I can't even count the times I've ignored my intuition. I think we all do it sometimes. I'll tell you this though... I've never regretted following my intuition but I've regretted ignoring it every single time. We live and learn, don't we?
It's in my nature to over analyse everything so that little habit I had of ignoring my intuition got analysed right down to the last detail. You know what I realised? Ignoring our gut feelings never comes from a bad place. We don't set out to set ourselves up for failure in any way. We do seem to find a ton of reasons to ignore that little voice of our soul.
If I think back to the times my soul has screamed out to me to stay away from a person or to not allow a person to get too close, I have to admit that the voice of my soul was often drowned out by the voice of reason. You know that little voice that tells you that you're being paranoid? Or the one that accuses you of being judgemental? Yeah... those are the ones that often make themselves heard over our intuition. Those are the voices we wind up with because we have been raised to be kind human beings.
The problem is that our intuition knows that the person standing in front of us is possibly not a kind human being. They don't have the same motivations we do. But, because we've been trained to ignore our intuition in favour of being rational, we expect other people to have the same moral standards as we have. That's where we get hurt... it's that expectation of a certain standard of behaviour. And right at the end of the cul de sac we enter when we ignore our instincts is a little place of blame. We blame ourselves for not listening and we blame the other person for behaving in a way we didn't rationally expect. It's a lot easier to turn around and get back on the main road if we just accept that people are who they are and we can't expect them to be any more or any less than that. Blame doesn't further our cause.
I believe that with each mistake we make in assessing the people we come into contact with, we learn lessons. I believe it's good to focus on gratitude for those lessons instead of blame. I believe it's brilliant to reach a point where we allow our intuition to be heard and we heed it. Our souls have travelled with us for so many centuries... they're wise. It's worth paying attention.
At what point do we stop trying to heal the world and turn our attention to healing ourselves so that we're better positioned to heal others?
It's a common pattern that many healers fall into. I call it wounded bird syndrome. As healers, we attract many people who are bent, bruised and broken. It's a wonderful thing that they are drawn to us. Most of them really want to heal too. Sometimes we find ourselves in relationships where our partners require healing and if they want to heal then it's fantastic. Sometimes they just don't want to and it becomes somewhat less fantastic.
The path of growth for many healers is learning to recognise the signs of those who aren't prepared to actually do the work required to heal themselves. I'm seeing more and more people who are identifying the signs in the early stages of a relationship. It's a reason to celebrate, right?
The path of growth is endless though. As much as we need to celebrate each step, we also need to be constantly moving forward. The obvious next step is learning to walk away as soon as we realise that a person is not willing to do what they need to do to be whole human beings. It's learning to walk away when we realise that brokenness is so much a part of a person's identity that they are terrified to be anything else.
This is where the wheels seem to fall off. We're stubborn types, most of us. Here's the thing... the only people who are not bruised, bent or broken in some way by life are those who have never experienced life. It's just one of those things that can't be avoided. You're going to have relationships with people who are slightly damaged. It's okay. Not one of us is unscarred. We can't reject people because they've had life experience but we need to learn to walk or even run away when the damage isn't just damage but an integral part of who a person is... a part they hang onto because it allows them to feel that they are the centre of attention.
Bottom line here is that there's damage and there's damage that comes from creating your own drama. And I tend to think that drama is the true underlying factor in the people who don't deal with their damage but use it to create damage in others. Drama seems to follow them wherever they go.
You're not going to maintain your peace if you're involved with someone who is intent on creating storms. I don't care how strong you are or how high your vibration is. Emotional storms erode peace in the same way that physical storms change the physical landscape.
So maybe it's time to make a decision that not every wounded bird would like to fly again and that it's okay to walk away. And maybe it's time to examine our own motivations for wanting to heal every wounded bird. Maybe if we do that, we'll stop seeking them out.
Last week I listened to a show by Di Radloff on the dark night of the soul. This lady knows her stuff. It's given me a whole lot to think about though.
We live in fear of the dark night of the soul... justifiably so. It's an awful thing to deal with and while we're there, it feels endless. It's a natural part of the cycle of life though. In fact, it's probably unusual not to deal with this phenomenon relatively regularly. Bearing that in mind, you'd think we'd fear it a whole lot less.
