Monday, April 18, 2011

Heart and Soul

Let's take a breath and allow ourselves to relax, soften, go deeper.   

Sometimes, as we face the realities we do--career, family, world news, self care, spiritual practice, community building, our myriad responsibilities--our impulse is directed and dedicated to our Warrior nature.  We want immediate transformation and manifestation.  We can tend toward the misunderstanding of Will as force. Even though the Gifts we intend to deliver may be sweet we find ourselves donning our armor and and sharp weapons, ready to storm the gates amid shouts and clanging. 

Let's be clear.  This is not at all what I mean when I say, "Do Whatever It Takes!"

The Warrior without Heart is ruthless.  

The Warrior without Soul is on a suicide mission.  

We need to engage with our Warrior nature, but not at the expense of Heart and Soul.  If we are going to define and invoke our highest Will (what I call our Gift), we need the particular sensibility of our wild hearts as well spiritual wisdom.  To disengage or negate the heart and soul is to abide by the old paradigms which have so obviously shown themselves to be unworkable.  

If we are claiming our Gift and are intent upon carrying it forth now, when it is more needed and more necessary than ever, we must do whatever it takes.  But, now, whatever it takes means we bring not just our cunning and our ambition, but our heart and soul--
                          our wild intuitive feeling innocent self
                          our wise trustworthy loving spiritual self
But how do we even begin to do that when it's true that we push ourselves too hard, eschew time for discernment, de-prioritize caring for our selves?  We must create rituals of self care and self love.  Rituals of self forgiveness and deep listening.  How many times have you set out to perform these rituals and "forgotten" or been "distracted?"  It's time to move beyond intending and into practicing.

We practice a skill until we become skillful at it.  When we become skillful, we can rely upon those skills to carry us through the hard times and lift us higher during the good times.  And, when we become skillful, we continue to practice--just as a musician practices the scales, just as a gardener continues to plant seeds and harvest vegetables, just as a writer continues to write.

The thing is, practice will probably never make us perfect.  But, it will make us better.  The first step in doing Whatever It Takes is self care.  From there, all else flows.  The old maxim is still true:  "If Mamma aint happy, aint nobody happy."  In other words, we cannot carry forth the Gifts we're meant to deliver if we're trapped in busy-ness, crisis management, ill health or poor self esteem.

What are our bodies trying to tell us?  What is Life trying to teach us?  What messages of wisdom and warning are being constantly carried to us only to languish unheeded as we run from one pressing commitment to the next emergent crisis?  The crow calls during breakfast.  That song is playing on the radio again.  There is still a recurring physical ache in the joints or that gnawing feeling in the belly or that sense of hardening of self against Self which resides in the heart.  There is the 6 o'clock news and the words of people who care enough about us to comment.  And though we listen and know something must be done, we are just so busy!  So much else demands our attention, time and energy!

As we watch and react to all the information coming at us, our impulse is to do something.  Our impulse is to set a course and, come hell or high water, follow it.   

But what if doing Whatever it Takes means going within?   

What if it means taking a breath?   

What if it means sitting still with our impulses in order to discern their wisdom?

What if it means postponing a decision or carefully considering our actions and their consequences before we leap?  

What if doing Whatever it Takes means taking pause, taking care, taking ourselves more seriously or more lightly?   

What if doing Whatever it Takes means committing to really witnessing the artistic display of fuschia bleeding into purple bleeding into eggplant bleeding into darkness as the sun disappears beyond the horizon?   

What if doing Whatever it Takes means making and keeping a promise to ourselves to sit down while eating a meal, to savor the pleasure of a cup of tea or to light a candle while we bathe?  

What if doing Whatever it Takes requires reading a poem, laughing with a child, listening to music, allowing for pleasure, engaging deeply with what's present for and in us here and now?

In reviewing what I've written recently about Whatever it Takes, I see the pushing there.  I feel it.  And, when I step back to really sense the energy (again)  behind the writing, I still feel the excitement, the enthusiastic thrumming within the words.  I also notice that they assume (and promote) a kind of anxiety.   I want to clarify that doing Whatever it Takes might require we take decisive action.  But that decisive action may well involve committing to sitting quietly as we watch as breath comes in and out of the body.  It might require we slow down and deepen and from that depth consider how we might wish to expand.

Some of the people working with me to do Whatever It Takes are focused on reducing anxiety, better managing time so they can focus on spiritual practice, paying closer attention to their choices around nourishment of the body and soul, building life force and stalking beauty they usually ignoreso as to increase their capacity and appreciation of Life Force (chi, prana, manna). Some are discovering they need to pay more attention to their rational/thinking nature, while others have recognized a need to honor the emotional/intuitive self and still others are ready to reach into their Divine nature so as to touch the aspect of Self which is utterly trustworthy, wise and unconditionally loving.

While Whatever It Takes might correctly be defined as a Warrior Path,  I want to be clear that the Warrior without Heart is cold and calculating and the Warrior without Soul is disconnected from wisdom and grace.  Whatever it Takes, necessarily, engages the rational in cooperation and agreement with the emotional and spiritual.  Nothing less will bring about true and lasting transformation.

When we ask ourselves to do Whatever It Takes, we commit to doing First Things First.  And, the First Things always have to do with slowing down, deepening, softening, opening, paying attention.  It is from this place of relaxed vulnerability that we are most likely to engage with the Truth of where we are, what obstacles we face and what we need to do next.  Without stillness, we cannot hear wisdom.  Without wisdom, we cannot define True Will.  Without True Will, we cannot engage in the meaningful activity which opens the road to us delivering our Gifts.

I’ve said in other posts that Whatever It Takes is a “high intensity” ninety day commitment to get you to your goal.  High Intensity needn’t mean high anxiety.   Rather, it means setting aside some time on a daily basis to meet yourself and engage more fully so you can gently transform what keeps you stuck and gracefully move forward.  "Intensity" in this instance, means "Deep."  Doing Whatever It Takes requires deep commitment—to self, to stillness, to beauty, to awareness, to loving yourself enough to follow through.  Doing Whatever It Takes requires Heart and Soul. 

Power and vulnerability walk hand in hand.   

Passion partnered with wisdom generates a life of spectacular beauty, abundance and joy.  

It is from that life that our Gifts flow abundantly and powerfully into exactly the places they are most needed.

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