Monday, September 22, 2008

What Makes Your Life Worth Living?

What is it that makes life worth living? For each of us it is a different mixture of love, expansion, presence, connection with others or nature itself, and the expression of deep feelings.

Love is what most often pulls us into all the other aspects. When we open in love something happens that takes us beyond this experience and our ego. It allows us to see beyond this moment of struggle and suffering into the divine experience that we are truly more than this physical embodiment. We can become so attached to our accomplishments that we can miss the huge opportunity that the universe has given us to be human in this place and time.

We can mistake our value to this world as something external.

We could not be more incorrect.

Our value cannot be defined by the material substance that we accumulate or the external impact that we believe that we are having in the world. There is a much more subtle realm that is always moving us toward our own expansion and expression of our greatest gifts that may or may not be seen as valuable to others.

Ultimately it does not matter what others think. We are here to learn, expand, open, love, grow, and become conscious of all aspects of life.

This is tremendously challenging to try to accomplish. But what an amazing game we have embarked on. If we could just slow down enough to become present with the gloriousness of this moment then not only can we feel all the love and energy that is readily available to all of us right now but we could uncover the true value that we carry within and find ways to share that with others.

If you are not in touch with the full expression of your soul then you are limited as to what you can give others. When you are connected to your heart it is much easier to feel into others hearts. You then come from a place in which it is no longer important to give what your ego wants but more important to give what someone’s heart is yearning.

This changes the game tremendously. If you are feeling into everyone’s heart fully you can feel the vulnerability, fear, hurt, suffering, confusion, need, desire, and passion that everyone holds.

When you come from the place of needing others to recognize what your ego has determined as your gift it will never feel fully received. Because your value does not lie in what your ego defines as important. Your value is determined by your open heart and your ability to step out of what you want to happen. The next step is then to feel into what someone else needs at that moment. When you learn how to give in this way not only is it easier but it takes much less effort, as you are not pushing from your ego. You are allowing the natural connection that exists between everyone to just be.

Remember the moments that your relish the most. Those moments are always about connection to something. That connection becomes more important than anything and through that safety and trust your heart opens in miraculous ways. You feel expanded, fabulous, free, seen, and appreciated.

What does it take to allow for expansion? It requires something very simple yet scary at the same time. It requires you to stretch beyond what you think you know and to try new things.

I know some of you are saying, “Well, that is not that hard! I can do that.”

It becomes difficult when you realize that the greatest growth comes from trying the things that you are afraid of and the things that you judge.

Brains love new experiences. But cultures tend to have patterns that are considered acceptable or not. We all get caught up in our cultural programming as well as our family genetic patterning.

An example of cultural programming and the huge upsets that can take place are when I have taken Americans to places like Peru. I explain in advance that we are going to a third world country and to not expect American customs, foods, comforts, and ways to be the norm. I even make people sign a paper that states that they understand and know what to expect on the trip. But invariably there are those who completely stress out when they cannot get their bathtub, diet Coke, or hotel standard to which they have become accustomed.

This can be very upsetting to people who are used to their habits and patterns of control as ways to feel good about themselves and their reality. These habits are what they determine as aspects of themselves. But you are more than this body. You are more than this small experience that you are having while on this planet for this limited time. People often say, “Well, this is who I am. I am not going to change for anyone. You need to accept me as I am.”

What they are really saying is that they want you to accept their habits as their true self. If you are remotely awake that statement will feel like an untruth. We need to have people in our lives to reflect back to us aspects that we cannot see within our self. You are not your habits. Your habits are associated with your ego. When you do not allow real feedback in your life you will just keep habiting all over people and feeling not accepted or received.

Instead, try to breathe and open and allow others words and feedback to crack your amour and allow the true light to shine through your self-perception. Who you are inside is more glorious than any label you could put on the outside.

What we all need to realize is that life is about change. Your body is going to change and die. Your mind is going to forget and falter. Those that you love will leave you, if for no other reason than they die. Bad things will happen to perfectly lovely people.

So since change is the norm it is good to become friendly with change. I like to talk to it like “Father Time”. When something happens that is not expected or out of my normal range I say, “Hello change! How are you doing? Thank you for coming and getting me out of my rut. Now, what am I going to do with you and what value do you bring to me in this moment?”

