If every one of our moments of fear were so short, obvious, and easy to set free... we could be UNstoppable!
I volunteered to take photos for a yoga studio's fundraiser for solar panels. I'm in yoga teacher training at this studio and wanted to be in service, since my body won't do 108 Sun Salutations in a row right now. When the yoga instructor asked if I wanted to take over the class for a moment, I panicked, shook my head quickly to answer NO WAY, as I made a face like a rabbit. The moment took less than 2 seconds, like a flare bursting into the sky. At first I felt a hint of embarrassment, but that fear showed me where I could gain confidence. I started listening to her cadence and her voice became a song. I was learning it as she was going.. soon, if given the opportunity, I could have stepped in and kept the beat. When I realized I could do it, I had to hug my ego with a deep breath so I could listen to her sing again and keep taking beautiful photos in the next and present moments.
If every one of our moments of fear were so short, obvious, and easy to set free... we could be UNstoppable!
One of the biggest ego lessons came to me when I had to let go of the dream of being a doctor. I didn't even KNOW I HAD THAT DREAM until it was placed before me. I ran to Doctorhood like I'd been missing the validation all of my life. When the dream had to be let go due to physical disability... oh the darkness.. all of the darkness... Ego was so outraged and scared... it started fires. Thankfully, I not only survived, I was led on the path to SWIHA (Southwest Institute of Healing Arts) and that path led me to where I am right now... living in Loveland and being aligned with my purpose as an artist, teacher, and healer.
I learned through the gut-wrenching internal inferno experience that Ego is, was, and always will be the most vigilant protector of my Self. Its protection is like that of an overbearing parent driving a car (my emotions & body). When the Doctor Dream was no longer in view, the whole car was covered in darkness. It seemed like we drove into a cave after free-falling off a cliff, but really we were covered in a thick soot of disappointment. We could see nothing ahead and we went nowhere, so of course Ego took over... and started fires in order to bring light in the car.
I have washed the car and cleared the windows and shifted the seating arrangements around a lot. Ego has put up a fight the whole way... and often at the "worst" moments. As a teenager, the ego begrudgingly allowed me to get in the driver seat occasionally, but it wouldn't teach me to move forward. I had to seek and recognize divine driving instructors (like don Miguel Ruiz and Eckhart Tolle) or teach myself how to drive (with a lot of trial and error in the learning curve).
At the present moment, I generally have the power to tell Ego where to go. It still hangs out in the car, of course, it has to be with me in order to keep me physically safe. It doesn't get to drive nearly as often, but I can hear it barking directions from the backseat or quietly undermining my decisions under its breath. Occasionally, I catch it driving... guess I still need to take naps on this road trip. Perhaps that's why mindfulness, yoga, Reiki, meditation, and these many healing arts I've learned are so helpful: these practices allow my Self to rest and puts the Higher Self in charge. Occasionally, Ego and I can snuggle in the back as we rest together, as long as we feel safe.
"Sooner or later we must realize there is no station,
no one place to arrive at once and for all.
The true joy of life is the trip."
~ Robert Hastings
One of the biggest ego lessons came to me when I had to let go of the dream of being a doctor. I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW I HAD THAT DREAM UNTIL THE PATH WAS PLACED BEFORE MY FEET. I ran towards Doctorhood like I'd been missing that road all of my life. There I was, driving along, adding more and more luggage of education... carrying it with me onward and upward. When the dream destination had to be let go due to physical disability... oh the darkness.. all of the darkness... the ego was so outraged and scared... it started raging fires within me.
(Thankfully, I not only survived, I was led to an alternate path, one that led to SWIHA (Southwest Institute of Healing Arts).
I had to make friends with my ego or I was going to die. I learned through that experience that my ego is, was, and always will be the most vigilant protector of my self. The little self, not the Higher Self. The ego is the protector of the body and its emotions. Its protection is like that of an overbearing impossible-to-please parent. Over the course of the past 28 months I have shifted a lot, and my ego has put up a fight the whole way... and often at the "worst" moments. Go figure. It screams when alarmed, so our worst moments are the moments it is loudest.
Ah, the arrogant ego rants.
Wrap this metaphor and give it to your ego as a gift of forgiveness. The ego is a protective parent, albeit one that is a stubborn helicopter parent that's extremely difficult to please - and then boasts loudly with your accomplishments, as if you had no help ever.
