Reflections

The 360 of Forgiveness

10 May

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It took a dream for me to understand forgiveness.  I didn’t find it in a song or an audio recording or one of Wayne Dyer’s books or an Oprah Super Soul Sunday segment.  Like many of my important spiritual downloads, it happened at night.  And this one was a big one.

While the location in my dream was not totally clear, I was in an interior of a public place walking from one side of the room to the other.  In doing so, I passed two middle-aged women talking quietly.  As I was passing, I glanced over and one of them, in an attempt to describe someone to her friend, said, “You know, he’s a little — like him.”  At which point, she holds out her hand effeminately and the two of them laugh.  I reach the end of the room.  I stop, I turn around.  My blood began to boil.  I was angry and I felt confrontational.  I take a step towards them.

“You know, it’s not nice to talk about people like that,” I shouted to them.  They stopped their hushed chatting and turned to me, surprised.  “Do you talk about gay people like that all the time or just today?”

Their mouths dropped open.  Minutes pass and I proceed to lecture them, speaking sternly, powerfully, angrily.  I raise my voice, I use my hands to emphasize my points.  I was standing up for myself, calling out bigotry and was relentless.  I don’t remember everything I said, but it felt like a long time, raising my voice more and more to prove my point.  Eventually, the women’s faces turned from shocked to sad.  One of them began to the cry; soon after, the other began to cry, too.  Tears were streaming down their faces and once I took notice of this, I quit my yelling.  I stared at them and they stared at me.  We were quiet.  Suddenly, an overwhelming amount of empathy flooded over me and I immediately felt terrible for my outburst.

“I don’t mean to yell at you,” I told them.  “I know you all are good people.  I can see that.  I’m just angry.  But I see that you didn’t mean to hurt me.”  They continued crying and as they did so, my perception of these women changed.  At first, I had seen only one side of them, a side that was petty, ignorant, and offensive.  Then, as the tears progressed along with the dream, I saw these women in a totally new way.  While flawed, I saw that the root of their comment about me was not meant to be offensive; they were just simply unaware.  I saw, in a new light, that they were actually good, deeply-feeling people whose intent it was not to hurt anyone.

I woke up, puzzled about the dream.  It felt important, it felt powerful, but I wasn’t sure why.  I wrote it down in a notebook by my bed and several hours later upon reading it over a cup of coffee, I determined the power of the dream had to do with me standing up for myself and that, perhaps, this was a message from Spirit.  Maybe they were trying to tell me that I needed to stand up for myself more on a regular basis or that I would have to very soon?  Later that day, upon reviewing the sequence of events in my head, it became glaringly obvious that the power of the dream was actually not in my tirade at these two women.  The power was found in the fact that before my very eyes, my perception of them as wrong and evil altered to empathetic and kind.  Yes, these two ladies in my dream were really teaching me about forgiveness.

When someone wrongs us or we feel betrayed by them, we are looking at the person through a 180-degree perspective.  We only see the wrongdoing and are blinded by our rage and hurt.  Yet, when we get to a place where we choose to forgive someone for what they have done to us, we are adopting a more 360-degree angle; a greater picture that’s truly three-dimensional, choosing to see the person in a fuller, enlightened way, not merely for the wrongdoing they may have done to us, but as a complete person.

I spent the next day thinking about this, about the ironic timing of my dream since I had recently been flooded with YouTube videos, books, quotes and reading material on the topic of forgiveness.  Forgiveness seemed to be taking a spotlight in my life and I wondered why.  So I set out to explore it for myself.  I wrote down the names of three people who I have felt wronged by in the last few years and I set the intent to truly forgive them and view them in the 360.

