Shine bright, like a diamond.

“Our image of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves – the way we are – and why we don’t accept others the way they are.” Don Miguel Ruiz

_shimmer__by_cichutko-d4dxzef

Attaining ‘perfection’ is a perpetual journey. Yet the word perfection is misleading and a potentially devastating trap. The quote; ‘Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without’ highlights that there is no perfection without flaw. It suggests reaching for the most magnificent version of our selves while knowing the flaws; the ‘negatives’ help to create a whole version of ourselves. The concept of perfection can be a falsehood that leads us to constantly feel lacking or not good enough. It potentially denies our core self by seeking to uphold an image of perfection. Whereas attaining holistic balance is a very real and honest process of being, or rather becoming. This describes an active process of growth and attainment where we accept ourselves as we truly are yet seek growth. Our flaws lead us to growth. I see no separation between light and dark, no duality only unity with moments of friction and dissonance providing room for change within our selves.

The first time I read the diamond with a flaw quote I was stumped by it. A humble yet perfect pebble seemed a greater achievement than something ‘grander’ but flawed. I soon found that maintaining perfection was dissatisfying and limiting, I ached for challenge and growth. I was exhausted by the constant effort to avoid my flaws in order to appear the humble perfect pebble; always happy never discontent or hurting. Yet when I embraced my flaws and moved through the discomfort of facing them I became something stronger, more durable, more beautiful and more real. Diamonds are formed through high temperature and massive pressure, this process creates the most durable and beautiful gem on the planet*. This process suggests discomfort. Humans tend to shy away from discomfort or suffer through it by rejecting ourselves because we are not perfect, but through accepting ourselves and gracefully working on our flaws we attain love for ourselves not self-inflicted suffering and rejection. Then we become open to the possibility of a greater version of ourselves that can live in the moment, without the devastating and painful voice of the inner critic shaming us, and we can shine bright like a diamond.

Words errant

Image courtesy of cichutko on DeviantArt

* India is the place where they were first thought to be mined perhaps 6000 years ago and they were revered as religious icons.

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The state of our soul

Soul II

There have been various perceptions within humanities experience in relation to the concept of the ‘soul’. There has been the belief that that a soul upon physical death becomes a part of the earth and within the genetics of the generations that remain; or that the soul enters another realm dependent upon the individuals souls worthiness, variously referenced as Nirvana, Heaven, Hell, Hades and other capitalised bifurcated nouns related to various beliefs; or that the soul was recycled/reincarnated into another animate form. Now, in the digital age there are other newer concepts of soul, that the soul can be potentially recorded, downloaded, replicated or at least stored, indefinitely.

Do some, or none, of these concepts give any consolation to the bereaved? What does it do to our psyche? Do we start to think we are invincible, irreplaceble, immortal? We are starting to live within a real and virtual world concurrently. The concept that we can correct any wrong, or that we can do no wrong because ‘it was virtual’ is starting to seep into our general concepts of the physical world we live in, at the same time as we potentially start to emotionally and intellectually vacate it. Vacating, this incredibly beautiful world that exists, that may not exist in ‘x’ number of years ahead of us. The more the gateway to escapism exists we will seek it. Currently that gateway is at its optimal high and growing exponentially.

Regardless of expectation of where ones ‘soul’ or consciousness might arrive at eventually, one’s own understanding of the self is the greatest power one can ever have. Some of us, can understand our souls within a virtual expression of the world, engaging with others of like mind, communicating with others of like mind. We may never find those connections in the ‘real world’. There is nothing wrong with this kind of companionship, nothing at all. Unless it is all one has. Then there is no measure between the real and the virtual or online engagement. Then, lines become blurred. Unless you are an entirely self-contained individual (and there many of those in the world), in which case you are likely just fine. Some souls require nourishment from physical interaction with other souls. I try to attain both elements. I am aware that I am more inclined to a particular way but know I should keep trying all manner of ways… particularly because I don’t believe that technology is in any way prepared to manage my soul as I would intend, therefore it is important that I behave with the integrity I desire, the intellect, the understanding, the subtlety, the beauty of my individualness that may never, ever be seen again.

errant

ear parcel: Max Richter ‘Written on the Sky’

Image stolen from SOUL-SENs

Unwinding

curls_by_drkshp

As I propel myself through this world of dimmed light, I find illumination.

