Why Say I Love You
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve manipulated people I love in the name of love. I did so because I believed I had something to gain, and something to lose. It’s a model of love based on ownership, property, and the getting and taking model of reality. Its fear-based. And, strategizing instilled a sense of invulnerability in me, if I can make a belief that I love and am loved by someone, even though it doesn’t really feel that way, well, its better than experiencing the reality of being unloved. Who am I, or what am I, if I’m not loved?
I chose this particular strategy – probably before I was five years old, because I experienced the danger of having it be the other way. As I looked around my little world – my reality, I came to interpret that it wasn’t enough to be love. I had to prove my worthiness to God through words and actions. This was true regarding all my relations, teachers, priests, mom and dad, siblings – everyone!
Eight brothers and sisters vying for love and attention from parents – competition for MVP – most valuable person, was the set up long before my arrival on the planet. Being child #6, I had to work like hell to catch up, practicing every possible means of giving love to show my worthiness and value for being loved. I developed hyper-vigilance to see a need before it was ever expressed. I became a master manipulator in the name of love. It was my way of ensuring I didn’t disappear and become invisible in the midst of the ongoing, chaotic fray.
Decades later and a lifetime of attempts to cultivate self-worth and self-value, based on an external source of validation, it all became self-evident that – you guessed it – it never worked. The love I pretended to experience through special relationships, but was in many instances just delusions on my part, well, its isn’t fulfilling, wasn’t fulfilling. I know no one who doesn’t know what I’m talking about here. Too many of us settle for inauthentic connection because of our fear that we are nothing – or not enough, without it.
The spiritual texts I frequently read requires relinquishing the belief that I had to prove myself valuable and worthy of love. It clearly stated that there is no need to prove what is already my birth-right-ness. In Oneness: The Teachings, it says “You have come to this experience you know as your life in order to be able to reject, completely, the consensus view of reality imprinted upon you since birth, and to replace that structure of understanding with a perspective that totally transcends it.” Oh, really? Lots of luck on that one, eh? This wisdom and the engaged practice of living as if this were true, has been the undoing of me – mentally, physically and spiritually. This undoing of me has been a very good thing – not an easy thing, but a good thing!
“Self-value comes from Self-extension.” A Course in Miracles
Why do we say I love you? To comfort, to validate and to reassure others, and sometimes ourselves, that there is a bond between us. Sometimes, and I love this one the most, its an unstoppable expression of what is. I love ….
You’ve heard me speak about my little community of Westsound, here on Orcas Island. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I experience a generosity of spirit, that spirit of love, that seems foundational to what community and true engaged connection is about. The presence of self-extension, for me, is received and experienced in a way that feels genuine and authentic. The sharing of amazing food at the potlucks, of time and energy, and the gifts and talents that build and rebuild the structure of community, as well as the 100 year old building that is called the Westsound Community Hall. Well, this aspect of my world validates the truth of “Self-value comes from Self-extension.” Westsound Community makes me want to bring more of myself into expression – not from “you should,” but from “you are!”
Receiving the extension of Self through so many of my neighbors and members, well, it makes me happy and miraculously shifts my hyper-vigilance from giving in order to gain and get, to openness – an open expression and extension of my whole self.
Little by little I find myself worrying less – being less guarded. I don’t feel the need to protect myself from those who use manipulation in the name of love and service, like I did. Infused with the gifts of self-value, which the neighbors in Westsound share – I’m transformed. Truly!
I’m grateful that I’ve been in this intensive practice of undoing myself long enough to get to the point where the experience of love, which comes through self-extension can be realized within myself and within my external world. My perceptions have shifted enough to allow a new reality to materialize. I wish this for all of us.
No one can fake love and get away with it! We all attempt it and find it unsatisfying. And eventually we find it unpalatable and intolerable. Each of us came into the world knowing love is our essential nature. Too many of us learned strategic methods of love in order to survive. But, in the end, all of us return to remembering that our essential value lives in being the extension of who we already are.
