I’m in the midst of a tumultuous situation that rips out my heart and stomps on it, with no easy solution in sight. It’s not important for you to know details, but I bet you’ve felt something like it in your life.
I sat in meditation this morning trying to lift myself out of frustration and despair. I wasn’t having any luck until my mind, by some amazing grace, turned to the simple four-step process that I’ve been teaching:
1. Hush — quiet my mind and body.
Not an easy task in the midst of my swirling emotions, but since I had to breathe anyway, I decided to put my focus on the immediate present rather than the unchangeable past or the unforeseeable future. So there I sat, working with my breath and energy, withdrawing my awareness with more and more conviction and determination.
Imagine being under attack from a colleague or conductor with no easy way of defending yourself. Nothing you can do or say will resolve the situation, and you’re desperate for inner resolution. Sometimes the only place you can turn is within.
Soon, I began to feel the approach of inner peace that I’ve cultivated over these past years of meditation. Like diving deep underwater during a raging storm above, I began to feel safe again. My breath shifted into a deeper flow, and the real work began.
2. Heart — open my heart to the tiniest possibility of expansion, compassion and love.
In my burgeoning inner peace, I realized that the instant I began to vent my frustration and discouragement, my heart slammed shut.
Isn’t it true that either:
a. the heart simply can only hold one feeling at any given moment, or
b. the heart is pure love and closes down during negative emotions?
In situations like the one I’m in, hearts inflame easily. When this happens for me, my hearts shuts down, blotting out the grace needed to raise my consciousness. Every thought that I attract and dwell on has the power to keep me in lockdown or lead me to a place of healing and upliftment. It really depends on which thoughts I feed with my focus, energy and feelings.
The negative thoughts are the most tempting, like the half gallon of ice cream I bought that is almost gone (mint chip!). But I’ve been down the road of negativity so many times in my life that I know where it leads. I watch my thoughts like a hawk, looking for the positive—like sifting through the peanut & raisin trail mix for the last M&M.
3. Lift — engage my energy in a positive direction, and feel for the natural upward flow of Spirit.
It takes a huge effort of will not to wallow in the mud of present circumstances. My real work is to open the upward positive flow of energy within, and use my will power to keep that channel open. This is when I depend the most on environment. I carefully choose music to keep me moving positively, engage myself in productive work (thankfully I taught all day) and reach out to friends who know how to support me best in crises like this—ones who don’t dig for the nitty gritty details, but instead offer their love, kindness, and hope for the future. These friends are so dear, truly supporting me as I work my way through this into a place of healing and resolution.
4. Flow — this is the hardest to even imagine today.
The best I can hope for is grace to keep me on track. Holding the space for inspiration to flow, even in the most difficult situations. But this is also where I might have the best luck—keeping myself open to the grace that so often comes when sincere hearts call for help. Finally, it’s the act of offering everything up. And that’s where I find my ultimate freedom.
Love – the ultimate force field
As things went sour in a very difficult meeting the other night, I was blessed to remember to love. Not personal love, but the powerful, radiant, energetic Love that I wrote about last time. I could feel all the negativity coming toward me simply dissolving as I kept this positive force field strong, radiating it to the others involved. I realized that this was not a battle of wills or egos, but rather a huge test of whether or not I could keep that Love first and foremost in my heart and mind. It isn’t “Oh, I love you so much,” but rather “I radiate all the Love I’m able to channel to help us all heal.”
And so I continue the work of the Heart. I call upon resources far greater than my little ego to lead me into greater understanding, strength, compassion and expansion. A very wise person said that this whole situation will only be resolved in Love. I’m hoping that my efforts will help, but regardless, staying centered in this field of Love is crucial to my own survival and ultimate growth.
So I humbly offer these words as encouragement should you find yourself in a difficult circumstance which leaves you completely flummoxed. Have the courage to calm your body and mind. Adventurously keep your heart open to the tiniest glimmer of light and love by avoiding the temptation for negativity. Practice keeping the upward channel of energy open to the flow of grace, of Spirit, even in the midst of seeming darkness and despair.
We can’t avoid these tests. They come. It’s how we break and where we turn that matters.