Thank you for all the beautiful lessons you’ve shared with me over the last 12 months. Some of them have been a little difficult to accept, but, in retrospect, they always came at exactly the time that I needed them. For that, I thank you.
The biggest thing for me to rediscover in 2014 was that the outer universe is a mirror of all that resides within us. All the arguments and bickering online over the year in various forums were simply mirrors of my own angst. They served to show me that the world that I perceived to be agressive was, in fact, a reflection of my own agression.
This has been an interesting lesson for me. It showed me that for as much progress as I may have made over these many years, I still have a full journey of growth ahead of me. At first, this annoyed me, but I soon realized that my annoyance with my lack of growth is nothing more than impatience. Yet again, I found myself needing to softly remind Self that the journey lasts one’s whole life. As Abraham likes to say, “You never get it done.”
The drawing to me of conflict has been instrumental in my realignment with wanting to be in creative endeavours. My primary profession over the last 4 years has been one of virtual warfare (server-/network administration and the protection thereof from hackers). It is a profession infused with conflict, stress, planning and surveillance to the point that it could almost never be construed as enjoyable. Yes, there are enjoyable moments; the overall tone, however, is one of conflict and subterfuge.
And so on the eve of New Year 2015, I find myself doing as so many do: Re-evaluating my year and my life. In fact, I’ve been doing this almost constantly since about a week before the Winter Solstice. I’ve long considered the solstice to be an ideal time to evaluate where I’ve been and gauge the direction in which I wish to head. It is the perfect time to look back at where we’ve been and to peek down the road at where we seem to be going.
Looking back, the last few months have been stressful. The ‘warfare’ of server administration has escalated to alarming levels at various times. The stress has left its mark, too, with a severe bout of inflammation/pain in my right elbow leaving me with a constant reminder of my emotional state of affairs.
Make no mistake, the pain is an emotional symptom, not just a physical manifestation. Its presence serves to remind me (almost too well on some days) that I have issues that require addressing. Rather than get bogged down in self-pity and looking for the physical causes of the discomfort, I am ready to acknowledge that this pain is a symptom of my misalignment with my desires. Nothing more.
Emotional discomfort always manifests physically and vice versa. In our life, there is no separation between the physical, emotional and the spiritual. When something shows up, such as an achy elbow or a constant headache for which the doctors cannot find any suitable cause, it behooves us to take a look at our lives to see where we might not be living up to our own expectations. Discomfort (that is not of an acute, medical nature) is almost always the domain of a mismatch between our needs and our experience.
Over the last week or so, I’ve been playing with Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono to help reconcile the apparent disagreement between what I do and what I apparently wish to do. It has been remarkable in its simplicity and its results. My elbow is quickly returning to form. That return to form is matching my acknowledgment that a shift in how I express my livelihood needs to change.
In Western cultures, Self tends to be very much defined by what one does as a livelihood. In the West, we take that idea so far that our surnames reflect our livelihoods. If you meet John Smith, rest assured that somewhere in his lineage was a blacksmith. The etymology of names is fascinating. Whereas in Japan a surname generally reflects where a person’s lineage comes from, a Westerner’s last name often describes what the family line has done as a livelihood.
With all that in mind, I’ve been looking very closely at how I define myself. What am I? Who am I? What do I, as a human being, offer the world? What I discovered was that I had been slowly falling into the trap of defining Self by the work I accomplished (or not). This was a most alarming discovery. One’s worth cannot — simply cannot — be defined by what one does for a livelihood. If you’re a 7-11 clerk who smiles and warmly touches hundreds of lives a day in the course of manning a cash register, you’re doing a great service to humanity. We should not — cannot — allow ourselves to fall into the trap of defining Self by our station or caste.
And so I find myself on this New Year’s Eve 2014 thinking of where I am and where I want to be. As it is so important that I be honest with both myself and you, it is incumbent upon me to share what I have discovered: I need to spend more time nurturing Self through the act of creation. That means writing, regularly. That means playing/recording music again. Regularly. It means not falling into the trap of doing things simply because I’m good at them despite the fact that they bring me incredible stress.
I’m not (yet!) so bold that I will walk away from my current livelihood and risk not being able to pay for my childrens’ schooling, etc. I promise myself, however, that I will strive to be more aware of my bliss and endeavour to make that bliss a permanent feature of my daily life. I will strive to allow myself to follow my dreams. I will push myself to let go of fear and embrace possibility.
I will grow.
For all those I may have offended or hurt over the last year: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
And for you simply having found your way to reading this: I love you. Thank you for sharing our respective journeys. Living Intentionally is a process of self-discovery, growth, promise and potential. I truly appreciate that you’re here. Your presence here is meaningful.
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