Life Is My Teacher
When I was about six years old I received an essential teaching from an old woman sitting in the sun. I was walking by her house one day feeling lonely, unloved, and mad, kicking anything I could find. Laughing, she said to me, "Little girl, don't you go letting life harden your heart."
Right there, I received this pith instruction: we can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us. We always have this choice.
- Pema Chödrön
One of my SHEroes, Pema Chodron shared her heart’s wisdom with this story and my mind opened to the life I have been given.
Lately I’ve been called to consciously cultivate my connection to Spirit - aka Higher Power, Intuition, The Universe, Angels, Mother Earth, Father Sky - use whatever language you want. Spirit doesn’t get caught up in formalities or labels, only humans do.
As I satiate my thirst to connect with and invoke the great guidance of Spirit, I am being comforted by an inner-knowing that I never walk alone. I am supported and guided by something beyond words and way bigger than me. A force that holds me when I feel alone. Fills me with vitality when I’m depleted. Flows through me as collective wisdom. Floods me with faith when the days are dark. It’s the source energy I now tap into when seeking clarity, resilience and boundless inspiration.
Here’s the dilemma. I’m a spiritual being living in a human body.
Hello, my name is Robin and I am a living, breathing, card-carrying emotional human being. There are times when I go into robot mode, unconsciously being controlled by automatic programming and fear-based thinking. I can defend, resist and grasp for control with the best of them. When that happens, I lose connection with Spirit. Intuition disappears in the shadows. It’s back to slugfest and survival mentality.
I find it fascinating that both possibilities live in me, but they do. And they live in everyone else too, including you. So, I’m learning to toggle back and forth between the two. Being liberated and informed by spirit while taking wise and intentional action in my human body. One complements the other, making my whole self incredibly powerful.
How does that relate to Pema’s story about life being my teacher? I believe that my soul has chosen this lifetime, at this moment in HERstory, to show up and make a difference. To open my heart. To give power to my voice. To courageously speak truth to power.
For me, that means every moment of this life I have been given is a gift. A messenger. A masterful teacher presenting an opportunity for me to listen, learn and grow. Every prickly human being, every difficult emotion, every physical contraction and every moment of suffering has shown up on my life’s path to awaken my heart. To challenge me to become a better version of the already badass woman I am. Here’s the doozy. Especially the messy and difficult stuff. All of my life’s experiences act as a carrier pigeon, delivering the exact teaching I am meant to receive. And if I don’t learn the lesson and transform my reactivity into an open heart full of curiosity, empathy and the courage to act, it’s rinse and repeat until I do.
Simple occurrences of an ordinary day are filled with countless moments for me to close my heart. I’m talking about moments of dis*ease when I run away from what scares me. You know, small things like the feeling of being rejected, being dismissed, not belonging, not being lovable. Those painful moments and difficult emotions can shut me down quicker than Trump can tweet out another lie.
Side note: Admittedly, that’s my petty, snarky human voice talking. Spirit would rise above. In this instance, I choose to give power to my humanity!
Back to the point. Faith (spirit realm) is fueled by courage (human reality). It takes faith for me to trust that whatever shows up on my life’s path is a beloved teacher, especially when it’s hard. It takes courage to turn toward that discomfort and let it show me exactly where I am holding back and shutting-down. To allow the pain to act as an initiator, who illuminates with radical honesty, the places where I’m stuck.
Life isn’t happening to me. Life is happening for me.
When those challenging and difficult moments arise and you begin to harden, reverting back to old patterns and behaviors that no longer serve your best self, try this. Ask for guidance. Soften. Surrender to the experience as it is, allowing yourself to become a student of reality. Receive your teaching. What is this moment waking you up to? What old ways of being are you ready to release? Now, get back into your human body. What is the next most appropriate action for you to take?
Giddy-up. We’ve got big shit to do in this lifetime.
Grace's next Sisterhood Circle is happening March 28-30, 2019, in Sedona Arizona. That's the moment when 8-12 badass sisters will become a force - getting real about what we're here to do and reclaiming our power.
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