The answer is always expansion and growth. I do not realize how comfortable I can get in my own pattern. Even if that pattern is not completely serving me. You hear older people always complaining that things are moving too fast and that change is so difficult. I think that when you live by habits and patterns then as you age you become less able to adapt to the shifts and that resistance causes aging and the desire to leave your body eventually.

I do think we can do it differently if we really embrace change as the only way to have expansion in our awareness and in our life.

Presence takes even more effort. To become fully present and aware of your entire being as you move through life takes great focus and an ability to notice the places that your ego snaps at others. In the moment that you snap you are no longer present. You are recoiling back into wanting to be right and you then withdraw your energy from others and push them away. In that moment you are not present. You are in some damage or upset from another time and place.

Presence often takes meditation skills, discipline, and even a fabulous teacher that can feel into you moment-by-moment and not buy into your pattern. This teacher needs to be someone that you have surrendered to and trust their judgment in guiding you better than you trust your own in that moment. Those people are rare but they have the ability to allow you to stretch, snap, and lovingly pull you back to presence. Eventually, you learn the ability to observe your mind’s thoughts but to not let them out your mouth. Then the snapdragon within is tamed. You might still hear the voice but you do not allow it to pull you into the past.

Connection with others is essential for growth and consciousness. You can go to a cave and meditate. You can gain a great amount there usually in the skill of presence and expansion. But eventually you will learn that you need to go out into the world and share what you know with others.

Even the greatest beings that have even lived on this planet did this. The end result is always the same, death. Death either because their love was so great that it threatened the egos of others and those people labeled that openness as something very dangerous that needed to be eradicated or death because that is always the end result of trying to give your love and gifts to the planet.

It is inevitable. We will all die. But if you do not give your love and light to others you will die feeling incomplete. That connection and sharing is essential to the continued growth for everyone on the planet. Look at how certain people had such a connection that others feel that connection to them and their teaching even though the teacher is dead. That teachers’ willingness to connect and give to others regardless of if they felt received or understood is essential in the continued evolution of consciousness on the planet. We would not be where we are as a global entity without those teachers taking the risks and being willing to put everything on the line to find a way to connect to others with the truth that they carried.

Connection to nature is often a good way to begin to feel safe with connection to others. Nature is slower energetically and it has it’s own rhythm and flow. When you align with nature you slow down and that allows your ego to naturally fall away.

Nature could care less if you had an ego or not. Nature requires you to be real, present, and aligned with the organic patterns of life that this planet holds. You realize that you are not separate from nature. You are a part of a grand pattern that is always opening you. As you become aware and trust that something greater than you is actually in control of your life you can relax and trust that flow and allow it to point you in the direction that most serves everyone.

Expression of deep feelings is one of the greatest gifts of having a human body. It is through the body that we are allowed to experience life fully. Without feelings you would be just an observer in this play of life. But the feelings plunge you deep into the totality of existence. It is not always what you want. But that is not the point. You are here to feel totally. You want to feel: passion, anger, fear, love, joy, sorrow, grief, despair, forgiveness, trust, resentment, terror, etc. This place is a caldron of emotional mayhem that is unsurpassed in any place in the galaxy.

You can tell what you want to feel by what you are drawn to in movies, television, games, internet, books, talk shows. You will notice that some things consistently are fascinating to you. You want to know all about those emotional patterns and what others do and respond in similar situations.

Even more fascinating is that the movie and television industry is very dialed into what most of us deny or are afraid to emotional express in our daily lives. That is why scary movies and knock-em-sock-em shows are so popular. In our culture we are not really allowed to express darker emotions in normal life. So we sublimate that craving with movies, television, and watching the news. This allows us to feel those emotions vicariously and in a strange with that feels good.

I think it is a good idea to find ways to healthfully express darker emotions in ways that do not hurt others or hurt us. That is difficult but an easy way to begin is to just say to you, “All my emotions are amazing aspects of my depth and spirit. I need all of my emotions. I am learning how to be present with them and not to judge emotions in others as well as myself. But I want to learn how to use my emotional depth to open others by allowing them the space to feel accepted no matter what they may be feeling at any moment.”

It is your emotional depth that gives your great value to others as a reflection. When you are comfortable with all that you feel within it is easy to stay emotionally available to others when they are challenged.