Marianne Williamson’s advice on forgiveness is to think of the person you must forgive and wake up each morning and pray for their happiness for 30 days.  Realizing I felt stilted in several ways by not truly forgiving these three people, I woke up the next morning and said out loud each of their names, taking several minutes to focus and pray for their happiness.  God, it wasn’t easy.  It kind of made me wanna throw up in my mouth at first.  And doing it the next morning wasn’t easy, either.  And the next one after that wasn’t so hot, come to think of it.  But by the fourth and fifth morning, I began to feel a cellular shift in the way I thought about these three people.  They no longer stirred negative emotions in me and the feeling of wishing them true happiness, wanting that for them on a profound level, gave me a peace I’d never had before.

Well on my way in this advanced spiritual practice, here are three things I realized about this powerful practice:

Forgiveness brings clarity.  Since following Marianne Williamson’s advice, and since having made several other lists of people I now realize I need to forgive on one level or another, I now see more clearly the soul contracts behind these complicated relationships and the purposes behind them.  I see more lucidly why things happened the way they happened and saw the good that came out of it as opposed to being clouded by the negative aftermath.

Forgiveness is a process.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  I’d be lying if I said that while I wish these three people true happiness and joy, there is definitely 15% of me that still would consider throwing a pie in their face mid-sentence a la Anita Bryant.  But several weeks ago that percentage was more like 25% and I’m hoping next week it will be down to 10%.  For some people, it might take years to fully forgive.  But if we are truly honest with ourselves, people in our lives fail us in greater and smaller ways all the time and the practice of forgiveness is a constant one.

Forgiveness opens doorways.  Through forgiving, you make yourself available to better things that can come into your life.  Carrying around excess bitterness and resentment closes you off to opportunities; yet, when your heart is open, you are truly able to receive.  You’re spiritually available for the amazing people, events and chances meant for you in this lifetime.

I wasn’t ready for this lesson a few years ago.  It seemed too daunting, too difficult.  And let me tell you, it’s definitely not easy, forgiving someone on that cellular level, particularly in the beginning.  But I realize I’m now ready because I really strive to view people in the 360, there’s a genuine want there.  And while I’m sure there’s a longer road ahead, I know I have those two ladies playing limp wrist in my dream to thank.  ‘Cause even though I yelled at them a little, they got me off and running.  And let me tell you, you’re not really off and running until you learn to forgive.

 

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Walking Away

15 Apr

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Sticking around longer than we should can be a habit for sensitive people.  Whether it’s a lackluster relationship that needs separation to move forward, a dead-end job you’ve been in far too long or even an uncomfortable living situation that desperately needs change, taking initiative yourself to bring an end to that which no longer serves you isn’t easy.  It’s only human to want to avoid hurting feelings and continuing with what is because it’s scary to imagine a new or foreign or unknown reality.  Yet recently, I’ve begun to value the bold notion of walking away.  And what precedes such an action is listening to that voice inside you, where I often think is best heard in our heart chakra, that voice that whispers, “It’s time.”  Three weeks ago, that voice spoke to me.

As a writer in New York, like many other writers here and elsewhere, day jobs are part of the game.  It’s just the nature of the profession and part of the juggling act in a career that is constantly on again, off again, here for a while and then gone, sight unseen.  The day job I’ve had the last five years, however, has long since worn out its welcome.  With the advent of the New Year, I began getting a very strong premonition that I would leave this current job; that I wouldn’t be let go, but I’d have to leave on my own terms.  I was confident this was indeed the year to quit, but confused as to when.  Fear kept telling me to wait, that perhaps early summer would be best or even after that, yet deep down, that voice kept saying, “Soon.  Soon.”

Three weeks ago I was walking into work, rolling my eyes and sighing loudly, pissed I had to be there, counting down the hours until I could leave, when I took out my phone to silence it prior to getting off the elevator and lo and behold, a one-minute video featuring Iyanla Vanzant started to play, volume as loud as it could go, starting just as I held the phone in my hand.

Iyanla looked directly into the camera and proclaimed:  “Courage, the ability to do what you know you have to do, before you are forced to do it.  Courage.”

