Devotion: Bringing the essence of every fiber of your being into this moment, presencing your energy into that which fuels the Divine Spark. In this place, I experience a nestled completeness among it all – a totality of being Grace. This is my current experience of Devotion.
Devotion has always been a challenging practice for me. Frankly as a child, I hated the idea of it. Devotion got me nowhere and nothing. Being at choice about who or what I was devoted to, well, there was no choice. Catholicism, my experience of it anyway, dictated devotion. I was supposed to be devoted to my parents, teachers, to my education, to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit; however none of this nourished my little soul.
I was told to love, honor and obey as part of a practice of devotion. I’ve never found I could love, honor or obey what or who I couldn’t trust. Not really. I couldn’t be devoted to what rang as an untruth.
I was told to trust. I learned how to warp my thinking so that I could trust even though I didn’t. I got sick, depressed, and suicidal because I taught myself not to listen or to trust my own knowing; only to trust others, regardless of their lack of honesty, integrity and lack of accountability. Listen to all grownups was the message.
When I married – the first time, though I wanted to experience devotion to my husband, that didn’t work either. In my second marriage, I was getting the hang of the practice of being devoted. I was getting out of my own way and wasn’t so fearful of letting go of fear, anger, control and manipulation. I practiced being vulnerable. It took time and attention to be present to all the ways I interfered with such a deep practice of love and then open to new ways. I feel I made progress, though, inevitably the marriage dissolved.
Only through the devotion to my children did I begin to receive the lessons taught through a practice of devotion. What is the quality of being devotion? It’s an expression of love, commitment, presencing. My whole being becomes one with this thing or being. Every waking breath serves to express the grace found in the practice of devotion.
As I’m writing, a thought arises: The practice of devotion led to the demise of my role as the primary caregiver of my children. My devotion led me to give custody of my children to their father, in service to their highest good. It was my devotion to my own truth that led me to find right livelihood and a home on the far reaches of the continent. It has been my devotion that continually leads me to be diligent and vigilant in the practice of releasing any and all unnecessary practices – actions and thinking, so I am free of all excess baggage that once I thought to be me.
I’m devoted to my clients, students and to my writing practice. It’s much the same experience as with my children. There is a thirst that is quenched, a meeting of hearts; a harmony and communion that is beyond words.
Currently I sit on my couch and come to explore a devotional practice to Oneness, Universal Source of all that is. I’m at the beginning just as I was as a young child. This time I get to choose for myself to what and to whom I bring devotion.
I believe that I lost my soul through my initial attempts at being devoted to the Church, parents, education and husbands. Because of my failings, the interpretations were that I was a sinner, that God ignored me and that I was a bad person, a bad student, and a bad daughter. Well, I understand now that devotion – true devotion — has no promises or guarantees attached. You don’t be devoted to get something in return. There’s no wining or failing.
Perhaps all of this was just rites of initiation – To experience what felt wrong and distrustful, then to undergo a process of unlearning in order to come back to the very knowing I had as a child.
I now experience the practice of devotion as a practice of being my essential self in relation to Self. It’s mindfully discovering aspects of self which are not aligned with my WHOLE, COMPLETE SELF. It’s being devoured and consumed in the Oneness, the totality of the experience.
Devoted to truth and trusting; that I can discern what is true for me better than anyone else. My devotion is to the fullest expression of my essential self through whatever I’m engaged in now. This practice of devotion is a practice of refining the facets of self that define me in all my forms. It has become a practice of only looking inward to find right-relationship with my Self, in relation to all aspects of the world.
As is inevitable, I come to this practice that is in complete juxtaposition to the practice I was taught as a child. Though saddened to have embarked on such a long and arduous journey that has it appear as if I was lost, alone and inadequate to cope with life, I am grateful for my arrival here, to this moment, as I found my way, and I found my Self.
Being Successful at Living Someone Elses Illusion
One of the fundamental truths I’ve been living with in my life is that I’m simply not enough and will never be enough. I can never do enough because I can never be enough – you get the picture.
Every day, I fail to bring about the magical miracle outcome that I hope will happen through completing ordinary tasks. The hope is unfulfilled. I’ve come to resist doing anything, or completing anything, because the evidence is that I will face the emptiness of unfulfilled expectations,… and I hate that feeling.
