Allowing transformation

There are times in this parenting thing when what comes out of my mouth takes me by surprise. Sometimes I’m all blocked up by me and mine and what flys out is fear-based and demanding. There are other times when I’m open and connected and what glides out is not only a lesson for them but a lesson for me. The other day, I was open to the teachable moment and what came out was, “humans can’t transform it, they can just transmit it. God alone can do the transforming”.

When I picked my youngest up from school, he realized he didn’t get something he wanted in his class and wanted to go back inside. I reflected back what he wanted to do and told him he could get what he wanted tomorrow without really acknowledging his feelings or giving him space to express his emotion. When we arrived at his brother’s school he wanted to walk and get brother and I said no and drove through carpool line. Well, he lost it, kicking, screaming, crying, throwing a huge fit. It took a while for him to calm down but once he did we uncovered a very familiar story.

There are times when I want something and I don’t get it. I often feel upset about this. Then there are times when I want something and I think the person I’m with prevents me from getting it and my emotional response is anger. Now at this point, if I do not express or process my emotion it begins to fester. Then, if something again happens where I don’t get what I want and I again choose to blame the person I’m with I can no longer keep the lid on my anger and I erupt, usually in a destructive way. This was my son’s experience.

Emotion is energy in motion. If emotion is not expressed it gets trapped in our bodies where it unconsciously controls our reactions or it erupts at another time when the internal pressure gets too high. When we do not own our emotion and blame another for our emotional state, we feel resentful and out of control. This is where the divine transformation process comes in.

“Humans can just transmit it, God alone can transform it”. So here is the theory, I get mad and think about what happened to me and “my anger” and in the meantime, the anger grows and the story strengthens the feeling inside me. I alone cannot transform this emotion, I can only transmit this emotion. If I offer up my emotion in prayer, God can transform the emotion in me. God can reveal to me my part and soften my heart so that I do not carry this repressed emotional experience into the next encounter I have.

We can choose to stay small in our selfish little stories or we can offer up our experience and allow our hearts to be transformed. We are empowered by owning our emotional experience, feeling our feelings, and offering our experience up in prayer instead of pushing our emotional state on those around us in an attempt to change the way we feel. May we choose to be transformed so that what we transmit is of love instead of fear.

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Being a channel

Recently, I’ve been praying the St. Francis prayer, “Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace”. By definition, a channel is a narrow passageway between two larger things, typically bodies of water. So what I am sensing is that God the infinite and intangible is always on one end of me, the channel, pouring Love, peace, inspiration in and whatever or whomever I’m relating to is on the other end of me, the channel, and it’s up to me to pour out what was poured in so there is more space for receiving. In church, I’ve heard over and over at communion, “that which is poured out is filled and that which is broken is made whole” and I’m beginning to embody this truth.

Typically we talked about being hollow inside as a terrible thing that needs to be remedied, but what if that emptiness is the key. What if our only job is to sense the hollowness. Maybe we just need to clarify the hollow channel within us. Maybe the only work we have to do is open up the channel and leave that sacred space empty so it may be filled by God.

In the yogic tradition, it is said there is a hollow channel that runs through the spinal column from the crown of the head to the base of the spine. This channel or hollow tube is called sushumna. Sushumna contains the 7 major chakras (energy centers) and is reserved only for the flow of sacred energy. The more open this channel the more freely energy can move in us and through us.

I’m thinking what people call the “God shaped hole” and sushumna are one in the same. I’m thinking the emptiness is actually an opportunity for spirit to work. I’m trusting that my job is to continually open and clear my sacred channel by pouring out that which was freely given to me. With awe, gratitude, and wonder I’m learning to be a channel of Thy peace.

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

RAW

I’m learning more deeply that I have difficulty receiving. I feel safe and in control when I am giving but I feel vulnerable and uneasy receiving. Many tapes in my head reinforce “tis’ better to give than receive”. I’ve inaccurately translated this to mean giving=strength and receiving=weakness. Now I am seeing more clearly how false it is to equate receiving with weakness.

In Nia, we have a listening practice called RAW. Typically, this is practiced while listening to music. The R in RAW stands for Relaxed and refers to our body. We sit or stand with our spine upright and our body weights (pelvis, chest, and head) aligned. The A in RAW stands for Alert and refers to our mental state. We do our best to have no inner dialogue. The W stands for Waiting and refers to our spirit. We are waiting for fill in the blank, for example, we are waiting for the song to end. I’m finding this practice of RAW is an excellent tool for depending my ability to receive.

So, as I said, being on the receiving end makes me feel raw so it is only fitting that the practice that increases my ability to receive is called RAW. It does not denote that this feeling of vulnerability will cease to exist. It reminds me to show up, fully embrace the rawness, and do what is mine to do anyway.

In the St. Francis prayer, one of the translations says, “Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace” and this is where the practice of RAW comes in. What better way to receive and truly become a channel that to show up physically upright and open with no inner dialogue waiting for the heartfelt call to share or give. We all want to connect, to feel loved, to be loved, to be seen and understood and when I am open, vulnerable, and raw it gives others the permission to be vulnerable as well.

In becoming more receptive and learning to receive with more grace I do not cease giving. What I do is practice being RAW. I set aside my agendas and expectations, I show up body, mind, and spirit, and I participate in the mysterious unfolding process of the moment. I am not in control; it is messy being RAW. Yet, I trust a mysterious, infinite God that will continue to fill me with what I need in the moment if I’m raw enough to be a channel through which he/she can work.

Called to write

This year I took up the practice of journaling daily. I knew I was called to write and this felt like a very safe way to do so. I can be honest and vulnerable without an audience. I can write whatever my heart desires if no one reads it. Although journaling is a beautiful, sacred practice, it does not satiate my call to write. There is little risk in writing my soul’s truths for my eyes only.

Years ago, a teacher of mine suggested I write a blog. Again a few years ago, a different teacher of mine suggested I blog. Two months ago, my mother suggested I start a blog. A month ago, I set up a wordpress account. Two weeks ago, I drew the “write” card from my spirit deck. And yesterday a friend courageously stepped out into this virtual world of blogging. In my experience, when spirit calls it is at first soft and quiet like a gentle breeze but if ignored it gets stronger and louder. So, in an effort to avoid a “you must write” whirlwind or tornado, I step into bloggingland.

In reality, I’ve imagined a lot about writing and my life as a writer, but an active mind does not equate taking action. I struggle with perfectionism, a fear of rejection (both real and imagined), and a desire to control, to name a few. In “playing small” and avoiding putting myself “out there” I, in sense, “control” the amount of people who can or cannot reject me. The thing is, this is no longer working for me. I’ve heard “when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing, we become willing”. So here I am, willing…willing to write…willing to put myself out there…willing to let go of how I will be received or what you will think. Today, I wholeheartedly choose to do what is mine to do…