The elevator slowed down as it was reaching my chosen floor.  I froze, struck with the uncanny timing of this message, completely confused as to how the video began playing in the first place as I didn’t click into the application where it was located, knowing good and well what my guides were telling me.

Later that day, I put in my notice.

Walking away is a very specific part of life and I’m convinced it not only takes courage, but also having experienced the consequences of not doing so in the past when you could have.  The remainder of the day I was flooded with examples of relationships, jobs, friendships, living situations, where I could have and should have walked away before I was forced to, but when the other party or circumstance ended it for me.  I saw very clearly how I could have chosen to take the initiative and end what clearly needed to end and I knew I now had an understanding, after finally doing so for the first time, of how to say no in order to say yes.  When we say no to something, when we make the conscious choice to part with it and go a different way, we are, in fact, not walking away, but walking toward what is truly meant for us in our life path.

Some may confuse walking away with copping out or quitting early or cowardice, but the difference between them are paramount.  As when you really stop and listen to yourself and more specifically, that voice that speaks through your heart chakra, you know when the Universe is telling you to end something; you know because there’s an understanding that you doing the actual ending is the only way for life to move in the direction it should.

In honor of learning this lesson on a spiritual and cellular level, having felt now first-hand the exhilarating feeling of walking away from that which no longer serves me, I’d like to share the video that tipped me over the edge, that miraculously appeared on my phone without my doing, the message through Iyanla that came from my guides on the day when I needed to hear it most.    Courage.

Dreamwork As Work for the Soul

16 Mar

Many of us don’t consciously realize it, but on top of our day jobs, we’re also working the third shift.

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Have you ever woken up exhausted but had a full eight hours of sleep?  Have you ever had a dream that felt so real it stuck with you the remainder of your day, your week, your year?  Spirit works with us during the day and at night.  And sometimes, it’s more efficient for Spirit to teach, to communicate or impart information during sleep because due to our heightened and opened consciousness at night, we understand it better.  Sure, we’re not getting paid overtime, but it’s much-needed overtime for the soul.

With some dreams, our guides put us to work.

One particularly vivid dream I can remember is standing on the first floor of an old, three-floored house that had probably been around for several hundred years and feeling I was there for a very specific purpose.  I remember turning to one part of this house and in front of me was a man in his 20s, probably around my age and he looked very lost.  I approached him and very calmly said, “Hey, I just want you to know, any time you wanna get outta here, all you have to do is call upon your guides and follow the white light.  It’ll appear above you and your guides will help you cross over.  You don’t have to stay here.  You know that, right?”  The man nodded his head, we exchanged a smile and I soon woke up.

Upon waking, I was elated.  My guides were giving me assignments to help others cross over!  Totally rad.  I was wide awake, the memory and details of the dream were more than clear and I felt on an emotional, spiritual and cellular level that this wasn’t just a dream.  I had actually left my body on “assignment” and returned.

Dissecting the details of the dream over a cup of coffee later that morning, I thought it interesting that my guides sent me to communicate this message to a man in his 20s, who had a very similar disposition to that of my own.  Perhaps there was more relatability in a guy similar in age on both our parts through imparting this knowledge and information.  In other words, if it were a very old man or a young girl, would he have been as responsive?   If this man were dead, he had died pretty young and more was than likely going to be more responsive to someone who was more similar to him than not.  Did he cross over right away?  I did not get the sense that he turned around and immediately followed my instructions.  But I know he listened and understood and in a way, I helped play a small part of his crossing over journey.  Yep, buddy, your bill’s in the mail.

Other times, our guides convey messages.

I remember very clearly one night, before going to bed, struck with the paralyzing fear that I would never find a significant other who would truly appreciate me for what I have to offer; that my contributions in a relationship would be ignored, that the light I have to give would never be fully appreciated and I would be angry about this for the rest of my life.  Whew.  A little more tumultuous than counting sheep, don’t you think?  I looked around for a Tylenol PM to shut me up.