I've swung between the extremes on this one. There have been times when it's chilled me to the bone when I've realised that I'm entering that darkness and there have been times when I've been completely blasé about it. The trick seems to be finding the middle ground and developing a healthy respect for those times of growth.
One thing that each dark night of the soul seems to have in common is that it ends after some sort of epiphany. It's a chicken and egg scenario. I'm wondering if that epiphany gives us the hope required to make it back into the brightness of day or if discovering that epiphany is the whole reason we entered the night in the first place. Is it nothing more than a lesson we needed to learn? Is that dark night of the soul maybe just the Universe stepping in because we haven't been paying attention to what we needed to learn?
Whichever it is, you can't deny the incredible growth you undergo when faced with the challenges of the darkest times in your life. As much as I wish life could be smooth sailing, I'm grateful for the lessons that come to me in the darkness.
This is definitely a case of the only way out being directly through. So if you're facing the nighttime right now, I wish you strength and courage and the hope that this time ends soon and you emerge into the light of a beautiful new day.
I wouldn't take my car for a service to a mechanic who had never driven a car. I probably also wouldn't ask for relationship advice from someone who had never had a happy, successful relationship. This seems pretty stock standard, doesn't it?
So what happens when it comes to spirituality? It's strange how we adhere to the teachings of guru types who live isolated on some mountaintop, isn't it? Maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit... but seriously? Sure, they spout heaps of wisdom. There are a lot of their teachings that should be giving us pause for thought.
It occurred to me though, that it's easy to preach unconditional love and forgiveness and the like when you have minimal contact with humanity. It's easy to preach full stop when you don't have to actually live your lessons with any real depth. That led me to thinking that an isolated mountaintop is really no different from a townhouse or apartment that you use as a cocoon.
If we want to have any credibility as counsellors, coaches or spiritual leaders of any sort then we need to be living a day to day existence that puts us right in the thick of things. We need to experience life to its fullest so that we can gain wisdom and insight and not just spout what we read in the latest, popular self help book.
Advice is easy to give. We all do it and when we're on the outside of a situation and looking in, it's very simple to be able to see things with clarity. When we don't actually have the life experience, we don't give advice with thought to the consequences. We don't counsel with any level of empathy. And that right there is the source of any one of us becoming irritated by someone's resistance to our advice. The thing is they don't just have to deal with the advice, they need to deal with the changes in their own lives that come after putting the advice into action. They're the ones living their own day to day.
And that's what it's all about, isn't it? Not divine wisdom, but the ability to feel a situation because you have been burned before. So maybe we need to start taking a good look at our own lives and realise that we can't counsel people on things we don't understand. It comes down to knowing where our strengths lie and knowing where our true knowledge and understanding lies. From there, we can reach out a hand to others with less regard for what we see as wisdom and more regard for empathy. Is that not where true love lies?
You know how your internet browser slows down or falls over completely when you have too many tabs open? Have you ever noticed that your mind does the same thing?
We're constantly told that multi-tasking is a valuable skill and it is... up to a point. It completely shuts down mindfulness though, doesn't it? I know we all have a million things to do each day. I've found from experience that when I focus on all those things instead of just one, I become scattered and demotivated. And then... I get nothing done.
So maybe we should go back to the foundation. Remember how your parents used to tell you to do one thing at a time? I seem to remember being told that. It's not just sound practical advice. It's sound spiritual advice too. The path to spiritual awakening or enlightenment is decorated with thousands of ideas and it's just human nature to want to explore all of them. It becomes overwhelming though. We become terrified of missing some profound wisdom and, because we're trying to pay attention to everything, we are unable to gain deep knowledge of anything.
The beauty of the spiritual path is that the wisdom we need to be shown will come to us no matter what. So why not focus our attention on one thing at a time. Learn it, learn to love it and suck all the joy and wisdom from it that you can and then move on to something else that catches your attention.
I suppose it's a bit like building a house. You can't throw a thousand bricks in the same direction and expect to have a dwelling but you can lay each one carefully and eventually you'll have a home, a haven.
I suppose mindfulness comes down to exactly that... focusing on one thing at a time, in each moment. And truly savouring the experience. Maybe today is a good day to start. And maybe, if you do, then tomorrow will hold more promise of joy.