What is worthiness? Why this word worth? What is anything worth? Where does the value that defines worth come from? Who decides this?
Worthiness is such a pain point. We all want to have this experience of worthiness, to live into the world acting, breathing, thinking and doing like people who have worth.
But, this word.
We live in a shame culture. A trauma culture. A money culture. These things are all tied in with our human need for love. Its a dangerous recipe that keeps us tied into a culture that profits off of our suffering.
We are hard pressed to find anyone untouched by the tendrils of trauma in the tenderness and fragility of what it is to be a human being. In this harsh culture, it's not okay to be human.
Our "worth" is a concocted notion that has nothing to do with love. When we live in a culture that ties so much importance to money, even the language we use to think of ourselves becomes tied to value, money. To be worthy is to charge a certain amount of money, to live at a certain level that communicates your worth, etc.
Except many people who have a high "worth" can still feel terribly empty inside, feeling even more shame and wondering what they did wrong since they did all the "things". You can pay more money believing because someone is charging a lot, it must be worth it when you are really contributing to their bank of narcissistic supply.
We are in dangerous territory with this worth game. And, everyone in the meantime is struggling with shame.
I have spent most of my life in search of this "divinity" thing, whatever it is...a lifestyle, a sparkle in the eye, some ancient knowing that everyone else had received the memo on but me. I became a doctor of the psyche and lost connection to the wise innocence of myself seeking counsel of those who I thought had answers I did not have. They acted like they had answers I did not have. The world acts like it has answers we do not have. I believed them. Many of us do. I did all the things. At some point, I think I had constructed something that SEEMED like divinity, yet something felt obscured and there was this constant aching in my heart. No matter what I did, this gnawing edge of something palpably tender, painful and raw in the center of my chest. It didn't matter how many mantras I chanted, how much karma yoga I did, who I dated, what I dressed or how spiritual I had convinced myself I was. I felt obscured from myself.
Spirituality has nothing to do with knowing one's own divinity.
I longed to feel real.
This real me had slipped off somewhere in the night outside of my awareness. I was trying on all the things but none of it worked because none if it was real, yet I thought I was the problem. It's like this in life, things feel confusing outside of us and our little person brain protects us by thinking it is something in us, so that divine light is tucked away and we forget it was ever there.
That ache. That deep ache in the center of my chest. I could hear a faint whisper deep from within. "I am real." I am real. Tears. That quote from the Velveteen Rabbit...“Real isn't how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
There is an ache in each of our hearts to know divinity for real. That ache, the sacred soul wound, IS the teacher of self-love, compassion, kindness and understanding. Its where you find your light, the love warrior you are made of. It changes everything.
Grief is our natural response to the transitory nature of life. It is complex and can be overwhelming and confusing. It is a part of our human experience, our aliveness.
You do not grieve for things you do not care about. It is an act of love. It connects you with what is most deeply precious and sacred in the heart of your heart. It clears the pathway to a soul-centered life.
There are layers to it that can make midwifing your way through challenging and obscure.
You grieve for the loss of the person/object/situation.
You grieve for the loss of the relationship you had with what has been lost.
You grieve for the parts of you attached, identified and connected to what has been lost.
Sometimes grief arrives in a mixture, swirling around and overwhelming the heart. It can feel scary to surrender to this initiation deeper into the truths of love, life and the divine nature of this human experience. It can completely re-arrange you and evolve you closer to the nature of who you really are.
This is navigating the in-between. Honoring what has been lost, metabolizing the emotions and complexities of the relationship and allowing the parts of you that need to die so that a new you can emerge. It's not always easy to tell up from down, what is what. We have a tendancy to want the process to be linear, to have clearly defined stages, something to hold on to. But, sometimes holding on keeps us from understanding. From that understanding is birthed curiosity and the seeds of love we need for becoming real.
Grief teaches you to become real. It is the holy devotion of your heart to what matters most to you about life. It is alive. Grief is love.
Everything changes, nothing lasts forever. Seasons come and go, people we love will die (we will too), the landscape of our life shifts and changes like the tides of the ocean. Grief is our natural response to impermanence and change. It is healthy. It is normal.
Grief is love. It is the reflection of an open heart; interconnected and caring and loving in the world. It is our aliveness.
Initiation is movement from one mode of consciousness to another. As the landscape of our life changes, ideally so does our level and mode of awareness and consciousness. We allow life to grow us, shape us and evolve us. From one stage of development to the next, from one moment of spiritual expansion to the next.
Many cultures who move more closely with the earth's natural cycles understand this, which is why there are initiations, rites of passage after hardship, challenges and trials. This Western culture fears death, turns death into a corporate affair and we've built so many walls of illusion to protect ourselves from any proper rites of initiation.
Grief has become trapped. This way of actually living well, of expanding the capacity of our heart for more and more love, to move towards allowing MORE life to come in, to be more connected to the divine, ourselves and each other. This grief offers the opportunity to live even better so we can die well. Death teaches us about life every single day that death gives us another day here.
