What should you know how to do by now? What should you have in your life by now? What should you be good at or capable of by now? Expected competence is all about where or how you "should" be by now, as defined by norms based on age, culture, class etc. Often when we don't know how to do something that we're expected to know how to do, we feel bad, incompetent or incapable and that is supposed to serve as the motivation to gain competence, change, become better, strive to improve or step up or achieve. The challenge is that for many of us this strategy doesn't work. We're just not wired to be motivated or pushed in this way. Feeling bad, wrong or incapable doesn't motivate us to change or be better. In other words, the control and manipulation of self to move in the direction of whatever is judged as good or right action cannot be achieved this way.
Many of us has been named as "sensitive souls". All this means is that the punishment/reward model, the expectation/disappointment cycle, and the manipulation and control through thoughts, feelings and emotions doesn't work to motivate, rather it often leads us to withdrawal, shut down, lose confidence, and give up. The key here is to acknowledge what doesn't work and choose something else. In other words, we require something else in order to step up in our lives and thrive. We require nurturing, gentleness, acknowledgement of the gift of presence, energetic contribution, gratitude, kindness, and appreciation for being. As we acknowledge what we require we can choose to be the source of it in our lives. Each of us can choose to be the energy, space and consciousness of nurturing, gentleness, acknowledgment of presence, energetic contribution, gratitude, kindness and appreciation for being. What if you don't have to wait another moment to have this choice available to you? The more you choose to be this, the more you can receive it. You can "give up" on what doesn't work, such as trying to motivate yourself through the promise of rewards, or by berating yourself or withdrawing self-love and kindness when you don't "get it right." You don't have to push yourself forward with harsh thoughts, feelings or emotions. You don't have to assign people to shame you for not being enough according to their standards, or separate from you or reject you if you're not performing to the degree that they judge that you should.
What if you could contribute to the creation of a world that is more kind, gentle, loving, nurturing, and honoring of beings and bodies? What would that be like? What could you be the creative source of? How much kindness, gentleness, nurturing and gratitude can you be in the world, for you, and with everyone you meet? What if what you give is not dependent on what someone else is willing or able to receive? What if you didn't have to hold back any longer? We don't have to expect ourselves or others to be competent. So much of what we can't yet be or do is because we were never taught, shown or invited to be or do it. Expecting ourselves to know better or have it figured out is an unkindness that we no longer have to perpetrate on ourselves or others. We no longer have to perpetrate separation and rejection as a motivation for becoming better or doing the right thing. Lack of love does not inspire the presence of love. We simply aren't motivated the way other people are. Now is the time for something different to be possible. Is now the time for you to receive more of the gift, kindness and gentleness of you and allow that to inspire you to be more of your greatness in the world?
One of the primary ways we've been taught or shown how to control each other is through the expectation-disappointment construct. The way the mechanism works is that you come up with your expectations of another person and if they live up to them you are pleased with them and if they don't you are disappointed in them. One of the primary tools used to maintain this reality is anger and implanted fear. We fear disappointing others, because we can't handle the anger and upset delivered by them or the guilt and shame (what I did was bad and wrong, and who I am is bad and wrong) that is activated when such event occurs.
Many of us try to circle around this dilemma through avoidance or adherence. We construct a life to try to minimize the possibility of disappointing or letting others down through one of two dominant strategies. 1) Is to be unreliable from the get go, essentially communicating the "don't expect much from me, I might show up or I might not", so as to minimize the disappointment or 2) Is to do everything in our power to meet the expectations of others, in other words, do everything in our power to allow them to control us into being and doing what they want or what they think is right for us. Obviously the control aspect isn't overt and instead of viewing it as that it's delivered under the guise of being caring or loving or knowing what's best for us. They're just helping us to become better people by setting the standards high and continually rejecting us as we are now, while promising that we will be loved and embraced when we meet the standard or fulfill the expectations. No wonder we distrust people who are truly kind and loving without agenda, what is wrong with them? Giving love so easily? Don't you have to work for it through good and right behavior?
We've learned to be skeptical of love and kindness when it's absent of expectation and control. We're so used to these things in place that it feel weird when they're not there. Where are you at in terms of the expectation disappointment construct? Is it internalized or externalized? Or have you come to the edges of it and gone, what is beyond this? For me it was internalized at an early age and eventually I came to a point where the weight of disappointment was so intense I couldn't handle it anymore. The beginning of freedom from this was the moment when I acknowledged that the expectation was creating the disappointment, in other words, I was doing it to myself by maintaining astronomically high standards. I realized that no amount of guilt, shame and blame would lead me to right action or to meeting the self imposed expectations. It was not helping me to become a better person or to make a difference in the world. It only further propelled me into tremendous feelings of separation, disconnect and desire to escape or end this life. When I "woke up" from this control mechanism it brought the possibility of living differently and asking for something different to guide my actions. What would it be like to be guided by my heart, or Higher Self, or the Universe, or Source consciousness, or the Infinite Intelligence? That was a question that assisted me to make the leap, embrace greater freedom, and acknowledge the choice to change the agreement and show up differently with people, and meet people who had outgrown that way of being too.
