being human

motivation for discovery

Does the change you desire for yourself come from comparing yourself to things externally or does it comes from your own intuition or inner sense of constriction/limitation?
So often we look at the world around us and through a process of judging, comparing and critiquing we create a list of ‘shoulds’ that become our guide towards personal growth. The challenge of this, I have found, is that it becomes more of an imbalanced ego based directive that is rooted in this system of ‘greater than/lesser than’.

It is tricky to write about because there is such subtlety in all of this and no ‘black or white’ definitives……..

We certainly want to strive to grow and sometimes it is an external ‘reminder’ that can help us. But I am talking about the process of seeing someone/something outside of ourselves and then feeling a sense of ‘lacking’ based on comparison and judgement completely entrenched in a sense of ‘greater than/lesser than’….completely based on reaching for something outside of us. We then push and pull and critique ourselves toward trying to look or be this perceived better way.
The missing piece quite often in this process is personal reflection that allows you to ask what these certain qualities or outcomes mean to you. How might this ‘change’ serve you and how does it inspire you?
It’s possible to see the external stimulus and take it inside of yourself, allowing your own authentic intuition to be your guide…..not starting from a sense of ‘lacking’ or ‘less than’ but of curiosity. To have a personal barometer for your own needs toward the growth that will most supprt you.
Each of us is completely unique, not just in fingerprints and DNA, but our personal journey and map of who we are and what is essential for our livelihood. We might find similarities and affinities with others….of course….but ultimately we are beautifully unique and each of us needs to take responsibility to get to know ourselves and ‘tweak’ our personal journey as we go.
Much in the same way that a medicine someone is taking at a particular moment might not be a medicine I need to take in that same moment (in fact, I could possibly get sick if I do) we must remember to listen to our own needs and experiences.

For me it starts with being an ally to all my parts. A place of unconditional love and not self deprecation and criticism. A place of feeling whole already and yet open to growth, increased wellness and evolution.

Feeling inspired to grow and cultivate parts of yourself is beautiful work. To do this ‘work’ authentically I think it is essential to discover where your motivation is coming from.  Too often our endeavors for ‘personal growth’ become set ups for perceived failure or unhealthy comparisons of merit.  This seems to create an idea that ‘personal growth’ is not really possible or that it’s something we are perpetually ‘chasing’. I often hear people joke about the possibility of ever reaching enlightenment, as if it is a lofty goal only certain ‘elite’ reach. The truth is we all have it within us already… is only our perception of where it is, what it is and who we are that can limit our connection to it.
All this ‘personal growth’ is already within us. We need to do the simple and yet complicated practice of being curious to know ourselves because even the best tools can fall short without personal knowledge. All practices and tools involve you walking the path and doing the work of you. Nobody can do it but you.

I was watching a movie where a character said “You need to choose your thoughts the same way you choose your clothes”. I thought this was a great reminder to how simple it can be….with practice. Getting to know our thoughts and discerning….choosing……this is the art and practice of being human. The choosing of our thoughts completely shifts the playing field to one of empowerment and personal reflection…..not just being pushed and shoved by models of ‘lesser than/greater than’. We get to choose these thoughts that in turn affect how we feel and how we choose our actions toward ‘personal growth’.
You have all the tools you need within you….there is nothing to obtain that is outside of you.
Why not cultivate them……..
Reach within and discover.
Be open to the surprise and the challenge.
Be curious.
Be Loving.

Unplug from so much that you have been taught when it comes to the journey of personal growth and begin to know what medicine you need right now and what might be limiting you.
Only you can discover it.
Why not dive into the ocean of you… there anything more precious and amazing?

Thanks for reading.

being human

Looking inward (first)

I find it curious why so many people look consistently outside themselves to ‘know’ themselves or to elicit change for themselves/in the world (looking outside themselves even for Love which is inherently ‘within’ each of us). If each person no matter their age, income or faith (including politicians and CEOs) were to look inward, observe and inquire…… how might things change? (And how might that look on the level of government and corporations? Perhaps it would dissolve the qualities of dishonesty and ‘power’ for profit.)
And if each person were to meet themselves in this self reflection/inquiry with loving-kindness, gentleness and compassion…….how would that utterly change the experience you have living in your own skin? (Not a warm and fuzzy concept alone…. but truly ‘living’ it)

Most things in our society begin with a person(s).  An idea, perpetuation, action, reaction and so on. Whether it is fashion, social mores, viewpoints, language, emotions, stories or Love…….the common denominator is people.  We each are ‘ripple points’ from which so much may emanate. And it is the same with this choice of looking inward and choosing a perception of loving kindness. When we choose to shift the accepted ‘norm’ of how we behave as humans, toward ourselves and others, we create a ripple point.

