change

If Not Now, When?

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We all have goals we would like to reach, fulfillments we would like to attain, and changes we would like to make in our lives. And just as we all can share in this very human aspect of our nature to dream our lives bigger and different we can just as easily distract ourselves from the steps we must take to bring into manifestation that which we are dreaming of. Putting off today until tomorrow does not do anything to enhance the quality of our lives. It is easier to dream and imagine the way things will be when they are different than it is to drop old habits and pick up new ones. However, the more we put off the processes of our own growth and transformation the more we find ourselves in the challenging mental dance of imagining how things could have, would have, should have gone. The only way to make a change, to truly know how it might feel to have a new renewed life is to begin, now.

There is no doubt that it will be challenging, sometimes to the point where you may feel like giving up. Yet in the face of your adversity is where you will also find yourself in the magic of your innate power. Tenacity, steadfast commitment, perseverance, these are necessary ingredients for satisfaction to arise in any aspect of our lives. It is in the digging into the work that we find ourselves fulfilled, not in the outcome. But when we give our best to the work and we believe in ourselves along the way, the outcome generally as a natural byproduct is more beautiful than we could have ever hoped for.

So if there is something you have been dreaming of, now is the time…if not now, when?

With Love, Always, in All Ways, For Giving,

Genevieve

Personal Evolution

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Some say, people don’t change. Perhaps they are right. I believe that people do change. Given the right circumstances, support, information, and an ability to surrender the old, change will occur. I don’t claim to know much about science however, I am under the impression that not even our cells stay the same for longer than seven years and in fact we are mutating all of the time. Perhaps we each appear to look a certain way predetermined by our genetic makeup all of our life, yet life circumstances can happen in such a way that even our outer appearance changes, sometimes by choice and sometimes not. So, why does this shared social belief that people don’t change exist at all? People, in a general, are most definitely afraid of change. Change is after all going from the known to unknown, and yes this can be frightening, even if we know what awaits us on the other side. It is when we don’t know that which awaits us on the other side that our fear creates resistance. Take death for example, the one thing that we will all face without a doubt, and most commonly the last conversation any of us want to have. Death is the ultimate form of change for us living beings as on the other side of this mortal life is a true complete unknown. Sure there have been centuries of postulating and philosophizing upon what awaits us after death, and for as many lives that have breathed fresh air upon this Earth there are opinions of what awaits in the great beyond. More likely than not, we will not ever know what is on the other side until we get there, however, in the knowing it is coming for us I wonder will we as a race ever become more comfortable with discussing death openly and embracing it’s absoluteness. Facing death without fear is a mirror of facing change without resistance. It is resistance to change and the fear that resistance generates that predisposes us to a belief that people don’t change. For if we allowed others to change we too would have to accept our ability to change, and or, our own resistance to it.

I postulate and philosophize about many things, the capacity to change is a topic I have spent much time on. In my own life, I have found it far more satisfying to leave room for people to change. Leaving room for others to change, grow, or evolve lightens the burden upon my shoulders of never being able to forgive, empathize, and be compassionate about the circumstances of other people’s lives. Leaving room for others to change also supports my own pursuit of personal growth and evolution, in effect allowing room for me to forgive myself my transgressions and behaviors which lead to self limitation and outward judgment.   In my pursuit of a greater understanding of personal evolution, and human nature I believe that change is inevitable and is in fact one of the primary journeys of human being, for it is in adapting that we become more like that which is the essence of all, that which is always in a state of transformation and change. As we become more comfortable with surrendering the old idea of ourselves for the new experience unfolding in every moment, the old stories for the new ones, the small ideas for the more spacious ones, we essentially are dying all of the time. On the other side of our always-dying experience is the miraculous state of resurrection, a new self, untainted by the stains of the old story. Is this the fundamental point to the story of Jesus’s resurrection, that we too can be one with the divine when we allow ourselves to die and be reborn anew in any moment? I believe it is.

People do change, some only very little bits closed in their minds and their beings to their own great potential, others every moment of every day.