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Q is for Question Reality
I read on the back of a car many years ago a bumper sticker that read “Question Reality!” Up until that time my life had been a mish mash of confusing circumstances, and it was a revelatory experience to take these two words deeply into my soul. I breathed deeply and felt as though I’d been given a sign that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
At this same time, the context of my life did not include any mechanisms, supports or guidance that would allow me to take on questioning reality as an overt practice. My parents raised me and my siblings as Catholic. It was a sin to question anything or anyone regarding the authority or truth of what was to be believed.
My context as a female in Middle America also didn’t allow me to ask questions that would potentially ruin my identity as a calm, submissive woman who could be wise but not too intelligent.
Going off to college gave me the opportunity to explore and witness realities lived by other people, however I continued to interpret these different ways of being based on what I still held as right, wrong, good and bad. At the same time, most of the preliminary courses in undergrad were taught by professors who also disallowed the questioning of the reality they were presenting.
Perhaps, all of these obstacles presented to me early in life provided opportunities to covertly practice the art of questioning reality. The value of that is that I wasn’t able to seek the wisdom of others to tell me what was real or true, so I had to do the research and experiment on myself. Today, in the field of research design, this form of study is called heuristic investigation. Here’s how Wikipedia defines Heuristic: “Greek: “Εὑρίσκω”, “find” or “discover”) refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery … This method includes using a “rule of thumb“, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense.
What do you do when the world is presenting you with a reality that isn’t connected to common sense? What most of us do is conform and contort ourselves as best we can into the context of reality that is in front of us, rarely questioning or using educated guesses, intuitive judgment or common sense.
As the paradigm shifts, we see the dissolving and dissolution of the foundation of our economic reality. What do you make of that? We see the premier leaders of our financial, religious and governments fail to maintain systems that are literally bankrupt in their principles and practices. How do you make sense of that?
In the world of business – the buying and selling of goods and services, questioning reality means dismantling the whole kit and kiboodle and re-inventing based on reality; but first you have to question reality!
A year ago, I choose to end the transformational coach training program. I had designed and facilitated this program for 10 years in the Bay Area, in California. My intuition had been guiding me towards this for years, but I was finally ready to make the leap. While discerning the common sense of this decision it seemed totally irrational and illogical. This program had been my bread and butter. I’d developed a reputation and people were flying in from all over the country to participate in this one year training. What would possess me to give all of that up? Logic and reason were not the major players in this process, and I could do nothing else but question reality. Over the course of this past year I questioned everything and hardly recognize the me that I’ve become. My anxiety is virtually gone; I’m far more calm and peaceful, I laugh far more often and the work I bring into the world is fulfilling. I love it!
A House of Cards
It’s becoming too obvious that there is a dismantling of reality as we’ve known it. And, you’ve heard me say this before, but I’m going to say it again: You are required to play the game. You, me and everyone else in the Western World have built this house of cards we call our reality. Generations of individuals over hundreds of years have brought us to the last cards of the deck. It has culminated into this wonderful masterpiece. And, now, it’s time to dismantle the house either with deliberate consciousness or with a deliberate whack from the proverbial two-by-four. (Don’t you love it when the cards go flying all over the place?)
What I’m wanting is for you to question how you are being in relation to this current reality you call your life and your work? What intentions are being served by your current use of what you consider to be common sense? What flies in the face of this current reality that you hope will go away if you ignore it long enough?
I don’t know if we’ll be saving the planet. I don’t know if we can change the foundations of the current structures that have us think that we are safe from vulnerability. Earthquakes, real and metaphorically have shaken the very ground of being of reality as we’ve known it. Fractures, cracks, fissures leave us dumbfounded with where to begin. Tsunamis, real and metaphorically have washed away the shelters, vehicles and the livelihoods we’d depended upon. What is the reality that exists once we realize that it’s all gone?
Nothing Matters and What if it Did?
