What do you do when the bottom falls out?
It takes heart to live in even ordinary times.
By “taking heart,” I mean several related things:
- Sensing your heart and chest
- Finding encouragement in what is good both around you and inside you
- Resting in your own warmth, compassion, and kindness; resting in the caring for you from others; love flowing in and love flowing out
- Being courageous, whole-hearted and strong-hearted – going forward wisely, even when anxious, knowing your own truth and, as you can, speaking it
When you take heart, you’re more able to deal with challenges like aging, illness, trauma, or conflicts with others. You’re also more able to take advantage of opportunities with confidence and grit.
I am seeing more zombies lately, and I’m not talking about Halloween. I’m talking about the walking tired. Deadened eyes, pale skin, broken hearts. Yes, we live in interesting times. But I’m more concerned with the casual sadness we inflict upon ourselves.
What if you’re not drained? What if you’re pained …and the pain is a cry for honesty, passion, and the dazzling happiness that is your soul’s intrinsic birthright?
This month I offer you these three revolutionary questions to ask yourself. And to answer with the rest of your life. (So please don’t go for perfection. Let’s do this gradually…and consistently…because you’re worth this life-changing change!)
So many of us are afraid that it’s too late to start after our dreams or too late to leap towards the life we want, that we end up stuck in place. I get this or similar questions a lot: “Julie, I have a lot of dreams. Is it crazy to make the leap later in life? I’m feeling frozen…”
I think it’s never too late, and let me tell you why.
Take Advantage of Your Time
Once, I had a 72-year-old client go back to law school because he regretted not having done it in his youth. For years before that, however, we would talk about it. I would ask him, “You know, what are you going to do with all this money? Get busy living or get busy dying,” but for years, he put it off.
He kept coming in for his appointment and I’d ask him if he took the LSAT yet, or if he’d gotten into law school yet, or if he’d started taking classes yet. Not attending law school was one of his biggest regrets, but for a long time, he felt like it was too late to change anything about it.
There’s so much going on right now that is impossible for us to comprehend.
Movements are taking place around us – but on planes we can’t readily access (and we’re not talking airplanes although I sure wish I could hop on one to see my friends.) Transitions, opportunities, alignments… but it’s outside our reach. Yet we long so desperately to understand!
How can we surrender to the mystery?
Here’s the deal: We can’t truly “get” what’s happening around us because the web of creation is so vast, so much more complex, so much more intricate than we could ever begin to grasp!
That’s hard for us, in our human state, to accept. (It kinda reminds me of when I was a little kid sitting at the adults’ table and the conversation went right over my head). We want to take part, to listen and to be heard… but we can’t exactly follow the train of thought! So we’re left grabbing little bits and pieces and getting frustrated because it doesn’t all fit together in a nice pretty package we can put in our pocket.
I've Been Thinking...
Not too long ago, a friend suggested I write down the definition, values, and characteristics of the “divine feminine.” He said it would be a “good exercise” for me moving forward.
“Mhmm, OK,” I thought.
I sat down to give it a try and ended up staring at the paper for a long time. I wrote something and erased it, and I tried again and again. Nothing really felt right to me.
Then last Sunday in this newsletter, I wrote my essay about courage and tenderness. The response I got was overwhelming, from both men and women.
“That is what we need!” people wrote to me. “That’s who I want to be!” My friend Elizabeth suggested I even curate a new conference called “Courage and Tenderness: The New Hero’s Journey.” Others wrote that they had never contemplated tenderness in the public space, but that they were open to it, even hungry for it. (An old video of Joe Biden resurfaced this week that visualized what I’m talking about.)
The culture medium, environment, the chemistry. Yes, not the genes. We said the genes control us. I say, No, wait. They were all exact same genes so the difference between muscle, bone and fat cells was not determined by the genes, they all had the same genes. It was determined by the environment. Now look in the mirror and what do you see back? An individual entity. You see yourself as single individual, human entity. It’s a misperception of a singleness for this reason. Here’s the true bottom line. You are made up to fifty trillion cells. Your body is a community. The cells are the living entity. When I say your name or I say Bruce, that’s a name I give to a community of fifty trillion cells. The cells again are those single living entity. Here’s the point. Jokey but fun and true. You are skin covered petri dish. Underneath your skin are fifty trillion cells growing in this petri dish.