But there wasn’t any nearby, so instead of Tylenol PM, what I got later that night as amelioration was so much better.

Once I finally fell asleep, I had a dream I was watching TV and on the TV was an interview with a man I was supposedly dating – at least, this was understood in the dream, that who I was watching being interviewed was someone I was involved with romantically.  Several minutes into the interview, the interviewer, who was a little Charlie Rose-esque, asks this man, “So, tell us about your personal life.”  And the man being interviewed proceeds to say, “Well, I’ve recently started seeing this new guy who is really amazing” — and goes on to not only mention me by name, allowing me to obtain some serious commercial exposure on TV in the spirit realm, but then proceeds to list all of the characteristics that he loved, admired and appreciated in me.  The list went on and on.  I literally remember sitting in a chair and watching him talk about me for what felt like forever.  As the interview concluded, the Charlie Rose-esque reporter said, “He sounds like a really special guy.”  And I woke up.

I woke up, wide awake, having completely forgotten my aforementioned crippling fear.  My heart was swelling with joy and I spent the rest of the day going about my business with a strong knowing, a keen understanding of what it means to be truly appreciated for all you have to offer by another person.  To this day, that feeling resonates with me and that intense fear has never returned.  My guides instantly answered me that night in such a wonderfully creative and charming way.  I was grateful.

Dreamwork doesn’t always involve guides; sometimes those we’ve lost in the physical world can communicate with us in dreams.

One of my best friends in the entire world lost his father quite suddenly several years ago.  This really upset him, as you can imagine, and he struggled for quite some time after with unresolved issues relating to his sudden passing — things that were left unsaid, things that could have been said if there was only more time.  My understanding of their relationship was that while there was love between them, there was a disconnect on his father’s side in understanding and accepting his son on multiple levels.

I remember visiting with my friend about six months after his father’s passing,  and I asked him how he was doing.  He responded in the way that I expected, still struggling, of course, but then remarked, “You know, I had a really interesting dream about him the other night.”

“Oh, really?”  I asked.  “What happened?”

“Well, in the dream my dad came to me and there was nothing spoken between us, no words, but just the two of us looking at each other, face-to-face.  And even though nothing was spoken, so much was communicated.  It’s like, nonverbally, through his expression, I knew that he understood everything that I’ve gone through — how hard it’s been for me, how compassionate he is towards me —  there was just a knowing.  A knowing that he finally really understood and accepted me.”

I was left speechless, nodding my head, knowing good and well my friend didn’t quite understand that this wasn’t just a dream, but knowing he understood and received his father’s message, regardless of his knowledge of loved ones communicating in the dreamworld.  There was a photo of his father on the mantel that I glanced at before I left his house that day and I took a moment to smile at it, saying to myself and to him, “Message received.”

We have a lot to do in this world.  We have a lot to say to one another, to convey to one another, to teach one another and as the old saying goes, “there just aren’t enough hours in the day.”  Rest assured the work doesn’t stop even when our eyes are closed.  Our souls keep growing, our guides keep guiding and those we love who are no longer with us find a way to say what was left unsaid.

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Taking Back Your Mercury Retrograde

25 Feb

 

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Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time again — a time spoken of in warnings from  your eccentric aunt who avidly collects crystals; a time that metaphysicians and spiritualists prepare for a month in advance; a time that can be true chaos and madness for many — where communication breaks down, people from our past suddenly resurface, technology fails us and when focus and concentration seem to disappear.  Yes, it’s 2013’s first Mercury Retrograde and yes, it can be a sucky time.

