What is Love? Baby, Don’t Hurt Me!

FreedomWhen it comes to a relationship, what is love? Is it simple? Is it complicated? Does it carry more light energy than dark?  What constitutes a healthy relationship? These are a few questions I ask myself every now and then. After many years in the same intimate relationship, I have had many opportunities to reflect on all of the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”.

A neat thing I’ve learned about relationships is that absolutely everything I connect with along my journey is a relationship.  A relationship can be with myself, a partner, a child, a thought process, a routine, my work, my car, and so on.  The common denominator is me.  So, when I remember to take a moment and pause each time I feel stress, or discomfort with someone, or something else, I ask myself  ‘How am I participating in this exchange?’

This is an exciting place to be, to know that I get to accept the truth of my moment, or reject it.  What is the truth, one may ask? Well this is for me to discover in each and every moment.  My truth may be ego based and attached to the need to control and judge, or my truth may be grace and acceptance of what is, rather than what I think it should be.  The secret is, that what I believe to be me in that moment, will influence my experience, and to know that “my” truth does not always equal “the truth”.

If I believe I am my ego, then I will participate accordingly.  Feelings will get hurt, the need to tell others how to behave will either come out of my mouth, or be implied by my intentional silence and body language.  My thoughts will be of judgement, resistance, and the need for control. Not all ego experiences cause discomfort either.  It can be pretty tricky when it comes to distracting us from the truth. In a place of ego I may feel like I am doing everything in the best interest for all involved.  I may fall under the illusion that I’m trying to help others, or improve a situation, not realizing that it is my own egoistic needs that are truly being met in that moment.

Why is it so important to understand the difference between ones ego and the truth when it comes to relationships?  When there are exchanges in a relationship, there is always an opportunity to expose the truth.  Since I am here to consciously evolve, I take advantage of life’s daily chances to do so.

Although it is much easier to point the finger and blame others, or outside circumstances for how I feel, I try to choose courage and honesty of my part in that moment.  The realization doesn’t always happen immediately, and my ego sometimes puts up a great battle to resist the truth of the moment, but I stay strong and wait to be hit by the overwhelming embrace of the purity of truth. Of course this only happens once I get out of my own way.

We seem to get lost in looking around us at what everyone else is doing wrong.  I hear a lot of people saying to those they are close to “Do this”, “Don’t do that”, “Speak this way”, “Don’t say those words”.  It makes sense, since we are domesticated from a very early age.  We have collectively decided long ago what is acceptable, and what isn’t when it comes to the common way of behaving. When someone steps out of this format, people become very uncomfortable, and feel the urge to implement domestication.  How dare someone behave wild and free to the beat of their own drum.  We become comfortable being comfortable and resist the challenge of taking on our own desire to control others instead of just accepting someone for where they are.

It takes courage to apply every feeling to your own responsibility for your state of peace, or lack of it.  It takes honesty to know that you decide what your daily experience looks and feels like.  If everyone decided that the only one they needed to change or control was themselves, then what a loving and accepting place this would be. If we knew that what anyone ever said to us had nothing at all to do with us, and that it was just them expressing their words through their life’s filter, then no one could ever steal our peace, or take away our freedom.

So yes, Love in a relationship is simple, because we only ever have one relationship in this lifetime, and that is with our self.  If we choose to remain pure, without care or worry and allow others to do the same, we will find life a lot more harmonious.

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The Hanging Man

After a bit of distraction from life’s chaos, I chose to get back to business with my personal studies. I like to pull a Tarot card a day, because I find this helps me connect on a personal level with each card. Today was the first time I’ve done this since I’v shaved my head. I could not believe how much I could relate to todays card, The Hanging Man XII, with my recent choice to drastically alter my appearance.

This card represents the half way point of the Fools journey in the story of the Tarot cards. It is a place to pause, reflect, and connect with our spirituality. A place to let go of our material perspectives, release the burdens of our everyday world, and to find a way to alter our everyday view that we’ve become accustomed to seeing. It is also a place to suspend our beliefs, and look out a different window.  It represents a time to leave our comfort zone, become uncomfortable, and trust in our abilities to still function. To know that in order to evolve, change and challenges push us out of our everyday box, requiring us to step up and find a new way of being.

If I so happen to live a “full” life, I am about half way through my journey. I have been responding to changes and challenges of all kinds throughout my life. Shaving my head is just a change that I initiated on purpose to shake things up a little. My astrological birth chart will not allow me to have any moments of boredom. I guess as I mature and life settles down a little bit, I have to resort to such things as removing all of my hair.

