Well, You Know
(Excerpted and Updated Post from my original Blog—Written in October 2013)
The original version of this post was published just about a year after I moved back to Florida from North Carolina. I think I was hoping that, having been here for a year (at that time), I would feel more settled. Instead, I was morose and depressed much of the time. When we moved I had believed that the change would jump-start my stagnant feeling life. Lots of things changed, but much remained remained uncatalyzed, while too much stayed the same. I was seeking a direction—looking for a renewal of purpose to life, and every time I thought I might have it figured out, I seemed to be blocked.
Having voluntarily released the illusion of Free Will fairly early on my Spiritual Path, I was quite accustomed to having my wings clipped when I go on flights of fancy that don’t suit the purposes of that Higher Power which guides me. At that point though, I felt completely grounded. No matter which way I tried to go, I would find myself right back where I started. I could do the day-to-day stuff, work around home, and basically fulfill all the obligations that life entails. Intermittently, I would work on my blog, the purpose of which continued to remain an enigma to me.
However, all outlets for true creativity or financial independence seemed closed to me. I ran against one wall and then another. My life was full of bizarre happenstance and complications. The harder I tried to seek employment or just sit down in my craft room and work, the more things got in the way or went wrong. Even though I have long known better, I spent a lot of mental energy worrying and brooding.
Gradually, as I became a little better at stilling my restless thoughts, that small still voice that is neither inside or out, began to whisper repeatedly that I needed to Let Go of Everything.
That seemed a tall order. I had done it before, but the woman now faced with this daunting task was not the same as the one who had undertaken much the same Path a quarter century ago. While she had no proof that the Freedom and Enlightenment she sought were possible, she had Faith, she had trust, heart and hope. I, on the other hand, did Know what can be attained, but all those other assets were tarnished and worn. It was not Spirit or God that I had lost faith in, but Myself. My heart had not been wide open in a long time. I no longer trusted that I could let go and have the sort of fearless acceptance that this journey requires.
There was a time in my life when I always told the Truth, to myself and to others. I do not lie now, but I learned to keep my mouth shut, to evade and circumvent. There was a time when I was utterly Fearless. Now mild fear and anxiety pervade my life. Instead of being afraid of death or illness as so many are, I am mortally afraid that I will not be good enough, wise enough or brave enough to do all this again.
It was easy to see what I needed to let go of, at least in part. But letting go of everything—this is not just a call to release the negativity in my life. The inventory of emotional baggage, whether it is perceived as good or bad, that we accumulate even in the short-term of life is staggering. What do I need to give up?
The judgment and pettiness which I have battled but still experienced these past few years—and also guilt, responsibility, regret, anger and jealousy. On the other hand, I need to cleanse myself of feeling sorry for myself or others, of the need for attention, of clinging to people, places or things. In the final reckoning, to achieve Freedom in this world we must give up Everything, trusting implicitly that what we really need will return to us on its own.
And most importantly, if I am ever to have peace in this life, I have to accept myself and hopefully at some point, Love myself again. That was the hardest part for that younger version of Self I mentioned earlier, but she did it and I think I can also. A song sung by Steve Winwood back in 1986 has been playing through my head for days now—Higher Love.
Think about it, there must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
Without it, life is a wasted time
Look inside your heart, I’ll look inside mine
Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood
I could not agree more. A life without Love is not a life, and if Love is to have any meaning it must be unconditional and given without reservation. Unconditional Love is easy to contemplate or give lip service to, but how many of us have ever truly experienced it? And how many of us have ever achieved it? To love with no expectations, no requirements, without judgment or culpability is a tall order unless you have first opened and cleared your own heart. So few of us, even toward our own children, parents or God, are capable of loving no matter what may come.
We feel the sting of rejection, the pain of being ignored, or we suffer the affronts of disrespect or dislike on another’s part, and our first instinct is to react in kind. That is not Unconditional Love. To love unconditionally is to love the other whether that sentiment is returned or not, whether the beloved is present or away, and without judging that one’s behavior or conduct. It is Love in its simplest form, without dilution or mitigation, and it is a magnificent gift to give or receive.
I think perhaps the most difficult person to love unconditionally is yourself. In order to let go of all of the garbage that has accumulated over these past few years, I absolutely must quit finding fault with myself. I need to stop denigrating myself, feeling guilt and regret at every hint of criticism from others. Because I am not precisely where I want to be right now I have surely failed—that’s a large part of the burden I carry.
Why is it so much easier to love and forgive everyone else? Maybe because we are too close, but probably because of the obsessive self-absorption most of us indulge in constantly. I am spending a lot more of my time looking outward these days—attempting to reawaken the compassion and desire for service that make this world a better place. And I am feeling very much better for it.
I am giving it all away, knowing that Spirit will send everything I really need back my way.
I am seldom depressed or morose now. On the whole, I am more content with life than in some time, and I am working hard at being at peace with myself. While I can’t say that my Heart is as open as I ultimately want it to be, or that my love and acceptance of Self or others is even close to perfect, I have made great progress and I am taking better care of myself than I have in years.
Blessings, and may you find your own Higher Love!