I am about to walk a few days of the Camino de Santiago in Spain in two weeks! As I prepare for this journey I am thinking of how I got here.
Years ago... I really don't remember how many, well over 20. I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. I fell so madly in love with that book that I started devouring every other book he had written. Eventually, I came across The Pilgrimage about his spiritual journey on the Camino de Santiago.
Ever since I read that book, also at least 20 years ago, I have wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago. To give you a tiny, bit of background on what I have uncovered to even say that. When I read the Pilgrimage, I was a fully devout, fully practicing, Muslim. While still fully devout and mostly practicing, I have had a spiritual journey that has incorporated more ideas of the nature of love into my practice. Part of why these have appealed to me is their perfect alignment to my own religion of Islam. Everything I have learned has supplemented my relationship with God. I remember at the time thinking it would be cool to write a book about a Muslim girl doing a Catholic pilgrimage. Camino de Santiago starts in France and ends up in Santiago, Spain, where Saint James is buried. It is a 38 day walk, if you do it in the traditional style. While I am only walking the first three days during the Pyrenees, the fact that I am going to be on the Camino at all, is filling me with unbound joy and another feeling that is hard to put a word to - filling me with the feeling of honoring myself and my own journey.
Over the holidays last year (2017), I finally got around to reading Sonia Choquette's book, Walking Home. The book came out in 2014 and I have had it probably since at least 2016. But had not read it. I realize now that part of the reason was fear. I knew if I read it, that this calling my heart would be so strong that I would have to take action. And, that is exactly how I felt. Big things changed after reading her book. Somehow I had connected with the Camino energy and I can honestly say the end of 2017 and all of 2018 have included huge, super subtle, shifts that completely change the way I interact with myself and others. None of them are super sexy, but they are so profoundly healing, that I find myself drifting into more and more loving and authentic choices in big and little things.
In the Spring, just months after I had finished Walking Home, I was offered an opportunity to go to Greece. I declined it. I came up numerous times again. Each time, I declined it. With every major spiritual journey I have ever had, I notice, I decline the opportunity at least 5 times before I say yes. It's telling and also slightly adorable. It's definitely a reminder that life will get you there, regardless of how much you politely decline. Finally, I said yes, and somehow a trip to Greece miraculously included time to walk a few days of the Camino. Here I am, less than a year from finishing Walking Home, starting my own Camino journey.
I currently have Sonia's follow up book, Waking Up in Paris. I have not read it yet, because I am pretty sure I know what I will be called to do upon reading that book! I still have a few more polite declines before I start that journey.
The other day, I saw an event from Sonia about a Big Reveal on Facebook. I accepted it, knowing, there was no way I was going to log into FB at a specific time to watch it, but I was sure I would see the replay... eventually. I happened to be on FB right as it started and clicked over, doing other things, while it was on in the background. After 30 seconds, I switched screens to watch on FB and within 2 minutes had clicked the link to purchase her new program. I honestly have no idea what it is called. After I had purchased it, I kept watching her talk and she started to talk about what we would get in the program, that I had already purchased. I thought to myself, "why are you telling us what is in it? It is clearly awesome and I already bought it!"
That got me thinking... why did I buy her program without knowing what it was called or what the full content was going to be? And, I had an amazing ah-ha moment! I bought it because I know she is doing the work, walking her path and growing. And, I bought it because I know that the energy she has created in this process is energy that I could benefit from and that will allow me to have my own personal growth.
I noticed a few months ago, that there are a core group of people who follow what I do and purchase everything I put out. I have always felt so honored that they purchase my offerings, join my groups, and read what I write. And, after seeing Sonia, I truly understand why. I am doing my work. I am so far from the mythical "there". But, I am walking one step at a time, almost every day (I take quite a few days off to just enjoy where I am on the path). I am always a better version of myself at the beginning of each year. I can see my growth on an annual basis and it is huge. I am constantly improving my ability to fully love unconditionally and creating the space for others to walk their path. That is why people follow me.
There is so much information out there! I decided this past summer, that I would only seek out healers that are doing their work on a regular basis. I went to a Healer who was busy blaming, complaining and adding fear to the area of healing. I realized as knowledgeable as this person probably is, they are not doing their own growth work. And, while I am sure I would learn a lot of content from them, I cannot be sure my energetic field would grow to allow me to have the healing experiences I need with this person. I could also tell because it was hard to sit still. I physically wanted to leave the session. In the past, I would be hard on myself for feeling this way, but I now know, this is my Soul talking to me. If they are not actively working on their own ability to increase love and their awareness, I probably do not need them working on me or giving me advice. I have gotten to the stage where I realize it is important to listen to those who are actively working on their spiritual development because their advice will rarely tell you what to do, but instead light up a path for your own growth. As you look at who you buy from and follow, I suggest you ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do I believe they are doing their own personal work to grow, learn and expand their being?
2. When I interact with them do I feel better or worse about myself? Do they inspire or expire me?
And, if you find yourself buying everything they put out, like I did, know, that you have found someone who you believe will create the space for your own wonderful, amazing journey to remember the truth of Who You Are and Who You Have Always Been! Thank you Paulo Coehlo, Sonia Choquette and so many others who have helped me start this Camino journey!
I recently completed an interview and was asked, "what is the thing you are most proud of in your life?" Without missing a beat, I replied, "learning how to love". Think about it, none of us have ever been taught how to love. It is my belief that it is inherent in each of us, but that, life's events and experiences, teach us ways to "protect" ourselves from love.
