For a long time I have taken the behavior of others personally. Very personally. While I have always known that this pattern has hurt me, it only became clear recently how much it has hurt. Decades of absorbing and replaying these offenses and wounds added up, and I became very ill.
It has only been through the healing process that I have come to see the role that the state of my emotions has played in my overall health.
Today, my life revolves around experiencing a state I call "peace-power." This state is my highest truth. It is a state of internal dignity, respect, truth, peace, and wholeness. It is contained and complete unto itself. It feels like holy truth.
And, this is life. I fall out of balance regularly. Any time my peace-power is disturbed, I am in a state of force. And, it is mine to heal. It is never about asking anyone on the outside to change. That is the ironic thing about force: if I depend on forcing someone else to change so I can feel good, I am at the mercy of their behavior - and that is the opposite of being free and powerful. I am *more* tied to their behavior and their choices, not less.
Here's an example: If I want to be admired by another, I am in an internal state of force. I am believing that a state of hierarchy exists between us. The same is true when I am feeling deference for another, hiding a part of my truth, judging another, or steamrolling over another. Or even a feeling of being irritated, of being disturbed. These are all on the spectrum of force.
Force is the engine of our culture, it is how most of us view the world most of the time. Force is predicated on the belief that there exists a hierarchy, a perception that a hierarchy exists. The belief in hierarchy creates innate imbalance, a "place" of superiority or inferiority, which enables the ability to steamroll over someone, or the need to exhibit deference. It all stems from the perception of hierarchy.
And, for me it's deeply unhealthy. It feels bad to my autonomous, sovereign, holy self to be in force as a regular state. It is useful some of the time (for example, charging up a hill in the woods), but as a belief system it goes against my true nature, which is equal and always has been. And, when I am in peace-power I do not need to change anyone on the outside. All are free to be exactly as they are, and I respond accordingly. The behavior of others simply does not have the power to rattle me; it is not personal. I can speak my truth, and listen to that of another, all without drama.
Restoring peace-power is a practice. I have developed a tool to apply once I notice I am out of peace-power. It is simply and effective, and has radically healed me emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically.
If this speaks to you, please speak to me!
The problem isn't that a painful event happened, the problem is that I believed an interpretation, a meaning, a story, about that event that went against my nature. If it goes against my nature, it isn't true.
For example, if I made a power play at work to get more opportunity and experience (which I did), the problem isn't that it was denied (which it was). The problem is the meaning that I ascribed to the event: that I couldn't trust my power and strength, that my needs and desires were wrong, that my very nature was somehow wrong.
A more true interpretation of the event could be that I was unsatisfied in my role, that I needed some new experiences, and that I wasn't going to get them in my vision of how it should be done.
In the process, I was offered the opportunity to explore what my core needs were, and alternate ways of how to get my needs met - just not the particular incarnation that I had requested. I was too scared, too shut down, to express the depth of my needs and truth. To go there. To share the truth in my heart.
It was going to be done through force, my force, my vision, or not at all.
This created a wall that denied the humanity of all involved. It set in motion years of pain, of mistrust, of tread and re-tread force.
I see that now, and I take complete responsibility for my fear.
I pray to have learned this lesson, and to now choose the courage to speak my truth over the fear employed when using force. Fear is a false sense of courage. It attaches itself to a particular outcome, which removes the inclusion of another's perspective, of an even greater outcome, of magic.
I think my belief in "game faces" and in "being professional," over being human with human needs and emotions, certainly enabled my fear and disabled my humanity. I see that, too.
We were walking in the woods today, my family and me. My kids were taking turns leading the group, when I became aware that one son was trying to lead more than the other. We stopped to talk about it, peel it apart and down to the root cause. They spoke their truths to each other when I asked my younger son if he was in force, and if so what he really wanted. This is a powerful combination - the acknowledgement of force and the inquiry as to what is really wanted. Leading the group is a means of achieving a deep need, not the actual need.
Yes, he was in force. He said that he wanted to lead more than half, and then immediately teared up and reminded me that I hold told him that he could lead the walk entirely. It was an unfortunate and inadvertent phrasing at the beginning of the walk that led to the misunderstanding, and he was right - I had said that.
