Being Hit; Being Transformed

Heavy Downpour

This week has been an amazing roller coaster for me. I’ve been participating in a transformational cleanse workshop with 15 other present and aware women. During this week of incredible energetic shifts, all of us have chosen something to clear and transform and as a result, we have all experienced some rather dramatic situations…all of which are revealing some brutiful places that are ready to be healed. I chose to cleanse and transform the attitude of entitlement…something I was shocked to discover I had.

I usually teach a piano lesson on Tuesday evenings…at my student’s home. But this week, at the last minute, it was changed to Wednesday…12/12/12…the day we began our final push through the portal into our take-off moment. As I parked in my usual place, I expressed gratitude that I remembered my umbrella, as it was dark and raining quite heavily. I was also looking forward to spending time with my student, as kids always help me find joy within myself…and Wednesday had been an emotionally difficult day for me.

After the piano lesson, I stepped out of the house and looked at my car in shock. Someone had hit it as he/she had backed out. My passenger-side door was quite dented and scratched, and the mirror was crunched in toward the window. There was no note. I had absolutely no idea who had done this…and I was shaken, and felt violated and helpless. I also remembered that in trying to be frugal with my money during my in-between work phase, I didn’t have collision coverage on my insurance. I would have to repair this with my own money.

I began to panic.

My piano student’s parents were very sympathetic and supportive, and said they’d send out an email to all the neighbors, asking if anyone had seen anything. I didn’t have much hope that anyone would step forward, but thanked them for their help and support and got into my car to drive home. As I reached to put my key in the ignition, I placed my payment in my lap. I heard:

Put it in your wallet. Now.

“I’m fine,” I argued. “Who’s going to forget money in their lap?”

You. Put it in your wallet.

“I just want to get out of here…I’m too upset to take any more time right now.”

Suit yourself.

As I drove home, I succumbed to the panic and dissolved into tears. I had absolutely no idea how this could be resolved and cried out to the Universe for help. I was told:

We hear you, and we are supporting you. Now please let go of this completely so we can do our part and show you that you are loved and protected…trust that this is already resolved.

I tried, but it didn’t happen right away. I got home, and had to tell my mom…which resulted in my eyes leaking again. I found my camera and took pictures, all the while feeling resentful and bitter and angry and violated and desperately wanting justice and fairness. Then I heard:

Remember that attitude of entitlement that you asked to be cleansed and transformed this week? Why not use this situation to find all the places where that attitude exists…then send it up to us to transform it for you.

Entitlement? In this situation? Really? But wrong is wrong! Who hits a car and doesn’t leave a note? What kind of person does that? I’ll tell you what kind of person…a selfish bastard, that’s what kind of person. I bet it was so-and-so or him or her…and on I went. After a few minutes, I heard this:

Just because something is wrong, does that mean you are immune to experiencing it? Why are you so special that something unfair shouldn’t happen to you? Please…let it go…accept the situation for what it is, and find a way to bless the person who hit your car.

Are you kidding me???

Nope.

Crap.

How?

Ho’oponopono. Start with you first.

So I began.

I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

I chanted this, sending the words to myself…with a concentrated and focused intention. After about five minutes, I started to feel the edge ease. Then it all snowballed and soon I was a puddle of vulnerability…soft and filled with compassion toward myself. I let it wash over me…wave after wave after wave…flushing away all the anger, fear, sadness, judgement…entitlement. Sure enough…it was there.

Now chant this and reflect this to the person who hit your car.

“Fine.”

I began again. In less than one minute, all the fury and indignation dissolved, and all I felt was compassion. I knew what was going on energetically that day, and I had a tough day. This must have been a super challenging day for those who were completely unaware. I also realized that where I had parked was an easy target for being hit, and that if someone wasn’t paying attention, it was completely understandable how it could have happened…particularly in the dark, and in the rain. I realized that if I had done this, I would have felt horrible. I felt my body engulfed in compassion and reflected it out to the driver…whoever it was. I still had no idea how the situation would be resolved, but I trusted that it would be and that I would be ok.

The next day, a dear friend called me. She told me that her husband had been hit by an uninsured driver earlier that week, and their car was in the shop. He was driving a rental and had parked in a different place the night before. In his rush to take the kids to an appointment, and driving an unfamiliar car, he hadn’t seen my car and had backed into me. He thought it belonged to a neighbor and went straight away to tell her, but she wasn’t home.

I tried to find anger and indignation, but it was impossible…all I could find was compassion and love for him. Tears filled my eyes. What a situation for him! What a situation for his wife…to call me and tell me too!

