"I hate myself", someone said to me in a particular difficult moment the other day. Nothing gets the adrenaline going in my body quicker than, "I hate myself." That statement is a clear sign that there has been damage done to the soul. Sometimes, it can take on a lesser symptom, "I hate myself when...", "I wish I was better at...", "Why do I keep...", and others like that. While not quite at the kick-into-action phrase, they are not that far behind and emergency soul medicine must be applied immediately. Unfortunately, there is no pill to heal your soul, it is done through self awareness, self care and finally, self love.
In the United States, we have become more and more obsessed with our health stats and scores. We have fitbits that measure how many steps we take and our heart rate. We get our blood sugar and cholesterol checked regularly. I know many people who have pH sticks to check whether or not they are in ketosis or home monitoring for a number of different statistics, but how much time, if any, do you spend on your soul health?
There are numerous studies on the mind-body connection and the spirit-body connection. There has been a lot of research on various spiritual causes of illness. One of my all time favorite pieces of work is called, Purification of the Heart by Hamza Yusuf, which is an ancient text talking about what causes diseases of the heart. The book talks about the worldly actions that when you engage in "harden" your heart - the physical act of plaque on your heart from actions like jealously, hate, anger, etc. If you truly want to live a physically healthy life, I would argue, you must ensure your soul is healthy.
I picture my soul like a delicate Faberge egg or like the rose in Beauty and the Beast. It in and of itself is delicate and precious. It must be cared for, protected, nurtured. Around it as an energy field that is like light-weight armor. It is super strong yet highly flexible. It is not easy to pierce it but it is able to be pierced. Each of us have a way of being that allows for certain areas of the armor to wear down over time. Mine may be on the left arm, while yours is on the right foot, but we all have these highly individualized points of weakness in our armor. And, these points of weakness are caused by phrases such as, "I wish I could be more....", "I don't know what is wrong with me" and the mother of all phrases that will put a huge slit in the armor, "I hate myself". Which is why when I hear that, I am like, "Nooooooooooooo, undo, undo, undo.... No!" Because I understand the impact to the armor when those words are uttered in a moment or self-loathing. Disease is created when we have holes in our armor. That is a way for physical disease to enter. Like alcohol to the liver, cholesterol to the heart, sugar to kidney function, self-anger is poison to the soul. And a poisoned soul leads to dis-ease in the body.
It does not have to be this way. Instead, you could accept that you are human. You could accept that you are going to make big mistakes - mistakes that hurt others, mistakes that cause you to lose something dear, mistakes that cannot be undone to have things go back to the way they used to be. And, if you can accept that this is just a part of life and a part of your journey and that you will not make those mistakes over and over, but instead, you will learn and grow in your capacity to love because of the mistakes you have made, you can love your mistakes and "love the one that makes mistakes". I learned that from my coach, Tamara Green. The key is not to be a perfect human being, as I thought. The key to enlightenment is not to become perfect. The key to enlightenment is to be able to see through the eyes of love - that means to see ourselves through the eyes of love and to see another through the eyes of love. That is enlightenment. It does not mean you will never hurt another - because in truth, you being you, hurts another. It is only having the desire to be love to all, to have no other goal than this.
This is the current lesson I am learning on my spiritual path. I love this path. I love what I learn. However to have access to these lessons, I have made mistakes. I have said things I wish I hadn't said. Harbored thoughts towards others that were not very kind. I have done things that are so below my Who I really Am and because of that, I get to learn this beautiful lesson. For the first time ever, I am seeing the true beauty of imperfection. I am seeing how much deeper I can love myself in my imperfection. My teacher said to me, "what would happen if you just accepted that sometimes you do these imperfect things - sometimes you behave in non-loving ways" and I balked. NO! No, no, no, no, NO! I don't want that. I only want to act from a place of love, but you know what, sometimes I don't. And, when I allowed that, I saw, many times I do not act from a place of love. Many times. And, that just increased my self-compassion. I thought it would increase my self-anger, self-frustration, but it did not, I felt so much love for the one who kept reacting in non-loving ways over really minor stuff. She must be really scared to behave that way. And, in that moment, I decided to no longer be scared. And... well... I haven't been, not at the same level. I just have not been scared in the same way. And... I have acted from a place of greater love. WOW! I won't say it was easy, but I also won't say it was hard. Once I saw, it was just getting used to doing things differently. And, noticing when I slipped back into my need to protect myself.
Prior to completing the workbook of A Course in Miracles in order, I had been asked to read Lesson 153: In my defenselessness my safety lies. In the lesson, it explains the vicious cycle that many of us find ourselves in on a daily basis. We think someone attacked us, so we defend ourselves by attacking them (either to their face or behind their back, calling people and saying, can you believe what xyz did?!). And, in that moment that we "defend ourself" we have just committed an attack on the other person. And, then we find out, whoops, they did not mean that, it was an misunderstanding or a miscommunication, but guess what, we already launched our rockets and created a mess! Wouldn't it be easier to instead do this, "Wow, I heard so and so just did xyz. That is so interesting." And, then go about our business. Not give it any meaning. Not assume it has anything to do with us. Not create any story about the event. Just let the event be what it is, wish the person well (because honestly, if they are doing something that could be misinterpreted then maybe they need our love?) and then go back to creating and living and dancing... I love dancing! What if that person purposely tried to attack you? What if they did? Do you need to respond? Have you ever seen someone get super angry and attack someone and they just ignored them? Who comes across as the stronger person?
In college, someone taught my best friend the 90/10 rule and she taught it to me. 90% of the time people are just doing what they are doing. 10% of the time, they are gunning for you. You have to know when that 10% is happening and get out of the way. And, it is a lot less often than you think. That is the way to respond, get out of the way. Not engage. Not pour gasoline on it. Not "stand up for yourself". Why? If someone really thinks you are crap, are you going to change their mind by yelling at them and calling them names? Is that going to show them how wrong they are about you? In my experience, that has not worked. Those people have just found another way to get at me that is not as direct and now based on something I said or did in a moment of anger.
The last thing I want to say about this is it boils down to my biggest realization of 2017 and just, well, my biggest realization. It all boils down to Remembering Who You Really Are. When I was studying conflict resolution, they taught me the "Swiss Cheese" Model. They said all of us are like a piece of swiss cheese, we have solid parts and we have holes. When someone says something that "hits" on of our holes, we get upset and think they are attacking us and so we react. We don't realize, it is because of our hole. And, the next person saying the same thing would get the same reaction. To fill the hole, use love. Love the fact that you have that hole. Know that sometimes you react because of the hole and that is not who you really are it is the scared, hurt, part of you. Show that part love and compassion and before you know it, that hole will be filled by the light of love and you will be well on your way to be an enlightened master :)
I want to specially thank, Lauri DeJulian, Tamara Green and Jeannette Maw for this part of my journey!
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!
Get New Blogs delivered to your Inbox!