What Makes Anything Good or Bad?
How My Parent’s Opinions Left Me Empty and Confused on What Life is All About!
It’s fascinating to me how twisted our perceptions can be – based on what we witnessed as kids!!
I grew up with parents who thought that their job was to stay on some “magical mystical path” that God had created for them. The path was a secret – you never really knew if you were on it or not – this state of unknowing was not fun to watch – and I absorbed a lot of that growing up.
Sometimes my dad would say he was ON it when things went badly. His reasoning was that God was teaching him some great lesson. Then he’d go to the other side and say he as ON the path when things were going right. So, I picked up that God was pretty fickle and hard to please.
Really? Things can go good or bad – and either of them can mean either I’m on the right path or NOT on the right path. That doesn’t sound right to me at all! You?
That belief plus the whole “sin” thing had me rather messed up for a lot of years. It all seemed built on the premise that I couldn’t trust myself – that I was innately bad. I concluded that I couldn’t trust God as the rules seemed whimsical and obscure.
Through all of my exploration over the last three decades I’ve come to believe we’re all cosmic beings. We are pure unadulterated energy – nothing but endless possibilities – and we are an intrinsic to and inseparable from the universe and we CHOSE to have a human experience.
If that’s new to you – maybe you’ve heard of Albert Einstein? He has this rather famous theory that “Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another.”
That’s Me! That’s You! That’s Us! That’s Everything; god, goddess, the universe, the divine, the collective consciousness, LOVE – whatever you like. It’s all energy – all connected – all forever continuing in one form or another – it never dies it only transmutes into other forms.
What is it that happens to us that disconnects us from that truth, and has us thinking that the current circumstances of our life can be right or wrong, good or bad, on the path or off the path?
Conditioning. You know, all that stuff handed down to us that was meant to control us – it had us looking to others for our sense of self and worthiness and direction.
Am I a good girl? What makes me a good girl? Being a nurturer makes me a good girl? Having my own opinions and saying them out loud makes me a bad girl? Having a dream for my life makes me good? Or Bad? Putting others first makes me a good girl? Following my own passions makes me a bad girl? Not wanting to be married – bad! Not wanting kids – bad! Not wanting to settle down – bad! Being free-spirited and full of passion – bad! Being a powerful sexual autonomous being - bad and terrifying!
So - this concept of bad and good has really messed us up and so we often look at what is – and wonder if we’ve done something wrong to be in this position.
But we also know that everything is simply energy so every “what is” can be transformed into something new. But how?
You see, the trouble is always in the judgement. Did you grow up hearing that you only have one life? I did. It was a lot of pressure to get things right – especially since what lay in the balance was either heaven or hell – and that feels like a nasty game of “chicken”, where you never knew for sure where you stood – maybe you’ll win – maybe you’ll lose.
There is no perfect path. There is no displeasing god (by whatever name you chose to call her) there is only infinite love and grace.
The fact that we are pure energy – full of possibilities – never ending – always transmuting – gives us a tremendous amount of hope – don’t you think? We’re here to experience with this human version of ourselves – we’re here to taste and smell and touch and feel and experience our lives – every inkling and desire from love - is for us to experience. No wrong step. Just growth.
I know at a SOUL level each of us has chosen our experiences – oh we can resist that – or accept that – that is entirely our choice. But I’ve honestly never seen the upside of resisting what is. When our response is acceptance; the “what is” – changes. It moves on to the next iteration of itself – it’s as if some cosmic force is saying “come this way – come this way” as if the “what is” – is some sort of cookie crumb pathway back to the heart of who you are and the gift you’ve come to bring.
Can you look back on your life and see the truth of that? Something you thought was scary or unbearable at the time and it turns out that resisting it made it all the worse. Have you ever had it turn out well – or even better than expected?
Feel what you’re going through – whether you’ve judged it as good or bad. Feel it and accept it and understand that in so doing – it will move on.
Mother Theresa is credited for saying “What you fight – weakens YOU!” I think she’s on to something.
You are more powerful than you chose to believe sometimes. You think it’s all too much – but when you let it go – it suddenly becomes something that you CAN go through – and you CAN learn and grow and change.
For me this idea of Letting Go – is me understanding that I am connected to something far greater than the little human me walking the earth. In the moment of letting go – I personally am declaring that I am beyond the capabilities of this human self and I fall back into the All That Is – the Collective Subconscious Mind that knows all things.
Now – if you think I’ve gone all airy fairy on you – consider this. We’re currently hurling through space at breakneck speeds, there is a light source that if moved even the tiniest bit in any direction could either burn us up or freeze us out – and yet we go about our business not really thinking about it.
For most of us – we breathe without recognizing the miracle of it. Our heart beats without us giving it a second thought. Our blood circulates throughout our body and there are systems in place to clean it and protect it from intruders. We consume food and drink – and not only can we enjoy it – but we can assimilate it into our body and eliminate what is no longer required – that’s just a bit of what most of us completely take for granted while going about our day – but it truly is awesome in the truest sense of the word.
