There is a lot of light on this planet. And it is growing.
I've said this before, but I think its worth mentioning again and again..
The thing is, as the light grows, it exposes the darkness. This happens within us personally and is playing out on the world stage.
Many are saying no to any conspiracies, they don't want to hear it. And it's your right to choose what information and views you want to be open to. This can be needed even in order to help yourself adjust to the changes you may already be going through.
But I've often heard the phrase "conspiracy theorist" in a derogatory way. It can even have a lot of animosity and aggression in how it's used. People can conveniently dismiss a perspective or someone as "crazy" so as not to acknowledge discomfort or have to self-reflect.
Personally, these days, I have been taken in less information about what's happening in the world. Right now, I'm exploring myself and going deeper within my own experience and intuition.
If I need to know something I trust my intuition will alert me.
But I'm personally grateful for all the out-of-the-box content I've come across over the years. I also like seeing all the perspectives and rebels in my newsfeed. Especially glad for those that stick their necks out to shake up the status quo.
Over the years some of the information I've come across has shocked me, some of it disturbed me, some of it I had no idea what to do with or no way to prove or disprove.
By noticing my triggers and reactions to outside information, it's helped me do several things:
- See through my conditionings and naiveness
- Loosen dependency and trust in systems outside of myself
- Acknowledge, face, and transcend a lot of fear of dark things
- Discern between believing (or not believing) and knowing
- Trust myself and navigate from a deeper more intelligent sense in me than my intellect (the contrasting perspectives, often very extreme differences in views, were so confusing, it forced me to let go of my mind).
So we can choose to take in information or not. We can agree or not.
But I don't like any call for censorship of ideas. I don't care how noble the agenda seems. In fact, if there's ever a time to allow for everyone to have their perspectives and to explore possibilities, I think it is now.
True knowing is more likely to arise within an atmosphere of freedom and exploration.
Confusion and chaos often precede profound innovation.
In my personal experience in how my self-awareness has grown in the 45 years I've been alive, and in my observation of people...
Most people who are afraid don't know they are afraid.
There's so many ways we can hide fear and hide from fear.
This was about 5 or so years ago, one morning during meditation I got an urging from within to be in my center. That this is the most important thing to do (at that time).
I stayed very focused within on that peaceful unmoving center within me as I got ready for work.
(It took me years of inner work to discover this center, before that I didn't know what it meant to 'be centered', just a vague notion that it was to be peaceful and unaffected, to be zen-like. Now I know it is that, but doesn't always look like that on the surface. We can be in movement and expression and have that peaceful experience within)
As I drove that morning to work, someone in the stream of traffic stopped abruptly causing about 5 cars behind it to slam into each other.
I was one of those cars, and my car hit the guy's car in front of me, but not too hard. The women behind me however, she slammed hard into me totaling my car.
No one was hurt very seriously and I was unscathed, physically and emotionally. Being so centered and calm, I was not bothered very much by any of it.
As all the drivers pulled over to wait for the police and deal with the situation, the woman who had slammed into me was visibly shaken. She also hurt her knee.
She shared with me that she has an anxiety disorder and suffers from panic attacks. It looked to me like she may be about to experience a panic attack. So I suggested that she breathe slowly and deeply. This helped her and she was good with that suggestion. Then I mentioned that the breathing will help her feel the fear and that it's okay to let the body shake and tremble (Besides being a facilitator, I have a lot of personal experience with fear, the kind that makes you shake).
She all of a sudden reacted and got upset at my use of the word 'fear', saying to me "What! I'm not afraid!".
She wasn't consciously trying to lie to me. She was unconscious of the fact that anxiety and panic is fear.
Her anger at me was because I was bringing her closer to that fear. Coming closer to it and feeling it though would have allowed it to move through her which could prevent a full-blown panic attack.
There's many ways we hide fear. Psychological phrases and diagnosis is one way people do that. It keeps people in their mind and out of their body. This happens especially in times of abrupt or intense change.
Explore the ways you hide fear and hide from fear. This happens largely unconsciously because it's so socially acceptable and even expected in many ways to live like this. When you observe this in yourself you will also observe it in the world around you as well.
We can't change something without becoming aware of it first.
Not feeling good enough for someone. Who hasn't felt this way at some point?
Here is my understanding about this.
When we are carrying an insecurity about ourselves, we may experience others as not accepting us.
This can result as patterns of conflict with others or of trying to please them. This is very common but keeps us trapped in a painful and draining situation.
You can watch for any time you want to prove something to someone or get them to accept you in some way.
When you spot it happening: Stop. Breathe. Breathe slowly and deeply. And instead of focusing on the other person, explore your inner world (thoughts, emotions, sensations).
You can take this even further by exploring with an intention to see the Truth.
