I hope that this message finds you well and thriving this autumn. Despite the darkening of the days, and the cooling of the air, I find the Autumn to be a marvellously creative time of year for me – full of revelations and inner shifts. European Yogi Nomads in Lisbon was amazing. I am SO excited to be hosting EYN here in London in September of 2014! And Shakti Shop Ibiza was extraordinary – so full of delight and fun, but also so very healing – for the participants and our hosts in Ibiza, but also for me. I can’t wait for the next one.
Indeed, in only the past few weeks, I have felt a wonderful ease and satisfaction in life – I feel deeply at peace and sustained. My visit with Amma this year was particularly powerful and clearing. I feel distinctly that everything is fundamentally ok – that life is a miracle, just as it is – and I feel comfortable putting my efforts out there, and very receptive to how things turn out. It’s pretty delicious, actually.
It’s easy to get caught up in the results of our actions – but it really is such a vital shred of wisdom to completely let go and detach from outcomes. This is one of the Bhagavad Gita’s most practical pieces of advice (Chapter 2, Verse 47).
And this is utterly vital when it comes to relationship with others. I never cease being amazed by how pernicious the need to get certain kinds of responses out of other people is, and how much manipulation is present in even the most ordinary conversations. I catch myself at it so often. And yet, when we come into conflict, our need to extract certain responses and behaviours out of other people becomes really problematic.
Recently, I came into conflict with someone I like very much. I felt that this person had spoken to me in a way that was unacceptable to me.
Now, in the past, this would have left me me in a real pickle, because I would be looking for ways to avoid confronting the issue. I would have been much, much angrier at having been spoken to like that, to start with, and I would have been more afraid to speak up and set a boundary. In fact, I might not have said anything at all, and allowed my feelings to fester, or pretended it was okay….
I won’t say I wasn’t a little nervous in speaking up – but there are three words that are inspiring me in my living so much right now, and I really feel that my response was an embodiment of them:
Unapologetic: I have a right to be alive, because I am alive. It’s natural and totally justified for me to feel the way I do, and to make my choices in life as I see fit. I don’t need to explain myself unless I want to, and I don’t need to look to any standard outside of my own self for any justification for any of my choices.
Authentic: I am as I am, not as anyone else is, and my behaviour is a reflection of what is really true for me, and not what I think is palatable to anyone else. I am not trying to prove anything.
Benign: Me being me doesn’t cause any harm, and my choices are made from a space of ease and non-contraction.
This last one is a real zinger. It means wait it out until you find peace. Let things be as they are, and allow your actions to arise effortlessly and naturally. Thank you to Roger Linden, who has been a support in my life for nigh on 7 years – a great therapist and awakened being of North London.
Here’s the thing –
If we approach a conflict without a confidence in our own basic right to be and to feel, without a grounding in what’s actually true, and with an axe to grind, we are only going hurt others and get hurt. Bottom line. The understanding in Tantric Yoga of the non-dual variety is that the universe is essentially amoral. It is ‘right’ for people to do as they do simply by virtue of the fact that THEY ACTUALLY DO. And coming down all over someone when they have done this or that – making them bad or wrong – well that doesn’t help matters, does it? Nor does banging on about how everyone else you have talked to agrees with you, nor does apologising for having to say this, or apologising for feeling the way that you do. How many times have one of those three responses been a part of your way of being with conflict?
Here’s what I reckon is important: what do you want/need in the situation? Are you willing to
- ask for that clearly and without threats
- deal with whatever comes after you ask for it
Which is to say – are you comfortable with walking away? Are you willing to fully face whatever this person’s response is, and stand your ground? Because I was. I would WAY WAY prefer to keep this person in my life – for sure. But the reason I was able to be clear about how I felt and what I wanted (which is to not be spoken to with that tone again) is because I have come to the conclusion in my life that just about ANYTHING is better than accepting certain energies of disrespect in my life. And I am willing to walk on whatever coals that present themselves in order to have peaceful, dynamic, engaged, loving relationships. Everything else can take a hike. This brand of maturity has been hard earned for me – but I have learned:
Respect for myself is respect for all life.
It is my highest value – and, excepting truly extraordinary circumstances, I am willing to walk the line for this one.
So how did it turn out? Well, I was immediately offered an apology. But I hung in there through various waves of mildly heated conversation until I was sure I had been heard. Although it is very nice to receive one – I didn’t really want an apology. What I wanted was an understanding that that kind of talk isn’t ok for me. It may be okay for everyone else – but not for me. And I was indeed heard – and deeply respected. The whole thing was an very satisfying up-leveling of communication between two awesome beings.
I am grateful indeed to this wonderful person who gave me an opportunity to put my heart’s value into action.
I am delighted to be offering several trainings and retreats next year to support people in coming more alive to their authenticity, and in developing the sort of spiritual self-confidence that ensures a resonant and rich experience of life, through thick and thin.
Write me and let me know if any of this sparks off a train of reflection for you. You know I love to hear from you!