Over the past few decades, there’s been a creeping invasion that has tremendous repercussions for all of us. Strangely, it is the invasion of consciousness. I say strangely because for millennia human beings claimed total possession of consciousness. We think, invent, solve problems, show curiosity, and make conscious decisions. Even the cleverest of our near relations among the primates might or might not have minds—expert opinion remains sharply divided on the issue.
A chimpanzee or gorilla displays only a limited range of skills compared with human skills. A chimp might learn to dig grubs out from a hole using a stick, but toolmaking basically stops there or using a rock to smash hard nuts, which some monkeys can do. A gorilla might learn to understand language and even use hand signs to communicate, but it can’t teach this skill to another gorilla.
You’d never suspect on the evidence that consciousness was creeping in everywhere, but now there are books on the conscious universe, and a band of physicists believes in panpsychism, the theory that consciousness is inherent in creation, permeating even subatomic particles. Almost a hundred years ago the astronomer Sir James Jeans declared that the universe “begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.”
Drop tart tone.
I remember times I felt frazzled or aggravated and then said something with an edge to it that just wasn’t necessary or useful. Sometimes it was the words themselves: such as absolutes like “never” or always,” or over-the-top phrases like “you’re such a flake” or “that was stupid.” More often it was the intonation in my voice, a harsh vibe or look, interrupting, or a certain intensity in my body. However I did it, the people on the receiving end usually looked like they’d just sucked a lemon. This is what I mean by tart tone.
People are more sensitive to tone than to the explicit content of spoken or written language. To paraphrase the poet Maya Angelou, people will forget what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. And we are particularly reactive to negative tone, due to the negativity bias in the brain (written about in previous JOTs).
We live in a world that moves so fast at warped speed that we forget the benefits of simply being still. In this episode, we talk about the power of doing nothing. Yes folks, I said the power of doing nothing. This is the opposite of what we are conditioned and programmed to be, as our culture loves activity and multi-tasking. Learn the real benefit from being still and working and living with a quiet mind. That’s the real value.
My dear friend, the wise and beautiful Rev. Cynthia James, sent out a blog the other day filled with important and potent advice on dealing with the times we are in.
She has graciously given me permission to share this with you:
These last few months have been quite a ride. A pandemic, social unrest, and political upsets have created upset, division and emotional disturbance. It has been hard to keep up day to day with all of the changes.
I, personally, have had to find more ways to become clear, stay focused and stay still within myself. Quite frankly, I have had to learn how to navigate the chaos of these times.
Let me share what I mean by first beginning with definitions.
To Navigate: to move on, over, or through (water, air, or land) in a ship or aircraft; to manage or direct a course.
The word chaos derives from a Greek word meaning “chasm” or “void,” which makes sense, given that chaos also refers to the formless state of matter before the cosmos was created. It also means a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order. any confused, or disorderly mass.
Emotions are the ones that we have to pay attention to the most … cause they’re the sneaky suckers. They’re the ones that get under our skin. They’re the ones that activate these parts of ourselves that we don’t really like / definitely don’t love.
We need to learn how to be able to experience them in a way that honors us: who we are, how we are, where we’ve been and where we are going … so we don’t have to get stuck in the story.
We don’t have to get stuck in the bullshit, but we do need to recognize that when you have unresolved emotions, when you have things that you have not looked at, when you have feelings from the past that have not been felt through / that have not been experienced / that have not been accounted for … that are just sitting in these little pockets throughout your heart and your mind and your spirit and your body … they will get your attention. They will absolutely, without a doubt, they will get your attention. And usually the way our emotions get our attention is one of two ways:
Drop the case.
Lately I’ve been thinking about a kind of “case” that’s been running in my mind about someone in my extended family. The case is a combination of feeling hurt and mistreated, critique of the other person, irritation with others who haven’t supported me, views about what should happen that hasn’t, and implicit taking-things-personally.
