Richness to me? It is safety and freedom, love. It is time, space, beauty and trees. Really, trees are my greatest idea of wealth. They are Mother Earth’s precious guardians once standing ancient and tall, protecting and providing for us, now disappearing with heartbreaking speed. But I am so blessed now that I moved north, I have woods all around me. I recognize what privilege this is. I also recognize the courageous choices I made over many years, to create where I am now. More than any external blessing, I finally found and distinguished what my Soul actually feels like. In this felt-connection with my Soul, I no longer feel alone. I feel more full than I ever could imagine.
I am lucky that leaning into my Soul has always come natural to me, most especially by being drawn to nature and solitude at an early age. But I did not understand why access to my Soul was like an on/off switch where I would be in the dark for hours, days, months, even years at a time! All I could understand about feeling ‘off’ was that it felt like it was happening to me. In order to avoid this horrible suffering, I thought I had to find the right structure, steps, the right formula. I must have to love myself more! Find other people with the answers! (God bless the teachers; true ones, fake ones, and the ones that really just were not for me. And God bless all of those years giving my power away to so called authority.) If suffering was ‘happening to me,’ maybe if I did the right things and worked harder, and harder, the feeling of my Soul could ‘happen to me’ more, too. So my life became and immense effort not to suffer. And boy, did I suffer! Anyone been there?
I thought for a long time there was something wrong with me, something I was not getting. I dug deep into myself to heal and understand, and in the process was doing way more internal processing than was even healthy. Don’t get me wrong, self-reflection and taking the time to know ourselves is essential, but that is very different than an over focus on looking for what’s wrong. I think this is one of the pitfalls of clinical thinking, therapy and psychology. Overall it stays in the mental body, looking for the problem. ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’ -Albert Einstein
When I had some massive adult traumas, I leaned even more into ‘figuring it out.’ I was never going to get hurt like that again! But all of the internal processing and talking about what happened to me was, eventually, taking me further away from my Soul. It was reinforcing a huge irony that can come from inner-work and self-development; that there was ever something wrong to begin with! Abuse is wrong. Abusive behavior is wrong. The people who took advantage of me were ‘in’ the wrong. Plenty of choices I’ve made were detrimental, plenty of my behavior and coping mechanisms perpetuated my suffering, but there was NEVER anything wrong or broken about me on a Soul level.
The Soul goes deeper than ‘our process’. Our Soul is deep water, still underneath the passing weather. No amount of understanding in the mental body gets us out of the mental body! Just as no amount of negativity gets us into positivity. Like a snake eating its own tail, it causes endless suffering, getting smaller and smaller and smaller. When we become so consumed in our thoughts, opinions, and our own identity, we shut ourselves off from the miracle of life that is right here and now. It is running through every cell of our bodies, holding us in every breath of air and ground beneath our feet. It is life unfiltered.
Certainly, I value inner work! I am a Coach for Heaven sakes, haha! I unburied myself over the years through many choice tools and resources. In terms of getting back to my Soul, what helped me most was what helped me out of my head. ‘Just being’ is like getting in shape physically, it gets easier through practice. It is also adjusting to a new way of feeling. It can be unnerving to feel lighter or more detached from any sense of striving. When we first learn how to unhook from all the internal chatter, it can feel like an alien world. I used to believe my thoughts and my inner narrator were completely real, the only truth. I got really pissed off when, at 18 years old, a Spiritual Teacher told me I was not my thoughts! I was so mad at him. What the hec was he talking about? It’s been wild to unhook from my inner narrator over time, knowing where I started, and the misery of believing that voice was an immovable fact. After all, I grew up its prisoner. Fast forward to now, that internal chatter is just intolerable. It makes my skin crawl. I mean I am human, I have my LOST days… but I will never go looking for any kind of sense there! LOL.
We live in an age of access to healing! How wonderful is THAT?!? There are so many ways to take the filters off. We are not the stories other people have about us. We are not the stories we have about ourselves. We are not our opinions, we are not our judgements, we are not our thoughts or our feelings. We are deeper than all of that. And yet so many of us still get lost in our thoughts and feelings most of every single day. We hemorrhage precious time and energy we will never get back, in this blink of an eye we are each alive.
