I was feeling so good last week, like I was on top of the world. I had just interviewed for the job of my dreams, and my optimism was untouchable...or so I thought.
Until I got the email that changed everything. My bubble of optimism popped, just like that, as I skimmed along the body of the email and learned...I didn’t get it. They had offered it to someone else. My stomach sank, along with my mood...to tell the truth, I felt just awful.
Things don’t always go the way we want. As much as we might read about the law of attraction, ultimately, some things seem to be out of our control. Deep breath...
I knew I needed to turn things around, but first, I had to deal with what was real and what was present for me. I came up with these five invaluable steps to coping with disappointing events.
One...Feel it to Heal It.
This has been one of my mantras lately. "Feel it to heal it" is simple and powerful, which according to expert Sonia Choquette in her beautiful book on manifesting, is exactly what affirmations should be, to reach the subconsious mind. I’m probably not the first to think of this affirmation, but it came to me out of thin air one day, and I really like it.
Think about it...how can we possibly hope to heal, if we don’t first stop to get in touch with how we are feeling? Suppressing emotions does no good at all in the long run.
I’m reading a book by David Hawkins, called Letting Go, that my friend Laurie Elle turned me on to, with an urgent, “you need to read this book.” In the book, Dawkins describes his simple process for letting go. It begins with allowing the emotion to come up, and run its course. He compares it to draining water; if we don’t let the water out, it simply stays, and can fester. If we do drain it, it will run itself out and then be gone. It’s a powerful process for dealing with challenging emotions. Why not give it a try?
So I let myself have a good cry, and really feel how badly I had wanted that job, and how crushed I felt at being overlooked. It hurt, more than I like to admit. And what’s more, it brought up lots of past hurt feelings I associated with it...with my fear of failing. Read last week’s post about this fear here.
So what to do with these thoughts?
Two...Let Those Negative Thoughts Go!
Be nice to yourself, dammit! Why is this so hard for us? We’ve just had a major disappointment, things feel really challenging so...let’s beat ourselves up? No! And yet, this often seems to be my first response. “You failed, how could you have been so hopeful, you should have tried harder,” blah blah blah, NOT helpful, inner critic.
So bench that inner critic, and cultivate a kind inner voice. My mom’s favorite bit of advice in these situations is to imagine we are speaking to someone else, a friend or family member, and they have just been really let down about something. What do we say to them? Kind, encouraging things! Let’s talk to ourselves in the same way, and kick those nasty negative thougths to the curb.
Three...Give Yourself Space
Hey...it’s ok to take some time to heal. I know this is the digital age and everything is instant, instant, but...we are organic, we have hearts that are really sensitive, and not getting what we want can be very painful. It’s important to honor your process, and this ties back to step one.
My urge is that I need to be better already...it’s been a few days since I got the news, but the truth is, I’m still adjusting to it. The bright shiny future I had been imagining was suddenly snatched away, and I have to re-adjust.
Buddha says that attachment is the cause of suffering, but until we are fully enlightened beings, guess what? We are gonna get caught in the trap of attachment, and it’s gonna hurt! So give yourself space to process and release.
Ok, not really, but this feels like a great time to be kind to myself; to take that hot bath, write in my journal, and listen to Snatam Kaur (who I saw in concert last night...so healing and heart opening!) Click this link to enjoy her healing sounds. Extra little things like this are very nourishing, and can help to ease the healing process. (hello, chocolate? clearly invented for these moments.)
Five...Remember What You Really Want
Mystic poet Rumi says, “let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
Deep breath again. So...why did I want that job? It wasn’t the exact job that I needed. My soul is on a mission, and it feels urgent, as many lightworkers report. This beautiful letter for a lightworker from the amazing Rebecca reminded me of this.
I can’t know exactly how my path will look, but I do know I’m being propelled forth by my heart. My very soul is aching to find meaningful work and be of service to humanity. My passion for compassion and awakening is so real to me, so vivid, and I long to share it with the world.
So I’ll reset my compass, and go back to the drawing board again, and keep job hunting, keep trying to manifest the career and life I truly want...because I know that I’m worth it.
So, don’t give up on yourself, but recall what your true desire and purpose is, and keep moving towards it! I have faith that we will get there, and that the journey is the important thing...
