Chasing Cars…or was that Joy?

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

~ Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol

Today I found myself thinking about all the crazy ways I’ve tried to chase Joy, in people, places & experiences – and this song by Snow Patrol came to mind…as I wondered chasing joy or chasing cars…is there really any difference? We’ve heard it often enough that one of the greatest causes of human suffering is our seeking of pleasure and aversion to pain, or joy and sorrow. This endless searching, grasping or aversion to things outside of ourself we believe will or won’t make us happy, whole, complete is a guaranteed path of suffering as we try to hold onto the impermanent.

In the busyiness of searching for Joy I overlooked the reality of the joy right here in beingness, that has never been about anything outside of myself. With a shift away from a corporate career and home ownership I celebrated no longer chasing after material possessions but it seems despite many warnings by teachers I accidentally slipped into the trap of substituting consumerism for spiritual materialism. Acquiring more and more experiences, spiritual teachings and blissful states but not really fully embodying the wisdom. I still chased after the bliss states – and foolishly labelled this as Joy. Along with the mislabelling of Joy was that anything other than those blissful states, particularly sadness, anger & confusion were relegated to the naughty corner where I demanded they be quiet and stop.

As I listened again to the Chasing Cars lyrics, what I heard was not a fairytale romance, but the immense longing that I believe we all have, not for one person – but to know intimately Love, Grace or the Beloved. To lay down and merge completely with Love. What has become so apparent to me is I don’t want to chase anything, I don’t want to try anymore.

” Do or do not, There is no Try”.

~ Master Yoda

I want to BE. What I sometimes forget is joy in it’s most simplest – the joy of being. Laying down the swords of inner & outer battle and letting go all the thoughts and ideas about what needs to happen or what needs to be done in order to belong. Instead letting energy be funnelled towards Allowing, Embracing, Accepting life exactly as it is and moving in harmony with life.

Does it mean I want to physically lay down and never move or do anything ever again – not at all – I love to do many things with many amazing people, but I’m attuning to the fact that sometimes laying down physically is in fact what feels aligned and I’m trusting that…and learning to go with it. REST is the opposite of contraction – and to me it feels that when we’re resting in our bodies it’s easier to drop into the Heart. It’s also an amazing practice to share with others, when was the last time you lay down with someone you adore and just shared that moment of laying there together in the sheer joy of just Being?

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Trusting there will come a time where laying down is no longer what the moment calls for – and there will be movement – action. Can we also begin to feel the stillness in the movement, to allow the movement to come from a place of emptiness. Free of our projections, free of the ‘me’ identity we’ve worked so hard to build up, free from the should’s and should nots. And full of the – this feels authentic and aligned and REAL and is for not just my own personal benefit, but for the benefit of all beings.

“We have a fear that if we give up our person then there is nothing left to have a life. When you give up the person there is nothing left to have a life, there is just life. You are life.”

~ Mooji

Real, raw and authentic – this seems to be my mission in life right now – what brings me alive – and the reality is this doesn’t always look like the bright chirpy version of Joy I’d hoped the journey of awakening the Heart would be. In fact real, raw & authentic means feeling everything that comes along – and it is sometimes messy. But learning to be with it all and not get lost in it has been the path of Joy.

Joy gets hijacked when I get caught up in ideas that I must do more, that I am not doing enough, or lately the most ridiculous of ever – who I’m Being is not Being enough. Or when I feel this building pressure to ‘know’ my purpose here in this crazy life. All of these things are grasping, and trying to understand with the mind – and they’re exhausting – they pull all of my energy into a black hole and away from Joy.

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What if my purpose is only to Love. How exactly would I explain that to anyone. What exactly does that look like? What tangible outcomes can you see from loving? How do I justify that all day every day that’s what I feel I am here to ‘do’ and to BE.

As I typed I thought woah Lani you’re sounding a little crazy here – are you sure you want to share this with the virtual world?! And this is when I realised another old inner battle has come to an end – the battle between my belief that LOVE is my purpose and the fear that LOVE is not enough. My unconscious fear has been part of the barrier I’d built up against love.

But I can see this fear that love is not enough, isn’t real for me right now. It’s old and outdated. And as I become my own inner authority, what feels true, real, authentic, aligned – Love IS my purpose. If I am loving I am joyful and if I am joyful I am loving, the two cannot be separated.

When I feel into why I share what I share, why I offer yoga classes, meditations & cacao ceremonies the very simple truth has nothing to do with any special teachings. I simply love to love because love loves to love. My main intention with every sharing is to provide a space where people feel deeply seen, heard, received and nurtured and a space where they feel safe enough to really reveal the fullness of who they are.

So all this time I’d been looking for Joy to look a certain way, you know bubbly and hyper and maybe even a little rambunctious at times. But in my grasping at this idea what I’d missed was this beautiful sweetness that rests in the Heart when I let go, when I’m resting in Being, when I’m not needing life to be anything other than the way it is in this moment. Even if that moment comes complete with anger, grief or confusion, when these are embraced & allowed to be seen and expressed – Joy is also revealed. The Joy of Being.

