The whole tree: branches, roots and all.

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If you follow my blog, you already know that I decided to reflect and write about my life. The plan is to unpack every stage, see it from different dimensions, open to the truth, allow myself to live and feel through every aspect, especially the unlived ones. The purpose is to set free, heal, simplify and clear the way. Stephen Levine wrote that      ‘Caring enough for our life to enter it, to explore and heal it, even the hard personal truths that burn are beautiful because they are the truth.’

I was very enthusiastic to start and thought that the first few years would be easy to write about. Was I surprised to find out that it was not easy at all! It was extremely hard. I got stuck at my birth! I started to ask myself the following questions (which are always good questions to ask when you start a new project):

  1. What makes this ‘life review’ exercise important to me?
  2. How committed am I to working on this?
  3. What are the internal and external barriers I’m facing?

I became aware of feelings of ‘fear of rejection’ or ‘fear of stigmatisation’ in the back of my mind. My mind wanted to disguise the painful shadows whereas my heart wanted to forgive, be grateful and set it free. While working through the questions I came across the following writings:

  • ‘Each tree grows in two directions at once, into the darkness and out to the light, with as many branches and roots as it needs to embody its wild desires.’ John O’ Donohue.
  • ‘When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending. Owning our stories is standing in our truth. It’s transformative in our personal and professional lives and it’s also critical in our community lives. ‘Brene Brown

We tend to look at other trees and wonder why it is so easy for them to have so many branches when it feels as if we only grow roots. The reason is we only show the world our branches. If we do share, we tend to show a part of the story, a root, and not the whole root structure. That can be misleading. Instead of encouraging others it can be discouraging.

I realised that my roots are just as important as my branches. I also realised that if I want to live out of /in line with my truth (which is my mission in life) I need to be able to stand in my truth (which is my whole story). I need to be courageous enough to show the world (not that the world is reading my blog) my roots. It is my roots that give me the strength to grow and live in the light

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To be seen

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Have you ever looked at someone with your whole body instead of just your brain?

I’m not sure if you noticed but we tend to look at others with our brain. We conditionally or unconditionally determine how we see others or the situation. Instead of just allowing ourselves to look at the situation and see if for what it is. Not for how we think it should be or how we want it to be. We make it personal and look at it with a greedy eye, judgemental eye or inferior eye, etc.

A week ago I did a ‘gazing’ exercise with people I’ve never met before. How the exercise works is that for about 5 minutes you sit in pairs and look into each other’s eyes without saying a word. It is not the same as the game kids play when they look at each other and see who is the first to look away. The purpose of this exercise is to learn how to really see each other.

I experienced how one can see others by utilising ones whole body. I saw the fire of courage burning behind their eyes. I sensed how my heart opened as I saw their loving-kindness. I felt their pain in my chest knowing that I can’t fix it but I can hold it for them by seeing it. I experienced a tingling in my hands as I saw the gifts that they bring to the world. I felt my tummy turning with joy as I saw their unmeasured potential. As I saw them I came home to myself. After the ‘gazing’ exercise it felt as if we knew each other. There was no longer a need for words.

John O’Donohue writes about gazing in his book ‘Anam Cara’, ‘to gaze into the face of the other is to gaze into the depth and entirety of their life…when you really gaze at something, you bring it inside you.’ He later continues and states that ‘vision is central to ones presence and creativity. To recognise how you see things can bring you self-knowledge and enable you to glimpse the treasures your life secretly holds’.

I want to encourage you to give yourself the gift of looking lovingly upon yourself. Give others the gift of looking at them with your whole body. Let them be seen. Let them feel seen. You may never see them again.

Rest in the knowing that each gaze is a homecoming to your true nature.

Open up to the moment as it is

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How much do you allow yourself to open up to life? Do you ever allow yourself to experience intimacy within the moment?

Lately I’ve become more aware of how we tend to put conditions on our experiences. We unconditionally put conditions of satisfaction on life. For example, if I can retire without being financially dependent on someone I will be satisfied with my life. Or if we are diagnosed with a disorder, we tend to wonder why is my life so difficult. As if there is a specific way how life should be. Instead of accepting it for what it is we review it based on our pre-set expectations. In doing that we are judging it. This way of thinking can cause a lot of suffering.

In her book ‘Getting our bodies back’, Christene Caldwell writes that

When we relate in an unconditional way to our experience, we become accepting of it. And we can enjoy an open attitude towards it. When I accept my experience I can tolerate its intensity, I can learn from it. I can even find joy in it. In fact, I become nourished and joyful at the process of acceptance, more than at its actual content. It is that act of being with my experience that is satisfying, not the content of what is happening. When I accept myself, love is reborn. 

When we judge our experiences we can’t be fully open to what it may offer. We also can’t experience any form of intimacy. Not being able to experience forms of intimacy whether it is with yourself, with God, with the moment or life can lead to various addictions. As humans it is very difficult for us not to judge or label. The brain and Ego like to label and structure things in order to protect us. However, it is possible to learn to let go a bit more. To let go of our ‘conditions of satisfaction’ and to open up to the raw experience of the moment.

The good news is that you can start small. Try to strip yourself from your expectation and open yourself up to a moment each day. It can be a sip of coffee, a hug from a friend, a smile from a stranger, etc. As Caroline Myss said ‘The most meaningful events that have shaped our lives have, by far, been the smallest and most subtle’.