I know for me that when I engage these qualities within myself that I find it difficult to perpetuate unkind words, actions and thoughts. They simply dissolve as they no longer are fueled from a sense of ‘lacking’ within. When I find ‘peace’ within myself there is no need to judge by comparison or create a ‘greater than lesser than’ perspective (which underlies so much of our forms of criticism & judgement). And if I am not acting on this standard behavior I am creating a contradiction that ripples out and perhaps offers invitation or resonance for someone else to do the same.
(And I know it certainly ‘frees up’ so much of my energy since it is not tied up in chatter of beating myself or somebody else up…..or deciding where myself and others fall on the scale of ‘good/bad’, ‘right/wrong’, successful/unsuccessful’, ‘greater than/lesser than’ etc.)

This superficial barometer plays out in most avenues of our lives. It is woven into the very fabric of what we consider ‘normal’ existence. We compare ourselves (and others) to our neighbors, friends and media etc….. to decide where we fall on the scale of ‘success’. The scale of ‘greater than/lesser than’. We look to the outside to understand merit and value instead of from the inner sense of self. We tend to tune out our ‘intuition’ and override this with external source information that doesn’t always serve us. But what if we interrupted this process and let ourselves witness all of it from a place within us that is not ‘lacking’? A place that is not ‘small’ but infinite and loving…..a place that honestly knows nobody is ‘better’ than anyone else, just different.
We get to choose the behaviors we keep alive and pay forward to each generation that comes. In all my teaching and travels I have yet to meet someone who says they enjoy or find positive tools in this unique human quality of self deprecation, feeling bad about oneself, the system of judging that inevitably puts someone at the bottom so someone else can be toward the top, the lens of always looking outside yourself to know how to feel inside yourself…..etc.

How do you relate to any of this……?
Do you find any curiosity…….

Take a moment and see if you can touch this……2 minutes. Just sit and breathe and relax. Invite (slowly) the feeling or idea of there is nothing lacking within you and that nobody is actually ‘better than’ anyone else (yourself included). See if you can touch that calm truth for just a moment. Notice the ‘chatter’ and thoughts that come and what you touch upon. Just notice…..nothing else. Perhaps once a week (or once a day) revisit this little practice and see how it shifts…….and again simply notice what comes without judging it. No pressure….just curiosity.

Thanks for reading….

being human

Our competitive nature (part 1)

1 having or displaying a strong desire to be more successful than others
2 as good as or better than others of a comparable nature

1 strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same

I was in a yoga class today and the teacher reminded everyone to only go as deep in the pose as worked for our own body and not based on what others were doing… be ‘where we are’ with our own practice. This is a simple reminder and in many ways an obvious one…..but one we often bypass. I thought about the posture I was in and how even in small ways I am striving towards a ‘goal’. Pausing, I asked myself where that goal had come from……meaning was it from my own lived experience/ barometer or from an outside concept served up through comparison.

This all starts to get a little curious because the lines of ‘me’ and the lines of everything else are blurry at times. And in many ways that makes sense because we are in a constant relationship of reciprocal influence. As a society we have a continuous flow of shared ideas, styles, standards and beliefs. We are truly affected by everything that we ‘take in’ on conscious and unconscious levels and have been since our inception.
So, even something as benign as a yoga pose and how I relate to it is affected by so many external concepts of ‘good’ and ‘success’. (I know I have written before about the nature of thought, judgement and the relative nature of success…… and considering the prevalence of these things in our world and how they shape us, I will most likely continue to explore them.)

I often contemplate how I would relate to myself and the world if I was on a deserted island (extreme exercise but helps to show contrast). An island where the influences are radically different. If all I had to go on was my own personal experience, acquired knowledge and intuition. Where would ‘judgement’ be? What would ‘success’ look like? Time and time again my honest answer is it would be a much more gentle and much less critical way of living and ‘being’. A way that is much more based on the inner sensation than an outer comparison.
Now, I am a supporter of growth and striving that comes with moving towards a goal. What a beautiful thing we as humans can envision and ‘achieve’. But it seems with that comes the shadow side of our competitive nature with ourselves and others. And along with that comes the inevitable judgements and fueled sense of opposition.
How can we on a daily basis be curious about our own conditioned patterns of comparison, judgement, criticism and concepts of success? Whether it is in a yoga class, cooking a meal for someone, in our ‘art’ work, in our relationships or even how we spend our ‘free’ time….how do we take responsibility for ourselves? I think it asks us to develop our sense of personal awareness and notice the moments these thoughts or beliefs are influencing our actions and how we feel about ourselves and others. And in those moments of awareness we can pause and perhaps choose something that is less based on competition and more on what truly serves us.

It is absolutely possible to unwind the conditioning. Like anything it takes practice. And once you begin to unwind it you start to see how much of a ‘hold’ it has had on you and how much energy it takes from each of us. Why not try something different from the way we have learned and that which seems to create so much feeling of ‘less than’ or lacking… much competition that doesn’t serve us.
Check out part 2 for a simple exercise.
Thanks for reading……