If all of that is going on without us having to concern ourselves in any meaningful way – why do we get so attached to our lives and what should and shouldn’t be happening? Good question no?
Whatever it is – let it go.
My partner Kali had a teacher named Katherine Lucier, many years ago that used this line I’m about to share – we use it whenever we feel ourselves being impatient or if something feels like it's not going our way. It’s saved us a crazy amount of frustration over the years. It may do the same for you. Here it is!
Do your work lovingly.
Pay attention to the details.
Let go of your attachment to the outcome.
Perhaps you’re concerned with something at work like a project that needs to be completed - or maybe it’s about a personal relationship and how you expect the other person to respond.
Perhaps your kids aren’t following the path you wished for them or maybe you’re being impatient about your own personal growth. Are there expectations and outcomes that come to mind for you?
Our attachments to expected outcomes can trip us up. Often, outcomes are contingent on another’s behavior and, short of forcing someone’s hand, that person’s behavior is still the sole responsibility of them, not you.
We can convince ourselves for a while that WE are the ones in control of them, but sooner or later the truth comes out. We can only control ourselves and what we do - but not the reaction of others.
So, what are we left with?
- Doing our work lovingly
- Paying attention to the details
These are the two places where we have all the control.
How do you do your work lovingly? When you build a birdhouse, think about how the birds will enjoy their new home, when you smell the flowers appreciate their beauty and fragrance and the bees and bugs who enjoy them too! When you drive the kids to school, catch up on their lives or just get lost in the satisfaction that these little beings decided to join you on your journey, and they are filled with gifts for you. When you run a corporation, understand the intention of your company, and hold fast to those values. When you chair a committee, realize that everyone at the table has something to offer.
We do our work lovingly by being present each and every moment and in having all our energy there. That’s THE work. We don’t have to master it right now – but practicing is what gets us there. So, practice.
When you do your work lovingly, you’re in tune with who you are at a deep level, not just with your physical shell but with your conscious connection to your Divine Intuition. When you do your work lovingly you are connecting to your natural abilities and it is then that you ignite the passion in yourself.
Love doesn’t necessarily arrive like a lightning bolt or a big burst of cosmic power. It often appears as a feeling of peace. And when it arrives, you just KNOW everything is going to work itself out.
How do you pay attention to YOUR details? Are you inclined to make lists and check them off as completed? Do you establish more of a general overview and keep tabs on things as time unfolds? Perhaps you operate more on a gut instinct and respond to what’s in front of you? No matter how you personally approach the details, it’s about being present in the moment and paying attention to what you need to pay attention to. The inevitability of noticing the details or being in the moment is once again a feeling of peacefulness and an understanding that you’ve done your part and that you’ve done your part well.
If you’ve brought ALL your love, natural abilities and gifts to the matter, then you’ve done enough. You’ve done all you can do.
This is really a study in understanding the essence of what you want. Perhaps you want a project to go well, a relationship to go better, your kids to launch or land well, or simply to experience joy in your life. Letting go of the how is one of the most life transforming gifts you can give to yourself and to the people around you.
Are there places in your life where you need things to be a certain way in order to be happy? Do you need a person to behave in a specific way to be content? Do you expect yourself to act a certain way in order to believe in your own personal value? If something comes to mind, are you interested in approaching it in a new way? Are you willing to bring your love and ability to it and let the chips fall where they may?
Do what you can - do your work lovingly and pay attention to the details. Let go of your attachment to the outcome.
Are there places in your life where you’re trying to change an outcome? If so, can you allow yourself the perspective of this will work out exactly as it needs to? This simple act of letting go is the first step to changing your behavior and moving yourself to a state of trust and peacefulness.
You my dear are enough!
You are on the path! And the path will continue to unfold.
Each step of the way – you will get more and more in touch with who you are and what you’ve come to offer. Embrace the discomfort as part of the growing pains – let it go – and see where it takes you.
You’re in the right place at the right time and everything is working out in your favor!
If you’ve been trying to control things until now – know that your ego is going to keep reminding and “encouraging” you to go back to that old familiar feeling – remember our comeback line from previous blogs - when you feel yourself going back to the control-freak stance – “I used to believe that but I no longer do” – “I used to believe that but I no longer do”. It works for me – it’ll work for you.
And here’s another one – when things seem difficult – get quiet, put your hand on your heart and just quietly say over and over again “what am I not seeing that would be helpful to see?” - “what am I not seeing that would be helpful to see?”.
Look, we all have blind spots and inviting the collective consciousness or the subconscious or the great mystery to show us what that might be – can also move us into a clearer connection with the truth of who we are and what we’ve come to offer.
You’re a beautiful being of light and I’m thankful you spent this time with me!
By Layne Smith-Brown