Veneer

We have been observing Carrie all day as she has been observing herself. Here is the thing. She does everything right. She is earnest, living life with an integrity, making careful choices. Today she kept herself from slipping into old addictive overwhelm patterns by making those careful choices. But- oh- we are frustrated! She was designed for so much more when she agreed to come back. She thinks that trying harder and improving every day adds up to more than it does. It is the richness of life, the depth, the resonance, the larger heartbeat, the Music of all that she is missing. Under the surface life of integrity, she lives the depth of a lie.  Let’s see if she can hear her sister as she turns off her light tonight. It’s worth a try.

 

I have always studied my older sister, Carrie, idolizing her all my life, wanting to be like her, wanting her to play with me and sleep with me and pay close attention to me. But there was something that always bugged me about her at the same time. When I was little I couldn’t put my finger on it. She was part of my storming. Part of my stubbornness and unwillingness to bend to anything that others told me.

 

I see it now. She was not quite real. I was. I refused to be fake, as she was. She knew way too well what others wanted from her. She needed to be perfect and in control. Who knows why, I never thought to ask. Her room was spotless- not because she was so neat, but because she wanted to be seen as spotless– as spotless as her room. Even if she did something wrong – a rare push of the boundaries– she never got in trouble like I did. I wouldn’t say she exactly lied, but she had a way of shaping the truth and making herself glow. That put me out in the cold.

 

I was exactly myself. My room was a wreck. I not only got in trouble, but refused to apologize, to accommodate anyone who needed me to be something that I wasn’t.  She was the veneer and I was the real thing. Who was she at all? I actually always knew– better than anybody. But she did not show herself, especially not to herself. God, I hated that. How can she see me if she can’t see herself?

Advertisements

Week Twenty-five: I Cannot Un-know My Brilliance

Though I obviously agreed to come to this world, I don’t think I particularly wanted to be here at all, judging from the fact that the cord was wrapped around my neck, I was blue and not breathing, and my feet had to be stabbed with a pin again and again so that I would cry. Even though my philosophy is that each of us is a brilliant part of the whole, my brilliance has not been apparent to me, possibly blotted out by my not-wanting-to-be-here-guilt.

 

I became an observer very early on- maybe because it made me feel safer. I saw that people around me did not like it when other people were too bright and shiny and brilliant. I guess they worried that their precarious brilliance might be blotted out by someone else’s. I learned to dial mine down. Sometimes when that wasn’t enough I was admonished or scorned. Turning down the dimmer switch made me feel safer and generally worked all right except for a reoccurring and lonely feeling of being in a vacuum- not being “plugged in” to life.

 

I see that, ridiculously, all of my life I have worked hard to not be brilliant. Here are some tactics I developed: I decided to be shy! It worked pretty well to stay in the background. Problem was, though, when I started college I decided to expand my personality and be more outgoing. It worked. I shined. So three weeks later I started getting migraines! Good ploy! Nothing like having to go to a dark, quiet room all day to dim your brilliance. Then- and this was good, I must say- I married a man who wanted me to be a different person from who I was! Brilliant, right? When we separated I didn’t even know what to buy at the grocery store, much less identify what I was passionate about. Then, whoops!, I found a person who likes me just for me. So that ploy did not last and I had to come up with new techniques. When my migraines diminished, I “perfected my perfectionism” along with piling more and more on my plate! Great!! A no-win situation! The piled-up stuff would come crashing down sooner or later.

 

I have continually and relentlessly searched out ways to be less brilliant throughout my life.

 

Here’s the miracle. It- the brilliance- seeped out when I wasn’t looking. I could not contain it, hard as I tried. Ridiculously, for all my labor otherwise, I have led a life that looks quite brilliant, making a true contribution to this world. Here is why. When I do my work, I get out of the way without knowing it. I am connected to Source without intending to be. And guess what? I am not the least bit lonely or scared when I do. Turns out that being brilliant means I’m connected to all that is. The path that I am on is bright and shiny and true. I cannot un-know my brilliance.

Week Twenty-four: Carrie

We are in the waning days of the MKMMA course that I have loved so much. Just one more Sunday, graduation day. I observe myself from this moment. I am armed with skills for going forward. I have habits in place that I will look at again, deciding which ones stay and which ones go. The important thing is that I know how important these habits are. I have created space for them and that space will remain for the rest of my life. I have shown myself to be disciplined and persistent. Coming into the course I did not know these were my traits. Now I do. There is much more that I received from the course that I could talk about but my mind now moves on.

I am bustling around looking forward now. Our Tribe meetings will continue, I will continue my weekly sits with my mastermind partner, and I am adding some new actions. I am very excited to begin a writing course with Martha Beck called Writing into the Light. Of course it begins on Tuesday, right after the MKMMA course ends. How perfectly, Divinely timed. I will continue to explore my spiritual life through writing.

I am not leaving this course with my true DMP, however. Not quite. Our webinar on Sunday moved me very much as Mark told his story of having his niggling feeling that there was something more. His sharing of his two aha moments was profound for me. I know that I have a realization to make as well, similar but different.