In a teary voice my heart blurted, “I’m so sorry you’re experiencing such a difficult week. And I’m sorry that I parked where I did…it wasn’t very thoughtful of me to do so.”

She replied, “We feel awful. You are my sister. I love you. I would never want to hurt you. And now we have. Please forgive us.”

I realized that I already had…and I told her so…it wasn’t an issue in the slightest. All I was concerned with was maintaining the friendship connection with someone I loved.

She then told me that they had just been to their insurance company, and told them what had happened, and took full responsibility for the situation. Their insurance agreed to fully repair both cars, and before she had hung up with me, the insurance company had already called me.

An hour later, my mom called me. She asked me if I had gotten paid for my piano lesson the night before. I told her yes. She asked how I had been paid and how much it was. I told her. She told me that our neighbor had walked past our car the night before, soon after I had gotten home, and somehow, in the dark and the rain, had seen the money on the ground by the car. He picked it up and gave it to my mom to give to me. I felt rather sheepish. Not only had I ignored instructions from my guides, and they had still protected and supported me, but in the tumultuousness of the situation, I hadn’t even realized I was missing the money. As I realized this, I heard:

We love you. We support you. Trust. Everything will be ok. All of it.

I marveled at this amazing sequence of events for two days. Yes, it’s been horribly inconvenient, but I’ve met some beautiful and kind people. Every time I felt dread in dealing with some aspect of the situation, I began chanting the Ho’oponopono prayer. Every time I did, I felt peace and support and trust, and the most wonderful things resulted.

Then the children in Connecticut were hit…along with a few adults and their families. Instantly, I was back in that moment of confusion and violation and fear when I first saw my car. However, having this situation so fresh in my mind, it was an aha! moment…a moment of recognition. I’d been here before, and I knew what to do: hold compassion…first for me, then for everybody in the situation…especially the shooter.

I was surprised at how quickly I was able to shift into that compassion space…and that’s when I could see everyone’s pain. I also could see how the portal day and the new moon had really triggered this man’s pain to an intensity that was confusing and disorienting to him. I felt such love and compassion for him, feeling in my own experience those moments when I’d felt alone, rejected, isolated, unloved, unappreciated. I saw all the times I responded to similar emotions with violent words, thoughts, behaviors, and gestures. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel shame toward myself in those moments…only compassion. As I chanted the prayer, I felt those situations shift and heal within me…and as they did, I reflected that to the shooter, his family, and all the members of the community…just as small and entwined as mine.

And in that moment, I could express gratitude for my car being hit…for it taught me what I needed to know in order to help others.

I love you.

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

Thank you.

And so it is.

Being in the Grief

Humpback-Whale-Calves

Grief is so complicated.

One moment I’m overwhelmed with sadness, the next with relief…anger…hurt…loneliness…conviction…reassurance…uncertainty. It’s all in there…all mixed up together like some chunky stew melding all the flavors together. Facing the grief is hard…and it is only the beginning. Now I get to live with it…with each breath…with each thought…constantly aware and paying attention to my loyalty and my lines of light as they sneak off my Divine Line.

It’s exhausting.

It’s healing.

And so I sit in the grief, listening to what it has to teach me…letting all the emotions flood me and swirl me and caress me and cleanse me.

Then the phone rings.

He’s calling from one of the employment legal firms I had contacted prior to leaving my job. I had wanted advice and support in negotiating my exit, but for some reason, no one had called me back. Now, two weeks later, after the process was done, he calls me. I tell him that the situation is finished, and like a good lawyer, he persists by asking questions. To my surprise, I actually am willing to talk, so I do.

An hour-and-a-half later, I feel so validated. Finally, someone has heard me. Someone has acknowledged the pain I’ve experienced and someone has supported me by saying that what I experienced was illegal. Finally, someone has acknowledged that my 40+ pages of documentation does indeed describe harassment, and that there is definitely potential for a winning lawsuit. I’m so grateful for this validation that I burst into tears. His voice is soothing and supportive; encouraging and sympathetic.

He then asks me to send all the documentation to him, along with a questionnaire that he will send to me. I tell him that I will get that information to him that week…grateful for so much support and justice after feeling so isolated and alone for so long. I then hang up.

I’m too emotionally drained to do anything at that moment, so I go for a walk. Talking about everything I’d experienced brings back all those emotions…in huge surges. For the first time, I feel them completely…aware of all the pain I had ignored for so long. As I walk along the ocean’s edge, I consider my option to pursue the lawsuit. I know I have ample documentation…that’s not the issue. The issue is, do I want to spend my energy…the little I have left…on a situation that has ended? What do I want to happen if I do pursue the lawsuit? Will winning give me the sense of justice I want so deeply? Will it take me where I want to go? I’m surprised to realize that I don’t know the answers to these questions.