Unravelling trauma, I discover lost memories or clarify half remembered ones, re-experiencing these memories as an adult I find holistic answers that enable me to free up an anxiety or fear based response where one is no longer required. My vision and thoughts become clearer by removing extraneous, fear-filled noise. It’s a layer cake of experience; taking care, time, patience, will and approaching things from various directions and in a variety of forms. I carry my trauma in my body and my parasympathetic system. Working with the mind is only one part of my unravelling. A gentle, kind reboot of the entire system every time a new discovery is unearthed is required. Each time, more of my authentic self emerges and she is increasingly content.

errant

Image courtesy of drkshp

The child’s mind; some thoughts on the past

Childhood_Reflection_by_pinkparis1233

My mind to mind, heart to heart, soul to soul conversation with my brother last night brought my firm beliefs about childhood experiences and the past into clear focus. A good friend of mine, who has been a counsellor for many years, often states ‘children are great recorders of information but not good interpreters’. I agree with this wholeheartedly (although, I will note that there are exceptional children that do seem to be great interpreters). While I do not believe in excessive reminiscing of past experiences, particularly in the form of rehashing the past over and over and awakening all the emotion that was felt at that time, I do believe that sometimes we need to assist our ‘childish’ memories to be rewritten with our adult consciousness.

I see life as being like a great tree:

  • The roots being our core beliefs and where we come from
  • The trunk being our growth, time in the world, memories and experiences
  • The branches and leaves our potential future path

We can rewrite what has been carved into our trunk, redirect the sap of memories that flow within us and, if so desired, change the core beliefs that our life is built upon. The past is not static. With a bit of mindfulness we can change our view of past experiences, even great tracts of time, so that we can respond to our present in a more balanced way and flourish.

Can you call to mind moments or situations in your life where you habitually respond with overly strong emotion, almost like a default setting? Or is there a pattern in your relationships that seems to be stuck on repeat? Have you ever wondered why certain words or phrases set you off and later you wonder why that situation blew out of proportion? It is highly likely that you may have an ingrained response linked to childhood experience/s that haven’t been contextualized into an adult perspective. It’s like a trigger that when pressed by particular pattern or similar situation to the past experience we are suddenly, emotionally, 6 years old again, or 12 or 15. Our adult mind, heart, body and soul is hijacked by this youthful version of ourselves. If we can identify the sensation and catch ourselves behaving in this way we can begin to recognise the pattern and instigate change.

As I mentioned I don’t believe that change requires an in-depth revising of the past (this is almost like rehearsing and reinforcing the behaviour). Just noticing what happens at these times is a powerful catalyst. What thought is prevalent? Is it actually relevant in this situation right now? Why do I think/feel/believe this? Try to catch the moment and slow it down, breathe and look at the thoughts that appear foremost in your mind before you say them out loud. Press pause while you breathe and assess the thoughts and emotions arising. If you can, take time out from the situation, write down what you have observed but keep it simple. When we challenge behaviour, or alter a pattern slightly, different neurons spark in the brain, beginning new pathways within our mind and igniting the process of change.

Sometimes we may have a distinct memory that arises in relation to the patterned response but a specific memory is not essential for this simple process to create successful change. The point is to break an association that is no longer serving us. As children we put in place coping mechanisms to deal with that which we do not, or cannot understand at that time. These mechanisms probably served us well when we developed them but as we outgrow them they begin to hinder us without conscious realisation that a patterned response exists.

Take your inner child’s hand and lead them through these situations with calm, care, love and attention. It takes a little time but it is not painful and leads to deeper understanding of the self, greater compassion and empathy as well as richer relationships. I am not saying banish the inner child, the innocence, imagination and wonder of the child-mind is a blessing. I am merely suggesting that there are parts of our mind that could do with a spring clean and a new perspective to improve our lives.

Change is easier than you believe.

 

Image from pinkparis1233 on deviantART

Intuition

“The heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing” Blaise Pascal

What language is it that we use to interpret in-between the lines of communication. The moments of intuition that tell us something important is about to happen. What causes the hairs on our neck to stand up in forewarning; slow down there is danger ahead, or this person you are meeting is of vital importance in your life. That voice deep within the gut that clenches telling you to change direction when walking late at night. What are the markers that inform that there is more going on than is being articulated in the words spoken aloud?

The moment before a car crash when you know to apply the brake, turn the wheel and pray. That everything is not ok although the words being articulated tell you that they are ‘fine’. That the empty door frame in front of you is about to be filled with an insane and angry neighbour armed with a large kitchen knife. That you say to your friend ‘I’m going into town right now because I’m about to meet someone very special’ and they walk with you teasing you until the moment arrives and the someone you meet is obviously special. What senses are engaged in these moments? What thoughts?

