trust, connection, and the long walk home

I recently set an intention to work on trust- more specifically, trust that the universe is always bringing me whatever knowledge or experience I need. So this morning when I was emailed an article about relationships serving as a mirror reflecting parts of our soul, I wasn’t surprised that these words were perfectly what I needed to read, and at the perfect time. I haven’t blogged in a while, but as I remember the interconnectedness of our human experiences, I’m reminded the importance of sharing.

I’ll be honest and reveal something I’m not particularly proud of… lately I’ve found myself complaining A LOT about behaviors in my partner; “Brian is this, Brian does this, I wish Brian were more this.”  What I’m really not proud of is that with this has also came an irrational blaming him for my own challenges. I’ve found myself putting a lot of energy into ideas of “if Brian were more this, then my situation or my behavior would be more that”, and not taking responsibility for my own behavior or choices.

As I read this article, it hit me that every time I’d pinpointed a behavior or quality in Brian that I disliked or felt like rejecting, what I was really doing was taking a quality I’m not particularly pleased with in myself, or something I’d like to shift away from, and putting it on him. It’s a lot easier to reject the qualities of another person because we can distance ourselves from them, but it’s impossible to escape those qualities in ourselves. Instead we have to witness them, sit uncomfortably with them, and do the hard work to grow. I don’t know about you, but for me complaining about another person’s behaviors is a lot easier than taking a hard look at myself, and it takes a lot less courage.

Even as I realize that part of me has been really pushing against making internal shifts by trying to control the external, I’m realizing something beautiful. If we are open to seeing it, we’re drawn to people who if can show us the next step in our soul’s journey, especially if we shift from rejecting behaviors we don’t like to being curious. As they say, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears”. In every human interaction, we are offered an opportunity to expand. When I slow down to trust the perfectness of each moment, I realize that each person that comes in or out of my life served a higher purpose- and I hope that some quality in me offers them the same opportunity. We are drawn to others who embody qualities of ourselves we are ready to work with, and usually at the exact moment our soul needs them. I love this, because it reminds me that even those who ‘rub me the wrong way’ are serving a purpose, and that the relationships that end do so because I and they have learned the divine lesson that our interaction served.

I think it works in the opposite way as well- not only do we struggle with judging the behaviors of others that reflects our own inner challenge, but I feel like we are drawn to those who embody who we’d like to be- for example, we are drawn to a dare devil because we’d like to start taking more risks, to the artist because we’d like to open to our own creativity, or the free spirit because we want to learn to let go. We are able to see our own abilities and undiscovered strengths in this person, and suddenly we want to spend as much time with this person as possible.  Maybe we hope in being near them we’ll absorb those qualities through osmosis, but the truth is… all of these things are already within us,  and it’s up to us to bring them forth. This person is here to show us not who we could be, but that even if it’s buried under a few layers, who we already are.

My friend recently shared a Ram Dass quote, “We are all just walking each other home.” I love this. Each encounter we have is an opportunity for our one soul to meet itself, to remember our wholeness, and to shed the layers that disconnect us from one another and return to the divine energy that we are made of. To everyone I’ve met and will meet, the souls I share the ordinary and extraordinary experiences of this human life with, thank you for walking me home.

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impossibility, terror, and taking flight.

I was having coffee with a friend last weekend, talking about the future, careers, and the often terrifying prospect of following our big dreams. You know the ones; the dreams that we decide not to follow because they are so huge and so scary that our rational brain tells us they are impractical… or my least favorite word of all… impossible

As we were discussing this idea of dreams vs. practicality, he reminded me of a personal truth that I try to live by. He reminded me that it ALL has a purpose, even what seems like confusion or misfortune in the present will make sense when we look at it down the road.  The truth he reminded me of was that even when it’s not clear, everything that happens fits together perfectly, that it’s all part of a path we are meant to be walking.

Someone once explained this much more gracefully… “it’s the path off the path that leads us to God.”  The idea that there is no such thing as a misfortune or mistake is a truth that is easier said than lived, especially when we are in the middle of tragedy or personal crisis, or really even when we just have a bad day.   It’s like we get so focused on what we want to happen, some goal we want to achieve, or some dream we can’t wait to be living, that in the moment we forget that it’s those twists and turns that are the real journey.

As a self-acknowledged accomplishment junkie, I am often guilty of  being so focused on my long term goals, the cause I want to champion, or my next big dream  that I get tunnel vision that prevents  me from seeing the beauty and divinity of the now. This is especially true right at the moment, as in a couple weeks I fly into California for grad school and visiting family and friends, and then fly from there to teach in Thailand for nine months.   Having a one way ticket to SE Asia has made living in the present more of a challenge than ever, my brain is a mess of future and past.  When I’m not distracted by  a mental  list of trip preparations, I find myself reflecting on the past, and the winding, unexpected paths that have led me here.

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So, I’ll indulge myself by lingering in the past for a moment, because as I look back over the last three years, all the pieces seem divinely orchestrated.  There were things that had to fall apart and come together, lessons I was meant to learn, friends I needed to meet, and places I needed to be in order to take this journey.   I feel like the last six months tested me in a necessary way.  Did I really want this?  Could I let go of the life I was used to in order to embrace a new adventure and perspective?   Most importantly, my gut has been telling me that going to Thailand is what I should be doing, but I’m not really sure why…so could I follow my heart when I didn’t know what it was leading me to?  When I answered those questions with commitment, and put my faith in the same higher power that continued to point me in this direction, I began witnessing each obstacle falling away.   I stalled on this dream for two years, avoided the signs, pushed forward on the practical career path I had chosen … until now. And now is perfect timing; had I not faced some of the challenges I did, I might not feel as strong, inspired or supported as I do.  I might not have the faith in my dream that I do now.

My experiences in the past couple years have granted me the ability to travel without seeking something out there, but rather stepping out of the known to see ordinary things with new eyes.  In this way, while I have no idea what the next step will be, I  know that coming home next spring will be just as valuable an experience as leaving.

Taking this trip represents only a first step; in doing the thing that no one thought I could or should do, I’m achieving my own impossibility.  Which is both exhilarating and terrifying, because suddenly I realize that the only thing that has ever limited me was the scope of what I believed I could be.  The way I see the world will change, because the things I ‘can’t do’ will suddenly be the things I choose not to do, and perhaps I’ll see doors where before there were none.   While this seems like a small step, I realize I am taking one more step towards letting go of fear and living the life I am meant to, whatever that ends up looking like.  So, thank you to all of the people who remind me to live fully and burn brightly, especially those who have loved me enough to let me take flight.

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