There can be little doubt that we are living in crazy, contentious, and overwhelming times. But I believe each of us is here going through this time in our planet's evolutionary shift for a reason, and that that reason is different for each of us. The choice we make as to how we navigate these times will define the trajectory of that reason, and hence the quality of life, for each of us as individuals AND as a collective. It is my belief that when you make the choice to stay loving, to stay present in the moment, and to stay true to yourself, while simultaneously remaining soft (meaning, not ugly, judgmental, confrontational, or condemning), you'll find that over time it becomes easier and easier to do. But make no mistake, it is a choice, and these days it’s often a daily choice!
Please make the choice to navigate with love, because honestly, love is what we are here for. I can see some of you shaking your heads already and thinking, “There she goes again living in her dream world.” Of course I understand it isn’t easy to navigate every situation with love. But what I do know is it’s possible because I’ve been actively working at it! Ultimately, how we navigate life through the good times, and especially through the bad, comes down to choice. When we are in the thick of chaos, conflict, disagreement, or heartache, it often doesn't feel as though there is any choice to be had, but sometimes the choice is as simple as not saying the first thing that pops into your head... or accepting there are things you can't control... or admitting that the best course of action is simply agreeing to disagree... or taking a step back so you can regroup and better formulate your thoughts about a situation... or walking away when you feel yourself getting heated... or letting go (i.e.: letting go of the need to be right, letting go of preconceived notions about how you thought something was or how you thought something was going to be or look, letting go of what was, letting go of control, etc.). For me, it can be helpful to shift my thinking in the midst of a confrontational or seemingly unfair situation - to remind myself that things happen for me, not to me (for my growth and betterment), that everything is a learning opportunity, and that everything is a chance for me to share my love and shine my light. But it’s always easier to be loving in these situations when I stay true to myself and my beliefs, regardless of any fear of the outcome.
I don't know about you, but I think of myself as a fairly critical, yet also deep and intuitive thinker. I am a passionate, at times intense person. I have strong opinions, and I can be a tough cookie when pushed up against a wall, or when the sh** starts to hit the fan. I'm guessing many of you are probably the same. But I'll say again what I've said umpteen times in the last couple of years. Tolerance, compassion, active listening, kindness, and love are always the answers...ALWAYS! And just because you make the choice to act in all situations with gentleness and empathy doesn't mean you won't still make mistakes. It means you are making a conscious choice to work hard to change how you interact, and to try to approach every person and every situation with kindness, honesty, and compassion instead of anger, defensiveness, judgement, and/or over-reaction. It means you are actively trying to catch yourself when you realize you are judging (not your job) or overreacting or condemning another person's beliefs. The times we are in do not make this easy, but I think they do make it more necessary than ever before.
Sometimes I dip my big toe in the media and the drama of all that is happening in the world around me, but then have to immediately and consciously pull myself right back out so I don't get sucked into the dark abyss of it all. So mostly I just choose to stay out and keep on my rose colored glasses and stay inside my bubble world of love, children, smiles, nature, writing, and (most recently) motorcycles. I don't do this because I'm naïve, or because I don't care about what's going on in my community or the world at large. I don't do this to bury my head in the sand and pretend none of this is really happening. I do this because I have made a choice to do whatever it takes to NOT live in fear, and perhaps most importantly to give to myself whatever I need to stay strong, healthy, and happy. It's that simple. And I do it, trusting that God will continue to put me in the right places at the right times so I can affect lives for the better.
Let's face it, fear is rampant. And pretty much every kind of media out there seems hell-bent on perpetuating it, which only seems to succeed in making everyone crazier and angrier! Why? Because fear makes us angst ridden. Fear makes us worry. Fear makes us question what we believe, how we think, and what we thought we knew - all things that increase feelings of insecurity and powerlessness. Fear makes us desperate to find an answer in order to feel better, in order to return to homeostasis, in order to feel safe, in order to return to a feeling of being in control of our life. Because if there's one thing as human beings we can't stand, it's the uncomfortable feeling of helplessness that comes from loss of control, and especially from uncertainty. We are hardwired for order and balance. It is our instinct to survive, and to that end we will fight fiercely for what we think we need to make that happen. And it can be hard to think about feelings and being loving and tolerant of the opinions of others when we are scared and survival feels at stake (i.e.: think 'pandemic').
