Becoming (Surrender) – Conversation on Sunday, August 8, 2021
This time last year I felt as if I had much of my life figured out. Of course, when I state this, I do not mean that every detail was accounted for or that I had reached a place or state of mind that allowed me to consciously unfold the journey before me. Rather, I saw and experienced certain signs that validated internal knowings. These signs pointed toward a direction that made sense, was logical, and that seemed aligned with a greater purpose that I had envisioned and had felt ‘right.’
You know where this is going, right?
Certain things did not pan out. And other things did. Those things that did not come to fruition, however, sent me on a spiral. Maybe not a downward spiral, but rather on a sideways one where I felt and still feel that I am living in a parallel universe or in some alternate reality. I did have some darker moments where I yelled a bit at the air around me and asked God what the point was of having me go through what I had experienced. And, I had some better moments where I took in all that I DO have and realized, very humbly, that I am surrounded by love, good people, and, overall, a fulfilling career.
During this last year, I have had to reevaluate my journey as a human being who has, since I can remember, felt an itching to know more, feel more, do more, have more… The MORE isn’t necessarily something tangible or material, rather it is an ache in the heart that pushes me to dream bigger and to imagine limitlessly. The reevaluation is coming to terms with how my life is at this moment is not what I had envisioned for myself and my family last year. But, in all honesty, it’s not too far off… just some of the details are different.
Coming to terms with life as it is means to reevaluate who I am now, not the person I hoped I would have been if things had gone a certain way. The NOW of who I am is a person who finds herself in a beautiful home with an amazing family. Right now I am sitting at my new, little desk surrounded by some of my favorite things … photos of my family, pictures drawn by my daughters, candles bought for me by my husband, and books that I treasure. I am breathing in fresh sage and listening to the sound of my daughters’ laughter downstairs.
Reevaluating myself in this present moment feels bittersweet in some ways. In accepting who I am NOW I am also, simultaneously, letting go of who I thought I would be a year ago. Though, in essence, I am holding onto and letting go of the same person, there is a self-awareness of loss and grief in realizing that the NOW is enough. Maybe the MORE isn’t needed as much or maybe I am growing out of needing the MORE for deep fulfillment. Maybe, who I am right now is exactly what I need. Nothing more.
Keep courageous. Live now. With love,
I haven’t written in awhile because, frankly, I have been questioning whether or not it is worth it to put forth so much of my own personal, spiritual energy into a public space. I am working on several manuscripts at the moment to document and disseminate my research and have let EduSpirit fall to the wayside because I haven’t wanted to invest much of my heart into a space in which I feel so vulnerable and raw.
Originally, when I created EduSpirit I understood it as a platform for ALL of us, particularly educators who wanted to share their heart-centered practices with other educators. I wanted to begin the dialogue and allow it to grow and blossom into whatever manifestation we deemed possible. But, as I plugged along with my videos, interviews, and blogging, I began to doubt what I was doing. I started to question whether or not my voice was heard and whether my efforts were futile.
Over the last week I have actively engaged in volatile dialogue with the Universe about the purpose of EduSpirit. My rantings (in the car ALONE, thank goodness) have gone like this:
Why did You edge me onto this path? Why I am DOING this? What is the purpose of this whole platform? Is there any impact of this work? Is anyone interested or listening? Should I even care? Why do You push me to do things that make me so uncomfortable and, better yet, why do I continue listening to You? And so on and so on …
The answers I have received are illuminating.
One answer given to me was through my husband and the dream he shared with me. His sharing went something like this (paraphrased):
“I was walking and saw a river. The river was muddy and deep. It elicited a feeling of fear in me as I approached it. Coming close to it, I felt compelled to reach down and feel into it with my hands. The water was dank, cold, and murky and, suddenly, beneath the surface, a hand jutted out of the water. It was pale, waterlogged, but strong. I instinctively knew what to do. I reached down and grabbed a hold of its forearm. As I pulled, a person emerged. It wasn’t just any person. It was me, but not me. It was my higher Self. On land, he stood before me. He was stalwart, formidable and full of peace. His intense strength juxtaposed against his gentle demeanor. I looked into his face. It was me, a mirror image. But it was also him, a better version of who I am on this Earth. He said he was working for me and putting energy into all the things I hope for and want in my life.”
This recounting reminded me of a morning daydream I had recently. This daydream unfolded in this manner:
I saw a toddler just beginning to walk. She was unsure of her balance and would sway and topple as she navigated the trail on which she and her parents were walking. The parents would grab a hold of her body and redirect her gait so that she would regain confidence in her next steps. The toddler would smile at her parents and grip their hands every time she felt unsteady. The parents would then tell her, “Good job, sweetheart. You’re doing great.” The toddler knew she could walk the trail and make it home with her parents by her side.
