Spiritual miracle grow, anyone?

I’ve been brainstorming a bunch of posts (that will come – I assure you) and other customizations to complete here in the temple the past several days. I thought about other blogs I visit and sites I like and blogs I’ve had in the past. One of the things that popped into my head when I imagined what people who stumble over here might be looking for was resources, help, guideposts for growth, etc. And I had a moment where I (almost out loud) exclaimed, “Aha! I’ll create a Resources page!” And my Left Brain leaped up from the corner, sucked in a big gulp of air and started speeding along (it doesn’t get nearly as much air time here as my right brain does, so it was thrilled at the opportunity), planning, shooting out ideas of websites and books and Facebook pages – ready to put people on the fast track to spiritual growth…and then my Right Brain whispered something that, I swear, bore the force of a Bruce Lee kick to Left Brain’s metaphorical solar plexus, stopping it in its tracks: Isn’t the best resource one that everyone already has on their insides?

Well, damn. Left Brain, recognizing defeat, hauled itself up off the floor and slumped back to the corner. Right Brain, compassionate as it is, sent a searching look to the slouching figure that really does love a good plan and details and goes ga-ga over logistics to check in before continuing with what it knew would be an even greater blow: And isn’t that (the initially-planned, traditional-styled resources page) a little like giving someone a fish (as opposed to teaching them to fish)? I mean, there aren’t really shortcuts – not the kind that most people look for. With that, Left Brain was down for the count.

So here’s the skinny: There won’t be a traditional resources page here. Not because I don’t want to help people in need but because I think one of the things we trip ourselves up on soooo much is forgetting that the answers we really need are foremost found within. Truthfully, they’re everywhere – both within us and all around us. And there kind of are short cuts, just not necessarily in the way you may think…I will probably end up crafting some sort of resources page but it’ll probably end up a little unorthodox looking. Which is pretty much on par with me, my life, and my approach to, well, Yes (everything). 

In the mean time, in terms of outside resources, I submit the following (especially if you feel like you’ve plateaued in your growth/pursuit of self-actualization/nirvana/enlightenment/insert-your-favorite-catch-phrase-that-has-to-do-with-becoming-a-better-and-more-substantial-and-True-you here):

MVP resources to catalyze growth:

  • The annoying dude on the subway that always has his music turned way up
  • The pushy/bossy lady in the food pantry line
  • Your estranged sister/brother/parent/relative/friend
  • The upstairs apartment neighbors whose crazy animal sex noises drive you nuts
  • That gossipy chic in the corner cubicle
  • The homeless guy you pass on the street every day when you go to work
  • Your best friend who keeps falling for the same no-good partner
  • Your entire family of origin

Pretty much any person or any situation that evokes within you any visceral reactions, violent/overly passive tendencies, anyone that you cannot think of without bursting into tears (even if you broke up in middle school), anyone who has the magic power to make you reach (or want to reach) for a bottle of wine, a sharp (or blunt) instrument, your blankie (I’ve got one – no stones being thrown here), etc. Yup, you’ve been busy cursing these people and situations , crying over them, and/or bitching about them when they are some of the best Teachers you will ever have. So how I know it might sound a little backwards (funny how so many spiritual and metaphysical Truths do), but it’s your reaction that is the Rosetta stone of your own spiritual growth and development.

I imagine at least some of you are probably scoffing right now, and that’s totally cool and a common response. But before you click the back button on your browser, give me a minute here to explain. While we might recognize our reactions themselves (e.g., That person is such a &%#^$%!!), rarely do we ever fully recognize 1) the strength of the reaction, 2) that the strength of that reaction is probably disproportionate to the situation (though not always), and/or 3) why we’re really reacting that way to begin with. Now, you might be saying, Uh, no, I’m pretty sure I scream expletives in traffic because I hate it when people are assholes and cut me off. And, on the surface, I’m not disagreeing with that. What I’m telling you is that there’s more to it.

The process of getting down to the real “What” may simultaneously seem both complicated and overly simple. That’s because it is. It’s because as human beings, we are. The good news: all those stressed out emotions and frustration and irritation and loneliness and anger are actually assets, and I’m going to explain how to use them as such.