For those who don’t know, Mercury is the fastest-traveling planet, taking about 88 days to make its journey around the sun.  (Just to put it in perspective, Uranus is the slowest, taking 84 years.)  Whenever Mercury returns and passes “go” it goes retrograde, meaning it gives the optical illusion that it’s moving backwards.  “Backwards” is a fitting word for this three-week time period that typically occurs three times a year, as many people feel like they, too, are moving backwards.  I am profoundly affected by Mercury Retrograde and close friends can attest to my misfortune.  Symptoms include, but are not exclusive to: profound sensitivity, physical exhaustion, rampant impatience, depression, lethargy, emotion breakdowns, technology breakdowns — the list goes on and on.

Long story short, Mercury Retrograde is a hard time for many people and most of us wish it away as soon as it arrives.  But after living through quite a few in my ripe old age, I am convinced it’s time we approach this in a different light.  I am convinced we need to see the inconveniences of this astrological time as helping us, not hurting us.  After all, I have encountered some of my most profound psychological and spiritual changes during this time.  Unfortunately, it all comes under the umbrella of distress and inconvenience.  Yet I’d like to share a personal story during our last retrograde that really encouraged me to see this time in a new light.

The last Mercury Retrograde I experienced was in October, right after Hurricane Sandy.  In New York, we had an abrupt and unusual snowstorm shortly after that week, a snowstorm that was a bit early in the season, even for New York.  In the midst of the storm, I ventured to the grocery store to stock up on food for the weekend in case the snow got worse.  On my way out of the store, which is incidentally an avenue away from my apartment, I put my wallet in my back pocket or in what I thought was my back pocket, distracted by the entourage of oncoming snow.

I got back to my apartment, put away the cans of soup and other winter survival necessities and reached into my pocket to put my wallet on the counter when I realized it was gone.  I search, I tear my apartment apart, I look into grocery store bags, I retrace my steps in the snow, I go back to the store and ask the clerk — my wallet is nowhere to be found.

Now, for many of us, this might not be unusual.  Inconvenient, maybe, but not unusual.  For me, let me note, this was HIGHLY UNUSUAL.  I check for my wallet probably 7-9 times a day on average.  I am hyper vigilant about making sure it’s always on me and I have never, never ever ever lost my wallet.  Ever.  Like, ever.  And I never expected to.

But I did.  And for three weeks, I had no identity, no credit or debit cards, nothing with my name on it that proved that I was me.  Furthermore, due to Mercury’s lack of communication, it took me an addition ten days from the normal ten-day waiting period to get a new I.D. and credit and debit cards.  For all of that retrograde, I was truly identity-less and nothing to show for it.

But despite all this madness, there was an important lesson.  Yes, I had lost my physical identity, but I had also lost my spiritual identity.  During this time, I was not behaving in a way that I was proud of.  I was going out too much, attracting the wrong people, having destructive thoughts that led to destructive emotions that led to a debilitating and overwhelming lack of self.   I had forgotten who I was, I was pretending to be someone else and what made it even worse was, while I enjoyed it, I really missed me, the real me, the me that I really admire, look up to, honor and love.

Mercury helped me realize this in a very physical way.  I was lost, so it was time to lose something that was who I thought I was, not who I really am.  The photo on my old I.D. was no longer me and I spent the remaining days reclaiming the man I no longer recognized.

Iyanla Vanzant encourages us to “find an empowering way to tell our story.”  I urge us to do the same thing with Mercury Retrograde.  Find a reason why the e-mail you’re trying to send never went through; look for the meaning underneath the awkward chance encounter with your ex on the subway whom you haven’t seen in years; dig deeper beyond your computer just abruptly breaking down.  Look for the message, look for the metaphor, look for an empowering way to move your life forward through taking a step backwards.

This is a profound time of growth if we stop and listen.  Scream, yell, throw something and curse this tricky planet of miscommunication.  But when you’re done, listen to what it’s trying to teach you.  Mercury, in the end, I believe anyway, is just ultimately trying to help us reclaim the person we’ve lost.

