the struggle to stay

As I walked to Tunjung’s office I was filled with excitement, anticipation and guilt. I wanted to record our session but worried about the karmic consequence of not revealing the whole truth to a psychic healer. “If you don’t mind I’d like to tape this hour so I can play it back and obsess over every connection and prediction you make.” Don’t act like you haven’t been there ūüėČ But I surrendered to the ethical side of my brain and went in without it-totally stripped of my ego, heart wide open, eager to meet her fully in the room.¬†

Her smile was sweet and her spirit strong. She had shoulder length, dark, wavy hair sweeping ’round her neck against mocha colored skin. She had a presence for sure but it wasn’t the threatening kind. Some have a very penetrating stare that causes you to shift in your chair uncomfortably, wondering what it is they actually see-versus what they know you’re able and willing to hear. There were tarot cards on the desk between us and yes, it may seem cliche, but a big, round clear quartz crystal ball to her right. (for those of you who associate this stereotype with psychics/intuitives I must admit- I’ve been to several people throughout the past three years and never actually had the experience of someone reading their crystals for deeper guidance) She greeted me warmly, we smiled, I shuffled and off she went. As did I-hook line and sinker into awe of her accuracy.¬†

She told me this would happen-that I’d be having a hard time right about now. I knew that day I trusted her but as I put myself back in that room and recall her words, I’m sure of it. ¬†‘Oh Lisa. What comes next is going to challenge you every day. You’ve walked through the gates honey, you know the path you’ve chosen. The gifts that are coming through stronger, the feelings you feel-you have to trust them. It’s going to deepen-the knowing, the psychic tendencies. You have to stay in the now. You’re human you have a habit of looking back and with all that’s to come you’ll want to look forward, even far ahead in hope. But you have to trust the now. You must stay here.’ ¬†¬†

Oofa. We’ve all heard it. Psychologists, authors, gurus, teachers, talk show hosts. “Now is the only reality-it’s all any of us actually have.” In an ever shifting world people are becoming more and more in need of coping strategies. Although the only constant is change-the safest, healthiest place to stay is in the present. Even Anderson Cooper’s making it cool. He just covered a story on 60 minutes about practicing mindfulness in today’s day in age. Mindfulness-a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. ¬†

Here’s the breakdown-you’re driving¬†in the car and you catch your mind racing toward the¬†next five errands you need to run, an overwhelming schedule for the rest of the day. “Pick up this one, be here by that time, make dinner, ugh I hate making dinner. Why must we eat? God I could afford to lose ten pounds anyway. Wasn’t I supposed to¬†join the gym last week? Shit I forgot that too” I’m exhausted just typing it. But isn’t it true? I for one, sure as hell am guilty of this-a repeat offender in fact. And it’s terrible. Seriously time consuming, draining, dangerous thought patterns. Instead the experts claim you should focus only on the task you’re physically doing. For example: “This is me, driving a car. My hands are on the steering wheel, it’s leather wrapped. I have a ring on my left hand. It’s pretty-I¬†haven’t actually looked at it in a while. The sun is out. I like this song, what a great song.”¬†

I know what you’re thinking. It may seem oversimplified or even worse for those of you skeptics, like a page out of a¬†proverbial¬†version of “Thinking For Dummies”. When truthfully, it’s not a¬†dumbing down at all. It’s goddamn brave- an assertion of your power to bring yourself back to the truth-the moment you’re in. It means deciding to comfortably exist in the flow and be carefully protected against unwarranted self doubt and judgment. This kind of conscious thinking helps prevent us from an¬†unwelcome, lurking ego always ready to shove us down a slippery slope of comparison, guilt and other defeating behaviors.¬†

I’ve been giving it a shot. And yes, sometimes it feels silly the self talk. But I promise you it’s much better than the other bullshit I’d be allowing fear to tell me instead. ‘Why haven’t you done more work on the book yet? When are you moving? Have you checked your accounts? And by the way shouldn’t you be in love by now or something.” Imagine that friggin’ bully. Sorry but not only is she unwelcome, she’s been uninvited to the party altogether. There’s no room for that here. My mind is mine to make of as I wish.¬†

More often than not we allow ourselves to listen to that chatter. To allow it to override our confidence, our charm, our sense of humor and wit. We let it seep in and cause havoc. We’re left with panic and sometimes even physical symptoms all because we’re creating a false version of reality based on fear of the unknown. Scientists prove what the brain is capable of, priests will tell you to hand those troublesome thoughts over and Buddhists would suggest you sit with them only in recognition that they exist. ¬†You politely acknowledge their presence but know that your divine knowledge and being is bigger than any worry. You allow them to pass like clouds drifting overhead. ¬†

The struggle to “stay” can be interpreted in several veins. Many people struggle to stay in their relationships, marriages, jobs, happiness. They may not recognize the work it takes to be content and instead become comfortably numb. They may physically remain but they’ve opted out emotionally. ¬†Because the struggle to stay is less messy than the trouble to go.¬†

She was right about all of it. The book I’m writing, concerns I have, family members background and health, partners past and present. It didn’t scare me one bit-instead provoked a real emotional reaction. A true physical release. It’s amazing how much we walk around holding even when we don’t acknowledge it’s weight. “You’re going to have to do the work every single day. This year is all about the new road, the next chapter, your life’s calling. It won’t be easy. People will leave, you’ll be tested. You can do this though. It’s actually what you’re meant for”. And I’m thinking, oh trust me, that’s old news in my book. “Somehow you’ve got to find a way not to take it personal”. I’ll get back to you on that one because I have a feeling that’ll be a lifetime’s challenge.¬†

People ask me all the time how can you always write such positive, uplifting stuff? I’m here to assure you, it’s a choice. I create other outlets for my disappointments and anger. ¬†I am no saint, I also have doubts. I don’t only dream in technicolor rainbows. I worry and suffer and question the plan too, but only sometimes. Because the moment I recognize those emotions, the fear, the impending doom I tell them to stop. I assert my own power. I made a choice to get off antidepressants after my dad passed and my therapist insisted on them for awhile. I made a choice to leave a wonderful guy way back when I was close to an engagement others wanted for me because I trusted a smart, begging voice deep down who knew I had a different course in life to travel. I made a choice to leave a job that was lucrative but painstaking for my spirit. I made a choice to live more fully engaged. It’s what I pray for you too-to live in your fullest existence and greatest potential. ¬†¬†

I make a choice every morning to thank my angels before I step out of bed. I choose to believe in good and a common thread/force that actually is all of us combined. I’ve been embarrassed and even fooled by others yet I choose to believe they weren’t acting from a place of clarity but instead their own ego and self doubt. We’re all struggling to stay in our power. Even in the most benevolent form we’re afraid of it’s strength.¬†

Tunjung was right- my feelings and experiences are deeper and some things are presenting harder than before. People have left or never showed back up since I’m home. I’m reinventing work, a brand, and translating words to healing tools. I find myself repeating the practice of centering back to the moment often. Repeating phrases of reassurance. And as hard as it is to stay there, it’s a blissful break from the alternative. But guess what? On the other side of this struggle is sanctuary. There’s a tribe you belong to-waiting to welcome you warmly. There’s a great shift of energy in your favor when you believe wholeheartedly. When you trust. ¬†The truth is I’m struggling a bit, but I’ve never smiled more. ¬†I’ve never been clearer on the truth or the experience of love, compassion, brilliance and a collective spirit.

The struggle is real
But when you really stay, there’s no struggle at all

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