The irony is that as soon as I allow Joy to look however she wants to look – the bubbly, hyper and a little rambunctious often does make her appearance, but far more than that Joy is not an emotion – it is an inner attitude. An attitude to be cultivated in Love alone. It’s not something I can describe with words but if you’re reading this and we have a chance to sit together I hope we can share a moment of this Joy as we meet in the Heart.

“Love loves to love, it isn’t personal’

~ Mooji

In love, gratitude and service <3

On being slow and empathic in a fast world

Sometimes I look around this world and a great and ancient sadness moves through me.
Everything is so damn fast here.
I feel like an alien, often.
A slow, mindful, present alien.
I watch people rushing from experience to experience, barely stopping to contemplate the fucking miracle of their existence. Hardly ever taking time to let the wonder in.
Going for days and days without ever telling the truth or feeling their feelings.
Running from themselves. Running towards imaginary futures. So mesmerised by the ‘there’ that they forget the miracle of here. So identified with the ‘doing’ that the most precious thing is lost. Being. Life itself.
Comfortable. Popular. Fabulous and successful, perhaps. On the path towards a better and exciting tomorrow. Yet so afraid to slow down. Afraid to rest deeply. Afraid to stop and invite in whatever lurks in the deep. The repressed terrors. The anxieties.
Unmetabolised childhood yearnings. Unlived lives, unfulfilled potentials, unspoken truths.
Loving the light yet afraid to touch the darkness.
Abandoning the cosmic love that was pushed down in order to survive.
Forgetting the natural joy that was squashed so we could become ‘grown ups’.
Neglecting the playful aliveness that had to be numbed in order to ‘fit in’.
And now, content with surface pleasures. Success. Popularity. Looks. Achievements. The things that matter but don’t truly matter in the end.
Satisfied with a limited, conditional version of happiness. The kind you can post on Instagram. The kind that you can buy and sell. The kind that has an opposite.
The kind that looks good.
It’s sad to see our great potential forgotten.
Nothing ‘wrong’ with any of this unconscious activity, of course. I do not sit in judgement. I love our vulnerable humanity, and understand the mechanism of running, and we are all only doing our best, given our conditioning.
I used to run. But I had to break down. For the love I sought could never be found in the future. It was always here, buried in my own Heart, closer than breathing.
I only wish that everyone could truly find the courage to stop. Rest. Break, if they need to. Cry, if they need to. And finally feel the abandonment, the grief, the shame that was unconsciously running the show. Finally stop pretending. Finally sacrifice the addictive surfaces for the living truth – the scary, disorienting, thrilling truth.
There is no shame in the breaking and in breathing through the mess.
To be slow and empathic in a fast world, it is a challenge for sure. To be sensitive in a world that has gone mad with ‘things’. To be a lover in a world that has reduced love to a commodity and a passing feeling. To be awake in a world that tries to numb you.
Yet you cannot be numbed.
For you know your path now.
And your sensitivity
is a great gift
to this fast world.
– Jeff Foster

Apologies to the Divine Feminine

APOLOGIES TO THE DIVINE FEMININE (from a warrior in transition)

~ by Jeff Brown

I apologize for my inability to distinguish the benevolent warrior from the heartless warrior, a reflection of my own confusion dealing with the battlefields of yore. When I opened my heart too wide, I was vulnerable to attack from warring factions. I was conditioned to believe that I had to stay rigid, focused, prepared for any eventuality, in the desire to protect myself and others from attack. But I went too far, and closed too tight, and eradicated the bridge between our hearts. I am seeing this now and I am sorry.

I apologize for my perpetual absence, a reflection of my own inner absence, my inability to connect from a heart jammed tight by unresolved emotions that I did not have the tools to work through. I still lack many of these tools, but I am open to their emergence.

I apologize for my inability to distinguish relationship from war. Like a warrior in enemy territory, I would sneak in and out of your life in the night, plundering and selfishly taking what I needed, then crawling back to the other side of the abyss with the spoils. I gave little back for fear that I would become vulnerable to attack. I had war on the brain and I could not see the river of love waiting on the other side of the battlefield. I now recognize that love is the antidote for the armoured warrior, but I could not drink the antidote in my driven state.

I apologize for not seeing you, my eyes blinded by congealed rage and unshed tears. If it is any consolation, and I imagine it is not, I could not see myself either. I saw only that which served my hyper-vigilance, my warrior focus. My mirror was a battlefield.

I apologize for my ungrounded materialism, my power driven tyrannies, my obsession with accumulation. Somehow I imagined that accumulation would protect me and those close to me, but I failed to recognize that it just perpetuated the madness. I also apologize for my egoic abuses, a reflection of my own misguided ego, pumped up to deal with an inherently competitive world. I couldn’t distinguish the healthy, confident ego from the cocky, unhealthy ego. I went much too far in the wrong direction.