 

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Finding the Right Matches for Your Light

12 Feb

Finding The Right Matches

For Your Light

 

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Everyone I’ve ever met has a light.  Some of us see it more vividly than others, but we all share this common thread, a common vernacular, a language of light. Light is crucial to the human experience and is more commonplace than water in the spirit realm.  Light wakes us up in the morning, it greets us when we cross over, it aids focus and concentration, it brightens and heals us when called upon.  No doubt, we would be lost without it.

Light is also an apt metaphor when dealing with interpersonal relationships.  Some people in our lives brighten and enhance the light we have to offer, whereas others diminish it, be it consciously or subconsciously.  Those around us who enhance our light typically say “yes” to what we have to offer; they take what we have and amplify it into something greater that would not be possible alone.  They don’t view your light as a threat, but instead, allow it to shine in its own natural radiance.

Then of course, there are those who dim our light, who say “no” to what we have to give.  Light diminishers can be challenging, but it’s been my experience that they are not to be looked upon as “bad people.”  So many times, people don’t know what to do with someone else’s light.  They don’t know how to respond to it, so their default is “no” as they don’t have the ability to match it, intensify it, take what it has to offer and make a contribution.

Not everyone is meant to appreciate the light you have to offer.  And while this can be a disheartening lesson at first, it just goes to show you that light truly is a language.  Some will speak it, others won’t.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, a holiday focused around love, and as we delve ourselves further and further into this Number 6 Year, many of us will find a large emphasis is placed on interpersonal relationships.  When embarking on new relationships and when examining older ones, I hope we continue to ask ourselves: Who are the people in my life who respond best to my light?  If there are some who don’t, where is a better place I can put them so that I can continue to shine?

Your light is your spiritual birthright.  You deserve people who enhance it.  Honor yourself and take the time to find the light you deserve.

Beginners

28 Jan

Can you imagine coming out of the closet in your late 70s?  Well, if you have trouble wrapping your head around it, the film “Beginners” portrays such a remarkable journey.  Starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, “Beginners” details Plummer, who plays McGreggor’s father, coming out as a gay man in his late 70s after the recent death of his long-time wife.  Shortly after doing so, however, he’s diagnosed with cancer and McGreggor comes to take care of him in his final months.

Christopher Plummer in "Beginners"

Christopher Plummer in “Beginners”

This film struck me in many ways.  First of all, it’s a true story.  Mike Mills, who wrote and directed the movie, talks openly about his inspiration for the screenplay deriving from his elderly father’s own coming out process.  Second, Plummer’s award-winning performance is stunning.  His unabashed enthusiasm for his newly-found life and identity is infectious and his audacity to dive head-first into this new culture is admirable.  Third, McGreggor’s character really takes a turn when he soon grows jealous of his father’s new dating and social life, which forces him to question, at age 40, what’s holding him back from pursuing true love.

For most of my 20s, I have assumed “old age” is when you have everything figured out, when you’re anything but a beginner anymore, when you’ve somehow reached the master level of attainment and if anything, you have to learn how to let go of all that you’ve conquered because the inevitable is drawing near.  But Plummer’s character in “Beginners” altered that perception and once I accepted it, I began to think of various real-life examples of others who found themselves to be beginners at surprising stages in life.

My list was quite extensive.  Most notably, I know a woman who just turned 70 and for the first time in her entire adult life, has met the love of her life and is in the happy, healthy relationship she really deserves.  I have a good friend who is pushing 40 and just changed careers, doing something completely different than he was before.  I have another good friend who is for the first time completely sober and is looking at life with a clarity he never had prior and is approaching interpersonal relationships in an entirely new way.  I thought of myself, too, about how after having a play produced in several festivals Off-Off Broadway at age 15 and a musical for which I wrote the book and lyrics published at age 16, I knew exactly what I wanted to do career-wise at a very early age, yet I didn’t pursue social circles outside of my work or attempt to date and cultivate meaningful relationships until I was 25 or 26.  Upon embarking on that pursuit in my mid-20s, I felt like I had missed a boat everyone else had caught long before me and I was dog paddling in the water trying to catch up. I look back at my example and the examples of others and realize we all are destined to be beginners in one phase of life or another for the rest of our lives.  It never stops.