People with faith (not faith as in religion but faith as in people who put complete trust in a higher power) have something that is the true foundation of reality. I have no doubt they have questioned the reality in front of them and decided that there is a reality that holds this one in the palm of its hands. They are able to hold the bigger picture and make choices based on this larger paradigm. These people usually share kindness, generosity and compassion effortlessly. Their values dictate choice-making based on spiritual principles instead of social and institutional mandates. They live in integrity and dignity and are accountable for their commitments. Some of these people are my clients and they are managers, CEO’s and COO’s of businesses and corporations around the world. I’m learning from them that to question reality infuses the world with an innovative, higher minded reality that, if nothing else will allow them to empower others to fearlessly question reality. This is how every invention and revelation has come about. Why stop now?
N is for Noticing
Noticing is the most powerful tool for cultivating awareness and for bringing valuable spiritual concepts to the workplace. Most importantly though, is having the intention to notice, in order to notice whether you are noticing or not.
Notice, for a moment, what is occurring within your work environment. Notice the lighting, the sounds, the smells and what the space looks like to you. As you are noticing, notice what senses you are using to notice. Is it just your hearing, sight, smell and your touch? What other senses are engaged through noticing? What’s happening inside your body, what emotions or sensations are present in this moment. Notice sensations, such as hunger, fatigue, stress, anxiety, worry, guilt, anger or aggravation. Notice where are you putting your attention. Notice if you are avoiding, distracting and delaying and what it is or who it is that you are avoiding, distracting yourself from or what specifically you are delaying. Notice, too what it takes to be you in this moment as you notice and bring awareness to your reality.
Lot Going On!
There is a lot going on, isn’t there? By bringing attention to your reality you are able to get clear about what it is that you are creating. By gaining clarity you are then able to notice what choices you are making and the results and consequences that ensue. What’s the quality of experience you are having in this moment? Is this the quality of being you’re wanting to have throughout your day?
Bringing spirituality to the work place is an inside job. It starts with noticing how you be who you be, then deciding whether this is a reflection of the environment you wish to create. Ask yourself this question: Do you really want to be the change you wish to see? If so, what needs to shift within you, then begin to notice how you, yourself is in alignment with that you wish to create. You can only change what you are conscious of, and you can only become conscious by cultivating awareness through noticing.
On a Similar Note
My sweetie and I were playing Backgammon the other night, which we do on a regular basis. This particular evening we noticed that when rolling the dice, there were a phenomenal number of doubles. The odds were against us for rolling as many doubles as we did. Something was being brought to our attention – we couldn’t help but notice it! We played six games and all of them were filled with vast amounts of doubles.
After Backgammon we decided to play some cribbage. Again, we couldn’t help but notice that Todd’s hand or mine had consistently held three of a kind – again, way beyond the odds of it happening. There was no logical or rational reasoning. We had to go outside our current paradigm to understand the phenomenon that was undeniable.
Our world is full of events like this and they are occurring far more often than ever before. We are being asked to look and notice what was once inaccessible to us. The cultivation of consciousness comes when at first we least expect it. Now more than ever we have an opportunity to witness a paradigm shift right before our eyes, at work, at home – everywhere. There is no doubt that this phenomenon is world wide – Universe wide.
Each generation that has gone before us has facilitated a greater and greater degree of consciousness. Many of you have heard, I’m sure that we are standing at the precipice of a paradigm shift. We are generating this shift and at the same time it is being foisted upon us by cosmic activity far beyond our wildest imagination – at least for most of us. Cosmologists – scientists who study the cosmos, totally understand what is causing such a rift in our world. It all makes sense to them.
There’s two ways one can respond when considering this unfoldment of the Universe. We either allow ourselves to be scared out of our wits and bury our heads in the sand, or we watch the extraordinary evolution of our time with fascination and curiosity. Some call it the time of the apocalypse, when we will be paying for the sins of our fathers and their fathers before them. Some call it the end times, but perhaps it is the end of the concept of sin and fear and war and sickness. Perhaps if we take on a practice of noticing we can begin to see the many opportunities to participate in this shift – cultivating awareness that will bring about a different way of being human; shifting from a fear-based paradigm to one based on our essence of being – love, kindness, compassion and creativity; one that inspires each of us to empower others to live into their fullest potential – no holds barred!