As the end of the 2019 approaches, it is only natural to reflect on the goals that have been accomplished, challenging times that have been navigated through and hopes of looking forward to what comes ahead.
However, while continuing with my internal mental checklist, I personally keep finding one consistent thing that made those challenging times of 2019 more challenging than they needed to be. ME. I feel many of us have a sense of urgency to get ourselves together as fast as we can so we can help heal the world in our own unique way. In truth, the clock is very much ticking.
Last night I had a dream of being surrounded by empowered women of all ages in leadership roles. My mentors and teachers were there with me as well. I felt a sense of anxiety that I needed to speed things up and get my internal self in alignment faster. I needed to share my gifts more, finish school, find a way to make more income, etc. Most importantly, I felt the urgency to know myself more and be more willing to accept those parts of me that I cringe at. As I swam in all the ocean of all my worries, one of my mentors turned to me in the dream and said, “It takes a lifetime to know yourself. Even they (the empowered women) are still learning who they are”. Suddenly I could feel a lightness and freedom in my body understanding that the Universe, God, Goddess, Mother Earth has everything covered if I allow the process to unfold naturally.
One day, last week right before leaving my shift at the student acupuncture clinic, a normally vibrant and confident friend was looking quite defeated. He asked me, “Do you ever feel that you need to just start from the beginning?” Without hesitation I found myself saying, “I hope I always feel that way. Once you feel you reached the end then that is when you need to start at the beginning the most.” The same goes for learning, accepting and knowing yourself…. Now if only I can remember that when I am judgemental of myself.
The most potent habit I have to help me maintain a beginner’s mind while continuing to evolve is maintaining commitment. Commitment is the key to building character on any path. Regarding my path as part of the Khalsa, commitment is not taken lightly. So far commitment is teaching me to hang in there when I want to run as fast as I can in the opposite direction. It is teaching me to be steady and also know how to make adjustments in my life so I can actually enjoy what I intended to do. Until this year, I always thought that commitment was some kind of dogmatic approach that required the process to be difficult. I thought marriage had to be hard because I was committed to making it last and work had to be hard because I was taught that was the only option. In general I thought life was most valued when it was hard. On another note, ‘hard’ can be different than ‘intense’ instead of intertwined together.
The challenges of life do bring opportunities to develop character, It doesn’t have to be hard, though. For example, for the first two years of acupuncture school I struggled so much to keep up. It was challenging learning a new language of medicine, nurturing a new marriage and learning how to live in a new city/country with a new spiritual community. It took a large toll on my mental health. Before accepting the possibility of taking prescription drugs for my mental health, I asked myself during meditation what is it that I need to do to maintain my commitment while honoring my needs. The answer was seeking help from my doctor and school director who both helped me to lighten my school load while adding only a year onto my schooling. It took a lot of time, communication and advocating for my needs including receiving holistic healing from other practitioners. Now I am able to focus better in all aspects of my life while enjoying it and taking more time for self care.
Take time to decide what commitments you need to focus on for the coming year but also remember that everything happens in time. The polarities of life are going to happen whether we are in the flow of them or are fighting them. That’s why we have tools starting with simply connecting with the breath to manage those polarities. The tricky thing is remembering the tools when you are in the thick of it. That’s why we have a commitment to a daily practice and friends/family to remind us we are in this together. One of my commitments is to learn to trust that all (the) Known will be revealed when I can trust in the Unknown (within myself and in life). It may take a lifetime, but I am ok with that.
Happy Holidays fellow warriors.