Who Am I?


This morning, my sister sent a blog link, http://aleafinspringtime.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/a-guide-to-the-dark-side/

I know I meander in my thinking and writing a lot of the time but I’m really a bottom-line and short-attention-span kind-of-person so clear, concise messages appeal to me.   After reading the blog, a question resurfaced.  I’ve pondered it recently while reading Tolle and The Untethered Soul…if I’m not my emotions and mind voices, then who am I?  All of my life I had determined who I was by what now I understand were egoic standards, what I do – not who I am.   That identity  has changed over my lifetime.  I also unconsciously sensed that I was more than my self-description but never put conscious thought to it until recently.

I’ve known most of my life that my gut is my guide.  It is how I understand my life.  I have so far been able to consistently depend on God speaking to me this way.  It’s about the only constant in my life.  And I am a good listener.   Also, without much thought,  I’ve known that my gut is  always right and I’ve felt very certain of my decisions when I had that gut knowing.   But I don’t always get it when I think I need it and that is when I’ve started, in the past, to question if what I’m hearing in my mind voice is God speaking – or not.  Well, now I know it is not.   I will question no more.  I will quiet myself and wait for my gut knowing.

I didn’t understand the role of the mind chatter and have spent untold hours of emotional pain and anguish, endured many sleepless nights because I engaged and listened and tried to make decisions from there.   Until recently, I didn’t know I had a choice!

I don’t have a problem with all of this when things are going well.  My mind voice gives me some useful information.  It’s when I feel anger, fear, distrust – all of the negative stuff…that’s when the negative mind voices kick in.  And they are scolding, accusing, bring up the worst case scenario – every time – just plain negative thoughts.    They intensify feelings of regret and insecurity… and on and on…

I’m sure I heard or read this somewhere but I’ve found that if I try to watch my thoughts – ask myself, “What are my thoughts right now, what am I thinking?”,  I realize I have no thoughts when I’m doing that.  It helps clear my mind.  Sounds confusing maybe, but try it and see if it works for you.   Deepak Choprah says to concentrate attention on our hands, sensations, tingling.   It breaks the mind cycle.  That works for me as well.

After reading several books and listening to many “messengers”… Oprah, Iyanla, Michael Singer, Maya Angelou, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra..and others, learning to observe  the chatter patterns – I was finally able to put it all together today.   I know that life unfolds and goes on, the sun comes up and goes down, seasons pass…   Life doesn’t cause problems for me.  Challenges, yes.   I’ll bet my problems could almost always be traced back to the negative, dark side  mind voices that are full of misinformation and making problems from my inner issues!  I’m becoming more and more aware of that.

Back to who I really am, while talking about it with my sister this morning, I chuckled to myself.  Funny!  I suddenly remembered  that I had already figured out who I really am.  I had just forgotten for a moment.  In the last month, after Deepak Choprah ask Oprah who she really is, I decided to define myself.   Here I am, 72 years old and I finally figured out that my name (label) is Sharon, and none of my accomplishments define who I am.   They’re a part of what I do, not who I am.

God put me here, in human form,  to express who He is in spiritual form.  I’m a spiritual being, an expression of God. I’m here to express His love, service, grace, peace, comfort, mercy, encouragement – all good things that He is.    A reminder of how I want – and need – to respond, initiate, live my life in a more purposeful way.   I’m a student and a listener living in abundance, passion and love.  Yes!

My spiritual identity, who I really am, is one that that doesn’t change.   Describing what I do is so different from how I do the things I do.     My challenge is to remember why and how I choose to “do” my life.   I have clear guidelines.

What a difference a day makes!  And as usual, I need to write my new AHA moment down so that I don’t forget who I am again… Chuckle.

