On Wednesday night I went to an integration circle for a Shamanistic ritual that I took part in on Halloween. The ritual had involved connecting with yourself and the Divine Mother in order to tap into blockages that are preventing you from leading life with an open heart. Since everyone is their own person, with their own story, everyone’s lesson from that night was different. On Wednesday, we came together, 21 mostly strangers, to talk about how what we learned about ourselves and the work we need to do has affected the last three weeks of our lives. Everyone took a turn speaking. Everyone took a turn being present in perfect honesty and vulnerability. There was Dark. There was Light. There was a mix of Dark and Light. What was present in everyone’s story was a moving forward and evolution… and work. I was the second last one to share my story. I had listened to others with love and openness… yet when the eyes turned to me, I felt myself starting to close. Oh gawd. Am I really doing this?!? All of a sudden it’s like I became paranoid of… judgment? No, not judgment… moreso the vulnerability of being so honest with others… and the fact that before we can be honest with others, we need to be honest with ourselves… take a long, hard look inside and then shine it out for all to see. I’m really working at opening all of the lotus petals that hold the light of my heart and so I wasn’t about to let myself take the easy way out and shut down. No walls, no shame, no self-judgment… just me, speaking from my heart. Beauty is vulnerability. As I started to share, I could feel my voice quivering. I thought that I had gotten to be pretty good at being an open book and confident and present in my thoughts and feelings, but what a nice reminder about the work still ahead. Ok, focus Anna. Just start from the beginning, the lesson that was yours from that Halloween night and just go forward. Don’t think, just speak. And so I spoke:
The point of reflection given to me that Halloween night was to let go of the reigns of life and just work on letting my White Light shine. I had left the ritual semi-annoyed and confused. Just let go of the reigns? What did that mean and how do I do this???? Was I just supposed to become a complacent peon? This didn’t resonate well with me and so I focused on the second half of the lesson. The next day, I went to Yyoga and reinstated my monthly membership. I had been going to yoga almost every day last spring, but as school and school-related trips picked up in the summer, I no longer felt like I could make the time to go. Yoga helps me to connect with myself… fills me with a sense of peace and creates an openness within me that helps me be more receptive to my surroundings, others, myself… and helps create a conduit through which my soul and heart can more clearly communicate with each other. There was no question that going back to practicing yoga regularly was an important piece of the puzzle. I also began to meditate regularly. Meditation helps me vibrate at a peaceful frequency and to connect to my intuition and Source. I also continued to embrace my creative side – through clothing, writing, art. However, as I was happily spending more and more time with myself, I realized that since Burning Man, I have largely gone off the radar and missed my friends. I love the peace that connecting with myself and just being with myself brings, but the whole point of building up your Light is to shine it out into the world. I love my friends. There shouldn’t be a need for a me-time/friend-time trade-off. I need to strike a better balance between school and my free time so that I don’t need to choose between me-time and friend-time.
As I got to this point in my story, I was no longer nervous and the words just started to flow. I was still feeling very vulnerable though. That feeling did not go away at all…
I proceeded to share how I have been struggling with my decision to enroll in a PhD. How this was eating away at me. The ups and downs that I had regarding this… and my realization that when it came to school, I was so fixed on the outcome – that graduation three years away – that I was missing the beauty of the journey. I need to shift my mind-set to what skills and lessons this school journey is offering me so that I can enjoy all the wonderful scenery along the way. Yes, school does get stressful, but I really do like what I do and I’m really lucky to have this opportunity. My project is great, my colleagues are lovely… I need to learn to work smarter, not harder so that I can strike a balance. It’s going to be ok. It is ok.
Then I started to talk about the epiphany that I blogged about earlier about letting go of the reigns. I talked about how letting go didn’t mean that I was becoming complacent, but rather, in tune with the flow of my surroundings and not paddling against the current of the river. I told the group about the analogy of the river… about letting go when something isn’t working… about listening to my omens and about manifestation.
Finally, I talked about the night that I went out for dinner with my friend in order to console her because her and her fiancé had broken up. As I sat with her and listened, a thought hit me like a ton of bricks. I have spent the last three years single, because I was, I am, terrified of going through the pain involved with the ending of a long-term relationship. That’s why I’ve dated since, but never committed to anyone. I thought that I had made my peace with the situation, and for the most part I did… but I’m still shit scared… so shit scared that I didn’t even realize that I’m so scared. My poor little heart. But it’s ok because now I know and knowledge is power. Cutting yourself off from others because you’re scared to get hurt is no way to live. And now that I’ve recognized this about myself, I have the power to work on being open and not shut down when opportunity presents itself. Thank you Ego, but we have to work together to let the heart be. Create an opening for it to be and let things unfold. Patience and trust and openness. Baby steps. Baby steps.
While I was talking, it felt like I was in a weird vortex – neither here nor there but very light and grounded. When I was done, I felt a tremendous release but I kept my eyes fixed on the ground. Normally I keep eye contact when I talk to people, but while sharing with the group I noticed that I mostly avoided eye contact with everyone. Eyes are windows to the soul… I had just opened my heart for everyone to see… I guess I wasn’t ready to let them have my heart and soul. I can only imagine the joy I’ll feel when I can speak to a group from the heart and keep the window to my soul open as well. The thing is, we’re all scared… but we’re also all in this together… if we open ourselves to be.