During the ages of 2-8, we make "decisions" about our lives that impact how we live the rest of our life. You can imagine what might be terrifying to a two year old, or even, an eight year old. Now, imagine that you relate to other people based on what was terrifying at the age of 8. It may seem silly, but that is how our programming works. To read about how we live in our lives in Fear and how to embrace Fear to make positive life changes, I strongly recommend the book, Fearvana by Akshay Nanavati. Wow, just Wow! How our brain works and how we can turn it around.
Most of us are living our lives through an agenda, that we are not even consciously aware of! To live life fully and openly, we would be living in Love. What does that mean? To live in love means to know beyond a doubt that you are perfectly safe at all times, that what is happening right now is the exact, perfect thing to be happening, and that no matter what is happening, you are now, and have always been, perfectly whole, complete, and unharmed. Sounds nice, right? How great would it be to actually feel that way all the time?
Running an Agenda
Normally, when we have a fear response come up, before we even know it, we start running an agenda. What is an agenda? An agenda is the thoughts, actions, and behaviors that you created, way back when (2-8 years) to avoid the seeming pain of a situation. It is how you respond to fear and to your perception of lack of love. Some agendas are really basic - getting angry, ignoring, pretending nothing is happening, are a few. Others are more sophisticated. You will not be surprised to learn that recently, I uncovered a beautifully-orchestrated, sophisticated, amazing agenda I have created to handle situations with conflict. While the agendas may work, they may even seem good, in reality, when you are running an agenda, you are not being your own wonderful, amazing, authentic self, who is worthy and deserving of love, just because. When we run agendas, we feel like we need to handle or take care of a situation, instead of trust in the Greater Power of the world to allow something to flow and bring us to where we need to be. These small actions we take, within our agenda, reinforce this idea that we cannot trust and count on God's Love, perfect safety. And, each time we reinforce that message, our agenda gets stronger and more entrenched.
I was in a bizarre situation the other day, that in and of itself, was not a big deal. But, it left me shaken and crying. When I had the time to reflect on it, I realized a few things that I noticed while the situation was happening but chose to ignore. Instead, I ran my elaborate agenda. But, it did not work. Not only did it not work, it totally backfired. See if you can relate to this. My agenda is like a golden get-out-of-jail free card. It always works. The tears came from the shock and corresponding fear in realizing that my golden card was not accepted in this situation. However, that is exactly what I have been praying for. I have spent the last few months building up my own inner compassion, inner strength and another way to say all this is my own relationship to God. Of course the agenda was not going to work! I have been working on dismantling it (though, I did not even consciously know it existed) for months!
I realized when there is conflict, I immediately go into "action" mode to end it. In developing a stronger relationship with myself, I have realized, that sometimes when there is conflict, it means the other person has a problem. The first step would be to ask, is this my problem or their problem. Had I done this in this situation (hee hee, hindsight!), I would have seen this was their problem and no action was necessary on my part. But, I did not do that. I jumped into "action" mode. I became the agenda version of myself I would call, "Super Amina". Super Amina is AWESOME! She is sweet, kind and willing to say sorry or take responsibility even if it is not her fault, because, well, she is a Super Hero and she can handle your "bad behavior". People LOVE Super Amina. Unfortunately, often times, Super Amina has to put real authentic Amina into a box to come out. As I went to approach this lady, I heard a small voice saying, "you know, you don't really need to fix this". I ignored it and marched ahead (as Super Amina) to a horrible, painful, conversation, that left me in tears. There is so much more to this story - such as your energy travels and I really did think I was better than this woman. At some level, I am sure she picked up on that. But for now, we can stop at my running my Super Amina agenda. And, you all have seen me running my authentic joy agenda in the joy challenge. If you see them both side by side, authentic Amina is a clear winner.
How do we get to authentic agenda-less living?
We get here by looking at all the times we are not here, one at a time. Each time you are not feeling like you are in the perfect flow of life, stop, and ask for Holy guidance to see the situation differently. In A Course in Miracles, we are told that all that is required of us to have a change of mind is to our willingness. When we are in a situation and it is unfolding in a way that brings up any amount or type of fear, we simply ask Source to show us the situation differently. Show us the situation through the eyes of perfect, holy, Love.
When you see yourself getting upset (any of the fear behaviors, scared, angry, mad, annoyed, irritated, frustrated, etc), realize I am about to run an agenda! I am about to create a story about this situation, and that story is going to require another version of myself (not the authentic one) to come out.
At the end of the day, we all just want peace. We want to love and be loved. We want to give and receive. We want to be part of a community, a group, where we can be celebrated for being our authentic selves. I maintain that all of us have access to that right this moment. If you feel you don't, ask yourself, what is the story I am telling myself about life? If the story has any aspects of needing to protect yourself, know (with love) that of course you are going to step out of your authentic self and try to protect yourself. As long as we feel vulnerable, we will feel the need to protect ourselves. But in truth, we did not create ourselves. You did not bring yourself into being. And the force that did create you, is pure love, and therefore, created you with and as pure love too.
Hi! Welcome to my blog, Lunch with Cinderella. I love writing about my life experiences and the fact that they may help spur some cool experiences of your own. If you are here, leave a comment... I read them all and love hearing from you!
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