This is not meant to be morbid. This is truth. Love speaks in the language of truth. Every transition, every loss, every disappointment, every single challenge, obstacle, trial and difficulty is an initiation into deeper aspects of yourself, your own power and an opportunity to embody even more of your soul. So many of struggles people face, like depression and addiction, perfectionism, shame, fear, insecurity are all symptoms of trapped grief, unmetabolized responses to the flow of life and love that is trying to evolve us. It gets stuck in our bodies and we identify with it, it weighs us down, ages us, we project it onto relationships or things around us....our hearts become confused.
Reclaiming the initiatory power and healing potential residing in grief is to take back our own emotional power and remember who we are, what is important to us and how we want to truly, truly live so that we can come to the end of our life with gratitude rather than regrets. The initiation of grief is an initiation into the power of love. It is the capacity of your heart to hold more and more of the divine and to open even more to life in appreciation for the miracle it truly is.
Then, we learn we have nothing to lose but the chance to experience the freedom waiting in our hearts.
We do not have to remember another time here on earth when the magic was alive. There is no imaginary space where there are beings who live in partnership with the plants and animals, where this energy is both magic and the status quo and there is harmony. That magical planet is this one. This place we are living in now. What can be more magical than this? We must not escape here in our minds but bring our love to the magic of life that wants to cocreate and coexist with us here, now. Right outside our doors.
In our enthusiasm for the power of what is possible for us to create, we got carried away and built caverns and caves and castles and cubicles and walls that we cannot find our way out of. We think that nature is "out there" as something to visit on the weekend. We got so carried away with ourselves, we've forgotten our true nature. We've forgotten the magic that is under our very feet.
Western culture makes anything remotely connected with the medicine of the earth or living in harmony with it seem "alternative" or "new agey" or "unfounded" or something to not be taken seriously. Yet, these ways persist and persevere through all dimensions of time and space, holding this quiet, still and powerful ground. A wise voice that keeps speaking and whispering and singing through all the chaos and all the noise and all the confusion.
This is the wild. This is OUR wild. We are wild. We cannot cage ourselves up and expect it to last in any sustainable way. It is like animals who do not get to walk or run and hunt and play and move in the natural rhythms of how their bodies want to move and what they need to eat. This is us. We cage ourselves up and then we cry and scream and yell and go a little crazy and then expect each other to find a way to find sanity in something we've made that isn't even natural.
There is so much we've come to assume is normal that is NOT normal, that is actually crazy making and not good for the wild in ourselves. We have it turned around. I hear a lot about why, why did it end up this way? And, I do not know. For me, it's like hitting rock bottom. Perhaps we are finally hitting a rock bottom. It's only when we really hit the rock bottom that we begin to really, really truly appreciate the gifts of the rising. It's like we took our true nature for granted and have lost it, hit a collective rock bottom so we can find our way back and never take any of this precious life, this precious earth and all it's energy and magic ever again.
The way back breaks the heart back open, the love washing the soul wound whole.
I went for a hike yesterday. It was cloudy and the weather apps all said there was a 60% chance of rain. The people ahead of me on the trail were deciding whether or not to keep going. I was almost half way through the loop and I kept having this vision of walking along the green hills, farther than we'd (sammy the dog and i) gone before. Didn't make sense, this vision pulling me forward. So many people turning back because of impending rain. It didn't feel right to turn around, my body actually felt heavy...turning around out of fear of something that may or may not happen. Though, it did seem like it would rain. I had an umbrella. What's the worst? We get muddy? We get wet? I decided to just trust that whatever was going to happen was going to be a part of this vision I had to wander sprawling green hills. We kept going. The sky cleared. The hills were so alive and green, my whole nervous system sighed with relief. We adventured and found new places to explore, more magic to take in and of course, my trusty trail friend (sammy the dog) found a lost ball for us to play catch with. It never rained. The trails were cleared with people. We felt free.
Listen and trust your own inner voice. Even if there are obstacles, trust it is a part of the process because sometimes there will be rain or hail or mud or a fallen something blocking the way. Sometimes there won't be. Obstacles don't mean that your intuition is wrong. Sometimes we are lead in a direction to learn perseverance and persistence and the power of our own strength; your devotion your inner truth. Keep checking in. Making offerings to divine within you to honor the love that is always guiding your way. Notice what feels like a contraction in your body when you move back away from your vision, truth or desire. Notice what it feels like to move towards what propels you to feel more open and spacious, happy and free. Your body never, ever lies.
Make time for your heart, your dear, precious heart.
Cultivate this devotion to laying flowers at the ground of your heart, to listen to the whispers and prayers and longings and guidance.
Rumi wrote that the divine is in the longing, in the prayer and in the whispers. What if that greater than yourself that you seek is sitting upon a garden throne in the center of your heart just waiting for you?