In other words, the usual mess.
One of my favorite board games when I was growing up was called Careers. It came with a small set of Opportunity cards, which you chose every time you landed on an “Opportunity Knocks” square on the board. Each card directed you to a different career adventure. For some reason, I remembered this game the other day and thought how we all could probably use Opportunity reminders in our lives. The deeper I dive into the wisdom of accepting all life events as part of my soul’s journey, the more I realize that each event is an opportunity to surrender.
The other day, I woke up early and took my coffee out to our deck where I could just sit in silence with my dogs, letting emotions and thoughts wash over me. Lately, I’ve found myself pulled in different directions at once, and the tension has left me a bit (okay, a lot!) overwhelmed at times with so much going on around us.
I see the challenges of the larger world we live in — the pain, the struggles, the imperfections — and part of me gets sucked into grief and sadness. But at the same time, I see the beauty that surrounds us: People standing up for each other and using their voices to lift each other up, the natural artistry of the changing seasons, and the Divine love that weaves through and connects us all, from the largest mountain to the smallest blade of grass or speck of pollen. It’s all connected, yet we seem so separate at times!
Sometimes, the life-giving downpour will snap a limb on its way to releasing spring. And once the storm has vanished, the flowers come alive and open. And sometimes, a boy drawn by their wild color will find the broken limb among the flowers and bring it home to secretly carve a walking stick for his bent and smiling grandfather who is as crooked as the fallen limb.
From outside the story, this seems a sweet happenstance. But when it’s our turn to be the snapped limb, then God seems merciless and life has no meaning. And this is true, in part, the way when we close our eyes, the world of light is lost and gone—as long as we refuse or forget how to open our eyes and see again. As real and painful as tragedy is, it is always as close to miracle as the opening of an eye or a heart or a mind. It’s as challenging as it is true that the only way through tragedy is to open up and let the lost world of light in again.
You are infinite potential and possibility. And if that feels unattainable, I understand because I was intimidated growing up. And became super hard on myself to compensate because I didn't know who I was. So I invite you to take a “time out” and make sure you are doing what you desire? Ask yourself do you feel love inside your body? You can generate the love inside on command.
Open your heart, soften and melt. Breathe in the central channel.Take it to the body to recognize the real definition of you as pure potential. You begin to connect the dots when you let go of the labels and boxes you’ve used to define yourself. And you start to let go when you focus on, “Do I feel love inside my body all day long?” So that you build the circuitry to become masterful at life.
Worry is a waste of time.
It changes nothing.
Most of the things you are worrying about now, you won’t remember in a few years.
Stop focusing on the small stuff that you won’t even remember a week from now, and certainly not on your death bed.
Life gives you no refunds for the time you spent worrying.
What you focus on expands, so focus on what is truly important and meaningful to you. Decide to constantly feed what is beautiful about yourself and your life rather than what isn’t.
The quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your attention. And this is your choice.
By trying to furiously control life, you often end up controlled by it.
Upheaval is one of the ways in which transformation can be facilitated. As you may have noticed, there’s a lot of that going on right now in the world and in our personal lives also.
The untruths or the structures that we have in place that are not providing us with well-being or are holding us back are coming to the surface.
What this means is that if we have buttons to be pushed, someone or something will be coming along to push them. Another term for this is called being triggered. It is up to us to let the discrepancies go and allow ourselves to heal.
It’s a human tendency to blame the button pusher, saying something like; “That person really pushes my buttons!” This attitude basically justifies the buttons, or the karma, or the personal demons so that they stay intact. The period of life that were entering and now will not allow us to keep our demons. It is a new chapter of clarity in the next level of awareness where these things have no place.
You probably already know that Albert Einstein, who won a Nobel Prize for Physics, and was famous for his theory of relativity, which revolutionized our understanding of space, time, gravity, and the Universe, was a genius. But did you also know he was quite the philosopher?
Einstein wrote that the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the Universe a friendly place?’
He explained that, “ if we decide that the Universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that is unfriendly and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.”
Join Soulspring for conscious insights...
...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...
PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind