Updated on January 11, 2016
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What I’ve observed as I’ve moved through life, is that the anticipation of something happening is always worse than how it actually unfolds in reality. And yet, every time I come up to a new event that makes… Read More
I’ve noticed within myself and those I’ve worked with, that there can sometimes be an immense pressure to get “it right”. That following our hearts, our dreams, our desires – comes with a heavy weight of needing to… Read More
Whenever I remember who I truly am – beneath what I do, the identity I have as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend – I feel I return to my true home. It can sometimes be… Read More
I want to talk about trust. Trust is something so deeply valuable, so vitally important – whether it’s relating to ourselves, our partners, our friends, our colleagues, our community, our government, the world, life itself – it is,… Read More
Written by Corinne Blum
One of the greatest gifts of connection we have in this life is that to our spiritual path. Yet there is a great deal of shoulds and should nots in this spiritual world. That guru says this, this philosophy says that. It can be confusing, frustrating and internally conflicting. But the greatest challenge, perhaps even illusion, that I’ve observed growing up in a very spiritually minded environment my entire life, is the spiritual path as perfection, as something unhuman. It’s as if we have this great opportunity to be in this realm, on this planet as humans, and all we are trying to do is escape it.
From a young age this made no sense to me. Why be human if the point was to transcend humanity and become an enlightened being? I am a sensitive soul, an all-feeling spirit that has deep emotion and when I was young I thought this was a weakness…
I studied Buddhism over a decade and though much of it brought me peace and gave me a pathway to a better understanding of myself, I was at odds with it. It somehow felt too masculine, too mind oriented, it was missing something for me.
As I grew older my focus turned less on what spirituality was and more on what authenticity meant. What did it mean to be human? I came to learn, through much struggle, suffering, searching and surrendering, that being human, being authentic, was about honouring my human experience through the eyes of my higher self. I learned that the body holds so much wisdom, emotions are wonderful guides, and that acceptance of what is true for us in the moment was the pathway to freedom and peace.
I saw the inauthenticity of spirituality. People wearing it as the latest fashion, mala beads and all, but not embodying the qualities of love, kindness and compassion. Spiritual status seemed to drive people to be more zen than the next yet they snapped when someone took their parking spot at Whole Foods. It didn’t look or feel real, or human. There was something too similar to a striving for perfection that simply didn’t exist.
Why be given this incredible range of feelings, sensations and emotions, to explore life and this experience of being human, only to pretend that we are always “good,” “happy,” “peaceful,” and “positive”. I personally learned so much about myself through my times of sadness, depression and feeling lost. I realized that the meaning of life was in the experience. There was no one answer but just the experience – neither good nor bad.
Yes, we all want to be happy but happiness isn’t about always being positive. A person can pretend to be happy and positive all the time but pretending will only lead to an eventual breakdown- I’ve seen it many times. But I also saw that it’s easy to get swallowed up in suffering, to become the victim, to see life through a gloomy lens with infinite impossibility. I further saw that our perspective of life and its reality is a choice – our choice.
I began to see that all emotions, all experiences are like that of a colour wheel. We may prefer one colour over another but we cannot claim that colour is better than the other. So with my emotions, I looked at them as a colourful expression of being. With a softened relationship to what I was feeling, I found that suffering only came when I judged my experience as bad, wrong, “unspiritual” or otherwise. It was that resistance, that shame and self-blame that was painful – so much more painful than the initial feeling.
I see this time and again with the people I work with. It is in the resistance to fear, the guilt of feeling or thinking “negatively” that they suffer, become anxious and generally feel unfulfilled in their life.
The moment we can turn around and embrace our fears, giving them the love, nurture and attention they need, all of a sudden they transform. We don’t need to become “strong” or move beyond our fears, worries and insecurities. We need to embrace them, listen to them and with a loving curiosity see what rests beneath them.
Every emotion and experience is a pathway to something deeper, a door closer to our soul – our true essence. If we lock that door and let the cobwebs build, we step further and further away from our truth, from who we are.