We just don't have to live out that script and play the roles of the characters drowning in the reality of guilt, blame, shame, rejection, and separation any longer. It's exhausting to play those parts, either in the role of the one with the power and control (delivering the expectation) or the one being dominated and manipulated by it (trying to live up to the standards for fear of disappointing and feeling shame or the threat of punishment with the subsequent withdrawal of love, care, nurturing, or support), or internalizing the whole drama and playing both roles at the same time! The internalized version being: withholding love from yourself because you didn't fulfill whatever you named as what you were supposed to be or do that day, week, year or lifetime.
Fast forward to now, we have new ways of being, different pathways of interacting, new possibilities to inspire each other to bring things to fruition, to support and celebrate and honor and acknowledge the gift that we are and our capacities to contribute and benefit all who we meet in this life. Here is a poem I wrote recently that acknowledges the possibilities and calls in the new energies:
The Cosmic Heart
Acknowledging the cosmic heart
Entraining to the magical rhythm
Inviting the light and love of consciousness to circulate
through every cell of the body
Remembering the gift of Being
Claiming our space to show up
Acknowledging the blessings
Revealing the mystery
Unveiling our greatness
Leading our lives
Bringing great attention to that which returns all to love
Settling, embracing, relaxing
Bowing our heads in reverence
When we decide that something needs to change in our lives, often we revert back to old strategies or ways we were taught or shown how to make changes. One common go to is the punishment reward system, which is based on the threat of punishment, the "you better do this or else" (something you love or appreciate or need will be withheld from you or taken away from you), or the promise of rewards (you'll get love, nourishment, support, acknowledgment, praise etc. if you do this). This is a strategy that can lead to behavior change or doing the right thing, because the threat of what we need, desire or require being taken away from us or withheld from us is painful, and we will often do anything or everything to avoid this consequence. Tune into your body as you read these words, how much stress and tension are you aware of?
The amount of control of self or other required to maintain this system in existence is immense and one of the main challenges with it is that everyone has been imprinted with a different version of it, so whether you "deserve" to be punished or rewarded for being who you are or doing what you're doing depends on the assessment of the person you're in front of. You could be rewarded for being happy and exuberant, or punished and made wrong for it. How confusing is that? Especially when you don't know which version the person in front of you has been imprinted with. What is acceptable and not acceptable? What is praised and celebrated and what is condemned and dismissed? And who gets to be in control? Who gets to hold the power, be the judge and decide whether you deserve to be punished or rewarded? Are you ready to release your agreement to participate in the punishment and reward system?
Imagine that the punishment reward system had a color. What color comes to mind to represent it? For me in this moment I see it as dark blue. Now tune into your body and imagine that you could detect everywhere this system is held in your body and in your electromagnetic field. Scan for it, like you are an immune cell scanning for a virus. Now call in your higher self, consciousness, Source, the Universe, whatever assists you to get in touch with true power, and imagine all of that reality being pulled out of you. Your mind is free of it, your body is free of it, your heart is free of it, your electromagnetic field is free of it. All your agreements are released, you have been set free from the punishment and reward system. Take a deep breath and sense this possibility. Choose it, receive it, and claim this now.
As this new possibility comes into being, call in the energy of gentleness. Get the sense of what it would be like to change things in your life from the energy and space of gentleness. Allow for ease and joy to show up in your life. Allow for ease and joy to show up with, in and through your body. Say yes to being the change, having something different and receiving what you're asking for. Step into the reality of consciousness and possibilities and imagine being embraced by everyone and everything there. How much more can you now know you, be you, perceive you and receive you? What in your life can change as if by magic? Are you ready for something new? Now is the time. If you would like assistance to free yourself from the punishment and reward system please get in touch with me. I wonder what we could change in one session. Is it time to find out?
What is true caring? This was a question a group of us explored in a recent online class that I facilitated. There are many behaviors that people enact in the name of caring, many of which don't feel good, or can leave you with a weird twisted feeling. It's all those things people would do like judge, criticize, worry or control in the name of caring or "because they care". True caring doesn't require a reason or a justification, nor does it require an attachment or defined relationship. For many, attachment precedes caring. The reason for caring is because there is some sort of bond or attachment in place. I.e. mother-daughter or so, or father-daughter or son, or lover or partner. For me there was a period of time where I actually preferred to not be cared about. It wasn't the caring itself that I wanted to shut out, it was what came along with it, that felt stifling and confining. Often when someone "cared" about me that also included things like worrying, projection, expectation, concern, control or needing me to act or be a certain way to make them feel at ease and ensure that I was okay.