This is an ancient chamber that is your own, a space that no one, absolutely no one can ever enter or know the way you can. It cannot be harmed or touched, but only forgotten. Make time to sit and cultivate the patience of mind to learn how to be in service to your heart, to honor the truth of your heart and the truth of the stories your body wishes to share with you in order to close chapters on the past. Here, the past can resolve itself. Here, in these spaces of listening and honoring, there is a love that we all deeply long for even if we aren't sure what it is or know for sure that it exists. It does. It opens in that in-between space. In between your heaven and your earth. Allow yourself be deeply moved by the awe inspiring beauty of the vastness that is you.
If we are not careful, before we know it, resistance can become a way of being and moving through the world. It can become a way of life that in and of itself blocks you from engaging with all that is possible within yourself. Resistance is a form of fear. Fear of what? Fear of life force energy, a fear of life. We often experience resistance at moments of growth, moments where life is propelling us in the direction of our highest growth, in the creative process, anytime we have transformed ourselves into a new level of life.
It happens in the in-between spaces, in the gap or void where the alchemy of transformation is possible. The opposite of resistance is letting go and surrendering, often to trusting the universe or some power that is greater than our small human beings can comprehend. The opposite of resistance is trust; it is relaxing. It is feeling.
Resistance takes so many forms. Perfectionism. Addiction. Procrastination. Spiritual escape into “bliss.” Chronic lateness. Feeling like we know everything already. Seeking a magical solution. Difficulty receiving. Anxiety. Depression. Creative blocks. Staying stuck. Self-criticism. Avoidance. And on and on.
Resistance protects us from life. It protects us from the truth. It also protects us from grief and feeling. What I notice is that beneath a lot of resistance is a range of emotions and feelings. Energy. Makes sense since resistance is often a way of blocking out life and the energy of life. Life force energy is creative, sexual, emotional, symbolic, love, clear and always oriented towards pulling us closer and closer to our wholeness.
Shame is pain inside the heart; a deep hurt that feels like you aren't good enough, aren't worthy in some way, that something is deeply wrong, that you are deeply flawed or somehow missed the memo on humanning well. It's this emptiness that feels bottomless and disconnected.
It IS the soul wound.
Shame has taken up residence in the center of your original heartbreak, at the core of who you are. There are a million reasons we all experience soul wounding and soul loss. It's been said that this is such an endemic at this time.
It's this undefinable yet very alive experience that is constantly running in the background of our subconscious. It is the emptiness that our consumer culture thrives on. We live in a shame culture. A trauma culture. A money culture. These things are so intimately wound up together culturally, our nervous systems cannot quite tell it all apart. As long as it feels like there is never enough or that you aren't enough, you will continue to seek outside of yourself for an experience of wholeness that money cannot buy.
This is the place where wanting more and more becomes the addiction wearing the costume of perfection and abundance and attacking ones core self like a construction project in the hopes that personal enlightenment will bring all the things we've been promised. It just doesn't work this way. It's all perpetuating itself and making most of us feel crazy and desperate. So much so, we are then distracted by what is happening in the world and people are hurting other people. Aren't we perhaps the only species that turns on itself (each other and ourselves)?
This is one of the most important things to me that needs to change. I often wonder what the world would be like if no one ever felt like there was something wrong with them. If we want to change our culture or heal our planet, we simply must start to talk about this soul wound, this sense that somehow being human is bad, that we are flawed, that we need to try to attain some state of divine perfection to transcend it.
Yes, being human is fragile and painful at times, scary even. But, shame is NOT a natural part of our programming. No thing in nature experiences shame or thinks that there is something wrong with it. It is NOT normal to feel this way about ourselves. It is not the natural frequency of our soul.
Fear is afraid of fear because it is protecting something. It's become unsafe to feel fear, which is a little strange and funny at the same time. It seems really important to not throw the baby out with the bath water, which means that it feels vital to the health of our collective hearts to find a different way to navigate and understand our innately emotional experiences that naturally arise in the course of living life as a human being. I am reminded of that really old paradigm saying that children should be seen and not heard. I hate that saying, but I believe that this still pervades our collective unconscious as we have inherited and internalized these models of the patriarchy, which we use as inner models for relating to ourselves. This is our soul wound.
Children need to be heard in order to feel deeply seen. We, as adults, are absolutely no different. When we dismiss our fears as all the same, as "fear-based thinking" (which arises out of the body holding on to fear, which is real in the body) we try to rationalize away or use mind strategies to attack the body for trying to tell it's story. This is in fact not seeing or hearing the core of ourselves. In a sense, it is putting salt in the soul wound.
Our body stores every single experience we have ever had and, if uncomfortable, we try to get rid of it without understanding it. This is not healing or loving. Healing is creating a space of love for the meaning and understanding to arise. It is only in that meaning and understanding that what is needed informs how to transform this energy into wisdom and love. This is self-love. It is hard to understand this if we have never felt emotionally loved or held, which is more common than you think. Emotional neglect is far more common than the patriarchy and media and marketing and most people would like you to know. We think the way we treat ourselves and others emotionally is normal and health. Normal is not always healthy. (Like encouraging people to put themselves out and share their voice, and then tear them down when they do and accuse them of having too much fear based thinking to really put themselves out there....)