Spiritual Bypassing

spiritual bypassing

As I am getting to know my shadow piece around self-righteousness something that has come up for me is spiritual bypassing which is directly connected to this shadow aspect. Spiritual bypassing, in my mind, is when we (I) attempt to deny our shadow pieces exist (enter: self-righteousness). Spiritual bypassing is me wanting to stay in my “love the world, heal the world” space without acknowledging my “I want to burn this shit down” piece. What grounds me is remembering my AND. For me to be balanced it cannot just be peace, love, and happiness.. It has to be peace, love, and fuck this day I am taking a nap. or peace, love, and leave me the hell alone. or panic attack, accidentally break a plate, and curse in front of a child. Sometimes there is no peace and love to balance my darkness and my humanness.

I am not some enlightened spiritual being, that is not my  truth – as much as I wish it were. I am human. I am light, and dark, and gray. I am pixie dust, rose petals, and dirty words at inappropriate moments. I am painting, and empathy, and judging some guy for all that cheese he is eating. There has to be room for my light, my darkness, and my absolute humanness.

It is strange to think that something like our spirituality can actually have a shadow aspect, it can and it does. Everything is made up of both, that is the AND.

My truth is I am not without my judgements. I don’t know that I ever will be. That would be a pretty enlightened place but I am not sure I will ever get there truly, not during my human life at least. So rather than have judgement about my judgements I am trying to start by just acknowledging their existence. Once I am able to do that I try to get to know them a little better, like a new acquaintance; what can you tell me about yourself self-righteousness? You tend to pity people, okay, tell me more about that.

Judging my shadow parts does not make them go away, it really seems counter productive. I just have to be honest with myself and stop worrying about what everyone else will think. Ultimtaley this work is not about the world accepting my darkness, it is about me accepting me. Whose to say my darkness is any less special or beautiful than my  light? Me that is who. I am the only person I need to be listening to.

I am getting there. Slowly. But slow progress is still progress.

shadow

Righteous

The word righteous has come up three times so far this year. I do not remember this word coming into my life once in the last ten years.

Yes Universe, I am listening exactly what message are you trying to send me right now?

Two of the times this word came up was in the context of two completely unrelated people “acting self-righteous”. My skin crawled a bit each time that judgement was used but I moved on.

The third time it was my mother telling me that I am kind and righteous in the form of a compliment. I know her words were well intentioned but that word being used to describe me took me from skin-crawling to feeling completely covered in slimy shame and disgust.

Apparently I have a problem with this word. I have been sitting with this truth for weeks in order to understand it better.

I emailed one of my soul friends at one point and asked her what the word meant to her and what her first reaction to the word was.

She emailed me back the following:

First thought, used today as old-school surfer slang. Second, of or pertaining to goodness. Third, negative connotation related to disparaging accusations like “self-righteous”.

I emailed her back and agreed those were my thoughts and reactions to the word as well but in reverse.

My first thought/reaction is the judgement statement around being “self-righteous”.

My second thought has to do with pureness and goodness.

My third thought takes me to a Jeff Spicoli type character riding a wave in California.

spicoli

I guess it is a matter of perspective, and the experiences guiding the perspective of myself and my soul friend are different so it makes sense that we would come at this word from different directions.

I am realizing I struggle with this word for two reasons (there might be more than two reasons but so far two main reasons have risen to the surface for me).

  1. The Us vs Them mentality. What is the difference between myself, who my mother referred to as righteous, and the other individuals who have been labeled as self-righteous? My truth: very little. Compassion tells me that very little separates me from these individuals. These individuals are both righteous AND self-righteous, just as I am both righteous AND self-righteous, just as we all are both righteous AND self-righteous. Righteous is white light and Self-Righteous is black darkness, together the white and the black, the light and dark come together in truth: GRAY.
  2. Religious undertones. For me this word takes me straight to the church, it takes me to a place of pain and ridicule and otherness. My truth is that if this is a matter of Us vs. Them, I am on the Them side of that fence, not the Us.

The second struggle is my truer struggle I think. I already know my truth when it comes to Us vs. Them mentality, if that was my only issue I would have moved on quickly without giving it much thought because I am sound in my truth. The reason I was so triggered and felt myself linger in this place of feeling triggered was because of my second struggle.

Righteous is word that belongs to the church and I will never again belong to the church so that word can never ever be part of me.

Wrong.

I can reclaim righteous. I can reclaim it much like I reclaimed the word sacred. Sacred was another word that for a long time I felt like could never belong to me because of my experiences with the church. Then I found my own truth around spirituality and realized my truth was sacred.