Being a beginner isn’t easy.  It requires vulnerability, courage and a trust that the dog paddling in the water will lead to something greater.  It’s the acceptance that you don’t have and will never have it all figured out and that the lessons will present themselves to you at the best time of learning, earlier or later than perhaps you’d like.  It’s natural to think, “I should have had this already” or question, “Why am I just now learning this and not ten years ago?”  Outrage at the Universe is common; anguish towards our life plan is to be expected.  Yet, being a beginner is a resolve that you can’t control the timeline of your life and accepting the path that is meant for you, not the one your ego thinks you want or need.  All of the characteristics that make us who we are aren’t meant to come together at once; instead, they blossom over the course of a lifetime at the perfect places for maximum learning.  “The Universe is perfect and its timing is perfect,” says James Van Praagh.  Our beginnings arrive at the perfect time.  I often repeat the mantra, “I trust my timeline and I trust my timeline’s timing” to remind me of this.

I have learned two important lessons in being a beginner.  First, relish it.  There is an excitement to it, an adventure into new territory and with it, a new hope. Second, hold onto your vision of what you hope the new beginning will bring; hold onto the image of yourself as no longer a beginner, but as having what you sought from it in the first place, as deserving it, as grateful for it.  The inspiration from your vision and the excitement of the unknown make being a beginner more manageable.  It ameliorates the fear and nurtures empowerment.

Ultimately, we begin, we end and in the meantime, all we can do is trust.  Beginnings are open doorways and open doorways are a path to change.

You Can’t Take It With You

30 Dec

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As we approach the new year, we approach a powerfully undeniable hope for change.  Many might write down actual resolutions, others might create vision boards, while some simply have in mind what they want to do differently in a new year and meditate on it quietly.  Change is walking through a new doorway, but it demands a tradeoff; we can’t take some of that old stuff with us.  Change requires manifestation and manifestation necessitates sacrifice.  Not taking some of that old stuff with you is the the agreement we must make to change.

I think all too often we yearn for a change in our lives and demand said change without doing the work first.  This is, after all, the literal definition of insanity –– doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.  When we call upon change, when we’re looking at the practicality of change, we often need to let some things go in order to make it a reality.  What do I mean by “things?”  I mean the Big Three: beliefs that no longer serve us, people who don’t have our best interests in mind and habits that sabotage the very thing we’re trying to accomplish in the first place.

As I walk through 2013’s doorway, I’m giving up a belief that no longer serves me – distrust.  I’ve adopted a general distrust of life all my life to deal with living in an uncertain world and more specifically, pursuing a career with an uncertain future.  Distrust as a belief and also a daily habit has been my number one coping mechanism and as a result, caused me great anguish and fear that’s not only manifested itself psychologically, but physically.  As I see the new year ahead and the new doorway I’m to walk through, it doesn’t involve distrust.  It involves feeling secure with where I am, confident that the people I meet are who I need to meet and knowing that life as it is is perfect in the present moment and can be no other way.  It’s time to leave distrust as a coping mechanism behind because it’s preventing me from who I’m meant to be.  Yes, the initial revelation is liberating, but then the reality sets in: How do we say goodbye to these beliefs, people and habits that have become so ingrained in our consciousness?

Iyanla Vanzant once said that when she was trying to forgive her ex-husband for wronging her – more specifically, for ending their 40-year relationship via a curt e-mail, she wrote “forgiveness” on a piece of paper and taped it over her heart.  And then when that wasn’t enough, she wrote it again on Post-It and taped it to her side.  And when that wasn’t enough, she wrote it again and again and taped “forgiveness” all over parts of her body, walking around with them underneath her clothing for months until she reached a moment in her car where she pulled over in rush hour traffic, frozen at the wheel, realizing that she truly, deep down, had reached that moment where she genuinely forgave him.

