Learning to Live My Light
One of the hallmarks of any spiritual journey is that at some point, you will be asked to surrender who you think you are. The Call seldom comes in an obvious form. For me, the invitation to reawaken to my true essence, to reclaim the sacred feminine within myself, wore a brilliant disguise: debilitating arm pain. I was being asked to lay down my arms, relinquish all the roles I'd been taught that had enabled me to arm myself against knowing who I am, in order to embrace something I couldn't outwardly touch.
It was a colossal summons. And I wasn't willing to answerat least, not without putting the caller on hold a few times, letting the answering machine get it, or pretending I'd erased the message.
I lost the use of my arms for over a year in 1993. The pain had been building for some time but, stoked on my burgeoning marketing communications business, piano lessons, and a ninety-miles-an-hour lifestyle that spelled "freedom" from the drudgery of nine-to-five, I ignored the warning signs. I was too busy; business was too good.
So Spirit took over. "Hello!" my angels roared in my ear. "We've been trying to get your attention, but you aren't listening. You've mastered being a successful businesswoman; we have other plans for you now." Suddenly, that was it. I could no longer just get an acupuncture treatment and go blithely back to the keyboard, the one connected to my Mac or to my electronic piano. I couldn't slice a carrot. I learned to give the thumbs up sign in my public speaking class, because clapping my hands sent my shoulders and elbows singing into agony.
Arms control. Put down your arms. The metaphors were all so clear. And in laying down my arms, I nestled into the energy of the Infinite, and began to feel that boundless, bountiful love holding me everywhere, always. This was the beginning.
Today, I use the archetypal Hero's Journey as a model in my work, because I lived into it so deeply. My own three-plus year initiation took me from California to rural New York State, later to New Mexico, then back to northern California. It wasn't until late in the journey that I realized I'd been on an extended vision quest. In other cultures there is ritual and guidance to help members of the tribe awaken and step fully into their power. They don't separate body, mind, emotions and spirit, so when the call comes, they answer it as a matter of course.
Since we have no template for spiritual emergence in Western culture, it tends to become a spiritual emergency. It's like those road signs you see when you're traveling that read, "Emergency Phone." Once I saw "Emergency Phone" and beneath it, "out of order," but my mind read it as, "Emergency! Phone out of order!" If there's no way to get the help we need when we need it, that's a real emergency. When this happens on the spiritual path, we're forced, often subconsciously, to create other doorways. My spiritual emergency took the form of illness.
In 3-D, it "looked like" I was really sick, and I certainly felt awful for quite a long time. However, Marianne Williamson, author of A Return To Love, says spiritual progress is like a detoxification, and that's exactly how it was for me, how it is for most of us. We have to clear out the old patterns and habits that no longer serve us in order to heal. For some people this doorway is getting married, or receiving their degree, or moving, or having someone close to them dieor maybe having a baby. The catalyst is anything that breaks us out of our day-to-day routine to reveal the dimension of the sacred.
The truth is, we're always just inches away from claiming ourselves, and it's the hardest work most of us will ever do. But once you begin, once you set the process in motion by stepping onto the transformational path, you're going to grow. In the final stages, nothing can stop a baby from being born. And we're all capable of this type of pregnancy, men and women. We are all able to give birth to our true selves. In this sense, a coach is a midwife. I called myself a "life purpose midwife" when I lived in Santa Fe, but most people thought I delivered babies. I said, "I help deliver your dreams!"
Because I spent many years in corporate America, resisting the call to step fully into my truth and my planetary service, a poem by Lee Carroll Pieper really resonates with me:
Many are called
Now, this certainly doesn't mean I think you should go out and quit your job tomorrow! It's more about bringing your full self into full self-expression. The question is, are you living a half-life, only glimpsing your Light? Many people are afraid to really live. We talk about near-death experiences, but many of us are having 'near-life' experiences, living what Thoreau called "lives of quiet desperation." I talk about this on my tape/CD. I say, "Ask yourself this question now: am I living by deadlines, or by lifelines? Living by lifelines is living by intention, rather than by accident."
On the journey, a deep remembering begins. Dreams often play a signifcant role. My dream life became extraordinary, simultaneous with being "out of mind." I wasn't sleeping much, so in a sense I'd created a drug-free altered state of reality, and within that, when I would sleep, I received messages of what was happening or would happen, though I couldn't usually decode them at the time! I call it, "What you know before you know that you know." It's your impulse to evolve, and you deny it at your own peril, because this is your soul inviting you to claim your destiny. Naturally, this is a little scary. It helps to think of it as an adventure.
You have to be willing to say "yes," to commit to taking responsibility for your own life. Responsibility means the ability to respond. This is the first gift you give yourself. Once you give yourself permission to be passionate, a whole host of support ushers from that.
Synchronicity and humor are two major tools that helped me understand I was undergoing an inner shift, what one friend dubbed "a watershed experience." For example, I've always had a relationship with my car as a symbol for my body. During this period, someone broke into my car, which had never happened before, but the lock didn't appear to be jimmied. After I got over the shock, I thought, hm, I'm so out of it these days, maybe I forgot to lock it? And then I realized, something's unlocking in me!