As a young child, we have our own parents (presumably in an ideal world) who are protecting us and caring for us like fragile glass. Our ego does not need to do much in our infancy, other than instigate the cries to be fed, burped, or cleaned. Our ego is directly connected to our pain body and thus connected to our nervous system. It alerted us (and thus our parents) about our body's needs and our emotional status, even then, telling us all about when we were uncomfortable or sick. Without words, our parents learned our cries and saw to us attentively. Our Higher Self was the primary energy body, full of love and coos and smiles and giggles. We were seen as angelic, because we were. (We still are, y'know!)
Our divinely connected big-"s" Self had arrived in this body and this body was perfectly imperfect with its unique little ego protector that was relatively compliant with our earthly parents. We did not have shame. We were free in our nudity and in our voice and in our curiosity. We were safe to simply be ourselves. As we grew into toddling life, we started to find our no's, our resistance, our self. Our separate and unique small-"s" self was developing independence. Then we go to school, and we keep learning Little Self's selfish ways, depending on our nature-nurture social conditioning process. Rinse, repeat.
Later, in middle school, we are hard and fast driven by our ego. It is still an immature protector (loud and obnoxious a lot of times, even if we are the ONLY ones to hear/see it). It strikes with a mighty blow and we are at its whim. I would even venture to say our ego's voice is abusive to us in a lot of cases... that whole "we are our worst critic" thing. Our hormones surge and our emotions dominate and our body is under a new and unique-to-us manufacturing pace. We learn achievement is the source of success. BE PRODUCTIVE! Eventually, our car is pretty much ready to be driven and ego is at the wheel. The hormones subside a bit and our body stops changing as quickly when puberty shifts to first gear. In high school, our Little Self self is completely developed and many of us get stuck there for a good long while. Our earthly parents are giving us more and more freedom. Guess what. The ego is usually going full blast to protect us from ourselves, from our peers, from our family members, from everything and everyone. Danger, danger, EVERYWHERE!
We are controlled by our need for approval and/or our need for control.
We are controlled by our fear of losing approval and fear of losing control.
Fearful mind. Deaf ears. Blind eyes. Closed heart.
Fearless mind. Paranoid ears. Biased eyes. Overly open heart.
Imbalanced ego states.
Rocky roads that lead in circles.
Do you know anyone who stopped internally maturing and are stuck in a semi-permanent state of adolescence?
Now, we are here in the latest years of high school for however long it takes to want out of those patterns... driving the same bumpy roads over and over again. Auto-pilot ego.
Then, something happens and we wake up to the fact we have been asleep at the wheel. That awareness causes us to enter what is popularly known as "existential crisis". I mean, it can happen when you're still actually a teenager, but it might not. Timing is all relative, anyway.
Alright, we woke up at the wheel and we're not sure how we got where we are. We know we want to drive further and find ourSelves, "Where did I put that map to my Higher Self?"
We can opt to let our Higher Self (that version of us that is directly connected to our Higher Power) take the wheel. We can do this AT ANY AGE!
As we adventure in creating ourSelves, or remembering who we really were born to be, we are gaining more and more independence from our ego. We are making more of our own choices in how we respond to the circumstances and situations in our life. We do the yoga. We vision board and vision quest. We join meditation groups. We go to all the church things. We do what we think is the right thing. We try to "kill the ego" or "drop all attachments" and we try to become "enlightened" or "transcend the body". Hello, that ego death thing is also part of the illusion. You cannot "kill the ego" without dying or um, truly transcending this mortal realm. I won't digress much, though I could write about this part for a lot longer.
The more carefree we aim to be, the more our ego pulls at us or pushes us into things we may not necessarily do without its influence... if we felt truly and completely safe. The ego drives our car faster trying to escape our attempts to kill it. Resistance comes from force. We meet the amount of force that we are exerting. Sometimes, we need that. Sometimes, we don't.