How does one change you may find yourself asking? A good place to start is in the moment; ask yourself what can you set down right now to lighten your load. Maybe it is a thought, maybe it is a belief, and maybe it’s a relationship? I recommend letting go of that which frightens you most when you think of surrendering it. One thing is sure, that whatever you let go of today will change your tomorrow.

“Just because I liked something at one point in time doesn’t mean I’ll always like it, or that I have to go on liking it at all points in time as an unthinking act of loyalty to who I am as a person, based solely on who I was as a person. To be loyal to myself is to allow myself to grow and change, and challenge who I am and what I think. The only thing I am for sure is unsure, and this means I’m growing, and not stagnant or shrinking.”

-Jarod Kintz

The Great Classroom Of Relationship; and Learning To Communicate In It

Relationship is not without complication, challenge, and difficulty, even in the most well attended to and mindful of our interactions. Being in relationship requires communicating, which can lead to misunderstanding, hurt feelings, and sometimes even the end of a relationship all together. As humans we communicate in more ways than just with our words, we use our bodies, our actions, our non-actions, the reputations of our past actions, the way we dress, the work we do, these things and more relate who we are to the world as well as what we intend to do while living, and where we place the value and meaning in our lives. Relationship is the place where who we perceive ourselves to be interacts with the world around us. We have relationship with people, animals, insects, and with inanimate objects like our favorite pair of shoes or our beds. Relationship is taking place when we touch a stone, enjoy the freshness of the air when it rains, and pump gas into our cars. The varying layers of relationship all share the commonality of the way each of us singularly participates in the animate world we live in. Our participation stems from our perception of who we believe we are and what we believe we are doing here in this world we live in. The beliefs of our experience formulate over the course of our lifetime and the varying relationships we have during it. Beliefs are created in the simplest observations of the people around us as children and the relationship those adults have to their perceived concept of the world, to the complicated study and discernment of heavy and weighted discussions on the cosmology of life and the universe, the presence of a power greater than one's own, and the unlimited nature of energy in its limited forms of existence in the manifest world.

In Sanskrit there is the word Shraddha which does not translate directly into English. This word roughly refers to the actions we take that are founded in sincerity and faith; the ways in which we relate to the world based on the beliefs we have about the world that rarely, if ever come into question. The practice of yoga asks the student to question their Shraddha, as does life and being in relationship, which all of us are until we lock ourselves into a cave not to be bothered.

Though I give my best effort to being a human of integrity who gives thought to a deed before action, and mindfulness to intention before participation, I have traversed the rough seas of conflict in relationship more times than I can count. It is not uncommon for my sister and I to come into misunderstandings as we rub up against the boundaries of our own beliefs of who we think the other should be and how we perceive ourselves to be in relationship to the other. Currently I am in a dispute with my brother that has us in a stalemate of no communication because the communication we were working with was unsuccessfully efficient enough to clear the misunderstanding and hurt between us. I have no shame in sharing my digressions as well as the truth that I have been known to be aggressive in my desire to be right in these personal conflicts as well as being the stubborn headed contrarian, sometimes even self righteous brat, who generated the misunderstandings to begin with. These truths about my behavior I have learned while in relationship with all of my closest people from my parents to my husband, sister, brother, business partner, and dearest friends who, having been on the receiving end of my sharp and angry tongue, have cumulatively reflected this more clear picture back to me.

Diving ever more deeply into the teachings of yoga and the desire to be a person who lives a life of peace and harmony in all of my relationships, I am required to be honest with myself about who I am, the role I play in these conflicts, (my Shraddha) the beliefs I have that allow the conflicts to persist, what I can surrender to bring more harmony into the relationship experiencing conflict, and most importantly how to do it all with love. In theory this all makes great sense and seems very straight forward however in practice, when the need arises for this quality of beingness, the circumstances surrounding the need are generally immersed in emotions that create heat as they are passionately tied to perceived beliefs of myself upon which my whole world rotates. Learning to communicate in the midst of my passionate emotions without unleashing the sharpness of my tongue which is only a defense mechanism of my ego afraid to let go of a belief that has allowed it to hold up its wall of an illusion of separateness, is one of the most challenging things I have done in this life to date. It truly does not come with ease for me. For this reason, I am impressed and enthralled when I have the opportunity to witness others communicate their perceptions of the circumstances of relationship that did not leave them feeling safe, honored, or respected without becoming defensive, angry, hurtful, and cold.