Yet if you really think about it, you'll realize that uncertainty is ever-present in our lives. At any moment our world can be turned upside down by that unexpected illness, the loss of a job, a serious or life-threatening accident, or the death of a friend or loved one. We seem to accept a certain amount of uncertainty as normal, or perhaps it's more appropriate to say, we are able to push aside a certain amount without it appearing (on the surface, anyway) to be overly impactful to our everyday existence. We manage to allow some worry to simmer in the background of life seemingly inconsequentially, that is until suddenly the unexpected crisis happens and we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of that dreaded sense of powerlessness and that awful feeling of loss of control. The immediate crisis feels like the thing that takes us down, when in reality it is more likely that those background worries have been building and affecting us more than we realized, making the current assault appear to be the final straw that broke the camel's back, or making the current attack seem far more dangerous than any of the other everyday risks inherent in everyday living.
I think there are times we are so busy treading water that we just keep shoving the stressors and worries down, thinking we simply don't have the time or resources to deal with them (safety in denial), when in actuality if we take a deep dive into each of those issues separately, we often find a source of fear at the base of each one. Then all it takes is one final BIG fear or stressor to push us over the edge...to make us desperate for an answer, even desperate for someone to tell us what to do because we can't sort through our overwhelming thoughts and fears enough to be able to figure it out on our own. We can't see the forest through the trees because we are in survival mode! We're overwhelmed. We're scared. We’re stretched too thin. We've lost contact with our own inner voice, so we can't hear anything but fear talking. We start looking at what everyone else is doing. We want someone to figure it out for us. We grab hold of whatever comes along that seems at all reasonable because if offers the hope we so desperately need to feel as though everything is going to be ok. Trust me, I get it!
It has taken me until now, into my sixties, and the suffering of lots of loss and upheaval in my life, to let go and accept that I cannot control everything. Far from it, in fact. I still struggle with it from time to time. I still have moments where I fall back into old patterns and try to control too much around me - try to keep things tidy, keep all my ducks in a row so there are no surprises, so I can worry less, so I don’t live in fear. HA! But what I’ve learned (the hard way) is it simply isn’t possible or healthy to live this way. I've learned that real life happens when you aren’t looking because you’re too focused on planning, perfecting, and trying to mitigate risk.
The good news is I discovered how much I actually can control when I actively choose to "let go and let God." I can better control how I respond to people and I make better choices for myself because I'm less stressed. I can better control what I allow into my body and into my senses, what I nourish my physical and emotional self with, how I spend my time, and who I surround myself with. I can control what I allow into my world physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Since I believe God is in control of the rest, there is no need for me to waste huge swaths of the precious remaining time I have left in angst or worry for the future.
All fear successfully accomplishes is a weakening of my perfectly designed immune system and a depletion of my emotional and spiritual well-being. Fear separates me from my connection to the divine within me, thereby preventing me from keeping love as my focus in all things. It prevents me from seeing the everyday little blessings and living in a state of joy and gratitude. Living in fear is akin to allowing myself to live in darkness. Living in darkness is living a life separate from the light and peace of God...separate from the light and promise of love...separate from my interconnectedness with the beautiful world around me.
I believe fear persuades us to make decisions and choices out of a need to fix what feels broken, and to resolve the uncomfortableness of too many unknown variables. I don't think you can act from a place of unconditional love (for yourself, let alone others) when you are trying desperately to control everything (or everyone) around you because you, yourself, feel powerless on some level. We can no more control the unknown than we can control the weather. All we can control is how and what we choose for our own life each and every day.
I choose to trust that the inner voice that guides me is that of God. That force - that divine nature of which we are all a part - is already perfectly designed, and I want to stay at all times in connection with that because when I am in that headspace - when I am heart-centered and connected to the energy source of love -of GOD- the world is NOT a scary place, no matter what is going on. When I still my head so I can hear the whispers within, I vibrate in harmony with my inner knowing, with my greater self. I vibrate in harmony with my maker, with nature, and with all the universe of which I am a part. I feel vibrant, healthy, happy, and at peace.
