When it comes to wellness, things get real personal, real fast. You might not have realized this, at least not in a powerful way, because so much of what we think about wellness is external. We’ve all heard it, a thousand times. Eat less. Move More. Practice mindfulness. Go running. Take a walk. Reduce your cholesterol. Lose weight. Join a gym. Start a yoga practice. Meditate. When we hear it, we know it sounds like a good idea. We know we’d like to be able to do all those things that the experts say will make us well. Sometimes we make a valiant effort to begin it: the new gym membership, the books on mindfulness stacked and ready on the bedside table, the diet we are sure will change everything. Inevitably, life intervenes and when we wake up in the morning six months later we still find ourselves, well… not well. As least not as well as we would like to be. And not as well as we know we are capable of being. The reason for this isn’t because you are a failure and you never do what you set out to do, or any of the other myriad of stories you can find to beat yourself up for not feeling like you want to feel. The reason for this is because you started off looking in the wrong places. You started off your commitment to wellness by looking outward. You based it on what you should do, according to the doctor, or your wife, or the article on the internet, or even your own ideas of what “wellness” looks like to people looking in. You, in fact, are the expert on your own wellness. And anything you do that does not honor your own personal version of what wellness feels like, as opposed to what wellness looks like, will end up leading you further away from what you already know is possible for yourself, a life where you feel good inside your own skin. You know this is possible, or you would never buy the book, or join the gym, or listen to the guy on youtube. Your dedication and effort is not what is in question. It’s your orientation that keeps you from going precisely where you want to go. Once you realize this, you have what you need to begin. And if you change your orientation about wellness from the external to the internal you will also have what you want. In six months, you will feel more well. We each have our own gateways into wellness. For some it is the gym. For some it is yoga. For some it is meditation. For some it is running. For some it is eating certain types of foods. There is no way that is better than the other. And within each path there are many variations, the only variation you need to concern yourself with is the one that speaks directly to you. This requires trust. Trust on what your inner experience tells you. Your longing to be well is a part of your reason for being here. You need it, you deserve it, it is your own. You already know the way into your own wellness. Your body knows, your heart knows, your mind knows, your soul knows. You just have to move towards it, and it will take you everywhere you need to go. To move towards it, you must make a commitment to yourself to follow your inner voice, the one that comes from deep within your core. You can find its message in the experience of joy. What feels good? What feels so good you would pay to do it every chance you got? What do you crave most? A long run in the forest with your headphones in? An hour of sitting in deep stillness? Twenty minutes of walking up the biggest hill you can find at top speed? Nourishing yourself with food that delights both your senses and your environmental consciousness? Yoga that makes your body dizzy with satisfaction and puts you at your edge every time? The more you honor your inner pull towards wellness the more wellness will come into your being. It doesn’t have to be hard. It shouldn’t be hard. It should be satisfying, and challenging if you like to be challenged, and comforting if what you need is comfort, and spacious if you need space, and it should have room to change and grow and blossom as you do. For that’s what you are: a changing, blossoming, growing thing, and your pull towards wellness is your pull towards yourself. Honor that pull, listen closely to its call, and you will find yourself where you want and need to be. Where you need to be is at peace inside your own self. Your inner wellness expert has arrived on the scene. Listen to her with your whole heart. She knows exactly where you belong.
There is this discontent that has been rising and rising for a very long time. Perhaps you feel it in the marrow of your bones and in the tightness of your jaw whenever you are faced with the sheer frustration of it all. By it all I mean everything that is happening in the world that is just feeling, well…unbearable. It has to do with the wrong thing. You know and you know and you know what the right thing is and you choose it over and over and over again and the wrong thing just keeps coming back at you and never letting up its control over you. I find myself growing more and more intolerant of the wrong thing. When I am faced with anyone or anything at all that is using power in the wrong way I can barely bear it. I find myself walking away and choosing not to participate. It might be a story on the news, or it might be a conversation that just feels wrong, but I am finding that I can no longer remain present for that which all of my instincts tell me is the wrong thing. People in spiritual circles used to say that there is no right or wrong, but that seems less and less true as our world veers chaotically around us. Things are becoming more and more simple on the inside as they continue to escalate in complexity on the outside. Whatever is happening around us is now either something we can say “yes” to, or it triggers within us a violent “no!” and we must move away as silently and as quickly as we can. I don’t feel like fighting with the wrong thing. I don’t feel like giving it any attention at all. I don’t feel like I need to speak out, or use my voice in a grand way, or try to fix it. I just simply want to turn away. And when I turn away I turn inward, to the silence inside of me and to all that I love that holds me. Because when I act simply and when I let the silence fill the places that might have been before filled with righteous outrage something happens to the discontent. It just dissolves. It has no hold over who I am or where I am going. I will continue to do the right thing. I will continue to know and know and know and I will continue to choose the right thing again and again and again. And inside the silence of my knowing and my intention I will find peace. And somehow I know that is what all the discontent is for. The discontent is pointing us to the stillness, And inside the stillness the right thing is born into the world in a way that makes the wrong thing transform. Find your stillness and be that transformation. Your heart knows the way.
