Last entry I told you about experiencing an increase in autoimmune symptoms after taking my family vacation. I had to ask, what was I doing to myself to make myself sick? In the world of autoimmunity the biggest gift we get is to recognize we are responsible for all of our experiences on earth – not to be confused with blame for what’s happening to us. With our highest and clearest vision I invite you to look along side of me at something I have done, and in turn you may have done to make life painful.
I don’t mean that any of us hurt ourselves on purpose. None of us would do that if we were aware of our role as interpreters and creators of our every day experiences. But it is a habit we all have, to be led around by our unconscious beliefs formed in childhood and to avoid noticing them, or feeling all that we feel because of our beliefs, owning, or accepting that we do have these beliefs and feelings, and then coming to the point of actively choosing whether we want to continue being run by them.
My hidden core belief that had me so sad this past July originated when I was very young. I decided I wasn’t getting enough nurturing from my family. I was lonely and hungry most of the time, even as I sat at the family dinner table and, being chubby, was reminded not to eat the bread or potatoes. Unable to control my weight or how I felt, I decided I was damaged goods. I often was home from school sick, and early on developed asthma. As I mentioned before, I learned that quiet, alone time was nurturing and though being sick should have been a downer, I enjoyed my time when no one wanted much of me. Another belief I discovered was that if I was sick, I would not have to act like I was not broken; I could be imperfect and it was OK. Let me be clear, I did not know I believed I was broken or sickly, it was hidden from me. All I was aware of were the painful symptoms of these beliefs. In time, I learned to ignore them and soon they became my reality; like the air that I breathe, I had no awareness of them.
What does this have to do with my family? Our trip was a dream for me, and I delighted in spending unlimited time in their company, my children, their children and my dear brother and his wife. I have often felt incomplete away from them and yearned to be a part of their lives, though they all have full lives of their own. For all my adult life I have been there for them, all of them. It has been my privilege and joy to have them be my purpose for living. My careers have come and gone, as have my partners in life, but nothing has remained so constant as my reason for living; that I might enjoy sharing time with them. What I recognized in their company this vacation is they no longer need me to do that. They care and enjoy being with me, but now, as never before, I can no longer say they are my purpose.
Having graduated from five decades of motherhood, what is my purpose in life now? It’s something we all must ask ourselves having lived fun and fulfilling lives. Is it to make anything happen? Is it to create something? Or is it now simpler than that? Is it to know and care? About what? Is it to be responsible, seeing myself as the person accountable for all I experience, for the way I experience life? Perhaps it’s that I’m accountable for my awareness, and my job is to be present to and receiving all that is given. Maybe I am to be in love as I have never known love to be.
Now we come back to my childhood belief that there was not enough nurturing for me. Having met and released this belief, my awareness of love grows. No longer limited to how it felt when I was little or trying to figure out what was missing, I understand that maybe all that was missing was my acceptance of love. Love that is always present with in and all around me; the plants, trees, animals insects, people, ground, sky, water, the air we breathe. Maybe it was my expectation of love (my hidden belief) that kept me from actually experiencing love. What is love, how do I feel when loved? Recently, I’m experiencing the sensation of love in stillness practice and during exercise, cooking, cleaning, talking on the phone, watching TV.
How does this experience begin? For me it began with the question, what brings me joy? I read a wonderful book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo, to learn what it meant for me to actually experience a visceral sensation of joy. I recommend this book because as we heal and live life more consciously, grounded in our bodies and less in our thinking (and believing mind), we experience more of what life has to offer us. This begins with physical sensations of truth and beauty which includes our feelings, which never lie. The question of what is joy and how do I experience it, encompasses all that life has to offer. I’d like to jump into a pool of joy with you next time I blog. Thank you for you attention and please read this delightful book. On the surface it’s about tidying up your personal environment, but under that it’s about living in joy.
Share with us what you have discovered your purpose to be, and if it brings you joy. And how do you know? I’d like to know.