Once he felt seen and heard, honored for my mistake, he immediately understood that his older brother also wanted to take turns leading, and they quickly reached an agreement on how to divide the route for equal leadership. Witnessing the experience, his older brother more clearly understood the dynamic going on, why his brother was being so demanding and unfair. My older son then offered a solution that met the needs for both, immediately losing the energy of force himself.
But, without getting to that root pain, it is unlikely the solution would have been as easy or as equally agreed. Seeing and acknowledging the root cause of the force, his tender pain, enabled his compassion and innate fairness to resurface. He was back in his power.
What if this is the inherent opportunity to be mined when we find ourselves in force? That we have an unmet need, a tender truth to hear and say, or an injustice to honor? And that using force isn’t actually ever going to solve the problem, it only makes it worse? That the way through the force is to dig deep into the pain, speak it, and allow the release to restore our peace.
Peace is power. I do so much more good for the world, the parts of my world that I engage in, when I am in my peace-power state.
And. The world has a way of validating outrage, voices loudly protesting things.
And. The most important changes in history were made through outrage.
And. If the world is a projection of my internal state, then I change the world by being peaceful. Being the change I wish to see.
And. When I am in peace-power I know the best changes to make.
No easy sense of certainty with these observations, of being right or wrong, only an awareness of the friction that both feel true.
I've been processing a painful phase of my life recently. It was a situation in which I participated, for many years. As with everything, there was "good" and "bad" contained within the phase, and I ultimately left the situation when I felt the "bad" tipped the scales too many times. Today, I still carry energy of anger, of being a victim, of feeling persecuted and shut out by the people involved.
A part of my brain knows that they would undoubtedly tell their own tales of this phase, and it would include some unflattering experiences with me, with my "stress responses." A dry, rational kernel within my brain knows this, but the juicy, feeling parts of my brain and my body feel differently. They still feel small, wounded, ashamed, like a powerless child.
The feelings associated with this phase are some of the biggest wounds that I carry, and I long to heal this pain. To move on and have more balanced memories of this phase.
This morning, memories of the phase were activated, and as I journaled about this phase and the people involved, I had a new realization: that I had been using force during this phase, and had had an agenda for the people involved. This was a new realization. I had known, with varying degrees of accountability, that I fully participated in the dynamic. But to see it in the framework of force and power was new. To see that, beyond participating, I had had an agenda for the people and activities involved, to see the depth of force within myself, was new.
Here is a deeper truth: I felt disrespect for them. I gossiped about them. I judged them, and I felt superior to them. This was how I felt, so much of the time. They couldn't do anything right. I gleefully ripped them apart, their failures magnified, their shortcomings damning and fatal. They were fatally flawed, and I was righteously superior.
My agenda was to have my way with them; that my needs and vision/perspective were "right," and should be followed blindly, irrespective of their experiences, observations, truths. That I should be heard by these other people, but not just heard - they should admire and respect and elevate me. That they should see me as superior to them, also.
It is ugly and humbling, to see this. To admit this. To see the ways of this energy.
This is rock bottom, seeing the ugliness of my force. And, hopefully, now we are getting somewhere. This is the deeper truth: that I can't get absolution for the pain I carry until I see the depth of my force. I can't release the hooks of my pain until I release them.
Alongside awareness of this underlying state of force is a realization that this is also the culture that we swim in. Let me repeat: This is the culture we swim in. These are cultural values of superiority, force, judgement, and of being a victim. These are the waters we all swim in, the ways in which we are inculcated, marinated, bred to view other people. Other women. As competitors. Men are the saviors, women are the competitors.
Like I said, it's ugly.
And so, today I take complete responsibility for seeing where I used force against other women, and, also take responsibility for not blaming myself for it.
It is critical to remove shame from this equation. When we know differently, we do differently. I now know differently. I learned, inherited, acquired this way of coping in the world. This is not an inherent flaw within me, at a deeper level this is an inherent flaw within the system.
In truth, I am innocent. I played my part of engaging this energy in the world, but it is not mine to carry. This underlying energetic pattern is ancient, and it is not mine. My true nature is one of peace, of respect, of Divine love. This ancient underlying energetic pattern is a barrier between me and my true state.