When we intended to take control of our life, to live from a mindful and respons-able place, we get blow back from the patterns that were previously creating perceived safety. This is when we are asking the ego to let us drive. This is when we are really learning to drive our own car: the e-motive physic-able body. We have to develop a trusting relationship with our ego. When we do, the ego begrudgingly allows us to get in the driver seat occasionally, but it won't teach us to move forward. It can't. It doesn't feel safe to go into uncharted territory. When we allow ourselves to drive and invite our Higher Self into the front passenger seat as head navigator, the ego has no where to go but the back. (Our Higher Self cannot drive because it is at the mercy of being driven by our self which is the state of our autonomous body-mind... think of maybe a self-driven car if that helps.) Of course our ego will get really angry about the change when it first experiences this backseat situation. And yes, it backseats drives! The ego needs time to simmer down and accept that everything is totally fine, and maybe even better than it could have designed. It needs to know we are safe! Eventually, it realizes the higher Self is perfectly capable of navigating and we are fully capable of driving. We are in control of the car and everyone inside will eventually arrive at your final destination with nothing to fear.
We are intuitively guided to others who can help us feel safe in our exploration. They are spiritual cartographers. They have traveled where we want to go. We seek and recognize divine driving instructors: prophetic mentors. Dogma of any persuasion, we find our teachers that guide us to inner wisdom of the Self with a Big S. We have to teach ourSelves how to drive (with a lot of trial and error in the learning curve). The earlier we can do this, the better.
At the present moment, I generally have the power to tell my ego where to go. It still hangs out in the car, of course, it has to be with me in order to keep me safe in this body on Earth. It doesn't get to drive nearly as often, but I can hear it barking directions from the backseat. Occasionally, I catch it driving... guess I still need to take naps on this road trip.
My ego hopes this sharing is helpful. My mind just wants to be heard. My heart just wants to love. <3
When the moon is full, we are full. To express our abundance, we can write a letter or a list of things, people, places, feelings, habits, etc that help us feel rich in life; wealthy. It is also the opportunity to release whatever is no longer feeding our mind-body-soul. We can think of this release as pushing our plate away while there is still food left to eat. We are FULL! We can look at where we are bursting at the seams and become aware of how this excess affects our lives.
As we become more self-aware, and aware of our appetites, we encourage our lessons to make themselves known. Why do we still feel hungry? What do we feel is lacking? How can we find satiation without excess?
Once we have decided which things, people, places, feelings, habits, etc, are ready to be pushed away, and we have written them down, we set down the pen and walk away. (Yes, I said pen. You're serious, aren't you?)
Now, we can move our body. Put on some tunes and dance in the living room. Grab a mat and practice yoga. Pick up a basketball and shoot some hoops. ANYTHING to get going, get moving, get ourselves out of our head and into our body.
We have accessed our mind's wisdom, our body's wisdom, and now it is time to access the spiritual wisdom to become present in our experience. That will depend so greatly on your personal spiritual practices, that I cannot make an "our" out of this paragraph. Do your thing. If that is reading The Bible, then read it. If that is listening to a Dr. Wayne Dyer audiobook, listen to it. If that is playing a musical instrument, singing, and meditating, well there you go. Connect to your divine source and ask for guidance in releasing whatever it was you feel called to release. Express humility and ask for help.
Now we create space for hearing the answers. Make time to ponder the inner wisdom your soul speaks to us.
One way to create that space is to watch a flame. Go outside with fire safety in mind. (Use a fire pit, burn bowl, or other safe means of pyrotechnical fun.) Sit or stand comfortably and focus on the inhale and exhale of the breath. Notice the sounds and feel the wind. Take a deep inhale and sigh out an audible exhale. Do that a few times and allow whatever sound wants to come out to express itself. Sit with whatever wisdom or awareness comes along. Light the paper on fire and let the winds carry away these excesses we are releasing in the form of smoke. Cultivate gratitude for how it feels to be free from those attachments, stumbling blocks, or energy barriers.
Close your ceremony with this affirmation (or one similar), "I have enough resources to thrive and enough compassion to share the excess."
When the moon is new, we are new. We have spent two weeks purging that which was excess, so we now have room to plant something new in place. We write a letter or list of things, feelings, habits, etc that would nourish our mind, body, emotions, and soul. The ceremony for new moon is an inverse process to the full moon. Be aware, Wolf. Be aware.
Two more days of snow on the horizon. It's cool, Winter.
You cool; we cool.
Spring will make her grand entrance soon enough;
cosmically on time as fashionably late.
Rivers and Lakes will be swollen.
Flora and Fauna will be stretching and expanding;
full of energy and vitality.
Life will resume its rhythmic flow.
Until then, we sleep the slumber of the bears.