Empty of magic; empty of miracles; death of a dream; incessant hope that is unfulfilled, I watch as I despair with the perpetual emptiness that greets me at the end of every trip to town, every email session, every completion of a blog. The wish for success – work and prosperity – is attached to the belief that something is lacking. And all fingers are pointing at me – there’s something lacking in me.
Spiritually, I know that I’m Divine Presence incarnate and if that’s true then I have no doubt that I’m worthy of my desire for work that fulfills me and brings prosperity. This isn’t currently present in my life, which means something is wrong – again, all fingers point to me. My job is to uncover and unconceal a belief pattern that is juxtaposed to the truth of my Divine Presence.
Through muscle testing I’m able to converse with my self. I recover the logic and reason a three year old child used to understand her reality. Given the dysfunctional environment she was raised in, she came to believe she will never be enough and that she can never do enough because she can’t ever be enough. She is powerless to bring about a change in the circumstance in her environment. She is destined to repeat this pattern for decades.
Having the wisdom, experience and the knowledge to have this conversation with myself today, obviously reveals that as an adult I am enough and can do enough to bring about amazing outcomes; however …
If I find my emotional self continually avoiding tasks and projects as ordinary as going to town and back so as to avoid what I’ll be facing upon my return, I then have to take this expedition into emptiness to find the belief I made to be true, but which continually sabotages and thwarts the fullest expression of my essential self. So I take the journey.
The emptiness the three year old could not fill through her own presence of being is still here, experienced yet unfulfilled. For her whole life, she’s looked to others to fill that emptiness. She/I now know that has never worked in the past, nor will it ever work.
In this exploration, I touch on all that I’ve shared above. I see how I came to create the level of success I now allow and understand that this three year old child’s essential belief about herself is still embedded deep within my psyche. There is no capacity for greater fulfillment as long as this belief – that I will never be enough, is in place. I will continue to fail to bring about a different outcome because I can never do enough because I will never be enough.
I have no doubt that in past lives – my own or my ancestor’s, that I failed to survive. I died because I couldn’t do enough to save myself and perhaps others. So, again I came to decide that I must not be enough if I can’t do enough.
Anyone who understands the power of the energy held within beliefs, like the ones I’m sharing with you, gets that I need to detach from these beliefs and past life experiences in order to liberate myself from the inevitable outcome from proceeding as usual.
So, now what?
On page 8 of A Course in Miracles (1985), stands this passage:
“The Escape from darkness [illusion] involves two stages: First, the recognition that darkness [illusion] cannot hide. This step usually entails fear. Second, the recognition that there is nothing you want to hide, even if you could. This step brings escape from fear. When you’ve become willing to hide nothing, you will not only be willing to enter into communion but will also understand peach and joy.”
I’m grateful that I’m well into stage two, and no longer wish to hide, distract myself from, ignore or avoid thoughts that precipitate fear – to any degree. Everything is up for a look-see and a toss out.
As many of you know, I dowse to uncover and clear thought patterns that no longer serve my highest good or my highest truth. I highly recommend this practice to everyone in service to your fullest expression of your essential self.
After a session such as the one I’ve just described, I need to allow time for my body to release the cellular memory that has been within my system, perhaps for lifetimes. Rest, water, walk in nature, perhaps a good cry, all support an energetic detox. It could takes an hour or two, a day, week or years … no one knows how the unfolding of this process will proceed. I will know where I am in the process by the sense of peace and joy that I experience. In this moment, though, I feel liberated from the incessant feeling of emptiness and despair, and, I feel gratitude, which I’ve come to realize is part and parcel to being peace and joy.
Gurdjieff said: “Conscious faith is freedom. Emotional faith is slavery. Mechanical faith is foolishness.”
In moments like these, I practice conscious faith – though sometimes it’s really difficult. Given the choice though, to truly practice what I preach, there is no other choice to make. It all becomes a no-brainer. Not fun, not easy, but just what there is to do.
Blessings on your journey!
E is for Empowerment, Engage and Essence
My experience with life in any business environment is, that these three words empowerment, essence and engage, are the most powerful. They support and enhance personal and professional growth for both you and the business within which you are employed. The degree to which you are engaged with your work and your environment from an empowered perspective is the degree to which you will experience fulfillment and healthy dynamics within the workplace.
