death

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

What's Most Important

This week a friend very close to my heart passed, a person without whom I would not be who I am today. It's not the first time I have been in the well of loss and grief, as a matter of fact I feel I am becoming quite good at it. Seven years ago in the middle of March a dear friend who I loved very much and his girlfriend were run over by a truck here in Taos, and killed. Loosing Stephan was one of the most challenging experiences of my life, I was new to loss then, new to the waves and phases of grief, and I lacked the tools to respond to my loss in a healthy way. Though I moved through my grief by drowning my sorrow in drugs and alcohol, one thing I did not experience when Stephan passed was regret. I loved Stephan and he knew that because I had told him.Over the past seven years I have lost six childhood friends, parents of close friends who I considered parents, elders whom I considered grandparents, acquaintances who I considered fundamental parts of my community and the web I called life. To think of it now, I cannot even begin to add the numbers up because so many beloveds of my heart who are now gone flood into my mind. Every seven years all of the cells of ones body change, and over the last seven years I have not only cried many tears in the well of the grief of each of these losses, I have learned how to grieve without numbing myself with alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. The loss of this week has been the closest to my heart I have yet experienced. Uncle Fred was not my blood relative however, he was my family. He was a life long face of comfort and understanding as well as a true visceral expression of unconditional love in the shape of warm hugs and the sounds of our laughter. Uncle Fred was always a teacher of spirit in my life and in his death he has given me the most amazing opportunity to continue to grow while I sit with my pain in sobriety, this is a first. At the beginning of 2014 I was experiencing an aspect of my own death, the death of my old self, and I choose to walk through my transformation sober so that I could be present with all of the feelings of the many losses of my past that had yet to be integrated into a healthy present relationship between my physical, mental, and emotional body. As the days pass, the loss becomes more real, the shock begins to ware off and the reality of never seeing Fred again begins to set in, and in my sober state I cannot avoid the truth of it. I have been dreaming of Fred nightly and we are having the most wonderful adventures, he continues to teach me in my dreams, "Never be afraid, it is a waste of your time" he told me the other night. This truth was so straight forward it surprised me, as in body he spoke in riddles which was one of my favorite parts of our time spent together. Over the past seven years I have also been cultivating the most valuable relationship of my life besides the one with myself, my relationship to my now husband Nathan Oswald, who has been with me through this journey of loss, loss, and again loss. Through tears, tears, and again tears. Through the stories of memories of people he knew and people he did not know. He is an incredible man whose character and integrity continue to daily remind me why I love him and have committed to being the best person I can in relationship with him for the rest of my life. I am an emotional person, perhaps more emotional than most, I cry at commercials. I am deeply connected to feeling my heart and allowing those feelings to have shape and form in my physical experience. Oswald has been a rock for me through the emotional undulations of this past seven years and has always supported me and held me through my grief, I am ever grateful. This morning, as I was deep in sorrow and in his loving arms, one of the biggest feelings of joy I have ever experienced flowed through my body. I became aware of just how fortunate I am. I have a relationship with spirit and my spiritual self, I love myself deeply and accept who I am, I have a relationship with a man whom I love and respect and do my best to treat as well as I know how and get better at it every day and he love's me back. I have a family who have knowingly or unknowingly taught me to be more courageous with my love, taught me to believe in myself, taught me to stand on my own two feet and not expect others to make me happy. I have this breath, this body, this life, this animate playground of a world to dance in, feel in, create in and continue to explore, unearth, learn and grow in. Years ago when one of my dear childhood friends Sal died, I was deep in the well of the grief when I realized it did not matter that I was sad, for I was just lucky to have the experience. Now, as I sit with these memories and this joy in the midst of the grief, I again return to this truth. The pain we feel when someone who we love has died, is a direct reflection of how much we love. Every person we love will die, it may even be yourself before them, so every moment matters. It does not matter how much money you make, how much work you get done, what your status in society is, if you can touch the floor in a forward bend, or even if you can walk for that matter. What is most important is how you spend the moments with the ones you love, how you choose to express your love, how willing you are to surrender you hurts and angers to have relationships that embody love, and if you can do it right now. One thing we can absolutely count on in this life is that it will end. What you do between your birth and your death is filling time, and is up to you. You can choose at any moment to be more expanded in your mind and let the already unconditional love of your heart flow through you in any moment of this fleeting experience should you choose to. What's most important is up to you. The Buddhist Heart Sutra states it simply, Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhisvaha! Gone, Gone, gone over, gone fully over. Awakened! So be it! Love always, in all ways, for giving, Genevieve