It's the end of a year again.
I've had a year of massive changes, a shit loads of self-exploration, and a bunch of highs and lows... all of which I can honestly say I don't need to talk about! I don't have an urge to reminisce, over analyse and learn from every experience, and I don't have a pining for the good times or an emotional attachment to the crap stuff. I actually don't feel the need to hang on to any of it right now. That's new. Something appears to have shifted in the way I'm thinking about the past. I kinda like it.
Considering this year has been more full of adventure and contemplation than most, you'd think I'd be reminiscing for the best of them, but when I try to bring my memories to the surface, it actually feels like I'm forcing it a bit. Of course, I can remember things I've done, and things I've gone through, but I'm really not that connected to the thoughts on the same emotional level I would have been in the past. I can genuinely say I've left a lot of them behind already. I actually think I may be learning to 'drop the story'. Just be. Just be here now.
I'm not saying that everything that has happened in the past is now irrelevant to me and I've reached a point of zen-mindfulness-magical-fairy that means I only think about what's happening right now. But the physical reactions are different. My emotional reactions are different. They are more transient, transparent and feel separated from my present moment. I can just watch them sometimes, I can witness them, be with them for a while, I still feel the pain attached to them but in a slightly different way - they are not me. My stories are not me. My pain is not me. My emotions are not me. Even my thoughts aren't actually me. Crazy, right?! I think there's a chance I am beginning to truly understand the 'Not this, Not that' concept. Well, understand is a bit of an exaggeration, but it makes sense. I'm neither this, nor that, and that includes my stories. Just drop the stories. Simple, right?
['Neti Neti' - look it up! Definitely reccommend reading something that wiser people than me have written about it. Great stuff.]
At some points all the paradoxical concepts I've been learning about have felt like a proper pain in the arse. Contemplations to mess with your head and confuse the shit out of you. Self-enquiry being top of the mindfuck list; 'Who am I?', asking yourself this whilst knowing that you'll never get the answer. Grr. But you know what, Universe, I'm feeling good with that right now. Keep confusing me and maybe eventually more of this stuff will just sink in!
Okay, before I go and enjoy the last bits of 2019, I do want to reminisce a little about one thing if that's okay!? Yep, exactly what I was talking about not doing. I may have fibbed a little, sorry. It does involve thinking back and connecting with memories, but I'm not dwelling, and it is linked to the idea of dropping stories and focussing on detachment so that makes it fine ;-)
I just want to share the knock-on effect of a new mindset and put it into context. I've been working a lot this last couple of months on forgiveness. I want to connect to that for a second or two and then I'll drop that story too...
I've learned a lot about Love recently. Mainly from others' unconditional love, learning about the Spiritual Heart, feeling it for myself, experiencing love, and no big shocker...I really like Love. It's fab. It's so much better than anything else. Loving everything, loving everyone. If you had told me that I'd be speaking like this last year I would have probably told you that I'm not that sort of hippy. I'm the other sort of hippy. I like alternative medicines, think Janis Joplin is awesome, meditation sounds interesting and spirituality is something that is fun to debate. Turns out I am that sort of hippy, and turning into a that sort of Yogi. Love and Peace. Peace and Love. If I feel that way, if I truly want to love everyone and see the divine in everything and everyone, then I can't be so angry with someone that I don't forgive them. I don't want to hate anyone, I want to love and accept everyone. Love is what I long for and it's what I want to be all around me in my life. I know it's possible to get there, but it starts with me, it starts with me loving everything. Yep, told you... full-on hippy.
When I was trying to make myself forgive (predictably 'make myself' wasn't the best technique!), I tried everything. I tried everything my mind could grasp onto. I read books on forgiveness, had hard conversations with friends and teachers about how to forgive a person you have been deeply hurt by, I was even subconsciously dreaming about forgiving. At that point I knew I must be getting somewhere, but it was still forcing something I wasn't ready for. It was still using my mind to attempt to do something that only my heart could actually do. I then stopped trying. I dropped it for a while. I dropped it, like I dropped a lot of my stories and pains. I thought about it every so often, witnessed the thought and, each time I did, the emotions attached actually diminished a little without me trying. I am not completely there yet, but my heart is leading the way. Forgiveness feels attainable.
'Forgive and forget' is a phrase people say but I think it's the other way round. If you allow the mind to forget and drop the thoughts and emotions attached, if you witness them instead of connecting to them, then the heart does all the forgiving for you. You are not the mind. You are not anger or hate. You are not this. You are not that. You are Love.
So, I don't want to say toodaloo to this year with something that sounds too much like I'm writing a self-congratulatory letter to you, Universe, so I want to say a big thank you. I'm so grateful I feel this way and I'm also aware that I've not necessarily done anything to deserve it. I'm not writing this feeling happy with myself, I'm writing this feeling happy. I'm really grateful for that.
Cheers and happy new year,
“Love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’
Between the two, my life flows.”