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Grace…


In the week previous to a time that I needed grace as much as I can ever remember needing it, I was watching Oprah and Iyanla on Lifeclass.  Iyanla said… “if you need God’s grace, it’s there”.  It’s already and always there.  You just need to accept it.  (I’m paraphrasing).  She said, “If you don’t have it, you don’t want it because it’s right there”.   If you’ve seen Iyanla, you can imagine the inflection and underlining – capitalizing – those words with her voice and gestures.

That was an “Aha Moment” for me.  I had experienced grace to be a very elusive unknown.  When I needed it most, it seemed to be unattainable.

This is another one of those times when what I needed to learn came at exactly the right moment!  Another confirmation of how much I’m loved and protected.

I was in what felt like unbearable angst about a medical issue that I was being faced with…and I could find no peace.   My sister had come to visit and be with me and while on a walk with her, I mentioned what I’d heard Iyanla say and voila!!  I accepted grace and had complete calm and peace.  For the entire day.  It was comfort and it was restful.  In fact, I had it through most of that night.  It seemed really simple.

I awoke early morning with the angst again.  In my pain and fear, I forgot about accepting grace.  When I did remember, I couldn’t seem to get hold of it.  I was in tears and had one of my ongoing conversations with God.  I ask Him to please help me.  I explained to Him (ha) that I knew his grace was right there but told him that I was unable to reach out and find it, ask that he please help me out and deliver it to me.

Now I don’t know how to explain all of this other than report what happened.  It was instantaneous.  I had peace and grace again.  More than that, I felt a comfort that I couldn’t begin to explain in words.  When I’d start slipping into fearful thoughts, I’d experience not a voice, as such, but a definite conversation in that personal way that I hear God when he’s speaking to me.  He was right there with me on the way to the hospital.  Second by second, he’d gently remind me to hang in there with him and experience him.  As long as I kept my thoughts on that peace and grace, everything was tolerable.  It was truly a spiritually amazing experience.  Not to say that I didn’t have intense moments of fear and anguish, but was able to get through them pretty quickly.  At least until they started to wheel me out for the surgery.   And then, thank God, they gave me the knock out shot.  Smile.

One thing I learned is that my thoughts of fear and pain separate me from grace.  Because of this experience, I clearly learned that yes, I get grace because it’s there …if I guard my thoughts from the voices in my head.  If I let myself listen to those voices – and decide that they are me, they almost always take over with doubt and fear.  A long, long list of “What if’s”, wild imaginings…  My part in this is to remember what I’ve learned from Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer (The Untethered Soul).  The voices are not me.  I am the observer.

Jill Bolte Taylor has written in Stroke of Insight, that physically, any emotion (or energy) – good or bad – takes 90 seconds to run through our body.  If we have anger, fear, joy…any emotion, longer than that, it’s because we’ve chosen to hold on to it.  Michael Singer, in The Untethered Soul (One of my favorite books, by the way), writes about the same thing.  That we need to constantly be open, heart, mind and spirit, keeping all chakras open.  And that means allowing every emotion, every energy to flow through us – immediately.  Then we can be open for what is happening each moment.  The now.   If that energy – the emotions – get blocked, held on to, then we live in that emotion – fear, distrust, emotional pain.  It isn’t something that “happens” to us.  We make a clear choice to live there.   Past pains can be released as soon as they appear.   Letting go of the past!    I didn’t know that’s how it works!   Relax and watch it flow right through us.  It only lasts for 90 seconds!   If it reappears, let it pass through again.  If you’re interested, you might want to read the books – they say it much better than I.  I’ve learned so much through the last few months that I feel like a different person.   I am so thankful for everything that I’ve learned and experienced.  Help is always right there when I need it!

About grace – I wish I could say these are my original words but they’re not… they’re from Caroline Myss when Oprah was interviewing her on Super Soul Sunday.

Caroline explained grace as that experience of the sudden knowing, a message that everything is going to be ok.  And then it’s gone as suddenly as it appeared.  But it left the knowing.  That’s grace.