Being spiritual isn’t about becoming one and the same. Being connected as One is very different. That is the energy, the spirit, the life that runs through us all. Through all beings, plants and animals – the very makeup of the Universe. But we also are a unique being that is the expression of one small perspective out of billions. One isn’t better than the other. One isn’t more right that the other. All are a unique view of what life is from that angle.
So I say walk the spiritual path with our feet on the ground. We are the mid point between the earth and manifestation and the universe and spirit. That means we have the wonderful opportunity to be the balance of the two. To hold it all. To expand into bliss and lightness and grow heavy with feeling and embodiment. Our task is not to judge it but experience, learn and evolve from it.
Our souls do not seek perfection, they seek love, and love cannot come without acceptance for the experience we are having right now, right here. It is an infinite journey, one that lasts perhaps lifetimes. But this isn’t a race, this isn’t a competition. It is an ever-evolving, growing, unfoldment of Spirit expressing itself through human form.
My journey began looking at what it means to be authentic – to show up in life from a place of truth, honouring my feelings, fears, dreams and my spirit. In the process I learned what it means to be a woman.
Our society has told all of us to behave, to be strong, to swallow our emotions, keep our voice to ourselves and “fake it until you make it”. We have grown ashamed of our feelings and ultimately ourselves because we haven’t been allowed to be our true selves!
We are all human, women and men alike. We have feelings – we are sensitive and vulnerable by nature and this does not make us weak!
It is our sensitivities that make us compassionate, our feelings that offer empathy. It is the cracks that inspire us, and our struggles that strengthen us. It is the courage that comes from within that gives us true confidence, not the façade that pretends to offer us security, comfort and acceptance.
But I do not say this in anger nor in blame, nor is this about the plight of women. We have learned these ways, as women and men, and the opportunity now lies before us to create balance, to honour humanity and embody the gifts of the feminine in us all.
What I learned about being a woman is that we feel. We are intuitive through our body, our heart and our gut and when we shut these down, we also shut down our life force, energy and creative inspiration.
I have learned that sometimes our emotions run us wild but when we honour the voice and message within them and channel them through creativity, they offer us, and the world, great gifts.
I have learned that:
We are gentle, nurturing and loving as well as fierce, dedicated and determined.
We believe in truth and justice because it rattles us to our bones.
We are passionate and fiery as well as calm and fluid.
We are unpredictable and expressive as well as dependable and grounded.
We are life and creation as well as destruction and death.
We move things and shift things and inspire change.
We birth children and ideas and embody the cycles and seasons of life through our bodies, emotions and states of being.
We believe in the good of people and care about their story but we get angry when we’re forced to be quiet, to not feel and apologise for the way we are.
I do not believe we have the excuse to be unaware within our unpredictability but when supported we have the ability to invigorate the life in us all.
To be a woman is to dive into the depths of experience, of what it means to be human in this realm.
We follow the light as well as the shadows of the dark.
We are the virgin, the mother and the wise crone.
We are the sweet breeze of Spring and the ferocious wind of Winter.
We are the loving embrace that holds all of life and the tender softness that rests in its hands.
We sometimes push the limits because we are infinite and yet we need the boundary, structure and safety that the sacred masculine provides.
We need to feel honoured by our partner so that we can crack our hearts open and let you in.
We need to feel safe to thrive or else we control out of fear.
We are ready to be seen, to be heard and to create a sisterhood.
We are ready to show men their sacred masculine by embodying our sacred feminine.
We are willing to embody fear so that we can transform it into potential.
We are able to cry so that we can water the seeds of our truth.
We know when to say yes and when to say no, when to be open and when to protect.
We yearn for connection, long for devotion and our greatest desire is union.
We all, women and men alike, are the face of vulnerability, truth and love. May we put down our masks and look to our true face so that we may see the world that stretches before us with open eyes.
These weeks and even months have been trying for many of us. In London, the skies have been greyed over for what feels like months with the occasional tint of blue now and again -but so fleeting you nearly forget. Everyone is tired as winter drags on. We’re low in vitamin D and moral.