How do you respond to hate other than with love? Hate showed its brutal face this weekend in my beloved home town of Charlottesville, Virginia. And it came not from the inside, but from the outside. People who champion hate gathered together in solidarity on our streets. And the world took notice at the violence that ensued. I know what our response will be. I know the people who will feel called and moved to act. I know deeply the fabric of our community. They are my friends and my neighbors. Many of them showed up at the heart of the battle to stand for peace. Many of them are searching their hearts right now for what is their’s to do, now that this ugliness has chosen our streets to show itself upon. They will not remain silent. It is impossible for them to do so. And I know that the world is watching us. I feel blessed and honored today to be a part of the love that I know will blossom from this darkness. I feel grateful for my friends and neighbors that are gathering together in their own form of solidarity. I feel it in my bones, this grace that lights up our town. I know that whatever happens now will shine its light on love. Because I know we are capable of nothing less. All of our choices of remaining silent and separate have been taken from us. Now we rise as one voice, one message, one heart. May all who were hurt be healed. And may love have the final say.
Lots of stuff happening in the world, huh? How are you holding up? I’ve been pretty quiet lately as far as writing goes, because, honestly, I haven’t known what to say. But today I saw something and I wanted to share it with you. The last few months and weeks have brought to the surface all kinds of things, some of them quite frightening and even ugly. It seemed for a while that everything that many of us care about was being destroyed. It might still seem like that. It’s like the world has been set on fire and the only way to move forward is to rise from the ashes in a new and more authentic form. The death of the way we have been is upon us, both collectively and individually. What is happening now has never happened in the memory of this world, and yet its roots are in the ancient substance of all that has come before. We are being born again into a new substance of who we really are that has previously been unknowable. Throughout my life, I have often thought of Theodore Roethke’s line in The Waking, “I wake to sleep and take my waking slow.” It’s apparent that the time of waking to sleep is over. None of us have that option anymore. We must wake to the truth of who we are now, and that waking is taking each one of us into places we never expected to go. We still don’t know where this is all taking us. But surely, we can feel in our bones when we tune into the breath that runs through everything that we are going somewhere. We are going somewhere we have never been before in our time together on earth. We are waking up to a new evolution of humanity. And what I realized today about who I am in this awakening is true about all of us. I realized that I have a role. We each do. When I meditate, or feel myself deep in my core, I know what that role is. I know full well what I am capable of. But often I look for my role inside the filter of my circumstances. That is a part of living in the world, right? We go through our day to day lives and try to make sense of things by what is happening to us. For a long time, my circumstances have appeared to limit me. I know that I am capable of much more than has been showing up for me to do. I also know that I am completely and wholly willing. So why have I been stopped in getting where I know I am meant to go? I have been aware for at least a year that I am not moving alone, I am moving with the cosmos. But I have been filled with questions. “Will I do my part? Am I who I need to be? Will I have the life I want and need to have? Is there purpose, and even joy waiting for me when I get through this place of unknowing?” I would feel my light, my truth, I would know in my heart exactly who I am and then I’d look at my circumstances that still didn’t match what I want them to be and it was like I turned a switch and my light went out. But today I realized that I am in my role exactly as I need to be. And so are you. I don’t have to turn my light out anymore by thinking that I am not where I should be or that I will never get where I want to be. I am just as fully in my role as my mentors or my teachers that seem to have better lives than I do. In fact, my circumstances are a necessary part of the awakening of the planet. As a collective, we are transmuting the world into a new form. Everything is changing and shifting. The transmutation of our individual lives is actually the transmutation of the whole world. We are rising from the ashes and taking a new shape. We are all in this together and we each have a unique role that is necessary to the whole. Our awakening can not be rushed. It is perfectly designed to carry us home. Right now, it matters very little what our circumstances look like. We can not be separated from our roles and neither can anyone in our lives. The truth is, we will have everything, we will have fabulous lives and there is no way that we won’t live our full purpose. Everything we have now is enough for now, and the rest is happening, too. We can be fully present to the truth of who we are without question, without limit or ego. That’s waking to being awake. And that’s the new consciousness.