Because it is an acquired barrier between my awareness and my true nature, I can give it back, I can unlearn it, I can release it back to the highest original source. I choose to do so, now.
And so, today:
When the interconnection happens, it is a dreamy fugue state. The pace softens, slows significantly. There is a flowing and melting through the woods. There are patches of sunlight, copses of trees, other areas that are somehow known. They are brighter than the others, familiar, somehow. We know each other. And then, when approached and entered, within the dreamy fugue state there is an even deeper sensation. It falls lower in the belly, this sense of connection.
There is a feeling that one could, and should, stay forever. That time seems to stop in the dream state. We all belong, interwoven and connected and somehow reunited. Returned, maybe. In this state, all connection to the outer world has been replaced, the belonging here is so complete. Thick and connected and dreamy and whole, whole yet also part of something beyond size and scope. Lost, and so completely at home.
Leaving is almost painful, a physical rendering, rifting, from this fabric.
As the senses slowly return, incrementally, to their usual perceptions, something of the woods remains. A peace, a changed cellular structure, for having blended and joined in it all.
The drama of the outside world, the infighting among petty humans, is acute. How could anyone care about any of those things, those superficial, empty things of that world, when this divine connection is available and free and so very complete. It changes everything, these imaginal, magical, experiences in the woods. This, is the real world. That other, out here, are childish machinations, fighting over the head of a pin. It clutters what is real and what is true.
Majesty, magnitude, truth, are found in the woods. Nature clears the cobwebs, clears the perceptions, opens the pathways, Ecstasy flows, enlarges the scope, fills the cells.
There is a little in that outer world that even make sense when compared to this. This deeper truth.
Holy shit, we are the problem. Those of us in middle-age. We are the consumers, we are the ones whose minds and attitudes and behavior must change. Not someone else, somewhere else. Us, here, now.
And, we cannot do it by force, it must be revealed and followed through peace-power. Force is what got us into this mess. Let me repeat myself: Force is what got us into this mess.
As Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
There is another way: the way of peace-power.
We. Are. The. Problem. As we transition from the hard-working years to the years of wisdom, the years of leading, the years of sitting by the fire and sharing our experience with the warriors, we must adopt, embody, the ways, in which we wish to live, to lead, to grow and change. To release the ways of force, and adopt the ways of power. Because doing anything by force contains within it the seeds of force, denial, resistance.
As the Lakota have long said, “Force, no matter how concealed, begets resistance.”
There is no such thing as “giving something up,” that simply doesn’t work. That entails force, which begets resistance. There is only a brighter and more inspiring vision on the horizon. Moving toward something so inspiring and sparking and catalyzing and exciting that the other falls away naturally. That is power.
When we are in our power we have everything we need, naturally. We want for nothing, especially dominion over another - even an inanimate object. Even nature. To take something at the expense of another is always unnecessary.
But HOW? Here is an exercise in experiencing our own peace-power:
Releasing these ancient, glacial, energetic patterns feels unfamiliar. It is easy to confuse a feeling of unfamiliarity with being “wrong.” It is not wrong, it is simply unfamiliar. By simply recognizing that peace feels unfamiliar, or a little more spacious than is normal, or comfortable, it can be allowed to simply be.
Just allow the discomfort of the unfamiliar. Our culture validates certainty, knowing things that we could not possibly know. Allow this peace to simply be as it is. To paraphrase the words of Mary Oliver, allow the soft animal of your body to simply rest in this peace.
We need to stop asking things, people, men, power structures, etc to change, and we need to change ourselves. We need to stop being the problem.
So, if these words speak to you, then the woods speak to you. This was written in the woods, and the nature within these words speaks to the nature within you. That is the energy contained within this.
So, try something. Just for today. Practice the way of peace. Every time the feeling of peace is disturbed, release it. [Specific instructions on 6/6/2019 blog.] Release the force, and revel in the revealed power.
And see if it doesn’t rock your world.