I do not know what reclaiming righteous will look like for me. I do know it will have nothing to do with Us vs. Them, and it will have nothing to do with religious doctrine. These thing I know, the rest is yet to be seen.

righteous

For now I found this and it felt true.

 

A Glorious Mess of Color and Noise

drum

A little over a month ago I shared that I attended a meditation/sister circle that ended with a drum circle. Let me tell you about this drum circle.

After we concluded our formal meditation we went outside. Set up around a stone fire pit were 8-10 hand drums set in front of a circle of corresponding chairs. Each drum had a slightly different shape, some were more squat and wide, others taller and more slender. They also had different designs, some were plain without much color, others had elaborate detail and were wildly colorful. Each of us took a moment to decide where to sit based on which drum spoke to us. I ended up choosing a squat drum with a colorful pattern.

Once we had chosen our drum we were encouraged to get acquainted with it. We all took this to mean different things, some people banged on their drum to familiarize themselves with the sound, others rubbed the top and sides to see how it felt, I grabbed mine around the middle and hugged it.

After this moment spent with our drum the real fun began. We were guided at first, we were taught the different ways to hit the drum in order for it to make different sounds, we were also taught how not to hit the drum in order to avoid finger injury. After a few moments of practice it was time to begin. Our leader got us started, she began her beat and the way it worked is that when she felt ready she would look to her right indicating that she was ready for that person to join in, this went on all the way around the circle until everyone had joined in and we had many different sounds playing all together.

During another point our leader brought out all kinds of fun hand instruments for us to try. Some opted to stick with the hand drum, others sounds that joined in were that of a wooden hand instrument that when played sounded like a frog, there was a high pitched bell similar to a wind chime, there were bells more similar to what you would imagine on a reindeer harness, I played an egg shaker during this time, there was a cow bell as well. All our different unique sounds played together made a glorious mess of noise.

At first all of us were intimidated. I think only one of us, other than our leader, had ever participated in a drum circle before and there was a fear of doing it wrong. I have said before that it is a very vulnerable feeling to allow yourself to be free and create in front of others, the trepidation at the beginning of drum circle speaks to that very truth.

What if I cannot keep the beat? What if I sound stupid? What if everyone looks at me? What if I am too loud?

5 minutes in all that fear washed away. We played with our eyes closed towards the beginning so we could focus on the sound instead of each other and that is when the connection happened. That was the meaningful take away from this experience, the connection. To be able to make your own unique sound that is just yours and is not swallowed up by the noise of any other but to be able to also connect with the collective noise. I was just one drum, just one shaker, just one person.. but without me the group would not have sounded the same. There was no right, there was no wrong, all that mattered is that my sound was heard.

creative

This brings me into the next part of this post. I have been incorporating art into my practice with my clients. I cannot call the work I have been doing art therapy because that is something you have to be certified to do and I am not, but I am creating a space for my clients to express themselves creatively in order to help them with some of the work we are doing together. Art therapy may be on the horizon for me at some point.

One of my focuses with this internship is to give myself space to figure out what kind of therapist I am going to be. What unique thing do I bring to this field? How will I let my unique light shine? Art is certainly part of that because it is a very big part of me. One thing I have learned about myself while in this internship is that I am the kind of therapist that quotes Bob Ross. haha. (Yes I just laughed at myself, I do that. Often.) When I have been leading a creative arts group or working on an art project with a client during individual session I have definitely quoted Bob Ross on more than one occasion. Of course I have. That man knew what he was talking about:

There are no mistakes just happy accidents.

If you don’t like it, change it. It’s your world.

You need the dark in order to see the light.

I mean, yeah. He got it.

Creating this kind of outlet for a person allows them to get out of their head and be free for a moment. It allows them to put down their judgements about themselves and the world and let an inner voice speak. In a world full of black and white ideas about how things are art allows us to step back, call the world on it’s bullshit, and play with the full spectrum of color. Because life is a glorious mess of color, black and white is a myth of existence.

I am grateful for the personal lessons I have learned through allowing my own inner voice to be heard through art, and music, and other creative outlets I make for myself. I am also grateful that this is an area where my light is turned up and I can share my truth with my clients and help them to find their own. This is what makes this work special, this is what makes life special, it is all about finding your own unique voice and knowing how important your contribution to the collective is.

 

There is No Box for That

labels1

Tonight I made a political pollster’s job a little more difficult, unintentionally of course. They called to get all my yes and no answers about why I will or will not be voting for whoever so stats can be drawn up in one party or another’s favor. The problem was I apparently did not fit into their boxes neatly which meant I wasn’t playing by the rules.