I have so much faith in you,
PS Tell me what you think! Have you experienced disappointment lately? If so, how did you deal with it? Do you feel like your soul is on a mission? <3
a familiar tension in my stomach alerted me to the facts. anxiety, present again. it’s been a frequent visitor these past days, months, years...tight belly, shallow breath, tense muscles in my neck, face, shoulders, like i want to squeeze my hands close, grip reality, shape it to a safe, controllable form. but it’s like squeezing water, it always slips from my grasp. i can’t control things, and that seems like a terrifying thought, like life is this weird flying dream, and i’m suspended in midair, with no idea how to keep from falling.
so often, i will slip into distraction. pick up a book, turn on the tv, get a snack...turn on the laptop, browse social media. not now. it’s time to face this fear. i sit down to meditate, focusing in on my belly, center of the energy of fear in my body. i listen to myself, very closely. then i can hear it, a low murmur, like the sound of whispering voices in the wind, or a quiet river in the distance. i bend closer to myself, and i hear what the voices are whispering.
“you will fail.” “you will fail, and you will always be a failure.” “you will end up miserable all your life. you will not be fulfilled.” “you will have to work at walmart and never find meaningful work.” and with the voice I see images, of dismal futures, and of young girls and women, myself, at younger ages, curled up into fetal position, terrified of life, of its wild, uncontrollable nature. i hear these young ladies, so afraid of failing, and i recognize something. they are telling stories. just stories, and i’m so surprised i murmur this aloud to myself. “stories!”
i let go of the stories, because i know stories aren’t real. they are like dreams. then it is just the frightened young women and girls in my deep self, and i start to tell them a new story. “you never failed,” i whisper to them. “you are learning and growing. this is a beautiful journey. we are creating our own story, though there are many things we cannot control, we can always choose what our story is.
so, here is our story. "i can, and i will.” i repeat that phrase, and it seems to sink deep into my belly, echoing around the frightened fragmented younger parts of myself. then i sink into body sensation, and the fear is just an energy, just tension and pressure and movement, and all at once it is moving, releasing, and i am laughing and crying, both at once, as sometimes happens when a big release occurs. i can, and i will is moving deeper and deeper within me, weaving itself into my being.
since this day, i have taken "i can and I will" as the powerful tool that it is. this affirmation helps me to fight my anxiety, to push back against the inner critic, that terrible bully that is always trying to keep me small. but that's not who i am anymore. i am someone capable and powerful (thanks Nahko, for another of my inspirational phrases.)
when i have the patience and the compassion to really be there for myself, i have the ability to release the old negative programming, and to replace it with new, loving thoughts. this practice feels like it is empowering my life! i feel a surge of beautiful hope, even in the midst of anxiety, expanding my heart mind, and helping me to let go of my fear stories, when i remember to replace negative self-talk, with mindfulness of the emotion, coupled with positive, loving affirmations. i encourage you to experiment with using affirmations. I think you will be as glad as I am to have this helpful tool to work with anxiety.
What's your experience? Have you ever tried affirmations? If so, was it helpful?
So much love,
“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” -Andrew Boyd
Keeping an open heart in the face of life's pains...hurts. No doubt. The world's pain is not separate from the pain of each of our hearts, although we may sometimes think so. Some deeply sad events unfolded in the lives of people close to me, these past days...and, their sadness touched me. The instinct is to turn away...but Rumi famously advises that we turn towards the wounded place...as this is where the light enters. So, I found myself feeling grief, for people I love, who were hurting...yet not owning the grief. Not my grief...no.
Grief felt like a force...like the rain. A force of nature that comes, stays til it has spent itself, and then moves on. It had a weather-like quality to it...not solid at all. Being soft and allowing the grief in, although it hurt...felt strong. It felt like an act of love. Because...this is being human. It's not a solitary act...We are all in this together.
Opening the heart in the face of sorrow is an act of bravery....of radical courage...and this is exactly what the world needs. So I'm challenging myself...to keep my heart open. Even when it wants to close. Especially when it wants to close.
Can you feel it? <3
So much love,
Facing change as a human being can feel very hard...I've been going through a lot of major shifts in my life lately...and I often find myself reaching for the comfort of how things used to be, of people that used to be around, but aren't any more. Sometimes it feels like the rug has been pulled out from under my feet. Our society doesn't really encourage us to explore our so-called "shadow" feelings...sadness, grief, fear. But what happens when you ignore something? It never goes away...so I've been trying to walk right into my emotions, head-on, and see what they can teach me.
What have I found? Attachment...a lot of attachment...to people, places, situations...none of which exist in the same form anymore! They have changed...and I find I'm holding empty air. The lesson here is that happiness cannot come from outside of ourself...true fulfillment must emerge from within ourselves, from our deepest core. And happiness lies on the other side of those challenging emotions...run from the sadness and fear, and we are only running from ourselves.
I don't have any firm answers yet, other than love. But I do know that we each need to look inside ourselves, to listen closely to our own hearts, and find the wisdom and love we need there...the world needs us to do that. This world so clearly is crying out for love and understanding, just as so many of us in modern life are crying out...and we must be brave, and turn towards the cries, not ignore them any longer...this, I feel, is the only way we can learn the capacity for true love, mature love, love that gives and takes in balance.