This week as I was working with my container  (see week 23) I heard, “Who are you without being a Suzuki teacher?” Again, it was a reminder about closing the door to the completed dharma and opening a new door. What if I was Carrie with all the skills that developed through being a Suzuki teacher, but without the personification of the 45 years of Suzuki teaching? How much of my ego needs this definition?  Who am I without it? My mastermind partner suggested that I walk into my container and try on the vibration of simply Carrie, not Carrie in the role of Suzuki teacher. I felt lighter- like some baggage fell off my shoulders. I stood straighter as well.

I cannot say where this is taking me, but I thank this course for bringing me this far on my journey. My service as a Suzuki teacher is such a part of my entire being since early childhood, that I know I would not be this far in observing something new around the corner without all the gifts I embraced from our course. Thank you to all of you for standing by as beautiful observers along the way. I will keep you posted.  Mahalo.

Week Twenty-three: Tolerance of Uncertainty

“The willingness to consider possibility requires a tolerance of uncertainty.”

-Rachel Naomi Remen

This quote was my “word for the day” in my inbox this morning. Quite perfect for what I have been feeling lately.

The best word to use for my feeling state this past week was anxious. I have been feeling like I am missing something with the direction I am heading. The more I notice my deep-set  perfectionistic mindset, the more I understand that I have been missing seeing what I really do want. I dug out one of my favorite books, The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope, and had a strong recognition that I am moving through a doorway from a former dharma/definite purpose to a new one. Here is some of what he says about this on page 11. “Fear of Closing the Door.” “Someone has had a profound sense of living their dharma, maybe even for decades. But now that particular dharma is used up- lived out. This person knows that a certain dharma moment is over but has only the vaguest sense of what must be next. It increasingly begins to dawn on her that in order to find that next expression of dharma she is going to have to take a leap of some kind. She knows that she is going to have to close a door behind her before she will find the next door to open. And gradually she comes to the edge of a cliff, where she knows a leap of faith will be required.”

In our tribe call last night I read another quote from the book: “Holding an inner or outer conflict quietly instead of attempting to resolve it quickly is a difficult idea to entertain… [and we do not have experience doing so]. …if we held the tension between the two opposing forces, there would emerge a third way, which would unite and transcend the two.” (pg. 174)  And here I see the use for the cocoon from last week’s blog. I need to be in my container as this gets worked out. Maybe it does not need to involve jumping from a cliff. That would be lovely.

I was thinking about all of this as I fell asleep last night and woke in the early morning hours to what I call a “waking dream.” In it I saw a picture of two lives on either side of me, both on platters. On the left side was my 45 year dharma of being a Suzuki teacher and trainer, of raising my children, of running everywhere teaching around the world. On my right side was my new DMP plus some of the old dharma, plus other stuff that is just there- a big jumble of stuff I am trying out. Then- in front of me- emerged a platter with a silver dome on it. I heard that it was the next stage of my life. I could barely see it. It was amidst a snow storm like we have been having here for two days. I heard further that all the details are still being worked out, that is all is well, that my new blueprint is in place and that other factors are catching up. Cool.

I have three jobs. 1- Keep my spiritual work front and center like I am.  Put myself quietly in the hands of God. 2-Keep working on dropping perfectionistic patterns- dropping cement. “Be content to miss something in almost everything [ I ] do” (pg. 254), and 3-Stand in “tolerance of uncertainty.” As uncomfortable as this is, I am eager to do so.

 

Week 22a: The Container

The world of Design Thinking tells us that design is an intentional composition. An important aspect of Design Thinking is the boundary or limit that is placed on a design. These limits create a type of container from which to create the design.

As I take more and more of a clear-eyed design approach to where I am going in my life- working with my Definite Purpose and choosing how to spend my time- I have been feeling a need for a container for myself. Just as a cocoon offers a transformative vessel or an alchemist needs an enclosed space to turn metal to gold, I need a space for my own transformation and alchemy that is happening.

While asking in my meditations for my own, personal structure- I remembered. I already have this space. It came to me many years ago and I named it my crystal cathedral. I had not thought about it in a number of years, but I realize that I still have been using it- just not consciously. Now it is conscious. I have set it up so that it feels as real to me as existing architecture. This cathedral is just the frequency I need. It is a place I can step into at any time.

To make it tangible for myself I used the rug in my living room. I wrote out 11 post-it notes with words that I wanted this space to be. Then I laid them out in all directions.

North: Love, Northeast: Truth, East: Shimmering, Southeast: Light, South: Safety, Southwest: Unchanging, West: Silence, Northwest: Peace

and also… Below: Timeless, Above: Whole, Beyond (upwards): “Holy Instant” (from A Course in Miracles)

Then I stood in the center of the space and felt into the frequency and vibration for an hour or so. It was profound.

