selves first and foremost. This involves putting ourselves first in our own lives, before we extend ourselves to save the world around us. Doing so will set an example for other people who are sacrificing themselves in bad relationships or crappy jobs. Your permission to liberate and love yourself will give them permission to do the same.

 

  • Myth #4: Spiritual masters are always compassionate, always loving, and always “perfect.”

 

This is one I still grapple with. I had an image of what is means to be an enlightened spiritual being which included being all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving and compassionate at all times and all ways. This led to be being walked on, used, drained, and depleted in my personal life. What I have since learned is that the spiritual path is about deepening into loving, but we also need wisdom and discernment as partners to that loving. I thought that as a spiritual person, I wouldn’t need boundaries, but it turns out I need them more than ever. As I have grown spiritually, I have a greater capacity for true loving, but less tolerance for being used, manipulated, or energetically drained.

 

  • Myth #5: If you are spiritual, you have to be “nice.”

 

Being “nice,” isn’t all it is cracked up to be. This may sound dramatic, but “niceness” is like a virus. It is the way many of us have been programmed in our families and in our cultures to behave, be still, and not make waves. Spiritual masters were not “nice.” They were deeply loving and could love and touch the divinity inside those around them. But they knew they did not exist to please other people. They knew their purpose was much bigger than being “nice” to keep the peace. There is a difference between inspired acts of generosity and kindness, and being nice to please other people and fit in. This does not mean you have to be mean to be spiritual either. It is only a call to examine your own personality traits and which ones are authentically you, and which ones you use to maintain an image of what it means to be spiritual or good, Truth be told, I think most people who meet me would describe me as “nice.” I open heartedly love and adore people I come into contact with. However, I can see how my internal need to be “nice” kept me in some energetically abusive dynamics for far too long.

 

  • Myth #6: To be spiritual, means you stop being human.

 

I had assumed that as I awakened more and more, my personality would soften and my body would be in perfect health. I thought I would stop getting cranky when I was hungry, or mad at my boyfriend when he steals the covers at night. I thought my health issues would vanish. The truth is, as you awaken, you deepen in your humanness. Instead of getting mad at myself for getting irritable or grumpy, I am more and more coming to love that very human sweet part of myself who needs protein ever four hours and is upset and cries when someone verbally attacks her. To be spiritual doesn’t mean you stop being human, it means you accept and love your humanness even more. You begin to love yourself for your humanity, not in spite of it.

 

What I am learning is that spirituality isn’t about divorcing yourself from your humanity. It is about embracing and loving all parts of you, especially the very human part. Can you meet your humanity with loving? What about your anger? Can you love that rage and all it is trying to do for you? Can you embrace depression and sadness and heartbreak? Can you love yourself even when you don’t feel perfect? Or when you are ill? Or have lost a loved one? Can you love yourself fiercely, no matter what? That is spirituality.

 

Letter to an Old Soul

Dear Old Soul,

Years ago, I remember listening to a channeling by Lee Carroll, who bIMG_2227.JPGrings forth the being called “Kryon.” I don’t remember the subject of the channeling, but I do remember Kryon saying that old souls tend to have low self-esteem. He explained that because we have been embodied hundreds or thousands of times, we have seen everything. Through our experiences, we have gained wisdom, which we have innocently tried to share with others. However, much of the time, the planet has not been ready for our wisdom. This has led to some unpleasant experiences such as being made fun of, criticized, condemned, jailed, and even killed in past lifetimes.

We have been the minority for a very long time.

As a result, we’ve adopted an element of hesitation, shyness, or a reluctance to really share what we know. And as old souls, we know. We know things deep in our bellies and in our very bones. We know that power, darkness, energy stealing, domination, and violence never get us where we really want to go. We’ve tried it all before, and we have learned that all of the ways we tried to get power from others never brought us the satisfaction we truly longed for. We know that all we are really looking for is home.

As old souls, we know that the way home is through loving ourselves and others, treating all beings with respect, and taking care of the planet. We know that the way to get where we want to go comes from love and freedom, not power and control. We know that utopia comes from taking care of and nurturing each other, especially the downtrodden and the weak. We know that God (or the Universe of Spirit) is not an angry man with a beard in the sky, but rather, love. Pure, radiant, soft love. We know this deep in our cells.

And yet, we’re reluctant to share what we know. Perhaps we see that the world still needs to learn and grow, and isn’t ready for our wisdom, or is only ready for a small dose of it. Perhaps we are too afraid of having our heads cut off or being burned at the stake to share our truth. Whatever the reason, it is ok.

Dear Old Soul, know that I see you, and I love you. I honor the struggles, hardships, horrors, and difficulties you’ve faced in this lifetime and all previous ones. I see your sensitivity, your wisdom, and your gorgeous heart. I see your beautiful sparkling essence. I see your Spirit and the loving that wants to burst out of every pore. I love you, and I love your ability to love, in spite of everything you have experienced.

Dear Old Soul, you are precious and special. Your wisdom is valuable, even if it goes unappreciated. I appreciate you and all you bring to this world. I know it is hard, at times, to be here. You see the shootings, and the racism, the homophobia, the violence and the poisoning of our water and food. You feel the pain and suffering deep in your belly or in your heart. And yet, Old Soul, I remind you to look deeper. Look deeper into your wisdom. You’ve seen this before. Remember that we are here to wake up. And we are witnessing a planet that is waking up quickly and in a giant burst.

Dear Old Soul, I love all that you are. Take care of yourself, nurture yourself, love yourself. And when you feel ready – when you feel safe enough, or maybe just courageous enough – please feel free to share your wisdom with us. Not everyone will understand it, and that’s ok too. But there are those who will. There are those of us who are ready for you. I see you. I honor you.