I'm writing to you lovely people from high in the air, looking down upon the snowy Rocky Mountains. They are so huge and pristine from above!
In a few hours I'll be gathering for the second round of the Integral Facilitation training that I'm devoting myself to this year. Thirty brave souls will spend the week diving into how our own personal process affects group dynamics and transformation. Our first gathering taught me so so much about myself and has continued to unfold through weekly calls that explore subjects as amazing as sensuality in the workplace.
Now I am ready to go in for round two! This week we will explore how hidden anger and conflict can block movement in a group. Of course I am terrified because the last thing I want to do is to look at ally that hidden (or obvious) anger in myself.
Yet I know it's important. What I don't deal with in myself will only come out in icky ways for me and other people. And I can do it. I deal with tough emotions by being willing to own them in myself. When I've owned them internally, I can meet them in others with less judgment and fear. This is truly a gift to myself and to everyone around me.
An example of this....
Yesterday at this time I was scrambling around DC. In the trickster spirit of the monkey, I spent the first day of the Chinese New Year incredibly disoriented. I woke up to find I had no internet and then lost my cell phone while at the Comcast center. Of course I had a massive to-do list planned for the day before I headed out of town.
Instead of crossing items off the list, I spent my day searching, waiting in line or on hold, frustrated.
Yet within it all, I noticed that although intensity was arising in my mind and body, I wasn't erupting. In the past I would have gotten mad at myself that I hadn't kept better track of my phone and then yelled at the sweet by not-helpful Comcast guy when he couldn't turn my internet on. Then I would have gotten mad at myself again for not controlling my emotions better. What a cycle!
This time felt different. Although my brain was signaling for me to react, I decided to go easier. I laughed at my extreme attachment to my devices. I asked myself, what else could go wrong? I felt grateful to still have my car keys. I made tea and cuddled with Poncho. I breathed and felt held by force that is stronger than my need for productivity or control.
My willingness to just be present for what is unfolding has changed my life. It's so simple but not at all easy to let go of control. It takes practice and messing up a lot I think. Yet as I practice holding tough sensations without reacting to them, I get stronger. The stronger I am, the more I seem to handle what life passes to me. I like this cycle better.
Here I'd like to insert a big plug for my upcoming retreat to Machu Picchu. Studying mysticism and working with the healers in the sacred land of Peru has helped me to fall in love with life in a deep way. It's taught me about my true connection to humanity and to the earth and built immense spiritual strength within me.
Read more about my Peru Love Affair here. It's a wild story!
As Peru taught me, I am in not in control. When I respect this, my life flows and I am blown away by the serendipity and miracles that pour forth. When I struggle for control, my life gets messy so that I may once again learn to surrender.
Since I much prefer staying in the flow, I continue to practice being calm within chaos. I surrender when I can but of course forget that all the time. On my days when my monster comes out, I consciously practice self awareness and self care the best I can.
I laugh at myself. I make tea and pet the dog. I speak to my monster firmly but with love. I realize that I am not different or special because I go through hard times.
In short, I handle myself and my own life. I take care of myself. I am ordinary and beautiful for that. We all are asked to do that every day of our lives and so many of us do it with humility and grace.
The good news is that from my experience, on the other side of the tough emotions lay beautiful emotions. There is softness built into the journey. Flowers we can buy and eye contact that we can make. There are practices like meditation and yoga to refocus our efforts. There are people who want to help us and are just waiting to be asked.
Through the development of my own self care practices, I am learning that I am actually strong enough to hold the crushingly exquisite emotions that come from deep intimacy, including intimacy with myself. Slowly I am learning to accept help and say "thank you" from a deep place of humility.
This all starts with a willingness to know myself--my joy and my demons--the same way I would want to know a friend. It's so very personal and yet when I practice it, how quickly it spreads out into the world! I'm watching it happen every single day and it overwhelms me sometimes how much we can help each other. I am helped and inspired daily by the brave souls out there endeavoring to live life well and who are kind enough to share about it. Thank you.
We are so powerful to one and other. Our willingness to own our lives courageously can change the world. We get to choose the kind of world we want to live in.
So I'm choosing. More than anything I want my life to be great big joyful permission. I wish to use my time here to remind us all that we are allowed to live as we are and to be so imperfect yet so totally worthy. It's from that worthiness that we can actually grow and evolve conscious.
Then we can truly live! We can feel the impulse of evolution moving through us and guiding even our worst days. We can admire the mountains down below and the deep rage inside. We can recognize the same emotions in others that we see in ourselves. We can laugh at it all. We can connect and celebrate and make the very most of our fragile and delicious time here with each other.