In my initial interviews with clients, regardless of their position, I ask: “What are you afraid people are going to find out or decide about you?” In quick order, even top executives will share aspects of their humanity that they are afraid will be found out. They’ll say something like “I’m afraid people will find out that I’m a fraud, that I’m unworthy of my current position; I don’t know as much as people think I know; I’m barely able to cope with the responsibilities I have; I sometimes doubt my capacity to do my job effectively. The list is endless as each of us has our own unique set of truths about ourselves that we want to keep secret.
The next question I ask “What do you do so people don’t find out that you are a (in this case) a fraud, unworthy of your position and the responsibility that comes with it?”
The answers to this question reflect a set of survival strategies, which over time become unconscious mechanisms that in a nutshell we call our personality or our ego. As you can see, our ego is fueled by fear-based precepts that have you believe that you flawed and have to act and be in certain ways in order to avoid being found out. Being found out, for most of us translates into being rejected, humiliated or annihilated.
It takes an incredible amount of effort for our ego’s radar system to constantly be on the lookout for potential slips that could incur being found out.
Imagine the amount of attention you put towards this protective process I call your survival mechanism. It’s much like your computer that is set up with a virus detecting software. It has to be on alert 24/7. In the case of us humans, though we are alert for not only what might be coming in, but more importantly what we might be putting out.
In the business environment too many of us are working and being from our egoic self. What else is there, you might ask?
Imagine if you will, a moment in your life when you are not operating from your fear-based strategies. What’s that like in your body? What’s the quality of the experience you are imagining yourself in? Sometimes it’s challenging for people to remember a time because it’s rare for them to not be stressed, fearful and on alert. However, most people will eventually remember a time or at least begin to sense into what it might be like. When they do they describe the qualities of being in that moment as, light, relaxed, free, creative, playful, fearless, engaged, connecting, open, flexible. This list too is endless as there are so many adjectives to describe this state of being without fear. We know this place; we just don’t visit it often enough.
The fourth question I ask my client is: “What would shift in your relationship to your work and your work environment if you were to coming from freedom, creative, relaxed, . . . instead of stressed, overwhelmed, intimidated, . .? The answers always astound the person answering. “I’d be more accessible to my direct reports, I’d be more engaged in their projects; I’d be less controlling and would delegate more easily. I’d be more fun to be around and I’d support people in being innovative. I wouldn’t be so stressed; I’d also be more willing to leave the office earlier, spending more time with family, friends and myself.
Wow! So by imagining being in a state that is not fear-based all sorts of possibilities show up that may have seemed otherwise impossible.
Once an individual is aware that they actually can choose to choose differently in how to be who they want to be in their work environment they then can begin to exercise muscles that will help them generate from this newfound freedom, fun and flexibility.
You would think that once experienced and revelation has occurred that people would actually empower themselves to choose to begin the process of shifting from fear-based choice-making to what I call essence-based choice-making. This brings us back to that essential dilemma of wanting what is desirable, at the same time wanting to avoid what is undesirable. For those committed to bringing spirituality into business there is will be the conflicting commitment of wanting to avoid repercussions. Again, those four basic questions need to be asked: “What are you afraid people will find out or decide about you; what do you do in order to have them not find that out; what qualities arise when you remember your vision of having the desired outcome; an lastly what would shift if you were to be that now? What choices would you make and what actions would you take in alignment with that choice?
This line of questioning consistently brings the individual in direct alignment with their essence of being, and empowers them to engage in actions that will bring about the desired outcome.
I totally understand how terrifying it is to consider being in your essence, especially in the workplace. Rarely are we seen or acknowledged for our essence-self. However, we are not our survival strategies, they change as our circumstances change; we are not our ego either. If that were true we would never ever experience those moments when we know ourselves beyond or fear and limitations. It doesn’t make it any less scary.
This brings me back to my original introduction when I defined spirituality as the practice of faith-leaping; exercising muscles that allow you to consider the possibility of shifting from the perspective that life is scary, to, life is a daring adventure or it is nothing – as Helen Keller said. Engaging with your life as a daring adventure requires thoughtful presence to what it is you’ve come here to do and to be.
At some point you will realize you don’t have a choice but to begin to get those muscles in shape. It isn’t a matter of if, it is a matter of when you’ll empower yourself to engage in living into your essence of being and living your life totally on purpose.
While in the Midst of a Leap of Faith – There are no Pit Stops!
