Thursday, March 25, 2010

All for one and one for all

I'm currently reading Manifest Your Destiny: The Nine Spiritual Principles for Getting Everything You Want by Wayne Dyer. It's not an easy read. It meanders and rambles a bit and I have to re-read sections constantly. I'm not sure I can even summarize what the book's about. But I found a gem in there today. He talks about trusting in the principle that we are not separate from our "creator." There isn't a God there and us here. There is a universal creative energy. Or something like that. The point he's making is that we're not "separate" from the creative energy that surrounds us. We aren't really separate from each other either. We're all part of the same cosmic slush that is us and everything else in the universe. So here's the gem - he says that one way to trust in yourself and the wisdom that created you is to begin by admitting your confusion or failures. Remind yourself that genuine trust involves letting go of all conditioning that teaches you that trust in yourself is based on being "special or separate." In other words, even if we fail or are confused or make mistakes, we are still strong, capable, powerful beings. We can trust in that power. But we'll never really be able to trust that we're amazing if we keep thinking that in order to be amazing we have to be perfect. We'll never be comfortable with ourselves as long as we try to hide our imperfections. So here I am. In all my imperfect, messed up, confused, annoying, lazy, unorganized, funny, sweet, friendly, open, loving, perfect glory.

Yesterday I mentioned that I've been sharing my "story" - warts and all - with people recently. It's not like I walk up to strangers on the street and say "Hi. My name is Jessica. I'm getting a divorce and I have no job." And it's not like I spend all my time whining to my friends about how hard life is. (I do sometimes. Just not all the time.) What I meant was that when I talk to friends and acquaintances, I'm honest about myself and my situation. I've gotten an overwhelmingly positive response. People feel comfortable sharing more of themselves and their lives with me. I don't feel like I have to be someone I'm not or pretend I'm doing well when I'm having a hard day. I can just be. They can just be. It sounds so simple and it is. The problem is that many of us have become accustomed to putting up walls and it's a scary thing to stop hiding. But it's incredibly liberating. And opens us up to a connection with others that helps us know that we're not alone in our struggles and imperfections.

One issue I had to work through before this kind of honesty became a positive force in my life was my tendency to get stuck in a "victim" mentality. It's seductive - as a victim you get attention and people take care of you. You have a ready excuse for not doing things you should do but are afraid to do. You don't have take responsibility for your life if you're a victim. It's all somebody else's doing. If only my abusive husband would just realize what a jerk he is and start being nice. THEN I could be stronger. THEN I would be happy. THEN I would do all those things I know I'm capable of doing but just can't right now because I have this awful person in my life. I would do all those things I should do but right now, I'm a "victim" of my circumstances. At some point, if you're ever going to recover from bad life situations, you have to get out of that frame of mind. You have to realize that if you want your life to be better YOU have to take responsibility for doing what you can to MAKE life better. We all have choices. We all need to learn to make the right choices for ourselves. Just to be clear - there are going to be times in our lives when we're truly victims of someone or something outside of our control. The key is in how you survive those times, how and when you recover and stop being a victim. This isn't victim-bashing or blaming. The abusive things my husband did are part of his karmic debt that he has to deal with. But I can either continue to be a victim or I can get on with my life and stop using that as an excuse.

So now I'm in a place where I can share my struggles - not to seek pity or set up excuses for myself - but to show other people that they are not alone. And to remind myself that I am not alone. I hope that when I talk to people, it doesn't sound like I'm complaining or being negative. On the contrary, people are often surprised at my positive attitude when I talk about some really difficult subjects. That hopeful, optimistic, happy attitude comes from surviving hard times and coming out the other side a stronger person. Even though I don't have a job, I have no idea where I'll be living when we sell our condo and my savings is down to about nothing, I can honestly say that I'm excited about life. I'm happy about the direction that my life is going even if I'm not ecstatic about where it is right now. I'm trusting in my strength. I'm trusting my heart. I'm going where I should be going even if I don't know exactly where that is. And it's a beautiful journey.
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