How to make your reactions work for you and NOT against you

  • Practice expressing genuine, non-judgmental curiosity in your reactions
    • After you’ve calmed down a little, ask yourself “Why?” Why does someone cutting you off in traffic send your blood pressure skyrocketing? Other than angry, what emotions does that experience evoke in you? Why? What’s the worst thing about that experience? And what’s the worst thing about that? And that? And so on. Is that what actually happened? Picture every two year old kid you’ve ever met with an infinite amount of “Why?” questions and then be that kid in an internal conversation with yourself.
  • While you’re asking yourself questions, watch out for internal responses that begin with “You shoulds” or “People just…” – basically any generalizations or unwritten social rules/etiquette (if you’re not sure if what you’ve come up with fits into this category, ask yourself where you learned it, who taught it to you, where did it come from, or whose voice do you hear saying that in your head). Not because those are necessarily bad for you or problematic – really, these responses are like gold nuggets because you can uncover so much about how you think of yourself and the world by overturning these puppies – but because we frequently adopt beliefs without even thinking. And you cannot grow and become who the Divine created you to be without conscious intention.
    • If you’ve been able to calmly do the above steps without getting angry at yourself or other people, you’re ready proceed to this next step. It might seem silly, but I really caution you to keep this one in your back pocket until you can move through the steps mentioned above calmly and with non-judgment because you can make things worse for yourself if you go here and you’re not ready yet. Remember that you’re not in a competition here, this isn’t about who can become “enlightened” the fastest, and remember, too, that everyone moves at their own pace. So what’s the next step already?! Ask where/what the fear is in that situation/experience. Many of us are not ready to face our fears, so be gentle with yourself when you start digging in this area (think toothbrush not jack hammer). I guarantee you that anything that incites a visceral reaction will have fear in it somewhere. This is normal, so no need to freak out about it, and it definitely will NOT help you to beat yourself up about it. Everyone has fear. Show me the biggest, baddest person you can think of, and I guarantee that if you were able to have a conversation with that person in which s/he had to be completely truthful, you would probably be stunned by the fears that were talked about.
  •  Ask yourself how your reactions serve/have served you. Other than a possible prescription for some Diltiazem or Xanax, what do you get out of that reaction? I promise every thought, emotional, or behavioral pattern you have has served you significantly at one point in time. If it’s causing problems for you now, that’s your cue from the Universe to create something that serves your highest and best interest all the time instead (replacing a pattern is a lot easier than just trying to “let go” or stop one). Again, really crucial here to be non-judgmental toward yourself through this process – I cannot emphasize that enough.
  • Decide that you’re done with those old reactions and create new, healthy, and uplifting responses. When you react, it’s like setting off an explosion and a ton of your energy goes every-which-a-way which depletes you of resources (have you ever noticed that you feel drained after you’ve vented or cried a lot or yelled?). Part of growing is learning to be more responsible on a spiritual/metaphysical level. Responsibility is simply the ability to respond: a conscious action instead of an unconscious reaction.
  • Practice patience and persistence. Whether you remember it or not, you didn’t construct your current patterns overnight, and your new ones are probably going to take a while to really take root. At first you might not catch yourself until a day or two or eight afterward. It’s all right. Don’t beat yourself up – celebrate that you recognized that you’d engaged that old pattern, take a breath, and then commit to monitoring yourself and inserting your new one next time. You’ll start catching yourself earlier and earlier until your default response is the one you created. Trust the process 🙂

Special note: Any time that you’re doing work on figuring out and working to heal patterns, fears, beliefs, etc., make time to treat yourself like you have the flu. You don’t need to take spa days or call off work or your life necessarily. Just be a little extra gentle, let yourself sleep an hour or two extra (seriously – when we sleep it’s like hitting a reset or refresh button).

 

The Bottom Line

The real bottom line in terms of your best and most valuable resource EVER: You. You are your best resource. The things you long for now. The things you wish you could go back and change. Your weak areas. Your areas of strength. Your intuitive leaps, your mistakes, the places where you are most tender, your fear of failure, your fear of success – all of it. You are a massive puzzle, a million doors behind which are opportunities for growth and healing and you hold all the keys. Yes, you. You don’t have to track them down around the globe or pay thousands of dollars for them on Ebay. You already have them – not some guru or priest or priestess or rabbi or shaman. Gurus, Teachers, self-help books, hell, even this website, are not (when we really get down to it) necessary in order for you to become who you were created to  be – the absolute value of your Essence, Spirit, Soul, whatever. And the best of all of those – the ones that are trustworthy (and I promise I’m not just saying this) – will tell you pretty much what I just did. They will strive to empower you not disempower you or take from you. They will, at most, help you locate those keys within you. But they’re already there. Promise.

One thought on “Spiritual miracle grow, anyone?

  1. I am SO SO Sorry I didn’t comment when you first posted this! There is so much really great information in this post. I particularly love how you encouraged us to be nonjudgemental with ourselves, because really – if we want to do the work and get to the bottom – we have to feel “safe” about whatever we might find, and whoever me might find it with (ourselves, usually, and maybe a mentor or a counselor of some type). I laughed when reading about yelling explitives at the moron on the highway. Having navigated the commuter traffic in Southern California my entire life, I can honestly say that I think my road rage is just road rage – annoyance at stupid people that do stupid stuff that endangers others (oh, the number of people who get in the fast lane just to putz along while they are texting!!)

    This is a great piece. And I hope you do put some sort of Resources page together, because even though it’s an Inside Job, we all could use a little map now and then to point us in the right direction. 🙂

    Like

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