Happiness is when our personality or ego, gets what it wants. It can have an element of control, willpower and great effort. It was me when I got caught up in seeking codependent reassurance or love addiction. The comfort or satisfaction is temporary. It can feel like a high but unsteady, it is ungrounded underneath. And on some level, we each know this. Something feels hollow, impermanent or conditional about it. Happiness often involves an attachment. There is something to lose, ‘I won’t be ok without it’.
Joy is a sign we are aligned to our Soul, not just our mind. It goes deeper than happiness, its the joy of being alive in all of life’s expression. Joy comes from love. True and unconditional love is a form of letting go. Letting go is not surrendering to any mental construct or giving your power away to another human. It is a letting go of your stories and your best mental ideas, to a deeper security (and authority) within. We all have this place within. And we all have a unique relationship with it and language for it. I am calling it our Soul. Our Soul speaks to us in a language only we can understand but it will have similarities. It will feel like love: expanded, open, wise, connected, confident, inspired, vital, secure, life-giving, it will feel good - at least - when we release our human fears and resistance to it, or god forbid, what it might ask of us over time!
Living a Soul led life, first off, is forming a relationship with your Soul. Get to know your Self. Go spend time with your Self. Living life unfiltered is not putting anything in between you and the experience of being alive right now. Harmful stories about yourself and others will create a false separation. It takes you out of the safety and love being poured into you this very moment. We block ourselves from love. It is never not there, it is never not always trying to pour into you and be one with you.
Your Soul is unbroken, it was not damaged by any of the traumas your human has been through. Your human may feel damaged and therefore distrustful to reconnect with your Soul, but your Soul is the missing ingredient in all of your healing work. It is the essence inside of you. It is the healing balm, the insight and answer to your prayers. It’s the Marie Kondo to your inner psyche (haha - The Magic of Tidying Up?!), it’s the simple, most direct path to a true and meaningful peace.
So when I reflect back to my age (and decades) of great suffering, feeling like the switch to my Soul was forever being turned off without my control, I see things differently now. I triage my suffering differently- HAHAHA! I observe. What am I saying about myself? What negative meaning is my mind making about this situation? I shine love onto myself, better yet, I generate that love consciously from within. I don’t see myself as a victim of my filters, because all those filters were just stories. Ever hear this one? F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real. I see myself now in what I consider the truth for all of us. We are already whole, complete, arrived, good enough, not just worthy of love, but love itself. Wanting to work on things and improve my human does not increase my value! I am already so. By accepting we already are whole it creates a sustainable balance and perspective. So, when we want to improve ourselves and our life we are changing for the right reason, DESIRE! Nothing drained me more then looking at myself through the filter I was broken and needed to be fixed. What a buzz kill!
These days I notice when I start feeling small, insecure, resistant, anxious and charged it is one of my classic signs I am in a tiny-make-believe-human-hell-bubble. I have been 'muscle building' you see, or more like rewiring my system out of chronic stress and back into my true state. I remember my true state and say 'Oh hey, I am not in it!' Negotiating with that crazy imposter will only make matters worse. So I just see it. I see that I let myself be hijacked by my inner narrator. Whoops. Now I am ‘separating myself’. I see that I am lost in internal chatter and calling it real life. I take responsibility for generating the negativity and delusion, but I do so with great self compassion. After all, it is all I ever knew. I choose to unhook from the tiny-make-believe-human-hell-bubble. It is a choice, I can flip the switch! I can reconnect with my Soul, unfiltered. IT IS IN MY HANDS! I choose to turn the light on, not wait and hope for it to happen. I decide to ‘come back.’ And I choose to generate love instead.
My guess is most of you could have written this too. Deep in our bones, in our hearts, we know how to get home. We know on some level, how that feels. This feeling of our Soul, union with life, it is our natural state. I bet as you practice, you too will never want to go back to a mentally driven life, or the the internal chatter and inner narrator that can be, well, I don’t know about yours but mine is a total asshole.
May you feel blessed, we all are, we always were. "The kingdom of God is within you." -Jesus