It was obvious to me that the caller was working for Trump’s campaign. All the questions were bias in his favor. The questions put Hillary in a bad light and tried desperately to remove him from that same lighting. Some of the questions I know the caller probably had to put a N/A next to or skip all together because they were too black and white. They only gave me two choices, bad or worse, and I know those are not my only choices. The poor pollster, on more than one occasion said, Um ma’am there is no option for that. I was thinking, that is not surprising. For example, she asked my party affiliation and gave me the option of Dem, Rep, and Ind. Well officially I am registered as No Party Affiliation so that is my answer, I am sorry the survey did not account for me but it does not change my answer, that is how I am registered.

Where it really got dicey was in the demographic information. She wanted me to pick a religion, that is definitely not applicable for me but of course that was not a box she could check. Sorry, does not change my answer. The next question was how often do I attend church, Um never.

This country wants to divide us into these boxes but the truth is I wonder how many of us actually fit? I am not religious, my spirituality cannot be defined, I am not affiliated with any political party, just because I am not voting for Trump does not automatically mean I am voting for Clinton, doesn’t mean I am not either. I do not consider myself conservative, moderate, or liberal.

This is turning into another post about embracing the gray area which makes sense I guess because this blog is about a person’s life, mine, and that is exactly where life takes place.

The pollster was very sweet given that I was probably a bit of an aggravation. I wondered about her as I answered her questions. Who is this mystery woman? Does she work for Trump’s campaign like I think or some other third party polling agency? What does she think of me, what do my answers tell her, what picture is she coloring in her head of me right now? Or does she even care, maybe this is just a paycheck? I wonder what deductions she is able to make about the people who live in our country thanks to the kind of work she does. One moment she is on a call with a no party affiliated woman who can’t give her a straight answer, the next maybe a republican voting for Hillary, or a Latina voting for Trump. Do others play by the rules and allow her to place them in a box, even if does not fit quite right? It is all very curious I think.

I will Paint my House Gray and I will Live in it

I have been sick for a few days and unfortunately I was not feeling any better today. I am hoping the clouds will part and tomorrow will be the day I no longer feel like a germ, I have internship and do not want to miss out on hours. My Dad decided to pay me a visit today, he heard I had been under the weather. It was nice to have company surprisingly, being sick alone is no fun, being sick with someone you like to talk is a little better.

He actually just called to check in on me as I was writing this. Dad’s are pretty great.

While we were visiting Dad was asking me about internship and we were sharing insights to this and that. My internship, in a round about way, is relevant to my dad’s own work experience. Something he said really struck me, I am almost laughed because I have been writing so much about it lately. I had been talking about person-in-environment approach indirectly and how important it is to have context for what you are seeing and hearing when working with a client. I was also talking about not falling into extreme perspectives, specifically as it pertains to the population I am working with. For example, some people I have encountered view this population as dangerous while others see them as pitiable objects. Those are two vast extremes and neither are going to help you work with the client effectively.

While we were talking about this and he was relating similar experiences in his own career he mentioned there was a reason he and I do not fall into these extremes, because we are realists.

I just looked him, a smirk on my face. My dad knows better than almost anyone how much of an idealist I am so it struck me as funny that he would call me a realist, even though I am in my own way when it is appropriate. I am all things mixed up together, most of us are, especially those of us who embrace the AND, that scary gray area. I am an idealist, and a realist, and a cynic.. etc.

gray-house

So I listened with curious intrigue as he elaborated his point. Now I am not well as I mentioned so my recall skills are fuzzy. I do not remember exactly what he said but the overarching point he made is that we, he and I, understand that people are made up of a lot of things and that they are capable of making choices, and that we know we should never be working harder for our clients than our clients are willing to work for themselves. It was all about being sensible and having good boundaries and judgment. Yes, if this is what my Dad calls realism than I absolutely fit that definition.

 

It is interesting because in recent months my Dad, knowingly or not, has really been challenging the way I see myself. First his remark about me being brave that threw me for a loop and now calling me a realist.. It is interesting to see yourself through someone else’s eyes for a moment.

There is a lot I am thankful for as I lay in bed finishing up this post. I am grateful to not only have Dad that will make impromptu house calls when I am sick, but to have a Dad at all, some people don’t. I am grateful for the relationships I have with both of my parents. I am grateful that even at 30+ years old they worry I am sick. I am grateful for time to rest and heal when my body needs it. I am grateful for my access to medicine and healthy food to nourish and heal me. I am grateful for a sweet dog who will not leave my side when she knows something is off. I am grateful for recognizing that all the best, truest parts of life and who we are exist in the gray area.

I am grateful for all that I have and hope the universe will smile upon me and let all this rest I have given myself be enough to get through the rest of the week.