Do you have any negative associations with caring? Negative associations would be things such as, caring = being controlled, caring = giving up choice, caring = performing for others, caring = hiding anything that could lead to conflict or disagreement. One great practice that Evette Rose presented in her Metaphysical Anatomy Level 2 Certification Training that I attended in LA, was to address negative associations by saying: I acknowledge the difference between ____________ and _______________. I.e. I acknowledge the difference between caring and being controlled, or I acknowledge the difference between caring and performing for others. With the associations in place it can prevent us from having what we truly desire. So, for instance, as we acknowledge the difference between caring and the need to control, how much more freedom can we have in relationships?
Sometimes when those negative associations are in place, before we've discovered how to release them, we can try to "not care" as a way of escaping from the perceived pain of caring or being cared for. Can you as a Being not care? We can pretend, but we have to shut down, separate, reject and disassociate from who we are quite a bit in order to try to achieve this. So, one path to greater freedom in regards to this is to become aware of anywhere you've decided you "don't care" and examine whether that's actually true. You can then choose to be aware of how much you as a Being cares, and ask for the gratitude, kindness, peace, calm and other energies you truly be to show up. Then you can acknowledge anything you've associated with caring or have been taught that caring is that it actually isn't.
One thing that you can request to receive more clarity about this is: Universe please show me what true caring is. I wonder how caring can show up in your life now. What are ways that you can be cared for that you've never acknowledged or considered? What are ways that you can be caring that you've been denying or refusing? I wonder how much more caring we can offer and receive.
Often, the need to decide and determine who or what you are responsible for, precedes the choice to contribute to someone or something. In other words, if you decide you are responsible for someone's pain, you will do everything you can to contribute to alleviating it. Whereas if you decide you are not responsible for someone's pain you won't be overly motivated to help them, unless they specifically ask you to do so or you have the remedy or knowledge that can assist them to alleviate it. Often we derive motivation from this feeling of being responsible. If you feel responsible for some form of pain and suffering you will "get to work" on changing it or contributing to it ceasing, provided you feel capable of offering or receiving help or assistance. You can have the experience of being trapped or stuck if you feel like you're responsible for something or someone and simultaneously feel unable to help or assist, provide or receive what is needed, asked, or required. It is this type of scenario that drives people to avoid responsibility or try to not be responsible for anyone or anything, as a way to avoid being blamed, or being at fault for something as well as the chance that you could be in a situation that leaves you feeling powerless or unable to make it better or alleviate the pain and suffering you were made responsible for causing.
So, what if you could choose to contribute without the need to assign blame or take responsibility for problems, issues, pain and suffering? In other words, if you know you have skills, talents and abilities that can benefit other people are you willing to offer them, even when you were not responsible for whatever led them to have the need for your assistance? It's so common for people to make you feel responsible for something, so you feel bad, so you'll be motivated to give money, donate your time, or "be part of the solution." We have to step out of this trap of blame, guilt, shame and powerlessness so that we truly have the energy, resources, and life force available to assist with alleviating the pain and suffering, and contributing to a more loving, empowered, harmonious world coming into being. When we feel bad for something we see in the world, this heaviness comes in, which weighs down the body, which leads us to feel tired and want to sleep or check out or say never mind, that's not my issue, that's not my problem, all that stuff was here before I was born, it's not mine to deal with and turn away from it. Redirecting blame, or re-assigning responsibility or fault will get us no where, other than looping in a reality of no change or decay.
What if right now you can choose to set aside the responsible/not responsible, at fault/not at fault, to blame/not to blame discussions and debates aside and put all of your energy and attention on the question of: who or what can I contribute to? Who or what is asking for my support and attention? Who or what can contribute to me? Who's support and attention can I benefit from? Contribution is about gifting and receiving in simultaneity, it's beyond the reality of give and take or exchange rates. It's a space of Being You and receiving the gift of that. Now is the time to shift to being responsive to what is here, who and what requires our attention, what we can be or do, and what we can gift and receive.
Another thing to be aware of here, is that you can show up to assist someone to alleviate their pain and heal their wounds and in the process of helping or supporting, they can make you feel responsible for causing it, or even begin to believe that you are causing them pain, wounding them or hurting them in some way. The natural response when you're on the receiving end of that is to feel irritated, frustrated and extremely confused. The key here is to acknowledge that what we collectively have to address is this mind based tendency to make someone or something responsible for our pain, to assign blame, and then to demand that they "make it better" or alleviate the pain or rescue us from it. It's a hopeless scenario, as the one making another responsible is giving away their power, the one on the receiving end of that wants to give it back and not be in that position. If they do taking it on and convince themselves that maybe they are in fact responsible, or did do or say something "wrong" they can end up trapped or cast in a role that they don't want to play. Many of us are waking up from this. May we all re-claim our power, acknowledge what we carry, and learn to gift and receive the love, support and contribution that assists to transform, transmute, resolve and release all of the pain and sadness and trauma and suffering that so many of us are truly ready, willing and able to surrender for good.