"The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person—without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other."
- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh aka Osho
What does choosing to see the good really mean? Easy to say what it does NOT mean. Choosing the good is not weak. It does not mean standing aside when you see something wrong happening. Certainly, it does not mean releasing discernment! No.
Choosing to see the good means that you are powerful. You have the choice to set your perceptions of life to a certain channel. You have the power to choose to see your life as a miracle.
You can look at life with eyes that choose to move towards wholeness, balance, wisdom, and love. First and foremost, and always, seeing the good is about choosing love, about seeing the connections and the common experience of life that unites us all. Looking at the world in this way, is choosing love. This is vastly empowering! Instead of feeling a victim, tossed about by the world, we recognize ourselves as limitless, powerful beings, with the ability to set our course. The challenges life gives us, seen from this lens, are opportunities to grow, to learn.
So give it a try...next time you find yourself starting to complain about a person or a situation...challenge yourself to SEE THE GOOD instead. Look for the positive aspects the situation is offering you...
As Mary Oliver famously wrote,
"Someone I loved
once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that
this, too, was a gift."
I used to hate myself. I mean, flat out, look in the mirror every morning and tell myself, "I hate you, you fat, ugly, worthless piece of refuse. you are nothing, and worse than nothing. you are a pathetic little..." STOP! You probably don't want to hear that, right? because it is depressing, it is painful, and it is just plain awful.
I can't believe i used to do this to myself! and yet, it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. because i just plain didn't like myself. i didn't feel comfortable in my skin. i didn't want to be myself--I wanted to be someone else! I had it all figured out. I knew just who I wanted to be. Someone thin, and beautiful, with a lot of friends--because my younger self thought that happiness was an external thing. Like, it depended on how you looked, or how many friends you have. I feel so much compassion for that self, now. She was looking for happiness in all the wrong places.
And when I stop to reflect on where I am now, in a place where I am so open to spirit, so madly in love with the person that I am today, and the world around me, I feel awed. This is an unbelievable transformation. I feel so grateful to be here, today, able to share with you my experiences.
But this is a big story. A spill-your-guts, talk your ear off story, possibly. How do you go from one extreme to the other? I'll tell you. Gradually. One step at a time. It takes time. A lot of deep shifts had to happen. And yet, all those little steps added up to one colossal transformation.
What were the steps? you wonder. How did it happen?
I can remember the exact moment that I first began to release my self-loathing and negative beliefs. they were so deeply ingrained! i didn't even know they were there. it's like having dark glasses taped over your eyes, and thinking they are a part of you. suddenly they were lifted off, and i could see, so clearly, with eyes of love.
it was at a meditation retreat. i was in my early twenties. I had graduated college, not out of any real passion, but because it was expected of me, and i didn't know what else to do. a passion for travel had inspired me to spend a year living in france, and a year backpacking around Europe. I was looking for something, though I didn't know what. my boyfriend of seven years, my first love, had just left me to join the peace corps.
it was one of the low points of my life, though it was going to get worse soon. i didn't know that, though. i just knew i yearned with all my heart for inner peace, and a release of all my suffering. my mom suggested i try a meditation retreat. i was like, sure, why not? when i got to IMS, i was taken aback by the realization that i was not allowed to talk for the next seven days. i had committed to spend 7 days, in silence, with my thoughts and feelings. scary. very, very scary. but i'm a stubborn one, so no way was i backing out. i sat with it. i breathed in, breathed out. i cried, and i felt like i was going to go crazy, and i did not.
i stuck with it some more, and on the fifth day, after all of the inner turmoil, i remember sitting in my chair, and suddenly i could see this light entering my body. was i going crazy after all? if so i did not mind, because that light--it was so beautiful, glowing brightly golden, and so comforting, and loving. it sank in to my chest, and ran all through my body, till i was illuminated, glowing from within. i didn't realize this at the time, but it was the Universal Life Force, which i had somehow released, since i am a natural healer. the light brought me to a state of calm and clarity that was such a relief! i realized that all of my bad thoughts and feelings about myself were in my power, and i could choose to let them go.
i remember being flooded with tears, as i released the reality of self hatred. when i went home, after the retreat, everyone told me how different i seemed. so happy, and at peace with myself. and i was. it was a true breakthrough, and it stayed with me. however, this was far from the end of my healing journey. looking back, i see now that it was the beginning.
opening myself up to the possibility of change, going deep, and accepting the light of grace that the universe sent in that moment--that's what opened the door for me. i'm so glad i decided to walk through.
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Hi, I'm Jessie A...
I'm an energy healer with a passion for compassion, a sparkly love affair with crystals, and a deep commitment to evolving awareness.