“Negative” Emotions Contain Gifts! What?
There is tremendous power in developing a perspective that all experiences are a potential spiritual teacher.
Many of us know what it feels like - to get stuck in Resentment, Regret, Remorse, Shame and Grudges – and the reasons we get stuck are often really subtle, so we don’t even realize how entrenched we are – until one day – we can see it plain as day. Maybe this day – will be that day – for you.
Remember that you came with a purpose and intention. You came with some gifts. Your job is to remember who you were - before you developed the power leaks that we’re addressing today. If this post isn’t for you – it may be for someone you love – so stick with me as we dig in.
It may seem crazy - but in my experience many people are still convinced that holding themselves back will somehow eventually propel themselves forward. As a result, they have developed habits that have them living their life in reverse. This happens when we get caught in thought loops that center around what happened – instead of what’s standing right in front of us right now.
Here, let me show you how.
Most of us had kid hoods that were filled with experiences that left us feeling disconnected from ourselves. When those types of things happen to us often enough - the feelings they produce get ingrained. Even though the reality of that disconnection - is of no service to us - there is an addiction that forms - without us even noticing.
We can have a kid hood filled with confusion, disappointment, anger, silence and other forms of pain – and if it happens consistently - we end up forming a secret addiction to those feelings on an energetic level – so we unconsciously find ourselves in situations that result in more of those kid hood feelings - all the way to our adulthood.
Remember, the ego’s sole purpose - is to keep us safe - and it is under the impression that in order to keep us safe - it has to keep us in the familiar.
So, we inadvertently become an energetic match to all kinds of people and situations that reinforce our secret addictions.
When you find yourself looking back at your life, it could be your childhood - it could be a past relationship - it could be a conversation you had last week or it could be the way you talk to yourself about yourself - you know…all those mistakes you've made over a lifetime - all the judgments you have about yourself.
When you find yourself going down memory lane - but the memory isn't filled with anything sweet, soft or tender – instead it's filled with regret, resentment, grief, shame, grudges, and disappointment. You’re caught in your addiction.
It's happened to me, many times.
Years ago, now, a relationship I thought would last forever - ended. And it ended pretty badly. And through a very peculiar set of circumstances, I ended up – by myself - on a piece of property in the middle of nowhere. None of that was my dream or desire. It had been my former partner's dream and desire. But I was the one stuck with it.
Not only was I in a very remote location – it was a mess. I was all alone. My good friends and the small amount of family I had, were over 1000 miles away. I had unceremoniously landed on a piece of land that was - overgrown and overrun – with a house that most would have called untenable.
Four years earlier, I had moved across country to create a dream with a bunch of old friends - in a part of the country I was unfamiliar with. Over a decade earlier - this small group of dreamers had come up with this idea of creating an Arthouse for Artists to perform, display their work, connect with each other – a beautiful and inviting space that honored the creative. It was a fairly vague idea but every time we got together, over the years we found ourselves talking about it – the dream never lost its intensity.
We had looked for land from one end of the country to the other – and nothing resonated – until one day I got a call at work to say – two of my good friends had found just the right spot. It was in a town of 39 people – with an old Catholic Rectory that hadn’t been used for its intended purpose for decades. It was rundown – but showed promise – and on a quick weekend recognisance mission to check it out– I decided within minutes that I was ready to jump in.
I went home and quit my job – sold my house – and took a 6-month bike trip through Europe and then drove a thousand miles to the soon-to-be “Arthouse”.
It didn’t take me long to realized that over the 10 years since the dream began, my friends and I had very different priorities, values, and beliefs. I had changed too much and no longer fit in.
The answers to the questions I should have asked before moving - were suddenly very clear - but it was way too late to address them. There I was – in someone else’s dream – and I was seemingly a million miles away from home. I knew I needed to leave – but I couldn’t, easily go back, to the city I loved or the job or home I had had there – all of that was gone for me.
About a decade after the Arthouse fell apart for me – a second opportunity came that was even better than the first. I magnificent setting, a spectacular building, solid funding and an idea that had the whole community lit up. A retreat centre focusing on Personal Development and Health. There would be - organic gardens and fine dining - world-class speakers - well-appointed rooms - and ME smack dab in the centre of my comfort zone! It was perfect.
My business cohort and I - had a 5-year plan and we began with nothing but enthusiasm. We started building a team and making changes to the facility – our plan was unfolding quickly. Three and a half months into the project – the landlord broke the lease for no apparent reason – and as a result the funding disappeared. All of us were left dumbfounded and utterly heart-broken – and completely in shock.
Three big disappointments inside of a decade and each of them had me reeling. I indulged myself in Resentment, Regret, Grudges, Shame and Disappointment until I could get far enough away from each (in time) to see the gifts they offered.
Selling my city house when I did - in order to be part of the Arthouse – created a good chunk of cash that allowed me to travel through Europe for six months on my bike - and have enough to live on for over a year while we all redeemed a century old 6000sf rundown brick farmhouse - into all of its former glory. The work was satisfying – I learned to demolish and rebuild. I learned to drywall and paint and cut trim work – I learned about wells and septic tanks and needing to be resourceful - I learned skills that were outside my initial interests – but were so satisfying to know.
But more importantly than all of that - this setting - served as a place where I found myself in more ways than one – and after a year and a half I found the courage to walk away from something that wasn’t true to me – and found a new dream – my dream – and in so doing – caught one of my first glimpses of the Authentic ME!
In the new city an hour and a half from where I had first landed – I started my own company in a community that supported me in such a fantastic way that I got be involved in some amazing projects and opportunities – those projects and events still hold some incredibly fond memories for me. Branching out on my own – allowed me to see my gifts and abilities and it built my confidence. It helped me catch another glimpse of who I came to BE!.
