Monday, June 28, 2010

Inner or Outer Change?

The kind of change most people have learned to handle is outer change.  Outer change is like changing a job or a house, you are still the same person at your new job, you are taking your old stuff to your new house.  So, what has changed?  A different order of activities, new faces, new name on your paycheck, new address your bills are being delivered to, etc.  Under normal circumstances, we can handle these kinds of changes because we are equipped with the tools to organize our outer lives.  Even if we don’t like the new boss or the new neighbors, we think we know how to deal with them.

Sooner or later, the same issues creep up.  The new job starts out fresh and then once you learn the ropes and get to know the people, you start seeing parallels between this and the old job.  You start having the same old feelings, the same itch and dissatisfaction.  You immediately start evaluating and re-evaluating the situation and think of ways to either change things or leave for greener pastures.  And the cycle will repeat itself.
They come back, the beliefs.  They come back to remind you of how important they are.  They come back to take hold of you.  They come back for you to recognize who is really in charge.  When you let them be in charge, when you become their follower and believer, you are comforted.  All is in order once again.  The place you were uncomfortably hanging out at, where you thought you could change the belief, or let it go completely without replacing it with anything else, no longer exists.  You are not wobbly and fearful anymore.  All is as it had been before.  You are safely held in place.  This is when you think and experience life as one outer change after another.

If however, you take any opportunity for outer change as an opportunity for inner change, then things will get interesting!  That is when you find yourself in the uncomfortable hanging out place mentioned earlier.  Inner change is not comfortable.  It is not familiar; it is not validated by anyone or anything out there.  Inner change is lonely.  Inner change is uncertain.  Inner change is not easy and that is why most people won’t go through it voluntarily.  Why would they want to, when they have all of their old beliefs supporting, comforting, and defending their old self, or the way things used to be.

Life’s biggest transitions are opportunities for inner and outer change. Unfortunately, they are usually involuntary and feel like they have been done to us (e.g., loss of a job, loss of a loved one, divorce, etc.).  The truth of the matter is that if they hadn’t happened, we would not have made the changes that would guide us towards living a more fulfilling life.  Hanging on to our stories and beliefs is a safe and cowardly way of living.  For some it is the only way they know how.  If you are still reading this article, chances are you are not one of them.  You are ready for inner change.  You are ready for living a different life.  Listen to the voice that has lead you here and take action, get help, there are lots of resources waiting for you to declare your readiness and make the choice for deep inner change.  Congratulations!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Now What?

So, I am spiritual, now what?  Sometime in the process of awakening, you are faced with the question of now what do I do?  I know better, I understand that there is something out there or in here, wherever, that I am connected to, how does this knowledge help me?  And that is precisely where the issue lies.  If you find yourself swimming or drowning in this question, you are still in your head.  The moment it starts shifting from a brain-based knowledge to an experience-based knowledge is when you stop asking the question: now what?

We all know better, yet we still make the same mistakes, we fall for temptations and forget what really matters in life.  This is a perfect example of how just knowing something doesn’t mean you are going to act accordingly.
If you’ve read all the books and gone to all the workshops and you are still in a place where you feel stuck, it is time to put the learning into your experience.  Where in your body do you feel the knowledge and if you say I don’t feel anything, that’s further evidence that you are stuck in your thoughts or in your head.

True learning is not just about mental analysis.  If you want to know if you have truly learned something, you may want to ask yourself what happened in your life in the past 3-5 months that mirrored what you have learned?  True and complete learning is about integration and melding for shifts in consciousness to occur.

To help you get un-stuck, please ponder these questions: If nothing seems to be moving, where exactly do you think or feel you are stuck?  If you were un-stuck, what would that feel or look like?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is This Equality?

As a professional and educated woman born in the 60s in a country where men and women were by no means considered equal, I have spent a great deal of effort and hard work in creating first a career and then a life where I felt I was not less than a man in any way.  I didn’t do any of it, with a suit of armor or an anti-male agenda, but in the spirit of “I would love to be able to …” and without knowing that there might still be some obstacles in my path.  Having immigrated to the U.S. in the 80s, I thought I had arrived.  No one could tell me I couldn’t achieve something.  I was fully unaware of what is commonly referred to as a glass ceiling.

Today, as a mother of both a boy and a girl, I am constantly re-evaluating my perception of the issues facing men and women.  Last week, I went as a chaperone on a camping trip with my son and six of his friends.  We all had a blast.  The other two parents like me were mesmerized by what we learned about our sons.  Seven boys with seven very distinct and different personalities managed to get along just fine.  They were harsh with each other at times, yet they laughed about it, they teased each other, and then everything was ok.  They were together, one unit with their individualities intact.  Laying in the tent that night, listening to their juvenile and loud conversations blasting out from their tents into ours, I realized that I would not be so relaxed if I ever did this with my daughter and six of her friends.  I closed my eyes and imagined what that would be like, and all I could think of was drama.

We as girls first and then women create drama, usually because we are sensitive and we are concerned with fairness.  Everything is about things being fair, equal, right, etc.  When we perceive that there is an injustice somewhere (someone isn’t being nice, we didn’t get our fair share, the wrong person was promoted, etc.), we go into crisis mode.  Sure, we probably are correct in our assessment, but what we lost during all of that analysis was a lot of fun, peace, and harmony.

Having said that, whether it be sexual harassment law suits, diversity initiatives, women’s rights, etc., I do believe that all of our discontent and our expression of our discontent, is what has created a more even playing field when it comes to gender issues.  And we have all those strong willed, courageous, and passionate women who came before us to thank for all that we have today.  However, I think the struggle and fighting has created a consciousness that is not serving us or our daughters anymore.  I see 10-14 year old girls asserting themselves in ways that makes their mothers shudder.  The media and pop culture doesn’t help parents either.  Finding clothes that aren’t suggestive or inappropriate for a 12 year old girl seems like a huge task.
Speaking to parents of boys only, I realized how concerned they are about the boy-girl relationships as they mature and while they are still under our roofs.  My son is going to his first dance and he and his friends are sure that they don’t have to do anything, they just show up and the girls will be asking them to dance.  At first, I found this role reversal entertaining, until I thought about the ramifications of it as they get older.  In fact, I am seeing men in their twenties who do not know how to communicate with a woman and of course, all the technological advancements have made it that much easier to not really communicate.  In other words, have we as women created a culture where men don’t know how to treat us?

Is this what we fought for?  All that work was done, so we could become one of the “guys” and the guys could become more passive?  Are we the ones who are confused about who we are and what we want and hence we are confusing the men?  I don’t have the answers to all of these questions, but as a mother of both a boy and a girl, I am concerned about both of them and who their role models are and how they will be as adults.  And perhaps I am overly concerned about nothing, especially when I look at what is happening to women in Afghanistan or elsewhere.