Grace is the quiet whisper … “don’t say that right now”, “don’t do that right now”.  That’s grace too.  Our part is listening to the knowing and acting – or not acting on it.

Grace is that something that makes a moment better.

Bottom line…we do have choices.  And I really like options!  Now I know a little more about how to use them.

Once again, I’m SO grateful!

 

 

Warning! Sidewalks Can Be Dangerous to Your Health!


Well I broke my foot.  The tip of the fifth metatarsal and the displaced fractured piece is  attached to a tendon.  My doctor told me that it’s a “troublesome” fracture in that with any strain, if my heel-foot has any weight bearing,  it is very likely that the tendon will pull the fragment loose and then I’ll need surgery.   He told me that I can either stay off my foot completely – aaarghh –  for a month, or if I take chances with it, it’s very likely that I’ll require surgery to place a pin and then I’ll  be off my foot for 2+ months. Since they’d have to catch me first – for surgery – there’s not a lot to consider here…

This happened two days before we were leaving for a couple of months to escape the Pacific Northwest winter.

Chloe

Ok.  I’m very active, walk 10,000 steps – minimum – every day.  Walking controls my blood sugar and blood pressure.  It takes care of my excess energy and helps me sleep.  It’s my time with my dog, Chloe.   She sniffs.   I think, listen and contemplate….

Now then…if everything happens for a reason – well, I’m waiting to find the reason for this one.  I do get that there is a lesson in everything that we experience and I’m thinking I’m supposed to be learning…

Courage

  • Postponing our trip….To make a decision from logic?  What a concept!   I had an impulsive, strong urge to take my chances and travel on crutches  and deal with anything that might happen – wherever it might happen.    ( A Whisper in my ear – Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 11)  The whisper is saying – “any fool can see that you’re  a klutz with the crutches and can see that  there’s probably huge potential for another fall  – at least at this point.   And the whisper is loud.    Mature decision?  Me – who has almost always thought that maturity is usually  overrated!   But then I thought of food.  I have to be able to move my bod if I want to eat what I want.  Or take a pill.  And I’ll do just about anything rather than take a blood sugar med!  At least as long as I can manage another way.   So I made up  my mind… I’m trying this “mature” thing (as defined by my daughter and also my best friend…and the whisper).   But I’m not totally convinced that maturity works for me – chuckle…  Since when would that be?
  • To change plans that involved disappointment and  inconveniences for several others?  Uhh….For a compliant  (probably not my husband’s first thought when describing me:) – translated  struggling to get thru this without my not-too-far-behind-me- people-pleasing-nature taking over;  it took great fortitude to utter “I think I want to postpone our trip until I can enjoy myself too”.

Vulnerability

  • I’m very independent.  It’s very difficult to ask someone else to do something for me.  Those around me are not used to my being very needy.  Talk about ripple effect….  Lessons for all?

Change

  • Over the months, I’ve learned to enjoy walking – out of necessity.  But now it’s a habit that I truly enjoy.   Then…I’ve detested weights, exercise classes, going to the gym.  Now…The new no-weight-bearing me has discovered that I can use tubes (available and unused for years) while I’m sitting.  I was shocked at my weak upper body muscles and how quickly they “burn”.   Jane Fonda is whooting in my ears!    I can see the sugar burning, courtesy of my glucometer.  I can lie on my back and ride an imaginary bike.  I am also amazed at these weakling thighs.  I’m obviously using different muscles than walking requires!  My blood sugar is under control – without a pill!  My heart rate soars – quickly.   And,  I’m exercising my mind trying to think of new and effective ways to move so that my body feels exercised.   Ahhhh…

Acceptance

  • I can’t change or fix this one.  I just have to wait for it to heal.

Patience

  • A very big challenge.  A definite work in progress!    I repeat my prayer that I read somewhere years ago..”Please Lord!  Give me Patience!  Right now!”