I had also decided to subscribe to a magazine called Parabola, which comes out quarterly and bases each issue on a theme. The theme of the first issue I received, which was right before I left California to move to New York, was titled, "The Call." There are no coincidences.
Here's another example. In the summer of '93 I had pneumonia, a major spiritual gateway for me. During this period I faced the idea of death, and understood for the first time that I hadn't yet served; that is, given my gift to the world. One day soon after my recovery, I was walking down the street and the San Francisco Examiner delivery truck passed by. Painted on the side of the truck were the words, "And suddenly you understand."
The Meaning of Resistance
It's radical, thinking and living outside-the-box, because we're born into a very either/or world. Everything is black or white, yes or no, very binaryzeros and ones are what pilot our computers! And while technology is a fabulous tool, we're so much more than binary systems. Holding the both/and, embracing paradox, means stepping outside the "this or that" choices you're accustomed to, and holding two or more seemingly juxtaposed ideas in mind at once. Can you become chaotically content, can you create raging inner peace? Can you be a work in progress and realize you're already a masterpiece?
For me, resistance was a major stumbling block that I needed to polish into a stepping stone. When we can relinquish our love of resistance, we become irresistible to our good! Norman Cousins once said, "It's not just the congestion outside us, of people's ideas and issues, but our inner congestion that's hurting us. We gorge the senses and starve the sensitivities." That's maximum resistance. So this work is about coming to our senses. Beginning to really feel, and to trust what we feel.
In my talks, I emphasize that the key is to bless the fear, because fear is perfectly normal. Just don't give all your power away to it! It's the same with difficulties. Our problems are like the irritation from the grain of sand in an oyster. In trying to alleviate the irritation, the oyster spins a pearl. So be grateful for all your challenges, because here's the opportunity to transform your life.
Surrendering to the unknown is a huge step on the spiritual path. Once we say yes, give ourselves permission to be passionate, and enter the void of not knowing what happens next, surrendering is the quantum leap. We do the work that growth requires by enlarging the lens, by looking with fresh eyes. Marcel Proust said, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." We allow our resistance to morph into resilience.
One way to release resistance is to do ceremony around it. We're entering an evolutionary phase that doesn't exist on present mental road maps, and our individual and collective resistance is like holding a close-out sale on the mind. All of our dearly entrenched beliefs and ideas that no longer serve need to be cleared out to make room for the new. I've often found it very helpful to write down whatever my old agreement or contract was, what's kept me in bondage, and then burn it over the toilet or by a body of water. You can also shred the paper and bury it in the earth.
After doing this, write a new contract in the present tense, "I now create..." and put this where you can see it every day, such as on your refrigerator.
The main point to remember is that when we live our light, we use our energy, and when we resist our light, we confuse our energy. So choose to use your energy, or you'll confuse your energy!
All of these tools are really memory triggers, because what we need to know is already coded in our cells. The vision quest is a homecoming. A musician friend of mine says we need to "retrue to what's true," like aligning the wheels on a bicycle. Most of us know how to be sturdy containers for the negative, so by coming home to ourselves, we can turn the garbage into a gardenthe first three letters are the same. We can fertilize our future with certified organic thought!
Just keep calling on your inner wisdom for guidance. Once you're free enough of static, you'll be able to tune into the frequency of harmony and recognize the messages when they come through. We can all become wide receivers, like in football. Get on the same frequency as what's coming toward you, and you'll catch it!
By the way, "it" doesn't care what you call "it." Living your Light isn't about being religious, but about having faith in some force or presence or creative intelligence that can help you see more clearly how to live in alignment with your highest good.
I've called on Spirit, Jesus, various incarnations of the Goddess, and others. It's the Light behind the form that's most important, and this light shines from every one of us, when we allow it to shine. Often it's far easier to "shop"and I know, because I spent my Wonder Years in a shopping mall in Paramus, New Jersey, the shopping capital of the Milky Way! So this is the great teaching and challenge for each of us, every day: to keep choosing the highest, to keep letting our Light shine.
Most of us were taught to hide our Light under a basket. That won't work anymore. We need every single person living his or her truth in order to bring about a quantum change in consciousness. It's like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, with each of us holding a key piece. Leave just one of us out, and something crucial is missing. I'm reminded of an old country tune that went, "You might be the only Bible/Another man ever reads." You may be the only candle to illumine someone else's path.
It's my joy to invoke and inspire you to grow beyond what you think is possibleto leap luminously into your full potential as a planetary being of Light.
As a "midwife for the soul," Amara Rose offers life purpose coaching, talks, tapes/CDs, e-courses, playshops, retreats, and a FREE inspirational monthly newsletter, "What Shines." Please visit http://www.liveyourlight.com to learn more. Contact Amara at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call: 1-800-862-0157.
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