I am currently doing an Abundance Sadhana (practice) with a gifted colleague of mine, Meghan Neeley — The Manifestress. She offered this FREE (gasp!) practice as a gift to her yoga teacher friends because she has been experiencing so many blessings in her life. When I saw the Facebook invitation, I couldn’t believe it — what? Free? YES!
It’s funny, because in one of the live calls that I participated in, Meghan talked about the *winks* that the universe gives you when you are making good choices, and she asked us to share any *winks* that we had experienced. The first *wink* I experienced was the day I signed up for the Sadhana. My husband and I were in our car driving. He tends to spend a lot of time making business phone calls while he’s driving, regardless of whether I am in the car with him or not. It annoys me. I guess I’m a little self-centered. I don’t get as much of his attention as I want, so when we’re in a car together I like to catch up! Well, I’m trying to practice generosity, so as he was fretting over a phone call he hadn’t yet made, I asked how long it would take, he said “30 minutes,” and I said “go for it, I’m sure I can find something interesting to read on Facebook for 30 minutes.” I went to Facebook on my phone and boom, first thing I saw was the invitation to join this Abundance Sadhana with Meghan the Manifestress. So, I’ll count that as my first *wink.* You give a little, you get a little… at least sometimes. Right?
So, I’ve been in this Abundance Sadhana now for almost 3 weeks. For the past 2 weeks I’ve been on a “spending cleanse.” That’s right, no spending money on anything except essentials. For. Two. Weeks. I never realized how much time I waste virtually window shopping until I went on this cleanse. And I’m not even talking about spending money, I’m talking about wasting my time looking at stuff I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna buy. You know, J.Crew is having another 40% off clearance sale — I should know what they are selling just in case there is something so great I should buy it even if I don’t know what it is yet. So I cut out virtual shopping too. Cause my day isn’t going to get 25% better by buying stuff…
Then I started to notice how much I “shop” on Facebook, for IDEAS, for STORIES THAT MAKE ME FEEL GOOD, for SOMETHING TO INSPIRE, for SOMETHING TO MAKE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD. Wow. Here I thought I was so crunched for time in my life — no time for me– no time to practice yoga, or read a book, or do something creative. Except, when I started keeping track of what I WAS doing for “ME” (including practicing yoga, meditating, reading a book, doing something creative AND things like Facebook and virtual window shopping), I discovered I’ve got at least 30 minutes a day — sometimes more like 2 hours that I could be doing things to nurture myself — my body, my mind, my heart, my soul. Try this. For one week. Keep a log in your phone — the “notes” app comes in handy — of everything that you do that is “for you.” And, I’m sorry, but it’s true, zoning out on Facebook IS how you’re spending your “you time.” Then, once you get a better picture of where you have time, use it for what nourishes your soul MOST. You can’t blame that on anyone else. How you spend your time is UP TO YOU! And even though every day you can find something on Facebook that makes you feel “a little bit better,” when are you gonna get off your phone or your computer and start LIVING!?!?!
WARNING: What happens when you do any sort of self-observation or cleansing practice? The YUCK comes up. It does, and it will. What is the YUCK? It’s a big ol’ flashlight shining on the places inside yourself that you like the least. I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t like this part. I don’t like the part where I have to face WHAT I DON’T LIKE ABOUT MYSELF. It is UNCOMFORTABLE. How did this yuck come up for me? Well, I felt like a loser. I didn’t like realizing how much I look outside myself to find things that make me feel good. What is that about? And, WHAT REALLY MAKES ME FEEL GOOD? And how can I get more of THAT?
See, when you start to notice the habits of how you fill time and space, and then you take a break from those habits, there’s a whole lot of space. And right away, the space is weird and scary, like when you take a cast off a bone break and your limb is all skinny and weak and pale. And then other things get clearer too — other unsavory habits and regressive tendencies. I have discovered through this process, that though I consider myself an incredibly loving person, I have unconscious beliefs around generosity and compassion that undermine my desire to be deeply connected to other human beings.
If I give too much compassion or forgiveness, I’ll be taken advantage of.
If I am too generous with my time, affection, energy, or resources, I will run out.