But there seems to be a much greater fog over us all. Solar flares, mercury retrograde and a whole lot of water in pisces -if you follow any bit of astrology-is definitely having its pull on us.
As I struggle, feeling lost and confused at times, I’ve learned to reach out rather than sit alone with it. It isn’t about venting, it is about being transparent and vulnerable. Perhaps this is the gift and teaching during this challenging transition between Winter and Spring, death and rebirth: that with humility, sensitivity, vulnerability and transparency, when we connect to one another from that place, an incredible amount of love, support and compassion comes through.
We moan because out there in the world, in public, we find people are becoming more and more rude, inhuman, insensitive, even callous at times. It is something to moan about because it’s hard, it’s difficult, it’s heavy and unpleasant. It’s all of those things but not because it’s uncomfortable and even unfortunate, it’s because deep down we know that such behaviour is not our true essence. Our true essence actually is one of love and compassion, of empathy and care. Spirituality has known this for eons and science is now slowly catching up to it.
So what’s the problem then?
If our environment doesn’t support our true essence our spirit within us begins to hurt and feel wounded. Our energy shrinks and we become small. We draw the curtains, put up the walls and go into hiding because “out there” becomes too painful. What we are reacting to though is not others, we’re reacting to the system we’ve created and feel trapped in.
Very few people feel nourished, nurtured and enlivened by their jobs. Many people feel under incredible stress and pressure financially. Many begin to question “what’s the point of it all?” and this is a great question to come to. It’s not a hopeless question, it’s a question that can inspire change and transformation. Sometimes we need to really see how ridiculous things are, how -excuse my french-shitty they’ve become. We’re not meant to be crammed into tubes wearing black everyday. It’s like a perpetual ground hogs day and the day is a funeral. It ain’t fun!
What we are finally come to realise is that the system, society, paradigm, structure we’ve created -that perhaps at one point or another had value- no longer serve us anymore. Again, this is a good thing.
Money has ruled us and governed our safety, worth and ability. This paradigm cannot remain because look at what it is doing to us. We’re not shoving each other in the Underground because we have a fundamental hate for human beings, we are shoving one another because we are suffering as a whole.
We need creativity, love, freedom, sun, fresh air and play in order to survive. We need meaningful conversations, heartfelt connections and friendships that take place in person not over the internet. We need imagination. We need community. We need to feel human again. We are not robots but if we don’t change our current situation soon we will act like robots.
So how do we change what may seem insurmountable?
By having compassion for where we are. For beginning to see the humanity is us all and that starts with us as individuals. We need to stop pushing, achieving, doing simply to get things done. We need to connect to what enlivens us, inspires us and moves us to live life with heart. We can only change the outer by transforming the inner. But change does bring up our shit. There may be turmoil, angst, anger and plenty of fear but these parts of us need to be heard, acknowledged and embraced. They need to be loved – as hippie as you might or might not think that is it’s the truth!
So let us speak up to what isn’t working with the intent to transform it into something that will. It isn’t time for passivity-especially passive aggressiveness. It is time we engage because the cost of being disengaged is a far greater debt than money can buy.
In the face of struggle and discouragement, of hopelessness and confusion, it is time to believe that maybe magic can happen, that maybe life can and is wonderful. We just need to see through the fog into the clear serenity that lies beyond it.
There is hope…if you believe it.
I say all of this for myself as much as to everyone who is moved to read and share this. My pursuit is not to be perfect, my pursuit is to be human, vulnerable, transparent and true.
This is just one voice of what is happening in our current state. There are many wonderful things happening too and wonderful people that are showing great generosity and kindness. I see that side of life as well. I felt moved to write this today as I have felt, seen and heard of a lot of struggle this past week.
In the words of Carl Jung:
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
The dark allows us to see the light but we will not see the light if we avoid the dark. The time we are moving into, the paradigm we are creating, will be one of balance: between light and dark, masculine and feminine, divine and earth, being and doing.
