The Untethered Soul

I've been reading this book, called "The Untethered Soul", by Michael A. Singer.  This book came to me by way of Marie Forleo (www.marieforleo.com).  She is one of my spiritual "teachers" though we have never met.  In a recent email, she recommended this book as one of her top three.  I had no idea who Michael Singer was, or thought I didn't.  But then, of course, as soon as I looked him up, I recognized having watched him on one of Oprah's Super Soul Sessions.  

Today also happens to be Mother's Day.  I lost my mom in December of 2004, the 21st to be exact.  I miss her terribly, of course.  But she was also an incredible gift to me.  After reading, Chapter 13 in this book, entitled "Far, Far Beyond", I understand better what I mean when I say she was a gift.  Not just in her life, but also in her death.  This is not an easy conclusion for me to come to, and it has taken me years of internal work to be able to step back and objectively see her life in this way.  

What my mother's death did for me was send me out in the beyond.  Everything I thought I knew simply fell apart and I knew nothing would or could ever be the same again.  If she had not left, I am not sure I would have become the person I am today because I had no choice.  All the things that used to work didn't anymore, and I had to reconfigure my entire life.  If she were still here, I am truly not sure that would have happened. 

Michael Singer says, "Going beyond means going beyond the borders of the cage.  There should be no cage.  The soul is infinite.  It is free to expand everywhere.  It is free to experience all of life. This can only happen when you are willing to face reality without mental boundaries.  If you still have barriers, and you know what they are because you hit them every day, you must be willing to go beyond them.  Otherwise you remain within your cage.  And remember, decorating your cage with beautiful experiences, fond memories and great dreams is not the same as going beyond.  A cage by any other name is still a cage."  

I had the good fortune to spend a month in Ireland in January of 2015.  One of my destinations was the Cliffs of Moher.  Absolutely breathtaking, hundreds of meters above a sheer drop to the Atlantic ocean.  I am not terribly fond of heights, but my desire to walk the path on the cliff overcame the need to be safe.  At one point, the path looked like it swung dangerously out over the ocean and I knew I would fall to certain death.  So I stopped and had a talk with myself.  I assured myself that we would be okay, that I would take one step at a time, and that if the path became too dangerous I would turn back.  And then I reminded myself that this was what I had come to Ireland for and I refused to let my own fear define my experience.  As I approached the point in the path, it was much wider than I had first believed and I proceeded to walk the entire southern length of the cliffs.  That little tower you see in the distance,  I walked all the way there and all the way back.  On my trek back I welcomed the incredible views of the ocean instead of being afraid of them because I went beyond my edges, in a very literal sense, and came face to face with a beauty I had only imagined and seen in picture.  Now I had actually lived one of my dreams!  To walk the Cliffs of Moher.

I don't know why it takes an event like that for some of us.  It forced me to come directly into contact with a whole lot of things I never expected to deal with.  I also became a person I don't ever think I would have without first the solid foundation of her love, and then her leaving.  The truth is I still feel her with me and still talk to her.  Even now, 13 years later, I still want to tell her things and then remember I have to do it in a different way.  It is a spiritual relationship now, rather than a physical one.  I often have dreams where I am looking for her and cannot find her.  But the truth is, she lives on, just in a different way.  

Michael Singer also says, "Eventually you will realize that it cannot actually hurt you to go beyond your psychological limits.  If you are willing to just stand at the edge and keep walking you will go beyond.  You used to pull back when it got uncomfortable.  Now you relax and go past that point.  That is all it takes to go beyond...you realize that you will always be fine.  Nothing can ever bother you except your edges, and now you know what to do with them.  You end up loving your edges because they point your way to freedom.  All you have to do is constantly relax and lean into them.  Then one day, when you least expect it, you fall through into the infinite.  That is what it means to go beyond."

His words touched something in my soul and it all came tumbling together and I teared up.  I understood, maybe for even the first time, how her death taught me as much as her life.  I was forced to confront my edges, pushed to the very limits and then beyond what I thought I could ever imagine.  And as I sit here, typing, with her pictures on my desk, I miss her and at the same time I am so, so grateful to her.  She gave me everything I would need to navigate this life.  I love you Mom.  

 

 

 

Trailblazing.

Awesome.  I haven't blogged for 3 weeks.  Yup.  Apparently I'm on the 3 weeks on-3 weeks off plan.  Kind of like exercise.  Ah well.  Life is always a learning experience, at least for me.  

It seems I've been dealing with resistance with a capital R.  No, I didn't make this up, I borrowed it from Steven Pressfield.  Not working on my book, not blogging.  Not doing much of anything in the writing world except for writing my morning pages.  

Last night I kind of had a mini-break down.  I'm blaming it on the heat, since it has been very warm here in Portland and I was out in the sun all day.  I don't know what it was.  I found myself wallowing in the sea of uncertainty.  What am I doing?  Why am I here?  Am I a loser?  All these ridiculous things.  The back of my neck was sore and I was convinced it was a brain tumor and that it was as I suspected, I am just waiting to die.  All kinds of craziness.  

So, I put myself to bed.  I had to put myself to bed the other night too, after getting home from a great time with my brother in Oakland, CA.  I slept too little the night before my flight and was SUPER grumpy with everyone.  Seems to be the case a lot lately.

Julia Cameron says we start acting out when we aren't creating.  Boy is she right.  That's the problem.  No external writing.  I've been doing a lot of other things though.  I have been on a cleaning rampage.  Now, I am renting a room from a family friend, so I live in about a 12x12 space. It's amazing how much stuff can still accumulate even living so small.  I went back through everything, and I mean everything (clothes, papers, books, etc.) and got everything cleaned and organized.  I'm moving my stuff I've had in storage in my brother's garage to its' own storage unit and getting everything super-tidy.  For what, I'm not sure.  But, maybe this will help me feel lighter.  I've been feeling a little bogged down lately. 

And so I came across a note from my mom while organizing.  The front of the card says this "Do not follow where the path may lead - go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." The inside of the card was handwritten with a lot of advice but she also said this "...a sedentary life will never suit you.  Get rid of the things that limit you - pretty soon you will fly, you are at the edge surveying everything."


Such timely words, even from beyond the grave.  She always had a knack for doing that, timely words of encouragement on notes were her thing.  So maybe this getting rid of things and getting things organized is so I can prepare for flight.  Or something.  I don't know what.  But what it did do is remind me that I'm not crazy.  That sometimes when you make a trail it's messy and dirty, sweaty work because you have to cut down a lot of brush.  And sometimes you don't always see the way clear, but if you keep moving forward, then you don't get stuck and eventually you will break free.  It also shows others there is another different way to go.

See, there.  I feel better already having posted this, EVEN IF NO ONE READS IT.  That's what happens when you do what you are supposed to be doing in this life.  You do the work, and are not responsible for the outcome. You don't do it for success, for fame, even for a paycheck. You do it in service, and because you have to.  And, you get more crazy the longer you don't do it. I learned that from Julia Cameron and Steven Pressfield.  And for me, primarily, I know that work is writing.  I have to share my stories with the world because there is no one who has my voice.  Sometimes it's hard and difficult because I'm cutting a trail for myself that has never existed before.  And it's definitely much easier to follow a well-defined trail. But I just can't.  And so I won't.