That night, I chat with a girlfriend, and we discuss these same questions together. I realize that some part of me really really wants my former boss to lose her job. I am angry that someone so out of integrity is allowed to keep her job, yet someone so much in integrity is easily allowed to walk away with no acknowledgement or recognition for the value of that integrity. I realize that some part of me really wants to retaliate and seek vindication. I really want people to see what they’ve lost and regret what they’ve done and apologize to me. As I sit with this realization, I allow those emotions to churn about and they rile me all up.

“What happens if you win?” she asks. “What will you gain?”

That’s a good question. What would happen if I win? I project myself into that potential to experience the moment when the judge rules in my favor. I experience relief, happiness, validation, sorrow, weariness, exhaustion…all the things I’m experiencing now. I’m surprised by that. Do I really want that? I look over to the other side of the courtroom to look in the eyes of the people there…people I once worked with…people I still see in my small town…people I still care about. There’s now a wall between us…a wall that can never be undone as a result of going through this process…no hope for reconciliation or renewal of any kind of relationship. This is not what I want. And yet, the law has been broken. At what point do I let go vs. pursue justice when something is so clearly wrong?

I express this to my friend. Neither of us has a clear answer.

“In hearing you discuss this situation,” she says, “it really is clear to me that there is a difference is values. You deeply value integrity, honesty, and  conscientiousness over getting along with people. But, your former job values getting along with people above everything else. There is no way that the two of you could ever reconcile because you value two very different things.”

I’m startled at this insight. She is so right! I’m so grateful for her insight…for showing me something I couldn’t see for myself.

The next day, I have an appointment with my masseuse. She is so intuitive, so compassionate, and so nurturing that I know I will be supported simply by being in her presence.  As she begins to work on my body, she asks me what I’m holding on to…because my body isn’t releasing.

“I feel like you’re bracing yourself in protection against someone attacking you. And as long as you’re in that stance, I’m limited in how I can help you.”

I burst into tears and my mouth starts blurting. I have absolutely no idea I am saying…it all comes out in a rush…tears flowing…tissues absolutely necessary. As I do, she keeps working on my body, and it gradually starts to relax and release. She listens, supports, encourages and sympathizes, and again I feel validated and I relax just a bit more.

“Can you let go? Can you visualize floating in the ocean…letting the waves carry you where they will?”

I am startled to realize that I have so much resistance to that idea. Why? Because you don’t trust that the Universe/God/Goddess supports you in this decision. I send a request for help. I can imagine floating on my back in the ocean trying to just let go, but I keep getting distracted by the waves washing over my face, worrying that I’ll hit rocks or get twisted up in the seaweed. I desperately pull all my lines of light back to myself, looking internally for the energy I so desperately seek, hoping that will help calm me down and focus, but it’s not helping. And then, a beautiful humpback whale appears. She looks at me and asks if she can help me. I tearfully accept her help, and she gently swims underneath me as I float. She gradually lifts up closer and closer until her back brushes mine. She gently lifts and supports me so that my face is never underwater and I don’t have to worry about hitting rocks or getting tangled in seaweed. And then I slump. 

Instantly, my masseuse responds, gently pulling out all the stuck and stagnant and painful stuff from my muscles. My body gratefully releases it all and we both flow and swirl in the healing. Then my masseuse speaks.

“I had a boss who was a lot like you’ve described yours to be. I was afraid to leave because I loved my clients and the work so much. I tried to tell her in a variety of ways that she was killing her business because of her lack of integrity, but that only made things worse. Finally, I knew I had to leave. It was scary and hard, but so worth it. I started my own business, and it’s really starting to flourish now. I love working for myself…staying in integrity with my heart and my path and living in joy each day. She eventually lost her business completely, and most of her assets, but she still didn’t learn anything from it. She still thinks of herself as a victim…that it was someone else’s fault that all of this happened to her. So, even though I want her to learn this lesson and she experienced all that I predicted she would, I have to let go of my attachment to being right or the outcome of her journey…because it’s her journey…not mine.”

Ahhhhhhh!!!! Those damned attachments to outcomes! That’s what this is all about! Now I have to be aware of loyalty as well as attachment…only on me…only for me. 

Breathe.

“What about my obligation for the illegal situation…don’t I have a responsibility to hold someone accountable when they’ve done something illegal?”

“Perhaps. The law is there to protect you should you choose to pursue that direction. But it isn’t the only way to solve the situation.”

“Am I not destroying my enemies when I forgive them?”