I apologize for a sexuality that was objectifying and disconnected from the heart. I know you longed for real intimacy, a merging of our souls along the heart-genital highway. But there were too many defences around my heart, and no bridge could form between our souls. There were moments when your loving ways freed me from my body masks, but I had no template to stand in that heart-fire. I am sorry for this, for I know that the path you longed for was the path to God.

I apologize for my horrifying acts of violence, a reflection of my own congealed rage, my own inability to distinguish real enemies from friends. There are no words that can undo what I have done in those moments of madness. I know this, I do. I would hide my face in shame, but that won’t make things better. I need to own my misdeeds, and then find a way to believe in my capacity to move from a more loving place. I call out to other male warriors to be accountable for the actions of our gender, not in a way that is self-hating, but in a way that is courageously self-honest and genuinely compassionate. The heartfelt warrior acknowledges the error of his ways, and has the courage to do all he can to make amends over time.

I apologize for my inability to develop a conscious relationship. You were right there with your beautiful heart on your sleeve but I was too attached to my individualism and afraid of this unknown terrain. I know the forests, the marketplace and the ways of the outer world so well, but my inner geography is foreign to me. You called me to a place I was ill-prepared to go, although I sensed, below the surface of my bravado, that you called me home.

I am grateful for your willingness to believe that who I was in those rare moments of vulnerability was the real me. You were right- the real me lives inside of my heart- but a few moments now and then was the most I could handle. I saw you as dangerous, for in your presence I began to taste a surrendered way of being. Nonetheless, your faith in my goodness kept me going through many a battle, and restored my faith in life when I most needed it. You were the light at the end of a barbaric tunnel, and I am blessed.

I am grateful that you stuck with me through thick and thin, and I also understand those times you had to give up and let go. I now recognize that there is meaningful difference between a love-ship and a relationship. Love alone is not enough. Without a shared willingness to become conscious, there can only be frustration. I was so often impossible, clinging to my unconsciousness like a soldier clings to his weapons. I recognize the courage it took for you to keep your heart open in the presence of my resistance. You had every right to seek an authentic relationship, as your spirit was ignited in its presence. Your beautiful heart had every right to be met in its openness and willingness. I am grateful for the time you gave me, a moments respite from the hiding places I mistakenly called home.

I am grateful for Grandmother, for no one saw my tenderness more clearly. I am grateful for Mother, for choosing to bring me into being and for nourishing my body until I could find my feet. I am grateful for Mother Earth, for grounding my expansion and enlivening my spirit. I am grateful for the Divine Mother, the real Mother of us all. I now feel her divine presence, so close. Fiercely compassionate, she was always right here, breathing life into me, holding me safe. I sit in her lap as she breathes me.

I look forward to the day when the only thing that ignites relationship is two souls calling out to one another, two soul-hearts beating in the same direction, a whisper of longing that bridges one essence to another. I want to want you not because it gratifies my ego, not because you are outwardly beautiful, but because your very presence invites my Godself out of hiding. I want to touch you with my heart on my sleeve, to know chemistry between us that is not gender identified, but that is essence sourced, loves liquid lava flowing from the heart to the genitals to the great beyond. In this love-struck world, relationship will always be experienced as spiritual practice, a devotional expression of our God-self.

I had always believed that sensitivity is impossible to hold to in a harsh world. Yet in this moment, I feel sensitive, but without the fragility. I am still wearing armor but there is a shift in the direction of my intensity. I can linger in the heart-space a little longer than I once could, I am softening in places. After so many lifetimes with weapon in hand, a tenderling warrior is being birthed in the core of my being. He is confused, but he intuitively knows that this is the way home.

Please don’t give up on me or my fellow warriors. Forgive us our misdeeds, or, at the least, be open to the possibility that we will change as the trail expands to meet our shifting intentionality. The day will come when our warrior spirit loses its harsh edge, and comes into alignment with benevolent action. Some of us are already there, and many more of us will follow. The road to transformation is dependent on a bridge between genders, a benevolent bridge that celebrates our differences with respect and kindness. That work must begin with healing the rifts along the gender continuum, working hard to heal the collective heart until one day we can stand on a bridge across forever, hands held together, hearts open and alight, embracing the sacred masculine and divine feminine living at the heart of us all. I will meet you there.

May you feel the love of the Divine Mother crashing down on your heartfelt shores, graciously lifting you up above the madness of the world, nestling you in the grateful arms of those you have nurtured. Those of us who have received your blessings may not always acknowledge it, but your acts of love have landed within us, growing us stronger and infusing us with love’s light. Thank you.

Re-blogged from © Jeff Brown, 2010 (www.soulshaping.com)

September 20th 2010