Winter is a time of dormancy, when nature slumbers and what’s no longer alive or living begins its gradual decay.
We are no different than our surrounding world, and as we progress along our spiritual journey, we discover that what no longer serves our highest and best self may fall away naturally—supposing we allow it to.
For too long, I’ve carried the emotional and mental weight of past memories and attachments that deserve reconciliation. Over time, if we persist, remaining possessed by our often traumatic experiences can lead to any manner of dis-ease of the mind or body. It can wreak havoc on our personal and social relationships, along with the ability to enjoy fleeting life more fully.
After years of maladjusted thoughts and tendencies, my life began to unravel at the seams and slowly, yet steadily, my identity began to deteriorate. It largely stemmed from the reflection of others, alive and vociferous within me, that began to appear appalling in nature. Upon these realizations, I set out to transform whatever this was into something different, more natural and healthy for my overall wellbeing.
My essence slowly subsided to my ego’s delusions, offering clearer sight over time.
Several years later, it’s become obvious that ego plays such a pivotal role in all of our lives—a fabricated personality that has shaped itself entirely around our human experience. What has truly amazed me is the acknowledgement of fragmented traits that were never mine to own or to perceive as me.
Simply paying attention to who we’re acting like can help us identify specific, undesirable qualities that we may have learned as children or later on as adults. Many people are heavily influenced by their peers, including myself. I liken this to being a chameleon. It’s challenging to face the embodiment of others, because we are innately prone to mimicking their behaviors if we share space with them long enough.
Practicing non-judgement and remaining observant of inner-dialogue and unconscious behaviors (like our daily routines) helps us differentiate between healthy thoughts, emotions, or actions, and destructive ones. If we react easily to challenging, external circumstances, we can be sure there’s an internal wound present that can be healed. Some people are capable of self-calibration, but others may find professional help more valuable and fitting.
We can learn to surrender such untruths and false beliefs to the universe, or nothingness—the same wellspring from where they originated.
The choice will surface—will we remain a victim to our torment and present (temporary) circumstances, or are we willing to seek forgiveness and constructive change so that healing may take place? Depending upon the extent to which we’ve suffered, this may be excruciatingly difficult. So much so that for some, a deep emotional or mental wound may remain tender throughout the duration of their lives.
It may sound terribly cliché, but forgiveness heals. To forgive is to surrender, or detach completely. We’re simply relinquishing control and are allowing our greater, more dynamic and infinitely expansive biology to heal us naturally. The human form is nothing more than an instrument through which our spiritual nature resides, animating life.
As redundant as it may sound, the simplest activities can promote the greatest of pleasures and enjoyment in our lives. An hour of walking usually clears my mind, so long as I’m willing to let it. I’ve often had to shed some tears or write down some thoughts along the way, as new insights emerge and space is cleared for new life to bear its fruit over time.
Motivation to endeavor toward specific passions will avail themselves and we can move forward with a revived invigoration to co-create a broader life. Nurturing ourselves is vital to the endowment of self-preservation that is well deserved and warranted. Everyone has the ability to communicate inward and raise further awareness of our place here in this world.
If there’s something that feels as though it’s eating away at you from the inside-out, do yourself a favor and write about it. Ask where the source of this energy arrived from. Feel where it’s stored in your body. Give your question to the universe and let it go for the time being. Go outside and walk or ride—whatever promotes physical exertion. Keep going until whatever mental or emotional torment has subsided for now and your immediate surroundings begin to appear more vibrant in nature.
This is how we begin to perceive genuine clarity with less resistance, yet a deeper, more acute awareness and satisfying acknowledgement—to be grounded and present in this waking reality that we’re helping shape.
The most impactful changes include physical exertion, or motive force. Right-action, determined in the moment, when we are present and aware of our immediate surroundings—both inward and out. Sometimes that entails rest, nurturing in solitude or downright physical exhaustion to promote endorphin response and a resulting dopamine rush.
Conscious, opposing changes over time lead to extraordinary improvements in our health and vitality.
Subtle, gradual maneuvers alter our physiology. Healthy directives lead to healthier states of thought, emotional integrity, and composure. We become less susceptible to wayward influences and can eventually steer clear of them with greater ease, without taking it all so personally.
We must set out each day to courageously direct our lives, if we are to alleviate the mental disharmony or emotional upheaval that will otherwise remain at home in our body, mind, and spirit. I’ve had to walk away from numerous toxic situations and relationships in my life, due to the detrimental impact it was having on my welfare. Some of us are too sensitive and are processing our ignorance, to lead brighter lives full of rich beauty and content.
Something to remain mindful of, is the part we played in each of these circumstances, so we might better glimpse at who we think we are, or how we’ve been behaving. It can be sobering, once we’re no longer blinded by our own ego. If we can forgive ourselves, we can move on more gracefully and will start judging ourselves less for whatever roles we’ve played in the past.
It’s possible. I’ve risen from the depths and have succumbed to the same many times. Through practice and stubborn diligence, my life has begun reflecting a new ambiance that’s worth waking up to most days and it’s hard to fathom having remained where I was, when life was such a drag.
These difficult times were necessary for personal soul growth, but the point, I believe, is to transcend beyond the flesh of such childlike matters that as evolving human adults, we can overcome and ultimately liberate ourselves from.
It’s about embracing a practice for living, that we see out for the duration of our lives. There’s nothing to attain, other than our own, ulterior satisfaction, led by personal desires and a strengthening detachment to the outer madness we’ve never had any control over, other than direct-action—choosing to face or turn away from whatever illuminates or ails us.
At the end of the day, it amounts to accepting personal responsibility for one’s life and actions.
Author: Thayne Ulschmid
Image: Daniela Brown/Flickr
Editor: Emily Bartran