Over time, as the toddler grew into a young five year-old. At five, she found herself on the trail again. This time her parents were ten feet behind her. Now, as a kindergartner, her feet were steady, her gait was straight, and her stride full of confidence. As she danced and sang on the trail, she looked behind her. To her surprise, she was all alone. Her parents were gone. Suddenly fear overtook her. She panicked as her eyes moistened. Where did they go?
She stood on the trail bewildered and then realized she knew the way home. She knew her parents would be waiting for her and that they had not left her in danger. Instead, she was completely safe and was being given her first opportunity of full independence. She took a moment. There was pride in her heart. She had come a long way from the time when she was two and shaky in her own feet.
Yet, she longed to hold her parents’ hands. Even though she no longer needed their support to walk, she still wanted to feel their grip and to hear their voices tell her, “Good job, sweetheart. You are doing great!” And, for the first time, she was angry. Why weren’t they there with her? Why didn’t they stick around to hold her hand and tell her how great she was doing?
Then, it dawned on her, the only way she was going to know she had the ability to walk home alone from the trail that connected her house to the market up the street was to do so with no help, no scaffolds, no validation, and no support. She had to trust in her own Self and rely on her inner capacity to navigate the world around her.
Both narratives provide me with interconnected messages.
In both, there was a moment in which a leap of faith and trust was necessary for inner growth. To (re)discover or uncover his Higher Self, my husband had to reach beyond his own fear – reflected in the murkiness of the water – and literally pull out the purest essence of his own being. In the daydream sequence, the little girl had to sever old patterns that would keep her tethered to dependence. For her, coming into her independence and full essence meant she had to walk the path alone to reach the next step of her journey even if it meant not having her parents physically visible or present.
EduSpirit is a leap of faith for me. I am both the man who reaches into the muddy, mysterious depths and the young girl who wants desperately to know she’s on the right path, but who must trust her heart as she takes tentative steps forward. I wrote in one of my first blogs that I would allow EduSpirit to evolve in the way that it is supposed to. Now, I must hold true to and claim this proclamation. For me it is about surrendering to my Higher Self and knowing that she is somewhere on the sidelines cheering me on with, “Good job, sweetheart. You’re doing great!”
Always with love,
The last couple of mornings I have woken up feeling like my life’s equilibrium is off. It’s a very strange and uncomfortable space in which to reside. It feels like I am having a tug-of-war with myself and no matter how hard I try to find peace, I sense parts of me resisting and surrendering simultaneously. This is causing an inner friction that manifests in frustration, confusion, and exasperation.
I am taking some quiet time for myself right now to figure out what is going on. As I breathe, I listen to my inner whisperings. I am struggling with beginnings and endings. And, within this struggle, I am also challenged by old energies onto which I am fiercely holding. I am stubbornly holding on to that which I know is not serving me and I am trying to figure out why.
I think part of the answer is the tension I feel trying to be true to my heart while listening to my head.
See, there is the me who has a very expansive vision of what I want my life to look like. This vision, created in my heart, requires many resources and several synchronistic events to align. This vision makes me feel lighter and happier. When I think about my life through this vision I see myself committing energies to people, activities, and locations that enlighten rather than dampen my spirit. This is one aspect of my vision: I am running a center for families in a beautiful, picaresque location in which educational and wholistic healing modalities are integrated naturally. Families, children, and communities come together to co-create educational, learning spaces that build on their assets and expertise. The Center’s resources are accessible and free. There are opportunities for everyone and the Community insulates and supports families, particularly families whose needs are varied and great. Though I am “running” the Center all this means is that I am ensuring the facilitation of resources and continued communication among those involved. Leadership is organic, grows naturally over time, and is in concert with the dynamics emerging from mutually respectful and compassionate interactions.
When I write what I feel in my heart, my spirit ignites in heat and energy. I believe I am seeing a potential timeline in the future when this vision of a family-centered Community with multiple opportunities for healing, learning, and growth can manifest. I feel no resistance when I envision this space.
The resistance begins when my mind questions the details and logistics:
- How am I going to get the resources to make this vision happen?
- Where is this Center located? Where can this space realistically exist?
- When can such a place exist? Is there sufficient funding and resources that would allow this vision to become concrete?
- What will it take? And, who will be involved to bring together all the elements needed to manifest this vision?
There are so many other questions that fill my mind, too. These questions have to do with my family’s needs, our current location, my desire to be reunited with other family members, my short-term career goals, and personal finances.
I find that each time I begin to question my vision I feel an emotion akin to defeat. My mind takes over and tells me all the ways that I will not be able to manifest what I want. I hear messages such as:
- “You don’t have the money to do what you really want to do.”
- “Time is running out.”