I wish you well on your journey.
Let us not go back to the grind. Let us instead pave a new path. Yes, today we have to go back to work and perhaps one day that will change but the only way to get there is by taking small steps; small movements in the direction towards flow.
If we choose to go back to the same we will create the same. Change does not happen unless we create it and we can only create it by becoming it. Yes, we still live in a society governed by money, productivity and work but now is the time – our opportunity to transform that mindset.
Start to feed your passion, make space for your authentic expression and let the world hear your voice. Doing this doesn’t have to be about going out there and doing something grand, it is as simple as showing up as yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not. Don’t try to fit in. Don’t suppress your voice and tame your spirit. The world doesn’t need more replicas it needs more originals.
But we can’t do this alone. It is time we support each other in our authenticity, in our greatness and truth. It is time we appreciate our uniqueness and the talents and gifts we are here to share. There is plenty of room in the world for us all to be great. This is not a greatness that is measured by scores, currency or status, this is a greatness that comes by simply being in your fullest potential. Being you without shame, without being small, without being what you think you should or should not be.
If you are someone that is stuck behind something you don’t want to do, or if you are someone that feels afraid of what to do next, return to yourself. Come home and welcome yourself at the door. Be kind and generous and smile. Remember who you are and tell your story. The world is waiting to hear it.
We are all undergoing many shifts and changes at the moment and with that we may be feeling discomfort with the uncertainty that change brings. Many of us have been feeling tired, emotionally up and down, lost or confused; not knowing how to be with it all. We are being challenged at the moment and perhaps the biggest lesson is to let go of doing, controlling and trying to figure it all out.
I have found for myself that when I ‘try’ I fall out of flow. When I force myself to ‘do’ I meet resistance. When I try to ‘figure out’ or ‘control’ I feel more confused and disconnected. What I am learning through it is that our paradigm of ‘work hard, be productive, and always know your next step’ seems no longer useful.
We’re tired because it’s too much. We have been pushing and pushing for too long now. We’re not being human, we’re being machines. This shift is asking us to slow down, reconnect and remember what life is about – LIVING!
But as our reality gets hazy fear arises. We don’t like the unknown. Even if we are unhappy with what we do know at least we know it, and the comfort that knowing gives us makes us feel in control.
The unknown is scary because there is no control within it and so we resist. What we don’t realize though is that resistance is what causes our suffering and pain. We push away from ourselves and neglect the fear that so desperately needs our love and attention.
When we take a moment to embrace our fears we may find that we are able to relax. When we let go of our need for certainty and instead surrender into a place of trust, we may find that the unknown actually carries with it a great sense of excitement and wonder. But the biggest opportunity that comes from embracing our fear and opening up to the unknown, is that we realize WE have the power and creativity to embody the future we want to make manifest.
Life doesn’t happen to us it happens through and with us. We are co-creators and these shifts and changes are reminding us of this. But in order to fully step into our power and create, we must first learn to love, accept and forgive the parts of us that we have pushed away, the parts of us we don’t like, the parts of us that we are ashamed of.
All that takes is a moment of pause. When we stop resisting and instead move towards our fears and worries with an open, loving embrace, we are able to transform our feelings and state of being. When we listen to what we need and give that to ourselves we become empowered. Not because we can change our mood from one of discomfort to comfort, but because we realize that we have the power and ability to take care of ourselves and change our lives.
So no matter what is happening around us, whether the weather of our external or internal world changes, we know that we can be with anything that arises simply by giving it attention and care.
Let us be excited for the shifts and changes and connect to our imagination and creativity. What world do you want to live in? What self do you want to embody? Let us focus on the opportunities that await us for only our belief in them will allow them to manifest.
It’s ok to feel scared, worried and confused. Your only task is to be yourself, to love who you are and share that with the world. Life isn’t about perfection, it is about the experiences we have, the lessons we learn, the moments we enjoy and all the imperfections that make us truly beautiful.
Believe in yourself, believe in life, believe that divine grace is already here within us.