The relationship that ended prior to me landing in the middle of nowhere – on a piece of land that was never my dream – was the death of me, giving myself away - to someone who could not see ME! Mostly because I couldn’t SEE myself!
I came out of that relationship understanding that I had no clue who I was – or what I wanted - and I spent 3 years in a desolate and lonely place - healing, regrouping and doing the type of work we’re doing here on this show – so that I could rid myself of my Power Leaks and begin my journey of remembering who I came to be - and what I came to do.
I also got to use all the skills I had learned at the Arthouse to redeem the rundown country property. The house transformed, the yard transformed, and I transformed. The eye-sore turned into a piece of paradise – but it took a great deal of work.
I also found out that this busy city girl – was built for the kind of life that thrives in the quietness of the country - where one can not only hear the buzz of the hummingbirds – but also the chirp of the crickets and the clicking of the lightening bugs .
Where one can sit under stars so big and so bright - against a dark blue sky and fold yourself into the all-that-is - and be part of something far greater than my little home in the middle of nowhere.
While I was at that place – that I did not choose - getting to know myself and remembering the Me I came to be Kali was living her life more than 1500 miles away – we met on a dating app.
She was a mountain girl like me, with a dream to have enough land for horses.
She didn’t know what I had when we first began to talk, and I didn’t know what she was longing for.
The higher priority for both of us - was that we wanted to be with someone - who’d done their work – who made a spiritual walk their highest priority. Someone with a big sense of humour - who loved the outdoors – and the company of hummingbirds, crickets, lightening bugs, dogs, cats and all kinds of other creatures living in the woods and fields.
When we finally met in person - it was like “going home”. We knew each other without saying a word. That doesn’t mean it’s always been easy – but I dare – for now – it is a perfect match.
Each of those stories were much more complex than I’ve described. Lessons were messy and hard and confusing and painful. I spent so much time angry and scared and overwhelmed. I was in a mess and I was alone. I was as confused as anyone could be - at why things happened the way they did.
It is only in retrospect that I can see the gifts.
The retreat centre is still a bit of a mystery. It might have been my secret addiction to be in my power leak of disappointment - if that one is new to you – go back to my Podcast # 13.
Whatever it was – it got me to a place of understanding myself even better – and there’s no loss in that.
Kali and I moved back to the mountains a few years ago now – and I am both happy and content. Our whole family is healthy and enjoying life and we’re looking for land again – because this city girl longs to hear the birds and bugs while sitting under an enormous sky under a gigantic moon and a blanket of stars.
Turns out I am creating my retreat online and meeting people from all over the world - and it will perhaps be more perfect for me than the other retreat centre would have been – I will never know that for sure.
Some things remain a mystery. But the truth – ALL of those uncomfortable, painful and disappointing situations came with gifts. All of them are part of why I am who I am. Through all of the pain and confusion and disappointment and resentment – I’ve discovered more and more about who I came to be and what I’ve come to offer.
Now, it doesn’t take me quite so long these days - to get to the place of peace - when life doesn’t go as planned. The resistance only seems to prolong the pain. I am learning to view unexpected situation as surprizes from the universe – and that there are gifts and magic in everything if you can wait a bit, until you can see them.
I’ve learned to let go of agenda and wait for the unfolding. People who knew me ten years ago would not recognize me now – and I kind of like that – I was less of who I came to be, back then. This version is so much closer to who I came to be.
So – why am I telling you all of this – maybe there’s something you’re having difficulty reconciling. There’s something or someone that hurt or disappointed you - and you wish you could go back and change it. Maybe it’s got you stuck in the mire of a grudge - that only serves to keep you stuck, in an energy that will offer you no peace – and it has you missing out on the gift that situation came with.
I used to think a time machine was what I needed - to go back and change things – to say something that would win the day – to alter my state of reality for the better. To somehow undo what’s been done. I doubt I’m alone. Have you ever dreamed of something like that? Maybe you still do?
What happens when you tether yourself to the past like that? You stay there – spinning – lost in time and space – missing out on all - that could be right in front of you right now – if you’d choose to be in curiosity and anticipation instead of fear, regret, grudges, shame and disappointment.
But how do you move on?
You move on.
I know that’s super technical and difficult to get – but if you don’t deliberately change – you will continue to get what you get – oh it may seem better for a bit – but if you’re swimming in a power leak of bitterness, shame, regret, disappointment, anger and grudges – you stay an energetic match to those things.
No matter what it is – no matter how unfair it was – no matter how mean they were – no matter what they took from you – let it go. Find the gift – even if that gift is that you know where your line is now – my god girl – you know where you line is now! That’s more than most people pick up in a lifetime.
Drop the Resentment, Regret, Grudges, Bitterness, Shame or Disappointment – drop it like it’s a hot potato because it is – and the only one who ever gets burned is you.
It happened – but it is no longer happening. It’s a story that you’re stuck in – and there’s no power in holding on to old sh!t that you can’t change.
Drop the pain – but pick up the gift.
Write it out – talk it out – hey, when I got dumped on the country property in the middle of nowhere – I walked country roads for 3 months and cried and shouted until I lost my voice. I got it out of me – so I could find my way - back to me.
Do it. Do whatever it takes to get rid of the pain and find the gift.
If this is resonating with you and you want a bit more help – I’m going to plug my book - Weird Hummingbirds – Unleash Your Life because it goes into far greater detail than I can in a post like this and it is filled with some great tools to walk you through many different power leaks.
So, what have you decided to hold onto that is causing you nothing but pain and disconnection?
You know the saying about Choosing NOT to forgive, holding resentment or grudges is like taking poison but expecting someone else to die.
Do you need to forgive someone?
Do you need to let yourself off the hook?
What do you need to let go of – so you can move on?
Find the gifts sister – find the gift.
By Layne Smith-Brown