It’s right here in front of us. But, oh, how tender our hearts are as we sit here waiting, still waiting, for it to come into our tired hands. We are not what we were last year, last month, last week. We are of a different substance now in our hearts. There is a story that is dying in the world around us. It is a story that we have been beholden to for a very long time. It is the story of how the big guy with the big bustle always wins. It is the story of how nothing we do matters against the magnitude of what is against us. It is the story of an unfriendly world, a world where ultimately, we are all lost. It shows up both personally and collectively. Inside this story, we feel bound by forces we can’t understand. We can’t imagine how the world gets away with such hatred, or bitterness, or rampant destruction of what matters most. Because really, all we want is goodness. We just want to love and be loved. We want kindness for ourselves and for everyone. We just want to live our lives as who we really are and we want to let others live theirs. And if we have some gift, some purpose, some passion, we want to share it and be received warmly by the world around us. And so, we are the ones that have to make this new story real. The story where love and peace and deep belonging are not only possible, but where they are the norm for every human being on the planet. And inside this story we take care of every being who lives here with us, including the earth herself. The old story is dying, whether people realize it or not. It is gasping its last breath as we watch, at times with disbelief, and at other times with horror. But there is no need to mourn the death of that old story. It has long served its purpose in the evolution of our souls. Now, we are ready for something else. And it is right here. Inside of us, birthing its way into the light. And we each have our own way to hold it as is comes. And we each know deep inside of us what that way is. It is our special way of joining with the beauty and grace that is the true bedrock of who we are. What is your part in the story? Now is the time for you to sing it out loud. To write it and to paint it in the sky. To move your beautiful body within it to the motion of the cosmos. Because this story, this new story, is not happening without you. You are its song, its breath, its heartbeat. Listen to what it wants to whisper through you. And let yourself be moved. You’ve got this, you really do.We all do.
What you know is true, is true. Listen to that statement and let it anchor in your body. Feel how it affects you in your belly, in your heart, in your mind. Because that is where we are right now. We have been moving into this place for a very long time. And we are ready to embody a new understanding of ourselves and the world now. And what we know is true, IS true. And that’s what we are being asked to follow. So, what do you know is true? Where has your heart been telling you to go? What have your hands been longing to hold? What song is yours to sing? What right action is yours to take in the world? How can everything you believe and feel and know become everything that your life is about? If you are not ready to move into the world, move into yourself first. Move deeply into what you know. And let nothing stop you from honoring that knowing. Stop listening to the voices on the outside. Find your inner voice, your inner guide, your inner belonging. You are not here to do what everybody else is doing. You are here to be only who you are exactly designed to be. And to do that you need to trust the voice inside you above all other voices. The good voice inside of you. The voice that comes from love. The voice that comes from your most essential truth about the core of who you are. The voice that knows kindness, and compassion and has a purpose for you and for the rest of us. That is what we are being called to right now. We are being called to use our highest and best voice. We are being called to pour our love into the world in the purest and clearest way we can dream up. And first we need to do that inside ourselves. We need to let go of fear, and anger, and smallness. We need to open our hearts fully to the truth of who we are and what we are here for. And then we can do that for the world. Find time right now in this time of chaos and unrest and deep awakening to drop deeply into your center. Find the stillness inside of you where everything is born from. Look at what your commitments are and acknowledge the true scope and breadth of your power. And then open yourself to the guidance and support that is available to you now more than ever to start using that power. Create loving stillness and space around what you know is true. Find and trust your highest understanding. And then share it with the rest of us. We need you to be who you are.
Is there something that is really bothering you in your life and in the world right now? Is there something that really just doesn’t work for you about the state of being that you find yourself and our world in? Have you gotten to the point where the not-working part is nearly physically and emotionally and spiritually unbearable? You are not alone. The world feels like pure chaos on many levels right now and you know that it is time for you to use your voice. But how do you do that? You, after all, have a life to live that is confined by outside influences. Or so it seems. But there is a way for you to use your voice right in this moment and for every moment for the rest of your life. There is a way for everything to start making sense for you and for those you touch, which is, in fact, all of us. You can choose to be the answer. It sounds simple. And in a way, it is. What is the thing that most concerns you? What keeps you lying awake at night? Where are you being pulled to from the center of your heart? What is the most central question that haunts you? Whatever it is, you are the medicine for it for the world. So stop asking the question and start being the answer. Right now. Take a deep breath, put your feet on the floor and make the decision that changes everything. From this moment make your every thought, your every action, your every word, your every creative spark be the answer for that which you no longer find bearable. Because the truth is that it is not. It is not bearable for you to live in this situation, in this chaos for one moment longer as a powerless, aching question. You are made for much more than that. You are made for brilliance, and beauty, and unaccounted for love. You are made to be the answer for the world in the way only you can be. And being the answer doesn’t arise from the helpless sense of what seems unknowable. It arises from your greatest power, which is right here, inside of you. You already have it; you were born to be here right now to use it; and as soon as you become it in every cell in your being we will all flock to you to find our own healing in your light. You are the answer that we most need. It’s in you. You don’t have to look for it. You just have to choose it, and it will find you wherever you are, because it has already chosen you. When enough of us have chosen to be the answer that the collective is calling us to be the world will be unrecognizable. Out of chaos comes beauty and stillness. So, let it begin with us. I’m ready. Are you?