But make no mistake about it, it is a choice every day to do what will allow me to stay in that heart space and to refill my cup. Society would have me believe that doing this - putting myself and my needs first - makes me somehow selfish or uncaring. I no longer see it this way. I see it as refueling so I never run out of gas and always have enough reserves to share with others. I see it as keeping myself strong so I can remain healthy in order to give my best to others, and in order to live as long as possible for my children and grandchildren. I see it as nurturing my faith. I see it as staying connected to the divine so that my intuition is easy to hear and never steers me wrong.
Oh, trust me; I still struggle to keep love as my focus in all things at all times. I am not perfect...far from it. I can easily slip and allow others to get under my skin and make me angry. I can start questioning my choices, the choices of others, the hard fought for liberties that are at risk of being lost, ulterior narratives and dark forces at play in the world, the condition of the world my grandchildren will grow up in, etc... I can start overthinking and it can all lead me back to anger and fear. OR, I can choose not to allow that to happen. I can choose instead to see the good. I can choose to see everything that happens as an opportunity for growth. I can choose to focus on the positive and let go of the negative. I can choose to believe that each person's journey is their own and that my job is not to judge, not to convince another that they are wrong and I am right (even when I may feel that way), but instead to love them where they are in their own journey, and to try to find common ground from which to build, interact, and problem solve. I can choose to believe there is an important reason I am here during these trying times and an important role I am to play in the lives of every single person who crosses my path. I can choose to believe in a world filled with love. I can choose to believe in this love and live this love and visualize this love with such passion that there is simply no way my actions cannot impact the unfolding of this eventual reality.
So every day I make a conscious choice to shine my light, believing that my light and my love can and will make a difference. I choose to remain connected to my truth...to remain in that sacred space where I can hear the whispers of God speaking to me. I choose to radiate that truth, with love, to everyone. I cannot do that effectively on any level if I live in fear or if I allow fear to guide my actions. Love builds. It grows hearts. It changes hearts. But it doesn't happen without effort and without first making that choice. I firmly believe that the love and positive energy I put out into the world is both healing and transforming, not only to my recipients, but also to me! Imagine a world where we all lived this way!
When's the last time you checked yourself? Are you caught up in a cycle of judgement? Do you find yourself spending too much time looking for validation of your opinions, or bad-mouthing Mr. and Mrs. Jones for their choices, or blaming others for your life circumstances, or feeling scared about life? When someone gets upset with you, do you consciously take a step back and try to understand their perspective, or contemplate what stressors may be impacting their behavior? Are you able to empathize with the position of those who disagree with you, or do you just get angry and defensive? Are you spending too much time on social media, in front of screens, and/or listening to the news, all of which can be drowning with all the negativity and bad things happening in the world? Do you find yourself feeling frustrated with the decisions of others who don't agree with you? If so, why? Can you be alone and not feel lonely? Can you sit in silence and be alone with your thoughts and not feel the need to pick up your phone? Are you living life distracted? Have you allowed all the noise in the world to confuse your thinking and cloud your intuition? Do you spend time in nature? Can you hear God speaking to and guiding you?
I ask because all of these things impact your state of being - your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. And all of these things are impacted by your sense of self-worth, your sense of self as part of a whole, and your feeling of connection to something greater than you. For me that sense comes from a relationship with God, from time spent in nature, in meditation, in prayer, in self-reflection. It comes from a knowing deep within my heart that I am a part of a microcosm of love so immense, a force of connective energy so profound, that even when I make mistakes (and like everyone, I make many), I know I am still worthy, I am still deserving, I am important, I am needed, I make a difference. My opinions matter. My choices matter. My voice matters. But so does everyone else's. We are all children of God. We are not here at this significant time in history by chance; thousands of our ancestors came before us, ensuring we would be here now. Ask yourself why that is. Why are you here? What role are you meant to play?
Find what it is you need to stay loving, to stay connected to the divine, to fill your cup, to be at peace with your choices and decisions, to do what makes you happy, to give to others, to love life. Find your passion. Still yourself so you can hear that inner voice that guides you. Be 100% unapologetically you, but do it in a loving, heart-centered way knowing we are all here to learn, to share, to grow, and, ultimately, to become enlightened beings of love.
Make the daily decision to love, because all of this - all of life - is about LOVE. And if there was ever a time where love was needed, it is now, don't you think? ❤
Sending so much love,