From: Maureen M. Boston, MA
Dear Dr. Rosie,
I so appreciate your articles. They are very grounding and make me feel more normal, even when I’m panicking and unsure that I’m doing the right thing. My life is topsy-turvy right now. I’m leaving a two year relationship, I’m moving away from family and friends on a quest to find myself and the work I want to do. People say I’m crazy but I really feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I know I won’t be homeless or destitute, but I don’t know much else. Is there a right way to do what I’m doing or do I just have to jump?
Thanks for your courage and the willingness to follow your calling. You are not alone! What I mean is that, anyone, or everyone pursuing their dreams, their calling and their inspirations are on the edge of their comfort zone. The willingness to practice even just expanding your comfort zone or pushing the edge just a fraction of an inch can feel death-defying; it can feel as though you are jumping, leaping or maybe even falling off a cliff. And, the fact of the matter is you’ve done this hundreds of times in your life already – that’s how you’ve gotten this far out – to this edge of your comfort zone.
Think about all of the times you’ve taken risks, not knowing if you were going to come out okay on the other side. Perhaps learning to drive a car; learning to snow ski down a hillside; asking someone out on a date, applying for a job or to a school. Maybe you’ve faced illness or loss. There are so many ways you’ve been pushing the edge of your comfort zone. Tell me, what muscles have you been building through all of these practices that has brought you to this new adventure?
Obviously, the muscles you’ve been building, Maureen aren’t the physical muscles that have you run your fastest and jump your highest. Rarely do we witness people in the act of their leap-of-faith; though, it would be wonderful to see people leaping all over the world, wouldn’t it? It would certainly make it less frightening and more normal see all of the ways people are launching themselves into their dreams and their callings. For now we just have to accept that everyone around us is on their own trajectory, on their own path to who knows where!
Let’s look at what you are attempting – this Faith leaping. What does that mean? It means that you are stepping out beyond your reason and logic and stepping into a knowing – even though you don’t know how you know what you know, you still know. If you look at all of the incredible, even miraculous inventions on this planet you’d have to surmise that the inventors had to step out beyond logic and reason to come up with their ideas. Somehow they had a knowing that what they imagined could be realized. They took the leap and. . . .TA-DA!!!!
A couple of year ago I felt a calling to end the Transformational Coaching Training program I created and have been facilitating for almost ten years. It was a really important source of my income, but I kept sensing that I’m supposed to work with people and organizations who have more at stake – whatever that means. It’s taken me another two years to wrap things up. The program has ended in its current form and I have no idea what’s next. So, here I am – launched! I am in the midst of my own leap of faith. At times I feel crazy and stupid, panicked and terrified. I may lose everything! And, the question arises – what have I got to lose?
While sitting in a bathroom cubicle – one of my more favorite places to contemplate, I was considering the option of perhaps taking a teaching position at a University until I knew what it was that I was supposed to be doing with the rest of my life. Then, I saw this image of me, leaping through the air. I have no idea how long I will be in mid-air and I have no idea where I will land, so the thought of taking a detour became an option. I imagined a pit stop along the way of my leap of faith, and it made me laugh. There are no pit stops on a leap of faith! I’ve got to follow my calling; I’ve got to see this through to this end. I love the humor of the Universe, don’t you?
Though following your calling, Maureen can look and feel as if you are insane, what I know is that so many of our religious and spiritual traditions are filled with texts and scriptures that encourage following our hearts, our courage and our faith. One of the more famous scriptures is this one:
And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of a mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be planted in the sea; and it should obey you. Luke 17:5-6
Rarely do I site scripture, but the idea that we only need faith the size of a mustard seed to fulfill our calling provides an image that makes it that much easier to nudge the edge of my comfort zone just that much further.
Enjoy the adventure, Maureen. And fully explore all the ways you are using those faith-leaping muscles, because, rest-assured, there are many more wonderful adventures to come.
Author of Self-Empowerment 101
Creating a Business in Times of Uncertainty
From Sharon, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Dear Dr. Rosie,
I’m focusing on getting my business off the ground. And, at the same time there is so much talk about an economic meltdown; I just don’t know what to do. Should I stay under my covers where I feel safe and wait for it all to do what it’s going to do or should I move forward with my intention and hope for the best?
Your articles are written in such a way that they have a spiritual quality to them without being too religious or too woo-woo. This makes me feel comfortable asking you this question. Thank you for sharing your perspective.
