banner_2016-05Sydney 2002
I came back into my brother’s house one drizzly afternoon to find one of my black boots chewed to pieces. This wasn’t just any boot. This was one of a pair of traipsed-all-over-New-York-city-over-several-weekends-to-find-them kind of a boot. My bother’s dog, Ruby, a portly German Shorthaired Pointer my brother and his not-yet-wife had adopted after she had become too old for breeding, had used my precious black boot as a chew toy. It was the right one.

The thing that sticks with me about this memory is not that Ruby destroyed my prized footwear but that nothing happened. When I say, “nothing happened”, what I mean is nothing emotional happened. I didn’t react. There was no flash of anger, no loud outburst, no tears of rage, no sadness, no regret, no blame. Nothing. If I had told the story to a sympathetic friend especially drawing out for dramatic effect how long it took me to find this perfect pair of boots, my friend would understandably say, “That’s terrible! I’d be so mad!” But as it happened, it wasn’t terrible. I wasn’t mad.
I was so surprised at my lack of caring that I went looking for the upset!
In time, images started playing in my head of how people react in a situation like this. I saw in my mind a man yelling, “Bad dog!” I saw a dog cowering. I saw hitting. So in the end, that’s what I did. I faked the anger following a direction on how people are supposed to react when things like this happen. So I popped poor Ruby on the behind with the left boot and shouted sternly, “Bad dog!” (sorry, Ruby! RIP). It did not feel juicy and satisfying like raging can feel. It felt hollow. Surreal. Like I was a bad actor in a B-grade movie.

Nepal 2011
By the time I had finished my tea and cake I began to understand what people mean when they describe their headaches as “pounding” or “blinding”. It was the end of the one-day climb to Ama Dablam base camp where we had reached our highest altitude of 4,800 meters and I was succumbing to altitude sickness. I felt like I had a helicopter in my head. VROOM VROOM VROOM it pulsed.

It was my own fault. Cyril, our fitness trainer, had told us to bring enough water for the day. I didn’t. Instead of the recommended three bottles, I took just two. I drank my last drop out of my camel pack about half way down. Back at the inn an hour later than planned, the helicopter was relentlessly spinning on and I noticed I could not hear the shower running and it was hard for me to see. I stumbled into my pyjamas and somehow got myself into bed and closed my eyes waiting for the helicopter in my head to stop moving. I could hear my fellow trekkers coming to my aid. Once closed, I could not open my eyes. I was tested for oxygen count and I was propped up to take what I think now was an aspirin. At one point, Valerie, my roommate, climbed into the narrow bed with me and cradled me like a child. To my shock, guffawing sobs burst out of my body. Edmond, founder of the Legacy Odyssey Trek* of which I was a part, filled the room with sweet chakra music from his ipad.

What sticks with me with this memory is that while the body was shaking and sobbing and panicked chatter bubbled out, it was not me. I was there, but I was inside. I was in what I can only describe as the inky blackness. I was very awake. Very aware. Very still. Very calm. There was peace. The body was doing its thing, crying and babbling and it had nothing to do with me. I was floating inside completely fine wondering matter-of-factly if this was the end of the Andrea story. At one point I realized I didn’t need to stay in the inky blackness of the body and I left. I could still hear Valerie talking to me and then when Valerie went to have dinner, Cyril sat with me repeating over and over things like, “It’s ok. You’re ok. You are not the only one. Other people have experienced this too. It will be over soon. Don’t worry. Everything is ok.” I could hear the music until eventually it stopped and I could hear my own sobs until they stopped too. It wasn’t me and it was all me.

The Soul is Timeless
I’m sharing this story because I can not un-know that what I am is not my body and not my emotions either. What I am is still, spacious, awake and at peace. The body can wail and cry and that is not me. What is me is at peace. Lying there on a bed in an inn high in the Himalayas in Nepal was peace because what I was didn’t care about the body living or dying. It didn’t have a story about what came before, or what was to come next. It just was. It just is.

