During my walk outside this morning, I heard the crackling of acorns falling to the ground from the trees above. I witnessed the plummeting of these small, but mighty oak nuts make contact with the ground. Some made it to Earth whole and undamaged, while others split in two. This tiny, yet mighty object from nature instantly reminded me of how I have been feeling over the last several weeks. Too weak to hang on to that which no longer works for me or my family. Brave enough to be willing to grow into my greatest strengths and power because of this letting go. In complete surrender to the unknown of what will happen when I choose to finally let go. All of this, even if it means I might just crack wide open.
The truth is, in order for real transformation to take place, our hearts must be willing to crack open. This process hurts, it's painful, it's messy, and sometimes, it is the only way to break free from habitual patterns that serve solely to keep us small. Patterns that have become so habitual, we mistake them for who we are at our core. Patterns that are so strong, we act on them without even thinking, only to hurt ourselves or others. These patterns, if paid attention to and nurtured properly, can serve as opportunities for growth, if we are open to such a thing. Just as the acorn takes the risk to become a mighty oak tree through surrendering to its old ways, we must take the risk to let old patterns die so that new life can be born again.
Because I desire self - transformation with such fervor, I have invited the full spectrum of emotions into my body. Grief, pain, sadness, surprise, overwhelm, fear, freedom, anger, joy, happiness, trust and distrust. In allowing myself to feel all of these emotions, which feels like a heart cracked wide open, I have been able to clearly see the external influences that have had an impact on my thinking, on my identity, on my soul. In letting go of some of the physical and emotional attachments that do not support the expression of my true essence, I feel like I am one step closer to living more freely and openly from my true strengths and power. From a place of softness. A soft heart is not weakness, but instead courage, strength and true power.
My focus this month has been, in my mind, expansion in thinking. And in my heart, expansion in the ability to deeply feel. Working through my own thoughts and feelings has proven to be both purifying and cleansing. In looking at my habitual patterns and tendencies towards negativity straight ahead and choosing something different, I feel stronger, softer, more courageous and more loving.
The energy of this month, according to ancient wisdom, lends itself to this hard inner work of personal transformation. It is a time of review, reflection and integration. If we want to achieve our burgeoning visions we have set forth for our future selves, we need to let go of the old, of what is not essential, and purify ourselves so that we are able to contain the new. As much as we may long for change, forces within us are frightened of change and want things to remain the same. Our ego defenses create resistances. As we become aware of deep - seated beliefs that shape our feelings and emotions, our ego defenses make it hard for us to make the changes we are so desperately in need of. It is common to feel discouraged and even question our capacity for real change. When this happens, it is essential that we stick with it and commit to making contact with the deeper parts of our soul so that we may move forward in our lives. Even it is painful and difficult.
How do we do this? Where do we begin? Here is a list of what has helped me and may help you too:
1. Carve out space for yourself to listen to your thoughts and to be with your feelings.
2. Engage in self - inquiry.
3. Own your own projections.
4. Set boundaries.
5. Move your body.
6. Sit in stillness.
7. Seek. Trust. Surrender.
8. Listen and receive.
10. Love yourself unconditionally.
May we all burn our way to more courage, strength, and true power through humble acts of softening and letting go. May we all be free, happy, healthy, and more loving towards ourselves and others because of these very actions.
If you are a parent, caregiver, or teacher, see my blog on Teaching Children to Face Fear With a Brave Heart.