Thank you Sharon.
You ask an important question, one that I think is on a lot of people’s minds.
There is so much fear these days. I’ve heard it said that we’ll soon be going to hell in a hand basket. Man, that can make anyone feel anxious and terrified; it makes sense that you’d want to hide under your covers, with that kind of talk going around.
For every one who predicts the hell-in-a-hand basket outcome there are just as many who predicts things will turn around in time. You get to decide which truth you want to create. With the science of quantum physics proving that our thinking creates our reality, I ask you Sharon, which reality will you create. This way of thinking challenges our normal version of reality, and it challenges us to exercise muscles that will work in our favor regardless of what we hear.
It’s important to consider though, that these conversation related the economic situation aren’t that different than those conversations going on inside our own heads; the ones that have us question whether we can or should move ahead on a project. We have as many nay-sayers in our heads as there are outside our heads. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the media or just in our heads, we have to choose to choose what we want to be true and live into it as if it is true, until it is true. Does that make sense?
Our world needs to empower every individual on this planet to say “Yes I Can!” We need to empower our children, our friends, family members, employees, even our employers to move in the direction of their hearts desire, their passion and their vision. Clarifying your intentions about what you want to fulfill, then living into your intention, regardless of the outcome, is essential.
While living and traveling aboard a sailboat, during a particularly severe storm, there was a possibility that the boat might sink and we would all die. My choice in that moment was to either do everything I could to keep the boat afloat or go down to my bunk and wait for death to take me. I chose to live into my intention to do whatever I could to keep myself safe and help keep the boat from sinking. I feel so good that I was courageous enough to make that choice.
Quite often, as I begin to move toward my desired outcome, anxiety surfaces. Anxiety makes me feel really uncomfortable. I want to avoid the discomfort of that experience. If I do something to avoid the anxiety more than likely I distract myself for a very long time. What I’ve had to learn to do is be with the discomfort of the anxiety while I continue to move forward with my projects. Much like sailing in that storm, where I was really terrified, I had to keep moving forward in order to save the boat and my life.
Sometimes we have to feel the fear, the anxiety, the anger or sadness and do what we have to do, just because we have to!
I want you to consider that one way or the other you’ll be making choices about your career. What choices will you make based on worry, fear and anxiety? What choices will you make based on confidence, courage and clarity of intention? Which of these choices will move you in the direction you want to go? Are there choices that can have you move at a speed that supports momentum yet doesn’t feel too risky? In a sense, do you require a bit of both/and, meaning moving forward while maintaining a safe speed toward your destination – that which you say you want?
Last week I talked about faith, which needs to be practiced whatever it is we are having to be with. Every time we move out onto the edge of our comfort zone we have to practice faith, we have to be with the “I don’t know how to do this” experience over and over again. As long as we are moving into our desires, wants and our needs we’ll have to be edging ourselves out, expanding our comfort zone. The outcome of this practice is that life gets easier to be with, so does change and transformation?
We can’t help but be anxious about uncertainty. And, at the same time we can begin to see that uncertainty is all there is. In doing so, we can then come to a place of acceptance about uncertainty; perhaps grieve the loss of what we thought was certain, and learn to be more at peace with what is. This is big work, Sharon, but I’m pretty sure it’s part of what all of us, and I do mean all of us, need to accept.
So many areas of the world are war-torn, poverty stricken, full of disease and death. The certainty of affluence that you and I have known here in North America has been a gift. I’m not sure that it is a right, as we’ve come to believe. I can practice gratitude for all that I’ve been provided and at the same time, begin to cultivate ways of being with uncertainty that allows me serenity and peace.
Here are a couple of things to do in support of this process. First, create a business plan. Start with the intentions of this business; this includes: What is your vision for this business, what is it here to serve? Write down all the intentions you have. Then, write down the various ways to serve these intentions. Also create a timeline of when you will put these ways into practice. Create a financial plan for yourself – how much money do you need to run your business, how much money to you want to be making as a profit. Consider how much money you’ll need to support you while you are birthing and growing your business. Keep it simple enough that you can take the steps required to fulfill your intentions, yet not too big that you feel overwhelmed. Just pace yourself, and, as I always encourage, get a coach or a thinking partner to keep you on track.
Bottom line for living with uncertainty? Listen to your heart!
Author of Self-Empowerment 101