What slows time down so that you can respond correctly? Or meet the moment fully.

I believe it is the shedding of information rather than the gathering of that hones our potential power of intuition. Our ability to feel and hear what is not noticed when our minds are full to brimming with information or overly aroused emotion that clouds our thinking. It is the balance within us between the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual that gives us the most wondrous gift of presence.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not more so.” Albert Einstein

Humour me

snow-white

I want to talk of metaphor. How it shapes us, our thoughts, our self, our very being, of who we dream we are, who we were, who we are to become. I read a post today it reminded me of a passionate interest I have. I had been searching before reading this of something I wrote long ago, a series of questions during my master’s studies that I put to a group of people. I wanted to post it here but it has been lost, multiple changes of address and hard drives but the passion still excites me. I want to you ask you my dear readers what story defines you? What metaphor drives you? Are you aware or is it under the surface defining you without your knowledge.

Did you know that the brain cleverly and economically functions on metaphor. It is the most brilliant method of data storage we have in our organic super computer brains. We think the super computers we carry in our hands now days are amazing yet the function of our human brain is beyond anything we can create, yet. I refer to this as the human brain has an incredible ability to serve or destroy us. Created like the universe in a magnificent inexplicable evolutionary moment similar to the ‘big bang’ (or for the creationists among us when the word of God brought about the world) the Homo sapiens brain evolved and was able to remember, formulate future, to imagine, to plan and to create on a level that no other creature on Earth comes close. It didn’t happen to all of them, just some and over time there were more (through genetics and learning). Yet there was a cost, a high cost. The cost was the need for a high protein diet, the need to attend to our young for much longer than any other creature on this planet. These brains of ours are large and are not fully grown when we are born. We seem to be born with a relatively open template for growth that we can adapt to incredible differences in languages, in culture and in environment. To do so we spend 50% of our childhood sleeping in the REM state. What is the REM state? Dreaming. Did you know that within the cycle of sleep we spend a significant period of every 90 minutes dreaming? This dreaming period expends as much energy as the ‘awake’ brain does. Did you know that you experience the REM state while awake? Every 90 minutes (more or less, the time varies person to person) during your waking day you ‘trance out’ (know the feeling when you need a glass of water, a nap, a break, a walk, a coffee, some food….). This is the moment needed to solidify learning or let go of experiences not needed. Same as when we sleep.

Significantly we dream to release the emotional arousal or expectations of the day. We dream in metaphor to avoid any issues as the brain, elegant as it is, does not know the difference between the real, the imagined or the dreamed. This process is sometimes referred to as ‘Expectation fulfillment theory’ or the ‘flush toilet mechanism’. A simple example is perhaps the boss says something that you do not like but cannot without jeopardising your employment say what you would like to them. That night fuming you go home, fall asleep and dream of telling someone in authority, say an old teacher or public political figure etc, exactly what you think of them. You wake and return to your work environment without feeling emotionally aroused and ready to tell you boss: ‘F *%& you buddy you can F*&%ing stick your stupid job’.

But back to the point, what stories defined you as a child? Have you updated these ideas or inadvertently is your brain still seeking to fulfill these metaphorical ideals? My personal example is the classic ‘Snow White’ story. I didn’t have many books, in fact very few, but I had this one book with wood block prints and lyrical verse. I was lost to it. But this metaphor defined me far longer than I ever intended. Until I consciously realised and created a new metaphor for myself that launched me into something unexpected. I wrote something simple and childish to bridge the gap between where my metaphorical expectations were and where my adult self realized I wanted to be. I defined myself as a ‘knight in shining pink armour on a quest of knowledge and learning’. My metaphor before this (as defined by Snow White) was that I was persecuted for who I was and would be hunted by women of perceived power and those within the execution of their will and my only hope was to be saved by a prince on a white charger… seriously these stories we read have great effect (I am no feminist just one who has seen and experienced the difference this choice makes for man and woman). I have had several more metaphors since this first consciously rewritten one which was playful and made me smile in the face of adversary. Metaphors don’t need to be elaborate…. Can you remember what your favourite childhood story was? Is it relevant now? Does it still have a hold on you? Do you need to take charge of that magnificent brain of yours and feed it some better information setting it on a search for a much richer and wonderful tomorrow? Humour me. Lets see what comes to mind in the next few days….

Words by Errant Satiety image from here. Major credit to the Human Givens Institute.

Please feel free to email me privately with any questions.