This morning I read an article about how indigenous women in Canada are killed and terrorized at a rate six times greater than the general population. My first response took me by surprise: I noticed I felt a little bit of relief, because they are only 4% of the population. So small, doesn’t really matter, this statistic seemed to imply. Then, I noticed I felt a sense of blame for the women, for being in the types of circumstances that would enable that fate. Disdain, almost.
I marginalized them.
As I observed my reaction, I realized I had a choice. It would be very easy to forget this story. I live in a different country, it’s a small number/percentage of people, and they are already terribly marginalized. It would be very easy to move on and forget this abuse of power.
As I entered the woods I was thinking about my reaction, when the following words entered my consciousness: I do not get to choose what to heal, I only get to choose to heal…or not.
In other words, abuse of power is ready to be looked at and healed within me. Despite my disdain for the form it took, that it wasn’t a bigger issue, or more relevant to me and my life, or more ‘politically correct.’ This one is mine to heal. I don’t get to choose the example, I only get to follow the flow.
Now, whether I face it and heal it, or not, is my choice. To paraphrase Socrates, “To heal, or not to heal, that is the question.”
To heal means to follow the peace-process, to take complete responsibility for carrying this ancient energetic pattern and release it back to the highest original source.
To not heal it means to judge the women, to minimize the impact, or in other way rationalize it. To forget about it.
Here is the prayer:
We cannot be held accountable for knowing things we haven’t been taught. We cannot be held accountable for practicing things that haven’t been modeled or practiced. But, we can pay attention. And we can choose to heal, every time we have the opportunity. Every time our peace is disturbed, there is a pattern at work, that is ready to be healed. We do not get to choose what to heal, the choice is whether we use our power to heal, everything that comes across our radar, or not.
Those women, living out that dynamic. Those men in their lives, living out that dynamic. And the police officers, failing to support them, living out that dynamic. There is simply so much pain, all around. The most powerful act I can take is to remove my participation from this dynamic, to heal it within me.
This is the path of my life, now. To see when my peace has been disturbed, and then to choose to release it.
As I see it, Gaia herself is releasing ancient energetic patterns also, and I am simply doing my part.
And…this is a practice. This is a counterculture practice. This entails seeing the ways of the culture, and choosing a different way. It is a radical act, and it is an ongoing practice.
And so, my commitment is to release every nook and cranny and particle of abuse of power that I encounter with in my own mind. Every single time. With curiosity, but no judgment. Only choosing a new way, again, and again, and release it in my own heart.
And, I know that when I take action in my own heart, I make radically different choices on the outside. Choices that come naturally and easily and obviously, without force, they come from my personal power. I live the power.
If we are not awed by, and reverently in love with, life, for what our life contains and touches and holds, if we are not dazzled by being alive, then we have lost the plot. We are using force, not our divine power, to pursue an agenda that goes against our true nature.
Using force to live our life is unnatural. It goes against the natural world. Our true nature is pure, divine peace, and anything that is not infused with blissful, reverent peace is not our true nature.
Perhaps we think something out there needs to change. Perhaps it does. But, until we are in right power within ourself, we are in no position to judge what needs to change. We are just passing on the pain.
That's ok, there is zero judgement here, it is the culture we are all swimming in. But, now that we know, we are culpable. Responsible for healing our own life.
And, deep down inside, we know this. We just don't know how.
The truth is, reverence for this very life, right now, can be reclaimed, restored, returned, and experienced in every cell of our being. It is simple, it is the meaning of life, and it is available to all, right now.
But, don't take my word for it. Experience it for yourself. Right now. Join me!
Please help me.
I have carried this ancient energetic pattern for so very long.
This ancient energetic pattern is not mine to carry.
It kept me safe and protected when I did not know how to do so for myself.
When I carry this ancient energetic pattern I am unable to carry that which is fully and uniquely mine to carry.
I now choose differently.
I take complete responsibility for carrying this ancient, underlying, energetic pattern.
I take complete responsibility for releasing this ancient, underlying, energetic pattern.
I release this ancient, underlying energetic pattern.
Back to the highest original source.
With honor and respect and gratitude for it all.
I now choose differently.
I release all sadness, pain, disappointment, fear, that arises as I release this ancient, underlying, energetic pattern.
With gratitude for all.
Norma Van Horn