- “You’re getting older.”
- “You have unrealistic, unattainable goals.”
And so on and so on…
Listening to my mind question my heart’s passion only brings me unease. I am learning this about myself. But this lesson is confusing because I have been told by others, many of whom have my best interests at heart, that I need to “be realistic” and “practical.” And, yes! They are correct. In many ways, being realistic and practical have gotten me to where I am now. I have had incredible educational experiences that have led me to my current faculty position. I have followed all the steps and most of the advice I have been given. I have worked hard. I am extremely grateful for the work I do and the career I have.
Yet, there is a deep longing for more. This more is hard to define. But it has something to do with what I have written before about the difference in being and doing. As I reflect, I believe that my heart is about being and my mind is about doing. Both are important. I recognize this. The mind, however, can be so judgmental. It can sabotage an idea (or a vision) even before that idea is given wings to fly. All the questions I share above are ways I clip my vision’s “wings.” It’s like overprotective parents who limit their child’s experiences to “protect” that child from getting hurt – even if, deep down, they understand the value of the experience.
The more that I long for is about being in my heart and experiencing my heart’s desires. This is challenging, however, while living in a world where one’s worth is assessed by what a person does. Personally, I completed my checklist of BIG “to dos” years ago. As a teenager and young adult my list included:
- Live in Spain
- Live in Mexico
- Learn Spanish (literacy)
- Get Doctoral Degree
- Get Married
- Have Children
By age 38, I had accomplished all my “life goals.” The “checklist” was complete and I really didn’t know what else to strive for and accomplish.
At 40, I was diagnosed with cancer. Life, it seemed, had other things in store for me. As I have written before, I came to the realization that there was more than just doing. Life had to be about being who I wanted to be and feeling fulfilled with the choices I made.
Fast-forward to the here and now…
What is this longing for more I am feeling? What is this tension between resistance and surrender? Why am I still grappling with being and doing? What needs to end? What is beginning?
These questions are interconnected. The more for which I am longing is to live from my heart deeply and intensely. I desire being who I am authentically without fear of judgment from myself or others. I long to surrender all my cares and worries of what others will say of my choices. I am tired of resisting what I really want in order fulfill others’ ideas of who I should be within the context of my profession, my familial roles, my gender, my race/ethnicity, and my language. I am exasperated that I continue to allow myself to NOT LIVE FULLY out of fear!
Goodness!!! Cancer, one of my greatest teachers, taught me to not fear FEAR itself. And yet, here I am not living fully because I am afraid. I am afraid that the path I am on will not lead me to my vision. I am afraid that I will let people who love me down. I am afraid that I won’t live up to others’ expectations. I am afraid that I will live a life where I am doing, doing, doing and not being.
So, what are the next steps?
I feel that it’s time to take action and be courageous. Since moving to Indianapolis, I’ve had one foot tentatively planted here and the other feeling it’s way around other places. I have been consciously NOT LIVING FULLY because I have been waiting to see where I should root myself. This transitory existence has been purposeful, but now it’s time to make firm decisions. I need to ask myself what is beginning and what is ending? Can there be multiple beginnings in the spaces I hope to create or will there only be room for one beginning at a time?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but it’s time to LIVE FULLY from the heart and be who I am without fear.
The exercise of writing down questions and trying to answer them honestly provides clarity for better understanding these internal tensions of surrender and resistance. Questions such as: What can I surrender right now without compromising my authentic self? and What am I still resisting and why? provide direction on a path that has been muddied by confusion and uncertainty.
Though I cannot say I am completely clear about what my next steps are I do feel that, by taking this time, I have overcome some of the resistance and frustration I have been experiencing. The root of some of my inner agitation stems from knowing what my heart wants but questioning the path about how I am getting there. I have been questioning the circuitous nature of my path and wondering why it’s not clear, straight, and to the point. I have a sense now, through this reflection, that I must heed the lessons on the journey rather than putting so much stock in the outcomes. I have a feeling that if I can trust my own decisions along the path that what I truly want will unfold before me. I have resisted this. I have wanted to control this more. I have wanted a clearer path full of bright lights and directional signs. Instead, I am being given subtle, quiet nudges that remind me to trust myself and surrender to the current that will take me toward my vision smoothly, more quickly.
I share this long reflection with you so you will not feel so alone, the way I sometimes do on this journey. We are all here together trying to find the way toward our true Selves – the brightest path we can take. I thank you for taking the time to read what I am trying to articulate. Please know that however we all seem on the outside is only one part of the story. We are all complex spiritual beings in human form who are attempting to figure this life out.
We are all trying to find the least resistant current and, in doing so, discovering a space where we can lie down peacefully and surrender all of our concerns.
Much love to you on your individual journeys,