As I lay on the table, remembering that Abraham Lincoln quote I’d seen on Facebook that morning, still conscious that the whale was supporting me, I explore what it would feel like to simply forgive and move on…to fully release all the injustices, all the pain, all the harassment…and use my energy to focus on moving forward…into my life’s purpose. The longer I sit in that option, the better I feel and the deeper I relax and release.

“This energy you’re feeling, the anger, the injustice, the hurt, the pain, the betrayal, is powerful energy. Don’t deny it…don’t ignore it. Find a way to use it…to transform it to a higher frequency so that it takes you where you want to go.”

The tears flow again…this time in gratitude. This is all exactly what I need…these are the answers I seek. This way is in integrity with who I am and what I wish to be and model in the world.

That night, I wrote an email to the lawyer, expressing gratitude for his support and his willingness to hear me, as well as my decision not to continue down the legal path of retribution. As I pressed “Send,” I saw the Ho’oponopono prayer in my mind…shining with a golden light. I said it…to all who love me…to all who supported me…and most especially, to my former boss and those who challenge me. I’ve said it every day since.

I love you.

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

Thank you.

And the peace deepens.

Facing the Grief

griefii

I am great in emergencies. I keep a cool head, find solutions quickly, and implement them instantly. I rarely think about how I’m feeling in those moments…I simply focus on keeping everyone alive, balanced, protected, and tended to. Only after I have seen for myself that everyone is OK and their needs are being addressed do I stop to pay attention to me. And then I completely crumple and fall apart.

I tend to do the same thing in challenging situations…particularly chronic ones. Somehow, I’ve created a pattern of “just getting through” with the ever-present hope that it will get better. Because I see and believe in potentials, my chronic optimism often blinds me to the inevitable that I so desperately want to ignore. I have such hope that people will “see the light” and change that it’s hard for me to walk away, because if I do, I feel like I’m giving up on someone…and what if I do give up just before the miracle?

Some people call this loyalty.

I used to be proud of this quality of mine…my steadfast loyalty…my stick-to-it-tive-ness…my persistence in relationships and never giving up on someone. But there was always a catch…I have yet to have another person or institution be as loyal to me as I have been to him/her/it/them. And that hurts. A lot.

On my last day at my job, I was asked not to come to my class to say good bye to my students. I was told that they wouldn’t even notice that the teacher had changed and that it didn’t matter. I told myself that she was just mad and that this was the last day she could treat me this way, but it still hurt…and it bothered me that I allowed her to succeed in her intention to hurt me. At assembly, where announcements are made to the entire school (including saying goodbye to people), not one word was mentioned that I was leaving or that it was my last day. Nobody acknowledged my years of service or expressed gratitude for all the things I had done for the school. I was devastated.  After everyone was dismissed, I sat in my seat fighting tears, waves of disappointment flooding me. One colleague came over to me and asked me if I was OK  I sighed and shared my disappointment. He nodded understandingly and replied that he was too…which was why he came over to check on me. I took my time going back to my office, and there on my desk were some flowers and a card from another colleague…also letting me know that she was sad that I was leaving and that she appreciated me.

I was deeply grateful for these kind gestures, but it didn’t undo the hurt of being ignored and unappreciated or not seen. I stuffed the emotions down so that I could “just get through,” and I suddenly stopped. I realized that I had been doing this for a really long time. I had been ignoring my unhappiness for so long, that I didn’t realize just how unhappy I had been…because I was so completely disconnected from my heart and my emotions. I had applied emergency coping mechanisms to a non-emergency situation, and in that moment I experienced a wee enlightenment. This combination of intense loyalty and disconnection had created a pattern of pain and disillusionment for me over and over and over again…and for the first time I now understood why.

One of my spiritual teachers teaches that one should only trust another to the same degree as that other trusts him/herself. Likewise, one should only be as loyal to another as that other is loyal to him/herself. Additionally, she teaches that our external world is a reflection of what is happening internally. So, if I’m feeling betrayed, somewhere I’m betraying myself. So, how did these teachings apply to this particular situation?

Firstly, I betrayed myself by disconnecting from myself. By ignoring my unhappiness and my reactions to situations, I was denying that there was any reason, validity, purpose, lesson, or value in those emotions. By ignoring them under the guise of optimism or “just getting through,” I gradually became so unaware of myself that I couldn’t see the inevitable. Rather, I kept clinging to the dying situation…trying to change it to what I wanted it to be…completely attached to the outcome I wanted…unable and unwilling to see that a different outcome was going to happen no matter what. I had judgments on that different outcome…that I would be a failure, that I would be abandoning all that I had worked so hard to achieve…that I would be an idiot and loser. Because of those judgments, I couldn’t see the possibility that I had learned all that I could learn in that situation and that it was time for me to move on…I was ready for something bigger, something more challenging…something more. By holding on to my judgments and disconnecting from my heart, I couldn’t see that the inevitability of leaving my job was actually the direction my heart really wanted to take…that it was a blessing…that it was the right and good thing to do. As long as I held on to the situation, desperately wanting it to be other than it was, I continued to betray myself.