If you can manage to make this shift in focus, if you can withstand the initial force of resistance, before you even get to an insight, you will already feel a huge shift. You will likely feel energized.
I call this INNER EMPOWERMENT.
People are incredible reflections of what we need to understand within.
This does not mean we allow ourselves to be mistreated all over the place. This is not contrary to speaking up and not allowing someone to impose their judgments or views on us. In fact, it may lead to doing just that. Not as a hurt-based reaction, but out of a self-respect for ourselves.
Seems paradoxical, but the inner focus makes us kinder and more honest. We become trustworthy. Because we minimize burdening others with our pain. Our hearts can open in the recognition that others are struggling too and that it has nothing to do with us personally.
I've experienced this countless times.
But at first I would beat myself up. Feeling bad that I was doing something wrong to draw to me negative reflections and dynamics.
But with time more joy and self-compassion has come in. And with experience I know the consequences of not doing it and the incredible awe-inspiring gifts of doing it.
If you want support and are in Kansas City this November, Madeleine Newkirk and I are leading a Communicate with Your Heart workshop. See if it speaks to you.
I don't go to art museums much anymore. I used to. I've always loved visual art. But when I discovered something called Process Art years ago, I realized what I loved.
It is aliveness. It is spontaneity. It is originality. It is the surprise of color and form and how they interact.
I appreciate an artist's skills, the talent that comes from years of hard work and practice. Professional artists deserve recognition for the beauty they bring and inspire.
But what I appreciate the most is the energy that comes from someone being present in the act of creating. Professional or not. The aliveness is captured, and it does not matter to me what it looks like.
This often comes from the very people I meet that tell me
I AM NOT AN ARTIST
They look to me for permission "Is it okay if I come to your painting class?” There is something inside that is longing to be expressed.
The answer is of course always YES
This image is my painting. Many of my paintings look like they came from a young child and I have loved painting them. Freedom of expression brings an inexplicable joy and expansion and taps us into the inner essence of creativity.
Artists. Non-artists. It's all good here. Because there is something deeper happening than the mind's perception of "good" - "bad" or "appropriate" - "inappropriate".
That is why I have chosen to call these classes Meditative Painting. (If no classes currently scheduled - sign up at bottom of events page to be notified when they are).
My perspective on what it means to Be Conscious.
It is not in the way I talk or words I use. It's not the way I look, act, or dress. It is not a technique I use or approach to life I prefer. It is not the teacher I love working with. Nor is it about some kind of gift, talent, or ability. It is not in being kind nor is it in any particular trait in me.
It's not a list of good deeds I can show off.
It's not in the money or any outer success I can attain.
It's not in environmentally aware habits, living clean, or simple. It's not in not having money, success or possessions either.
Becoming more conscious can certainly influence and bring profound changes, it has for me. The outer changes though, for me, are really secondary.
Consciousness for me is an inner alert state of being. It has nothing to do with spiritual correctness, in fact it obliterates it. I've come to a realization that consciousness is the only thing that recognizes and detects consciousness. Which is one reason there is so much confusion out there. This confusion is when we try to think ourselves into being conscious.
A story to illustrate what I'm trying to say…
Years ago, through a few documentaries, I became aware of how horribly animals are treated in the meat industry. Months after this I began to ask myself "If I care for animals, why am I still eating meat knowing how cruelly they are treated?"
I wasn't judging myself. I was honestly curious about this.
Not long after this question arose for me, I discovered that deep down I believed myself to be dark.
I was initially nervous to find out where this belief came from and what the darkness was about.
In allowing this belief to fully surface and be expressed (using the Dalian Method) I discovered this rigid stubbornness in me insisting that I AM dark. Insisting that this is who I am: “I like being dark and dammit I'm not letting this go!”
During the healing session this then shifted and I felt the fear that was behind the stubbornness. I was afraid (terrified actually) to dissolve into the light.
The fear lasted several minutes then it released from my system. A wonderful peace and clarity surfaced. I realized that the so-called darkness didn't have much substance to it. It was just my ego that wanted to stay in that identity of being dark because it was afraid to dissolve into the light. I let go of that identity and welcomed the beauty of more light (of expanded consciousness).
After this I decided it was time to stop eating meat. The next day after I made the decision, during my lunch break from my office job, I went to my usual Mexican food place. Out of habit I initially ordered something with meat and then stopped. I remembered my decision and changed my order to a vegetarian option. In that moment when I switched and ordered the vegetarian item I saw a vision of myself stepping out of the stream of darkness I had been attached to.
It was a beautiful experience in honoring with action my shift in consciousness. It was a way for me to step out of the old identity.
Now, here is what I didn’t have a desire to do…
To BECOME a vegetarian. Meaning I was not interested in now having a new identity for my ego to attach itself to. "I was dark, but now I'm light and don't eat meat".
