“You are what you pay attention to.” ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
A pretty profound statement, really.
This morning I was thinking about reflections, about where, what, and whom we look to for a reflection of who we are – or who we believe ourselves to be. What and where and whom we habitually look to reinforces our sense of identity and our idea of what we are capable of.
When I was a young girl growing up in my particular family, there were certain things that were more acceptable ‘to be’ than others – like sweet, polite, and agreeable; toned down and quiet rather than boisterous. It was acceptable for me to be small, to contain my natural power rather than challenge the power of the adults in any way. That was the parenting style of the time. A child was to be seen and not heard – especially girls.
For most of my adult life, without even realizing it, I continued to seek out reflections that showed me I was good, polite, toned down, etc. to make me feel at home, comfortable, like myself – the self I long ago constructed so that I would be always ‘acceptable’. And in order to find these reflections, I had to continue to believe I am and BE only these things.
But, the reality is that underneath it all, I am a lot more than these qualities.
In the creativity courses I teach,
I offer to my students the understanding that our true nature is made up of a myriad of essential qualities, meaning natural and organic qualities that we already are without having to learn them or acquire them.
In fact, we cannot acquire them for they are what we are. They are essential to who we are.
The main essential qualities – soul qualities of our essential nature, of Essence itself – are compassion, joy, intuition, strength, will, and power. These qualities reflect our essential nature. Let that sink in. These six qualities are qualities of the nature within you.
These qualities ARE you.
We lose touch with them is that we come to disidentify from them. I mainly disidentified with joy, strength, and will. As a polite girl, it was necessary to not be too willful. As a girl who learned that she got strokes from being nice and unassuming, my essential strength, will, and power went undergound, into the shadow. And, as a girl who learned to identify with others’ suffering, I pushed my natural joyous – boisterous, really – self away. Living as the girl I described above, compassion and intuition were acceptable qualities and so it wasn’t a problem for me to stay connected to these in order to maintain my constructed identity. In fact, I got really good at living these qualities. They became emphasized.
In reality, it isn’t that we disconnect completely from any of them, but what I’ve found is that we ‘pretend’ to ourselves that some of them are ‘more like’ the identity we created than the others.
Essential Qualities and Facing Life Challenges
Take a moment to sense which of these six qualities you were able to stay connected to and which ones you ‘disallowed’ due to the identity you created:
Now, think about the qualities you learned weren’t okay to show. These are the ones you have a hard time accessing. And then consider the challenges you face right now – and the things that have always been a challenge for you. Ask yourself if the reason these things seem challenging to you is because you cannot fully access these certain qualities. If so, notice if you are reluctant to pursue these challenges because you believe ‘you don’t have what it will take’ to meet them. That belief comes from the fact you don’t have full access to your essential qualities and somewhere you know it. You BELIEVE you don’t have what these challenges will take.
Every single human being is born with full and open access to everything we need in order to live our lives. We’ve just lost connection to some of them.
After my husband died, I faced a great many challenges and at the time I thought for sure I didn’t have what it would take to face them. But, as I stepped through each one, I became stronger, more resilient, more powerful than I had been prior. And the deeper and more fully I grieved, the more joy I began to feel again.
Here’s the great news…
My late husband’s death pushed me into rediscovering these qualities, but we can choose to step into our challenges knowing we have exactly what we need to move through them.
We remember and reclaim access to these qualities by more consciously living the challenges we face in life. Challenges help us remember the depth and breadth of our capacities. Each challenge is the opportunity to discover our natural strength, power, will, intuition, joy, and compassion…and many of the other myriad unique qualities our soul possesses.
Think about that. Consider the challenges you are personally facing. What frightens you about these challenges? Now, for a moment, think about which qualities would support you to R I S E up to meet these challenges. Which of the six do you need but you don’t feel you have access to? Here’s the secret. It is by beginning to meet that challenge – committing to it and moving through the creative process within it – that the qualities are called forth.
It is by meeting these challenges with love and courage that you rediscover you are Love, you are intuitive, you are strong and powerful and joyous at your core.
These times are asking us to reclaim who we are. This is how we evolve – by becoming conscious of our essential nature and expressing this nature into the world.
As we begin to notice our natural, organic qualities, we connect to the fluidity of these qualities, which connects us to the experience of being alive rather than a still frame of a picture of who we decided we were some time ago.
By living our challenges, we begin to feel who we are rather than believing in any static idea of who we are.
Registration is now open for R I S E – my new course.
R I S E is a 9-week course that will give you practical and potent tools to rediscover these qualities by taking immediate creative action in the world. The course is based on powerful Stanford University curriculum and it provides…
- A foundation of tools, practices, and understandings from which to take clear action – the kind of action that often feels frightening and overwhelming without these tools and understandings.
- Experiential and practical exercises to guide you to discover deeper and deeper layers of your true nature and how it desires to express itself in the world.
- The realization that there is no ONE WAY to R I S E and that what R I S E even means is different to each of us.
- An understanding that while these times feel challenging, it is the very nature of challenges to bring our best selves forward in order to bring forth a more creative, loving, joyful culture.
- and so much more…
Find out more here. I’d love to have you take this journey with me!