I am that man who doubts. I am that man who wants to fit in. I am that man who wants to express himself. I am that man who wants to leap free of uncertainty.
I was in a deep yoga stretch yesterday when I realised that I am no different than anyone else. I was striving for perfection, and realised that it’s not going to happen (at least not in this lifetime)—my feet may never touch the ground in downward dog, my sun salutation may always look like a cat on steroids.
Is it okay to stop striving so hard for a goal that’s unreachable? Or is it the striving that will always take me closer to my goal (but never quite get there) yet get me much closer than I would get without the striving?
Now, this isn’t a discussion just on perfection, and revealing and accepting imperfection, it’s also about how our society wants to make us into these figurines of photoshopped perfection.
I want to be naked. I want us all to be naked.
I want to stand strong, look deeply into your eyes and reveal all of my soul, strong in my own truth. I am alive with the desire to be myself, to be fully animated and express myself in the world we share. Like you, I have clung to limitation for a long time, and released so many layers of healing. I am a human being, and in this way, I am just like you. We are all equals in this human symphony, and all facing those moments of fear and doubt.
Have I become a cliché as many sceptics and those who want to break everything down into intellectually formulae, think? No. I am just myself, having a human experience. And that is meaningful. Just because eight billion other people are also having this experience, doesn’t make mine any less worthwhile or relevant.
I am tired of all the judgements I see around me. Judgement eats at the soul of the judge, not the judged. All those who think that they understand or perceive reality, when all they are seeing is the limitations of their intellect, the failure to be able to open up to their hearts. I speak to you, I speak to me, I speak to all of us. We are in this together.
I am tired of feeling unworthy, tired of feeling that I am not the divine, loving, caring, graceful person that I am at my core. Despite all the cynicism, my heart shines, my love spreads and I know in the end, that’s all that matters. How I leave this planet counts the most—-will I leave it a more caring place? I know I am here to shine my light, and to show people that divine love still exists, still rings true…to demonstrate what unconditional love is, what unconditional forgiveness is, what true love feels like.
I am here to leave a kinder world. That’s all I care about at the end of the day. That’s all I want to be judged for.
The judgements are at breaking point. It has become normal to break others down. Life is too short for all this judgment, and the cacophony of intellectual statesmen who want to dictate what “reality” is based on their perspective of limitation. We are here for only a small moment of time. Will this moment be filled with abundant light, connection and love or pain, heartache and suffering? Will we chase shadows and face the inevitable confusion of buying into the collective fear or will we choose to take the opportunity and circumvent the forces that seek to keep us controlled and stuck in fear?
Let’s explore what is to be found in between breaths and in between thoughts. In finding peace, there is no search, for in the search one moves away from the destination. Alan Watts encapsulates this concept:
“Buddha found out that there was no trap to get out of except himself. Trap and trapped are one, and when you understand that, there isn’t any trap left.”
Many of us are trapped by our environment and the people we surround ourselves with. We don’t always get to choose everyone we share space with, sometimes we just need to accept and work with the imperfect. Yet toxic people and environments can severely damage our well-being.
What does it mean to be “toxic?” How do we actively discern which people are “good” for us or “bad?”
The arena of human relationships and interactions is one fraught with complexity. On one hand, all people have a soul and nobody is inherently “toxic,” yet, on the other hand, we do need to acknowledge that there are some negative people around, and in order to protect ourselves from them, it’s healthy to step away. As always, a clear set of personal boundaries is imperative to show us the path through what can seem like a labyrinth. Then, with our integrity intact, we may navigate through our relationships consciously and lovingly.
What I see in the world is many people following old dogmas, old religions, old philosophies and not allowing people to be themselves because of its teachings.
The violence and anarchy being expressed in the world shows where we are at. How did we get to a point of such fear? It is not necessarily what people are doing, but why that interests me. We get caught up with style over substance at times, instead of looking deeper at the root causes of conflict. What energy and focus are we placing on human suffering and how are we helping to alleviate this suffering?
Leaders like Donald Trump feed into the collective fear and send a message that everyone is our enemy until they are dominated into submission. Lack of trust and building walls of separation to protect oneself from the “other,” xenophobia and exasperation predominate. Simplistic thinking of “us versus them” and a lack of unity consciousness prevails when we listen to the voice of fear.
Do we wish to continue to live at war with one another and the planet or are there spiritual solutions to the challenges we face?
Gary Zukav writes in Soul Stories,
“When one of us hurts, that is a sorrow for everyone. When one of us is happy, that is a joy to everyone. We are living in the same promised land. It belongs to each of us, and we belong to it. That is the Universe. There is no other land.”
We reflect the whole as a microcosm of the macrocosm yet we are also able to rise above suffering and victimhood, as free-will creators. What happens outside reflects what happens on the inside, and the other way around. With this view, it is of paramount importance how we view and feel about ourselves.
Expectations of ourselves impose judgement and limitation on whom we can be and become. The more we expect of ourselves has a tendency to be mirrored in the external world by what we expect of others, affecting all relationships from work colleagues, friendships to loved ones. Whom we are comparing ourselves to, limits us from being (and becoming) ourselves. As Iyanla Vanzant wrote, “comparison is an act of violence against the self.”
Expectations can corrode our worldview and ultimately cost us authenticity and truly living in the present moment. More so, there is a routine and pattern in all things, including relationships, and within these bounds, it is fair to expect that certain standards are met. What I feel is important to focus on, are the areas where we are expecting too much of ourselves and other people, thus limiting our (and their) experience. This can become destructive. The need to develop self-compassion as a counter to the current of judgement and high expectation remains a vital part of what it means to be human.
People are seeking a feeling of connection with themselves and with others, a connection to the sacred, and a feeling of being safe and grounded in their bodies at this time. This connection will not come from watching the news channels or avoiding bringing awareness and light to the shadows we so vehemently reject.
What does getting back to love look and feel like?
What are we resisting that will keep persisting so long as we continue in the same paradigms?
What are we resisting about ourselves or others?
Sometimes, saying “no” is the most loving act one can do. And simply learning to love the reflection we see in the mirror. Unconditionally loving ourselves is all we need.
Coco Chanel said: “beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” What will you do right now to show and be who you are? Perhaps all you have been waiting for all this time is permission to be yourself.
Next time you catch yourself feeling unworthy, judging yourself (or others) or feeling inferior (to others or to the “impossible self” that you created in your mind, stop and let that go. Accept that these quirks of the mind are just quirks and reach out to another person. It doesn’t have to be anything more than it will be, just start a conversation.
Be present. And be a witness to your interaction. Conversations are what bring us closer.
Author: David Zenon Starlyte
Image: Elephant Journal on Instagram
Editor: Katarina Tvačar