Iyanla knew she had to get rid of the crippling anger and bitterness that comes with not forgiving.  She knew she had to leave this man behind so she could walk through her next doorway, so she did what she had to do – with Post-Its, nonetheless, and over time she was healed.  When we sacrifice what’s not working in order to change, we have to devise a plan for that sacrifice that works for us; it’s very individual.  I’ve discovered daily affirmations help me, particularly when I have a moment of sheer panic where I refuse to trust the present moment – where I can attempt to smile or if I’ve had a drink, laugh, saying out loud, “This is crazy, but I trust it.”  When I’m in the shower in the morning, I find it helps to take four or five minutes to imagine distrust trickling off my body like water, going down the drain, far, far away, never to return and interfere with my life path again.  We each have to discover the tools to say goodbye to these things for ourselves; goodbyes are not universal, they are highly individual.

Knowing what to say goodbye to is the first step, then committing yourself to the process of parting ways with it is the second.  We cannot expect the other side of that doorway to be any different than the one we came from if we think we can just pack up and take all that old, destructive stuff with us.  We need room for new things – for new beliefs, new people, new habits that support us in our vision of ourselves.

Focusing on what you hope to gain out of change is powerful, but I’ve discovered as I’ve been letting go of distrust these past few months that focusing on what you hope to lose can also be just as powerful.   As wise teachers have often said, “It’s not enough to want, you must act.”  So, I encourage you to actively ask yourself: What am I leaving behind that is no longer serving me?  Begin to take the time to say goodbye to it, nonjudementally understand why it was with you for as long as it was, and then, with ease, with confidence, walk through that next doorway, knowing the room you’ve made is the room for change.

Sensitive People Need Tools

19 Dec

I started this website in honor of the monumental change we are embarking on with the December 21st arrival. While it’s the end of the Mayan calendar, it’s the beginning of a new age of thinking, a much-needed paradigm shift and perhaps one of the greatest opportunities for spiritual advancement many of us will ever get to experience on this planet.

Being a spiritual and sensitive person has many advantages. Your perception of the world is greatly enhanced; your interpersonal relationships are more conscious, more aware and more grounded; your sense of self is clearer and your view of humanity is one of great compassion and connectedness.  Yet as a result, you are profoundly more vulnerable to the insensitivity of others.  Living with a spiritual perspective opens positive doorways that are unimaginable to many, but it can come at a price.  The tradeoff is well worth the confusion and occasional chaos, but I believe it’s important to limit the negative effects as much as possible.

Sensitive people need tools. They need language for the profundity they experience; they need techniques to navigate the inevitable rough waters in an insensitive world; they need inspiration and community with others who, too, strive to live life enlightened and connected, free from a veil of limitation and ignorance. 

With Open Doorway Reflections, I hope to do just that. This website will feature bi-monthly articles on self-help, empowerment and spiritual law, in addition to interviews and podcasts with some of the nation’s foremost spiritual thinkers, spanning psychics to astrologers to past life therapists to scholars. 

If you are in need of a wrench or hammer in your spiritual toolkit, I hope this website will serve a practical and inspirational role in your life. I hope some of the wisdom it imparts will empower you to stand more firmly in your own light and to trust your inner guidance and intuition.  I know I, for one, am grateful for this opportunity to share my reflections and insights with you and perhaps, play a small role in your evolution as we approach this exciting time on Earth.  We are entering a new 3,000-year era and experiencing a Galactic Alignment that only comes once every 26,000 years. Folks, why wouldn’t you need an extra wrench or hammer?  

Please check out our premiere interview with Angel Lopez, one of the most talented astrologers I know, as he answers some of my questions about the end of the Mayan calendar and 2013 and the planets that will influence it.

Here’s to a new age and to this site, which I hope will find its way into your toolkit.

 –toolkit_red                        –Drew