The realizations of these beliefs have become clear to me in a few poignant ways in my life:
1. I am not nearly as forgiving as I think I am. I am holding on to traumas and wounds as far back as my childhood. I carry them around like badges of honor awarded after a war. The struggle with truly forgiving leads to distrust. When I hold on to all the ways that I have been hurt, I can’t believe that the ones I love won’t hurt me (again). So I operate from the assumption that they will, and this puts me in a defensive mode that makes trusting and receiving love and enjoying life and being in a flow really difficult.
2. I am a jealous person. Wow, am I ever. I crave attention and affirmation. I not only want to be loved, but I want to be loved BEST. I want to be the one who everyone loves the MOST. So I am subconsciously competing with all kinds of things and people all the time that the people I love also love. Because the unconscious belief is that there isn’t enough love to go around, and if I don’t get to the top of the pile, I won’t get enough of it.
3. I won’t get enough of it… I don’t HAVE enough of it. I don’t have the right things. I don’t have the BEST things. If I had enough of the RIGHT things, and the BEST things, life would be easier, and I would be HAPPIER. If I had more pairs of cooler yoga pants people would think I was an even better yoga teacher. Especially if I also had jewelry and things to match. And why are there so many beautiful shoes out there for so many different kinds of special moments in life? I WANT THEM ALL. And if I had them, I’d be happier. Along with every single essential oil that could help heal every one of my mental, physical and emotional ailments. And books. Lots of books. Inspiring self-help books to get me “there” faster. I’ll never have enough. I don’t have enough now, and I never will. Hmmmm. That belief sure makes feeling gratitude difficult, if not IMPOSSIBLE!
4. I’m not ENOUGH. Cause if I WAS, I wouldn’t need all this stuff. I wouldn’t be a jealous person. I would know how loved I am. I would be trusting, and generous and forgiving. But no, not me, I am just one BIG HOT MESS OF A HUMAN. Broken. Bruised. Not together. Not even close to “good.” Not anywhere near “enough.” It’s funny (not ha-ha funny, but ironic funny) how we use our own self-defeating beliefs to prove other self-defeating beliefs, isn’t it?
These are only a few of the deeper challenges I began to face during this cleansing period. And to face them made me feel disgusting and grossed out with myself. And I just felt negative feelings, negative energy, negative thoughts.
So I googled “mantra for negative energy.” I know, maybe this isn’t always the best way to find spiritual guidance, but I must have a guardian angel in my google browser, because I found the most incredible mantra:
OM AH RAH PA TSA NA DHI DHI DHI
It’s called the Majushri Mantra. You can read more about it here and here. But basically, it is used to “cut through obfuscations (obscurations — something opaque, difficult to perceive/understand) and false mental constructs. Um yep, sign me up! That’s what I need! So funny enough, I then went on Spotify (my favorite source for all the music in the land), and typed in Om Ah Rah Pa Tsa Na and guess what? This mantra was on an album that I ALREADY OWNED! *wink* said the universe!
So this mantra has been helping me deal with the yuck of the purification process, and it’s working. I”m starting to feel lighter, cleaner, clearer, AND more accepting and compassionate of my “shadows.” When I shared my struggle with my self-disgust (for lack of a better word), Meghan had asked me “How would you treat your shadows if they were your children? How would you give them your acceptance and gentleness?” So, that’s what I’m trying to do. And the mantra helps. If you’re looking for a version of it you can chant along to, check out Deva Premal’s version with the Gyoto Monks of Tibet. The album is called “Tibetan Mantras for Turbulent Times.”
So here’s what I’m curious about…. What changes in your life do YOU long for? What do YOU really WANT? What is stopping you? What beliefs or patterns or habits are preventing you from living the life you dream of, and which of those patterns are ready for change? I can tell you, that though sometimes change takes time, and is difficult, and requires suffering and perseverance, there are also times that change can happen in ONE MOMENT. What are the “truths” that you are unconsciously living that don’t serve your highest purpose? Take a GOOD CLEAN LOOK at them, and experiment with ways to face them, or de-bunk them. And if you need help, open up to the universe and ask. There is so much wisdom out there — books, and meditations, and music and art and REALLY AMAZING PEOPLE (i.e. Meghan) who can help you! But you have to be willing to be honest and compassionate. You have to be willing to change. And you have to be willing to sacrifice the little devious pleasures (Facebook, virtual shopping. etc.) to make room for true fulfillment. And if there’s anything I can do to help you or support you, please let me know!
May we all be blessed on our journey.
Om. Amen. Hallelujah!