One thing I know for sure…There’s no place like home.   When I’m in pain or ill.   Even if  my bedroom, art studio and office are upstairs.  Climbing stairs on hands and knees works for babies.  It works for me too.  And it makes me laugh.

I’m so thankful that it wasn’t worse – an ankle, knee, hip.  Yikes – or neck!

I’m very grateful!

My Letter to God


These are my personal beliefs.  I think we all have our own path and our own personal belief system.  I respect everyone’s experience and choice.  I agree with Mark Nepo – I’m a student of all traditions – I look to learn from where they all meet.

For me,  there is one God.  Period.  I believe that being may be called by many different names.  Or none at all.

I believe I have a mind, a body and spirit/soul.  My soul is the essence of me.   It is the part of me that loves.   My soul is my spiritual experience and guides my life.  When I manage to be still.  When I listen.  My soul is my guide.  I believe it is God in me. I also call it “my gut”, intuition, a “knowing”.

I pray, mainly when I’m in a difficult place in my life.   I have a running conversation with God – in my head and heart.  Very rarely out loud.(Smile)

One of my favorite books, life changing, I might add, is Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch.  When I was reading it, I wondered if I wrote letters to God if he’d respond to me like he did in the book.  But I never tried.

Last week, On Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, I was listening to her interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.   When I heard Elizabeth say that when she was at her lowest, she wrote a letter to God and he responded to her. Not a booming God voice, not her voice, but it was an immediate response and it comforted her.

Well…I decided to write a letter to God and see if it would work for me.

Ok.  I did it and was given immediate responses.  I recognize that it was the same inner voice that guides me when I talk to God in my head/heart.  To see it in print (I saved the letter), to be able to go back and read it again…well, it’s pretty amazing.   One of the answers was something that I had not thought of.  It was news to me.  It was also really exciting advice.  I did it and it worked.

Whatever it is – it’s adding a new dimension to my life.  I’m grateful.  It’s fun too.

Just thought I’d pass it on…

Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday
Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray Love
Neale Donald Walsch – Conversations With God

The Whisper – Part 2


Our life speaks to us in a whisper – what is it telling me?  What will I do about it?  What is it really that I’m supposed to be doing with my life? When I connect with the place of stillness at my core, what do I find I’m meant to do with my life?

What is the whisper saying to me?    Paint!!!

What am I doing about it?  I’m walking to my easel, picking up my brush and staring at my partially completed canvas…

Why my struggle when I so NEED  to paint?   I know my need to paint is to express myself.   I’m constantly painting in my head.  Is it enough to create in my head?  Is that expression enough?  The joy of creating?  In my head?   I enjoy that a lot but I think if I pass on  my opportunity to express my ideas on canvas, I’ll regret it.  In fact, I know that for sure.

I go to my easel and can’t figure out exactly how to proceed…where I want to go with my painting at this point…feeling somewhat unfocused, a bit disconnected and lost.   I go through the motions.   I stand there for a time, mix my paints, study my canvas and then leave.  I’m looking for a distraction.

I’ve felt like I’m in a transition of style and change.  I have been thinking  it’s temporary – for a long time.   But…

Is this a metaphor for my life?    How do I separate my art, who I am, from any other part of my life?  No – it’s not a metaphor.  It IS my life.  Whoa!  Woops…I really mean GO!

I will no longer go through the motions.  I will live a meaningful life that makes a difference.  Going through the motions doesn’t cut it!

I’m very aware this morning that I need to move – take action.  Just show up.  Take time for me.

Up and at it.  Quit thinking.  Allow no distractions.  Move my hand and it will happen.

I’m excited!  I feel joy in taking action, joy in my art!  And life!

Yes!

Oprah’s Lifeclass

The Whisper…

The Whisper


It says… go to your easel, pick up your brush and start painting!!!

It says I’ll deeply regret it if I miss this opportunity.
It says, “This is part of your purpose” – Just DOOIT!

And I will – sincerely – in the morning.