Now the Hanging Man card represents my journey at this time of my life. I’v taken away a mask I am use to wearing, my long hair, and have asked myself to see beyond my appearance. I am being asked to let go of a material attachment and connect with the energy of a planet that is connected to this card, which is Neptune. Neptune governs spirituality, change, and illusion. I’ve been under the illusion that my hair had more significance than it actually does.

I have let my hair go physically, and I am now slowly releasing my emotional attachment, being left with the truth of my soul. More and more I feel my presence of being, and less of how I look. I still believe our physical bodies and looks have significance along this journey, I am just taking a pause, hanging upside down for a little while, and rethinking my identity a little more, for a moment.

You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective.
                                                                                  – Denise Waitley

I have always been drawn to a spiritual outlook on life. I believe having the courage to embrace change, whether self-imposed or not, is important, so that we do not become stuck or stagnant along the way. I believe we are here to evolve, and to remember what we already know, to take away the blocks that we have created, and see the truth once again. One of the things I loved reading from the author Adyashanti, was that it wasn’t just about becoming enlightened, but figuring out how we have unenlightened ourselves. What is it that we are doing to stop us from seeing the truth of our already enlightened being? What thoughts and beliefs fool us into thinking that we are not already fully aware?

I continue to challenge my habitual beliefs and views on life, so that I may continue to remove these blocks. As the Hanging Man has suspended what he is doing, turned his being upside down, he can now see things differently than he normally does.

We can practice this in many ways in our everyday life. Sit or lie on the floor instead of the couch. Go outside and lye upside down on a hill, park your vehicle in an different area of your frequently visited parking lots. Brush your teeth before getting dressed, if you usually do it after. I think you get my point. Recognize habits and see what happens when you change it up a little. I find it brings a heightened awareness to the moment. Like looking through a child’s eyes once again, we can embrace the freshness of the new experience.

I will continue to embrace The Hanging Man for awhile, and listen to the messages that I need to remember.

*Image of Tarot card from Ciro Marchetti's Deck
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Acceptance

 

Who would have known?  The hair I was so attached to, but is now gone, made quite an imprint. Although it is no longer here, I feel the sensations like it is still apart of me. I am amazed at the physical and mental memory of having long hair. It has been a couple of weeks now, yet I still reach to pull it out of my shirt after I get dressed, or go to lift it above my head on my pillow, after I lay down or turn over in bed.

I guess the acceptance of change is not always an automatic thing. When I engage in conversation with someone, I am still looking through the same eyes I have always looked through.  It isn’t until I walk away and get a glimpse of my reflection that I see what others are seeing. At this point, it is still a surprise to me.  I even jumped at my own reflection once, thinking it was someone else staring back at me!

When I am not caught up in conversation and I am just doing my own thing, I become hyper aware of my head.  I do not know if all people with short hair feel this, but it feels like my hair is all tucked up on the top of my head, or like I’m wearing some sort of hat.

I feel like my head has had more physical contact from myself and others over the past couple of weeks, than in my whole life. The sensations are intensified, and my scalp feels so alive and invigorated.

I am still operating my old program when it comes to my showers. I stand under the water for the same amount of time I did with my long hair.  It just seems impossible in my mind, that I could have my hair completely rinsed in such a short amount of time.  I’m sure I will clue in soon.

It is clear to me that this change was long over due.  The habits and rituals of the person I was with long hair still linger.  My awareness and connection to my physical self had become stagnant.   Now, how I feel I should look when I look in the mirror, I am slowly letting go of.  I did not expect my ego to just disappear because I chose to alter my looks so drastically.  I know this is a process.  I have years of conditioning and influence from the outside world of what a female should look like.  Even my astrological sun sign of Libra has a strong attachment to needing to feel feminine and to have long hair.

I recognize my attachment to my thoughts.  I feel less feminine with my head shaved and having a heavier set body at this time. My long hair contributed to my sense of my female identity.  A good thing though is that my occupation with my thoughts around my hair are slowly fading.  As each day goes by, and I see and accept my new look a little bit more, I realize this is me, in this moment.  I am starting to release the need to inform people that this isn’t my usual look, and that I use to have very long hair.

The truth is, this moment is all I have.  I wanted to experience having a shaved head, so now I need to let go of who I was, who I think I should be, and accept who I am.  What really matters is who I am now, how I’ve chosen to express my physical being now, and to recognize and accept the consistent presence that is.

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