This week I had the great good fortune to be on the receiving end of a person I am in relationship with clearing the air of their perceived experience of a less than enjoyable experience with me in a way that was beautifully straight forward, without baggage, respectful, honest, clear, and then done. It was a wonderful example of the use of the four pillars of communication which I attempt to skillfully use myself when I need to communicate my perceived experience in relationship with someone who I feel has not treated me in a way that is safe, respectful, or honoring of my beingness.

The four pillars of communication are: 1. Is it true? 2. Is it necessary? 3. Is it timely? 4. Is it kind?

When using language as the means of communication to smooth out any roughness in relationship with other humans that are important to you, it is proposed that you ask yourself these four questions before initiating the conversation. If the subject matter that you wish to speak on is true to you, and it is necessary to speak about to create more harmony in a relationship, and you time the conversation in a way that the receiving participant will not feel ambushed and will be able to listen and hear you, and you then approach your truth with kindness, there is a higher likelihood that the air will be cleared, harmony will return to the relationship, and both parties will feel better for having participated in relationship with such excellent skillfulness in communication.

There are of course exceptions to this wonderful way of resolving conflict. Sometimes the other party is not ready to transition into a resolution of conflict, other times the conflict itself is rooted in deep betrayal that first must be forgiven by the offended party or the words received are merely hollow and carry no weight. In these cases, should the offended party in the relationship find the spaciousness to forgive the trespass and move into a shared space of conflict resolution, then not only are the words that are communicated by the offender attempting to relay a resolution to make room for a new state of being having a great need for honesty, the offended party will generally also look to other means of communication like the offenders current and past actions as well as their body language to validate the truthfulness of what is being offered. At times the digressions between people in relationship can be so painful to one, or the other, or both, that the relationship may perhaps never go back to the freely trusting state it was once in, however with willingness on both sides in congruence with focused attention to personal behaviors and beliefs, the relationship has the potential to evolve into one of even better boundaries, more respect, more love, and true harmony, more so than even seemed possible before.

On either side of a conversation seeking conflict resolution is an individual with their own perceived concept of the conflict and their own ideas of which direction they wish to see the relationship go. In the best of cases, like the incident in which I was confronted last week, the offender, this time being me, listens and responds with honesty and a offering to remedy the relationship, often an apology is the perfect ingredient. Other times the receiving party wishes only to be left alone, in which case patience, and the continuing pursuit of impeccable behavior in all other relationships may be the only remedy available in that moment. In any case, returning to the offering of love for self and the person(s) on the other side of the line of conflict generally generates the best feelings overall.

Having the courage to clear the air of a conflicted relationship in a quality manner can be very hard to do, even though, as it is with most things of value in this life, it is the hard jobs and the challenges that require the most of us that are most satisfying. In the face of adversity and conflict in our relationships with others, and most importantly in relationship with ourselves, may we utilize the tools that were given to us and continue to dare to be brave enough with our communication skills to try to smooth out the rough edges, willing enough with our spacious hearts to surrender the strong hold of our egos, and open enough in our incredible minds to expand into new boundaries of being, which may be better than anything we could have ever imagined.

Being in relationship with this animate and inanimate world is a wild ride, up, down, and every which way between. It is my wish to teach by example, to rise to the occasion and the invitation offered by the classroom of life with patience and loving kindness for myself and others, as I work my way toward owning the title of human being.

I'll continue to do my best.

In deep gratitude to those who have been patient, forgiving, loving, and beautiful teachers while in relationship with me.

With love, always, in all ways, for giving, in joy, Genevieve