Here is some of what I have heard that I have when I go to this space: “A hallowed haven of a home”; a place where all false humility and false pride is swept away; a place where memory of God is restored; a place where I listen, follow, and create; a place where I express my gratitude; a place where the finite and infinite are coordinated (MK 1.23); sacred, harmonious (and therefore having mental efficiency ) (MK 1.18); a channel for giving and receiving; a place of “conscious cooperation” (MK 1.33); momentum; a weaving

Here is what I hear I will get out of the space: I will hear the “role for me alone”; insights; instructions; I will crystalize thought and desire into actions, events, and conditions; abundance, wisdom, and freedom (MK 1.43); thought concentrated on a greater purpose becomes power (MK Part 2 intro); subconscious mind directed; an in-tune string.

So if you ever can’t find me, I will be in my cathedral. Just leave me a message and I’ll get back to you!

Week Twenty-Two: Impeccable Words

“Be impeccable with your word,” from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, came up in our wonderful tribe meeting last night. I have these agreements posted in my home office, and I have referred to them for years. I especially have been thinking about these words the last months as we have made our promises to ourselves. I am so conscious of saying exactly what I mean to do and then being sure to do it. That alone is life changing.

But today being impeccable with my words is taking a new slant. Let me first back up. Our webinar on Sunday hit me between the eyes. Mark described how if we feel unworthy, we tend to put more and more on our plate. Then when we cannot accomplish it, it sends us on the cycle of feeling unworthy again. I felt like he was talking directly to me in that segment. Here is what I think my cycle has been. When I was little I realized that if I was perfect I would really help out my overwhelmed, overworked mom. I did everything I could to make everything right by being perfect, and actually it often did help, which kept me motivated to continue. Sometimes it wouldn’t help enough though, and I would inwardly chide myself to be better next time. This started my cycle of feeling unworthy, trying harder, and getting into a perfectionistic pattern with a very loaded plate. In fact, I think that every year I have lived has found me with more and more piled there.

I was already looking at this last week as I wrote about clarity of commitments, but Mark helped me see the cycle for what it is. I am getting off of that loop- a loop that is almost as much a part of me as breathing is.

Today I realized that it is my words that will change the pattern. I need to be impeccable with how I am speaking to myself! Martha Beck, in Diana, Herself, says “[this] is learning to use your verbal mind as the servant of truth, rather than delusion.” (pg 292) She refers to the work of Byron Katie, who teaches about reversing thoughts – like a mirror image. Now, instead of saying, “I am overwhelmed! I have too much to do!” I can say, “I only have one job which is to plant seeds in Universal Substance.” Instead of saying, “I have to be perfect in every area,” I first thank my perfectionism for strengthening skills, and then I say, “I am not perfect, but I am a miracle!” My past thoughts and words have been in error, and now it is my chance to gently tell the Truth. This Truth allows me to relinquish judgement, and in so doing I step into the vibration of the miracle that I am.

Week Twenty-one: The Clarity of Commitment

I woke up yesterday morning thinking about the word commitment. I am not sure quite why the word was floating in the air, but I suspect it was from Haanel’s Master Key readings. I have loved starting to be aware of how the power of my thinking creates. As my attention and focus become sharper (I can feel it happening) my imagination becomes clearer, and miracles abound.

I asked myself what I have actually committed to in my life. I came up with obvious answers. I have a marriage of 31 years that I am committed to, a career of over forty years that I am committed to, two grown children that I was committed to raising….  But in a way, I see that I kind of fell into each of those areas. I am certainly committed to each, but I feel like there was not a clear picture of my commitment at the start of any of those endeavors. I said yes to each of them, but in kind of a cloudy, muddy way. I certainly did my best in each area, but not with a clear philosophy or DMP from the start.

I tried harder to think of a clearer commitment. How about accomplishments that I started more recently? I went back to school eight years ago in a field I had no experience in. I am proud of the accomplishment, yes. I won the faculty award. I stayed up long hours to meet the goals of the degree. I went an extra mile (many miles) to do research- getting published in a journal and writing a thesis. I am not trying to diminish those accomplishments, but looking back, the professor I was assisting- the one who oversaw my thesis- was holding more of the commitment. Why so? He had the ability to see where I was going more clearly. He pushed me to go much further than I knew how to go when I started. I did not see where I was going at all when I began. I trusted him to hold strongly to the commitment and to the vision of where I was going. Upon writing this blog I see that I have been that person for many people: the one who holds strongly to the commitment and vision of where they are going.

There is nothing wrong with any of these above accomplishments or any of the many that I did not add here. But the fact is, I am interested in something more now. I want to spend my time remaining making commitments to myself that hold the highest and clearest vision. I want to see where I am going so that I can determine where I am going. That does not mean that the vision cannot change as I go, but I want to own what is next, not tumble in, walking in the dark to see what happens if I work hard towards some vague… something….  I want to hold strongly to the commitment and vision of where I am going, just as my professor did for me. Time to do it for myself!!

My husband Eric and I are talking about tearing off the old addition to our 1870s farmhouse that we live in, and thus transforming the whole place. I can see the light pouring in, feel the fire in the fireplace, see the sunsets as I sip my red wine with Eric, imagine a loft and secret closet for grandchildren we don’t yet have. To pull this off would take so much time, thousands of choices, money earning and planning, and partnership with Eric. I see it as a chance to make a true commitment to something from beginning to end. This is a new feeling for me and I am excited to move forward in clarity.