I wasn’t interested in telling people they should do it too or feeling superior to meat-eaters and making any assumptions about them.
I was simply letting something go. I didn't want to fill that new space with something else. To fill it with a new identity (even if it does seem like an improvement over the old one). Instead I can enjoy having more space and light in me.
Working inside-out is how I like to do things. If I had become a vegetarian before that inner shift happened because I "should" than I am not sure how it would have gone. It would not have had the same meaning for me and I would’ve struggled with sticking to it. I probably would have also created another battle within (by trying to think myself into consciousness).
And if I’m really wanting to eat meat, which I do every now and then, I just let myself have it. I’m not going to fight with my cravings (been there, it sucks). I'm not bound to anything either.
My habits, including "bad" ones, are just to help me understand and discover new things. About life. About what it is to be human. About myself.
After what I've personally released and have worked through over the years, the last thing I want is more programming or another ideology (however healthy or altruistic it may seem).
There are definitely major turning points in my life but Being Conscious isn't a place I arrive at, it is an on-going expansion into new experiences. Some experiences I admit are way more enjoyable than others. But it is a never-ending discovery that lets me stay open and flexible so I can adjust when I learn something new (or UN-learn something new).
This is how I work best, it's not necessarily going to look this way for everyone. Perhaps for another it is expansive and fulfilling a purpose for them to tackle certain problems in our society. Just like those documentaries influenced me and I'm glad someone created them.
**Technically I’m a pescatarian because I eat seafood.
I love my body.
Not in the physical way and in the "my body is beautiful as it is" kinda way. That's there as well.
But what I mean is how my body brings me to the Truth.
I've had times where my mood seems very low and I'm thinking things are not going well in my life. Then I allow my attention to drop deeper into myself, into my body, and I have felt a surprising lightness and a palpable sense that all is okay and fine.
Sometimes I will be excited and in a whirlwind of feel-good energy, but then I realize that my body is signaling to me that something isn't right. This has happened to me a lot actually, since I tend towards excitability.
This can happen in my love life, it can happen in my friendships and in group settings. All is seemingly great but then I get a moment to myself and something in my body doesn't feel good.
It might feel like being suddenly drained or tired. I've also experienced it as uneasiness in my own skin. Sometimes it’s a heaviness in my heart.
Nothing wrong with that bubbly fun energy. I like that about me yet I've been looking more closely at times where I am in that experience and have momentarily disconnected from myself. In these moments I'm not truly experiencing connection or real joy, I'm actually escaping from something.
I might have been escaping because I don't want to acknowledge to myself that I do not resonate with the ideas coming from people I'm around in that moment (nothing personal against others and their choices). Or it might just be time for me to rest and be alone and I'm resisting it. I've also seen myself be entertaining to people to get attention I've been craving.
Exploring escapism, especially in social situations, has brought up valuable opportunities for transforming my blind spots.
A major one for me right now is the fear of being alone. In working with this fear I've had beautiful glimpses that I'm never alone because I have myself. And within myself is all of existence.
But there are deeper layers still operating on this fear. I am actually feeling sad as I write this. I realized yesterday how I still diminish myself, my wisdom, and the work I do to at times to avoid feeling isolated and misunderstood (being alone).
Ouch. In diminishing myself I broke my own heart.
I know this sadness is necessary though and I'm just letting it be there and feeling it.
This is why I love my body, it connects me to the Truth, even if that Truth is uncomfortable. It won't let me kid myself.
Where have you noticed the difference between what your mind or mood is saying and what your body is saying? Feel free to share in comments.
“This Should Be Easy” <- Ever have this judgment toward yourself?
I have this habit - When anything breaks or something needs to be maintained: on my car, on my computer, or in my home. I immediately go into mental complaining and resistance. If possible I will find a way to avoid dealing with it.
Even the smallest things. The other day I got home and a light bulb in my kitchen went out. My mind immediately said what it typically says “Oh man, such a pain. Nah, I’ll change the light bulb later. I can live with less light in here”.
I saw the resistance and thoughts very clearly. Instead, I went down to my basement storage to get a new light bulb and changed it.
I find these daily life things a struggle and often the thought comes “This should be easy” which fuels more resistance to what is.
What I started to do is have a little “I’m so proud of me!” party when I deal with something I would normally put off.
So after I changed the light bulb…. instead of being a stern parent by telling myself that I did something I SHOULD do...I recognized that little victory and celebrated it. I gave myself a hug and said “Good job Leela!” and then did a little happy dance.
Imagine me in my kitchen dancing around singing and flailing my arms up “Yay I changed the light bulb!”
I already give myself credit for more obviously challenging things, but wanted to speak to the less-obvious & under-acknowledged challenges we face.
So here is what happens when I give myself credit:
I know what is easy for me and what is challenging for me. I can honor this instead of letting comparison, and the outer world’s ideas (including my own mind) dictate what 'should' be easy.