Secondly, I realized that my loyalty was extremely out of balance. I have a lot of loyalty to share. But I realized that just because it’s there doesn’t mean I have to share it. I can be loyal to me…and in fact, that’s really where the loyalty belongs…to me. I had put my loyalty on so many people, situations, institutions, events, and processes, that I had very little left for me. Energetically, this was confusing me because I couldn’t determine anyone else’s loyalty so long as mine was outside myself. I realized that I could pull all my loyalty back to myself, and only share a matched amount with another…person, event, situation, institution, or process. As I adjusted my loyalty levels and came into balance, I noticed that I wasn’t depriving another of anything…rather, I was sharing from a place of abundance rather than getting the leftovers. I was honoring another more by matching him/her rather than giving more than he/she was able to receive. Then, as I began pulling all my loyalty back to myself, I realized that my attachment also came back to me…no longer on another or the situation or its outcome. With all that energy back on myself, decisions were easy and simple. It was so obvious! Why should I work so hard to stay in a situation where I am unappreciated and treated so horribly? How is that beneficial to me? How is that nurturing to me? How is that honoring me and my gifts and my magnificence to allow myself to continue in that situation? All of sudden, the hurt subsided…significantly. All of a sudden, my grief was internal…about me. I was mourning my betrayal and disloyalty to myself. I still desperately wanted the situation to be other than it was, and I still wanted justice and recognition and appreciation…but not at the expense of me…and not in place of me. I realized that I had the power to provide that for myself…it just was going to take some practice to change those patterns of co-dependence…those patterns of relying on something outside myself to meet my needs.

As I drove away for the last time as an employee, I realized how grateful I was to have learned this valuable lesson…one that had haunted me my entire life. I finally learned that lesson, and had flipped my practice from doing the opposite of that which I intended to master to practicing that which I intended to master.

I deeply love and appreciate myself.

I am loyal only to myself.

My heart is trustworthy.

The grief eased.

I breathed in gratitude.

Meeting Her

 

 

“When did you first learn about the Sacred Feminine?”

I love this question…mostly because it doesn’t have a simple answer…like most things in life.

As a child, I was exposed to many Judaic ideas through the lens of a conservative, Sabbath-keeping, evangelical, Christian denomination. As a result, my concept of Divinity was that it was singular (yet comprised of three), and that it was male. The idea of Jesus being the one and only Son of God was hard for me to fathom, because I couldn’t understand how life could be created without a feminine. When I voiced this, I was told that God had attributes of both male and female. I responded by asking why God was called “He” rather than “It.” I was then told to be quiet and stop asking such silly questions.

A few years later, in high school, I overheard a conversation between two men in which one was teasing the other about the nature of God.

“Well,” the teasing man said, “some people believe that the name ‘El Shaddai‘ is feminine.”

Oh, what hogwash,” the other man said. “I bet some feminist broad made that up.”

I stopped, sat down…stunned and in shock. What if God was in fact a woman?! What if, all these years I’d been singing Amy Grant‘s song, I was singing to a woman rather than a man? That changed everything! Didn’t it? I had no idea. What would it mean to have a feminine deity rather than a masculine one? Were they different? If so…how?

Twenty years later, I sat in an outdoor amphitheatre, surrounded by willow trees, lush greenery, wildflowers, a pond with blooming lotus and a fountain…and several other people. I had finally connected with the Jewish community, and ventured out for my first Friday night service. As the sun drifted to the horizon, the rabbi invited us to sing a song, welcoming Shechinah, the Sabbath Bride…the Queen of Heaven. The Shechinah, the rabbi explained, is the feminine aspect of Divinity.

Again, I sat stunned. It’s true! I thought…astonished…then ecstatic. There really is a feminine god…or goddess. AND, if Shabbat is feminine, THAT would explain why the Jewish women light the candles on Friday night in “Fiddler on the Roof!” AND, if Shechinah is feminine, THAT means that the divinity in the tabernacle in the desert for forty years was feminine!

I still had no idea what it meant to have a feminine deity…but I knew it was important. I knew that at the very least, I, a woman, finally had a place in religion…and I didn’t have to pretend to be a man in order to access God…or live in society. All of a sudden, my value changed. I was equal to men…because my deities were equal.