Emotional Tendencies
So here’s what I have noticed. I notice that we, as a modern culture, are addicted to how we feel. We are addicted to the highs and lows of the story of our lives. We are used to feeling a certain way when certain things happen. If you are rude to me, I’ll be angry. If you die, I’ll be sad. If you leave me before I’m ready,  I’ll be mad and sad. If you flirt with someone else, I’ll be jealous. If you fire me, I’ll feel shame followed by fear. All these reactions are understandable and widely accepted according to today’s cultural emotional maturity. If your partner leaves you, and you share your broken heart with your friends, they will agree with your feelings and may even fan the flames.

We innocently use emotions to make real our idea of reality.

What if we have it backwards?
If your partner leaves and you react with anger, the anger you feel serves to make real the belief that your lover shouldn’t have left you. We innocently use emotions to make real our idea of reality. For you to feel anger, a whisper of a thought has been believed, and that is; “She should not have left me”, or “He should stay and work this out.” To your personality’s rationale, the feeling of anger, frustration, sadness etc is proof that you are right; “I am so angry! I’m angry because of you!”

Emotions as Messengers NOT as Warriors
Your emotions are NOT, as you have been habitually believing, troops arriving to defend your preferences, opinions and judgements about life, nor for you to use as a force to go to war with Life. Your emotions are messengers pounding your chest, head and belly to get your attention crying out;

“Watch out! Wake up!
Don’t believe the nightmare!
You are, in this moment, in danger of preferring your untrue thoughts over reality.
You are, in this moment, insane.”

From the perspective of the timeless, spacious, sleepless soul, it loves you too much to care whether the body lives or dies, or whether your favorite boot is worn on your foot or chewed up by your bother’s dog, or whether your lover leaves or stays. To the soul, each apparent loss is just energy moving. Without the leaves dropping from the branch of the tree each Autumn, how can there be room for new growth in the Spring? Loss is never loss. It is only ever an opening into something else.

Emotions such as guilt and frustration are also the whisper that remind you when you have not been listening to your inner wisdom, values or truth, or have been acting discordantly to what is your soul’s divine purpose here on earth. Notice how this has nothing to do with anyone else. I have noticed that people, in their innocence, tend to project their unhappiness onto the people around them -especially the people whom they love the most, making them wrong. My invitation is to stop that. Now. Take responsibility for how you feel. Your emotions are your personal energetic experience. What do you get out of dragging your loved one into your chaos?

It is not their job to make you happy, it is yours.

Imagine that instead of using your emotions to make real your story about Life, you use them like an alarm that’s reminding you to wake up to an opportunity that has arrived in your life -an opportunity to open your heart, to release attachments, to shift perception, to love deeply and unconditionally, to relax and allow Life to be as it is without your personality arguing about it, to deepen your relationship with the Divine Wisdom that has all this working in perfect order. Give yourself permission to not react as you are “supposed” to but rather melt into the Truth that everything is as it should be and that you are ok actually.
Everything is ok actually.
The ground still holds you.
Your heart beats.
The body breathes whether you ask it to or not.
Without the stressful emotion, Life and its characters can do its thing and you are at peace.
With the peace, clarity naturally emerges out of the fog of the chaos.
You are free.

 

Help Altruistic Odyssey Help Nepal

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* Edmond Antoine, founder of Altruistic Odyssey, is fundraising for many great causes in Nepal. Please consider donating. He especially needs help financing the rebuilding of a their kitchen in Deboche Gompa Convent. Click on the link to donate.

 


To identify and shift limiting beliefs, consider a one-on-one session. Sessions can be in-person if you are local to New Jersey, or via Skype if you are elsewhere. You may also wish to consider learning a natural healing art such as Reiki as a method of self-care. In the second level (degree) of Reiki, breakthrough limiting beliefs to clear the environment for creation and manifestation.
Email Andrea at info@andreagrace.com, or call: 908-271-6670 x 1. You may need to leave a message. I will return your call within 48 hours unless I am traveling.

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