After reading this do you now realize what you need to give yourself credit for? Let me know in the comments. We can have a “I’m so proud of Me” party!
Or don’t share and do it alone if that feels most self-empowering for you!
***If you are unable to go beyond a particular place of struggle or self-judgment, then there is something causing it that you haven’t yet become aware of. Explore what that could be! You can also give yourself credit for something that feels already pretty light with not so much self-judgment (for example, my ‘should be easy’ judgments I refer to in this blog were not very intense for me to begin with.)
Light and positivity are not the same thing to me. If I relegated light to being positive my actual inner light would be restricted and stunted.
Light in the way I'm meaning it here is Consciousness.
Think of a flash light in a dark room. It reveals what has been hidden.
I allow both my “positive” and “negative”. I put those in quotes because truly to me, whatever reveals the truth, is ultimately positive. It is a YES to life itself.
Once I was at a retreat and was wearing a shirt with an opening in the back. Someone poked me in the back playfully and I asked them to not do that.
As I walked away I said to the person walking next to me “I guess that's what I get for wearing this”.
Wow. I didn't know that thought was in me!
If someone would have asked me if what a woman wears matters when she is receiving unwanted touch, I would have said “Of course not”.
But that would have been on the thinking mind's level. Deep down that thought that I said out loud at the retreat had been imprinted in me: Meaning I had at some point in my life heard this and believed it.
This happens to me frequently when I'm allowing myself to be authentic and spontaneous. I never know what I'm going to say, do, or discover.
There may be an expectation that I'm supposed to say or do things a certain way. But I want to continue expanding my consciousness (my inner light), so I can't focus too much on fulfilling superficial expectations.
Sometimes my insecurity is very visible. That's where I would like it, on the surface, living itself out. Not hidden, buried, and safely stored in order to fool myself behind a facade of confidence.
I am grateful for the people in my life who point out things for me that I’m unaware of. Sometimes though, a well-meaning person will try to help me fix what they think is a negative belief or my attachment to ‘my story’. They don’t realize that the story that is spontaneously falling out of my mouth and the emotions moving through my body are already unraveling….they are surfacing and disintegrating on their own.
Showing confidence is great! Unless, it's used as a protective facade, then it doesn't allow for healing what we’ve been trying to cover up. The healing would let the real inner confidence to open and bloom.
Self-Empowerment is super messy. For a while.
If someone’s been living in a largely dis-empowered state for quite a while and their inner power is waking up - there is an adjustment phase. There will be mistakes and finer areas of learning and growth. Just like with anything new that we do or step into.
I was this person and when an exhilarating freedom emerged from within - I would sometimes bring more fierceness than a situation called for. Sometimes WAY more.
Imagine a situation where a soft simple expression would have gotten the job done but I’m yelling at the top of my lungs. (I can laugh now)
I had to go back and apologize a few times… hey, I’m sorry. I was being a jerk. You didn’t deserve that.
But I was like a child learning to ride a bike that felt a little big for me. Wobbly and crashing into things.
It’s different for everyone, for me it came in waves and lasted several years.
If the pendulum has been mostly at living life in a very small watered-down way, or just feeling small. Then naturally it needs to swing the opposite way for a while.
It takes time before things become more centered and stable. If we try to push or force stability, we interfere with the transformation that’s moving in and through us and our lives.
It eventually comes closer to center on its own.
So if you know someone that’s been recently difficult for you and they are sincerely working on themselves, hope this helps bring understanding. If this person is you, have compassion for yourself and trust the process.
I've been called weird almost all my life.
Such a sore spot in me anytime someone would say this to me. Ouch.
I reacted by trying to figure out what was weird about me and get rid of it. I wanted to and tried to just fit in...Blend in...Belong. This approach just kept me in the insecurity. And from seeing the truth about why this kept happening.
The truth is people called me this and it hurt...not because it was true, but because I BELIEVED it. It was my own conclusion about myself at a young age when the world outside didn't make any sense to me; It must be me. I’m weird.
When I began exploring and working with the insecurities and beliefs it brought up, most of the charge around the word dissolved.
I don't remember the last time someone called me weird. I don't remember the last time I worried about it. It just stopped happening a while back. Life is so interesting that way!
And it's not because people have such positive opinions of me or that I fit neatly into social situations. It just stopped mattering so much to me.
Sometimes I fit and connect, sometimes I don’t. That’s life. And it’s fine and good. Because we are all unique little universes.
We are all aliens here.
Do you have anything like this? Something that when is said about you just feels very raw and painful? Something that has been going on for a long time? Is it time for you to explore it, to go deeper?.
Feel free to share your insights and your ‘ouch’ place in the comments.
Leela Haris ~ E x p a n d i n g Consciousness