What flows through us, the invisible substance animating our very life, knows no limitation, no immoveable object, and no defeat. Ask the daffodil bulb in the cold of winter, greeting the early March sun. Despite harsh, stormy weather, she, in all her gold and green glory, comes again. Arising through hardened, thawing earth, what emerges reminds us, one more time, that creative activity will not be stopped. The flower assumes the shape that lives within the bulb. So, too, do we.
Our lives tomorrow take shape in accord with the thinking we do today. Every thought creates. Every thought helps us begin again, or keeps us stagnant, bored, discouraged. The emerging field of neurobiology has discovered that the nature of the brain includes neuroplasticity. We are hard-wired to begin anew, if we will only give ourselves the same chance as the humble daffodil.
Benefits abound. There is great benefit to all concerned in realizing this. What's suggested, as Ernest Holmes said long ago: "Change the idea of a thing, and you change the thing. It's that simple." Hence, when unplanned life change comes, it is best to resist the temptation to avoid it or lose our sense of humor. Instead, if we want to productively blossom, we do well to hone in on what you truly want to create from this point forward. Let go of attachments to mechanism in just how this will come about.
This doesn't mean we won't have challenges. It is part of nature. Recently, I was reminded of this fact. After receiving the inspiration Love Project 2013 through meditation, (see carabarker.com or HuffPost archives), there appeared to be roadblocks. The operant word is "appeared." Although I believed this project would come about in one way, what has emerged required me to move beyond my own limited thinking and broaden the frame. Life is far more exciting and rewarding when we do. There is a deeper truth existing within the law of being, guiding us, if we give ourselves half a chance. Goethe was correct. Life has a "magic" to it when we say "yes."
The law. Doing so brings us to the law of our being. As we are in sacred domain, here. I capitalize the word "law," for it refers to the core essence of who you really are, living beyond the shoreline of who you've come to believe you need to be in order to be accepted, loved and cherished. Connecting with your law is the task of life. But, be not dismayed. It comes in little glimpses, if we learn to notice, and begin to form a pattern. Each time we have an awakening moment, our boundaries expand, and we powerfully galvanize our focus and strength. We become as centered as the Rock of Gibraltar, as fluid as the great underground river.
For those ready to move in this direction, and tired of fighting the river, there are guidelines that can restore flow when obstacles get in the way. Consider:
1. Start where you are, by making contact with the truth. How easy it is to resist. When we don't like where we are, it is easy to overreach, to believe that the answer lies outside the present moment. It isn't. As Ram Dass quipped long ago:
"If you are already in Detroit, you don't have to take a bus to get there."
Maybe your Detroit has to do with a relationship that's soured, or your energy is low, or your job is in jeopardy, or you've lost someone or something precious. Let's be brave enough to name and claim where we are, and tell the truth about it. I might hate the fact that my daughter and family are moving to another state. But if we are not giving ourselves permission to feel what we feel, we cannot begin our evolving life again.
2. Love fiercely "what is." This may be tough in the beginning. After Ram Dass had his stroke, he entered the experience, the frustration, honestly, and discovered the imperative of fiercely loving the "what is." I love this about him, for he is a marvelous example of what's available to each of us willing to slow down, breathe, enter one's truth, and share what comes with authenticity and integrity.
3. Reclaim your sense of humor. It is easy to be positive when everything is going swimmingly. Quite another, when you've lost your rudder and coordinates. How automatically we can go into hiding, and lose all sense of humor. But, it is most unattractive to stay in permanent pout mode.
4. Notice teachers around you. It can be instructive to look to children for answers. Develop the practice of noticing and enjoying the ride. Answers come in unexpected form.
Just the other day, such an example came my way. Plopping her 3-year-old self on my lap, bare feet on her mama's, my granddaughter asked: "Where me go?" "Oh! Look! Me hiding!" We could not stop from laughing. There, from beneath her self-imposed isolation under a red blanket, she giggled. "Honey," I said, "This is the question women have been asking themselves for centuries. Where me go?" Facing life change, myself, I began to question: Where was I hiding my head beneath self-imposed limitation? In Talia's terms: "Where me go?"
5. Pay attention. There is no more powerful way to move forward than to engage in creative, constructive acts, be they at the studio, kitchen, and garden, drafting table, workshop, or practice room. Any form of "pregnancy" will do, because the process insists we draw closer to finding the law of our own being, to come out from hiding, and begin again. This is the most important true mastery we can develop.
6. Launch. Through this willingness, the creative adventure of living is launched. Perhaps it is easier for children, because they automatically intuit life is a game, an adventure to be savored. Their relationship to the cosmos, the sun, stars, moon, and shape-shifting clouds is fresh, unblemished. They know they are connected to creation.
As adults, we forget to enjoy the ride. Children operate from the spirit of discovery. We adults presume we know, and can't figure out why our old answers won't work to new challenges. We hide from what is changing so often, by clinging to beliefs that have become old, worn-out shoes that pinch.
7. Do an inquiry. What are you seeking on a heart and soul level? Udell S. Anderson, in Three Magic Words, asks the vital question:
"What is it we are seeking? ... merely more comfort in the human world? ... a little more money? ... All these things inevitably do follow, but if they alone are the goal of our search, we are debasing truth. The goal ... is discovering the essence of spiritual wisdom..."
8. Become involved in some creative activity that brings forward love, wisdom and beauty in the world. Consider focusing on something that lifts your spirits.
9. Join others in a creative, collaborative adventure to make an enjoyable wee difference in the world. The sky is the limit, and Planet Earth is the playground. Notice what moves you! This brings strong hints as to the law of your own being. (More examples on this next time.) I can only tell you that there is magic in joining together and it prospers contagious joy for all concerned.
10. Remember that we cannot begin again until some other chapter has closed. For the daffodil, the winter is on the wane. The end of one season brings the onset of the next new life. While we can predict flowering in nature, too rarely do we remember that the empty space in our own life will bring flowering as well if we trust the process.
This is what makes it so vital to remember that squarely-faced grief is but a stage in beginning anew. The source of grief may just as easily is disappointment in losing a life dream as anything else. But through it, employing creativity has the power to launch us into dreaming our dreams again, even though they, like us, transform out of our the beloved.
By way of illustration, out of sadness for our daughter's pending move, I realized opportunity. As every artist, cultural creative, mediator, and helping professional knows, the goal is to bring harmony out of chaos, restoring peace of mind, clear vision, and balance. We must take ourselves into what's shifting, find our footing amidst uncertainty, and self-express whatever restores unity. In this case, although I cannot change the pending move, what I do have the power to do is bless it through creative activity. I made a simple "medicine bag," as did my ancestors, a homespun pouch filled with little homemade items that convey, "You go, girl. I am behind you, wherever your journey takes you toward your own unfolding."
Always remember, we have choice. We can use our thinking to curse or bless.
Love Letter to the One Hiding,
I understand! I've had my share of wanting to run from what's uncomfortable and scary. At times like this, let's remember how nature works. After the harvest, the trees shed their leaves, the fields seem bare. But underneath, deep in the earth, something beautiful is taking place. When the time is right, a miracle takes place! New life comes again, no matter what. All that earth needed was preparation, patience, and persistence for what beautifully embedded.
Never forget that this same beauty is embedded deep in the heart of who you are. There is wisdom in this beauty, and guidance, too. Do whatever you must to prepare the way for your new life. Forget about distractions. Reign in your energy for what matters. This is your gestation time for what is ahead. Rest. Renew. Regenerate trust in your process. A greater Good is on its way. Claim it! It is your birthright.
Be the Love,
Your turn: What has helped you begin again when stuck? I'm listening! Thank you for forwarding this.
For more information on Love Project 2013, or grieving, see my archives on HuffPost and/or carabarker.com. The Love Project: Coming Home may be found there, as well.
For more by Dr. Cara Barker, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.