This past year was the longest I’ve been away from New Zealand since moving here in 2005. Distance does make the heart grow fonder. And since my return, just a couple weeks ago, so much has been unfolding easily, which is comforting. It’s a tribute not only to the years of hard slog I put in prior, but also to the subtle, yet profound, work I’ve been focusing on in more recent years of Letting Go!
I’ve been delighted and affirmed this past week with a few instances of truly putting my best energy forward AND letting go of my attachment to the outcome. I’ve done this in the past, without the same level of smooth success as I’m experiencing now, which makes it clear that I only thought I was unattached in the past! Like the times I surrendered as a tactic instead of a full-out giving up, a flat-out, white-flag-waving surrender to the current battle or struggle. It was more like I still had my hands held behind my back so Surrender wouldn’t see, but I was ready to grasp whatever fruits fell from my supposed-surrender. Wouldn’t you know though, the universe is wise in ways I may never witness. It’s on to me.
So what do I mean by that phrase above “Where you doubt, is where your confidence will grow”? It sifted into my awareness this morning as I walked back from singing my prayersongs by the sea. It’s not a given; it’s not that you keep focusing on the doubt and you’ll suddenly be confident. It was more an evolution. I realized that as I quietly kept on with whatever clear thing pulled me towards it, even though there was doubt about my abilities or about the right-ness of it, eventually that thing became integral to me.
Like these prayersongs I do each day to the water, in gratitude for who and what is in my world. In the past 4 years of living out of suitcases, this practice has been one of the very few things that’s made any sense and kept me grounded on this planet, such as we’ve colonized it to be. This simple ceremony has been something I could do to align myself with the greatness beyond humanity’s shortsighted greed.
When we doubt, there’s a desire yet also confusion about the desire. For whatever reason, we find ourselves waiting for permission, or the camaraderie of support. It feels like we’re groping about in the dark. This is the shadow of Ajna Chakra, or what most call the 3rd eye (and some call the 1st eye)–the seat of intuition and insight, of clear seeing. I see it like a miner’s lamp or a headlamp for camping; a beam of light from the forehead that can only show us what’s right in front of us. Seems like that small funnel of illumination wouldn’t be enough when you want to make a great journey. But what if that isolation of sight is what keeps us focused? I know my mind goes all over the place when my eyes are taking in the sights. However, when I can’t see beyond this immediate pool of light and my steps are uncertain, I must pay attention.
The trouble I find with traveling is that people always want to box me into a geography by asking, “Where’s your home?” or “Where did you come from?” Even if I tell them a place on the planet I usually also put my hand on my sternum and say, “Here, right here.”
And then there’s the trouble I find with ‘coming home’ or returning to a place where people have known me (or think they have) and now they want to know, “What’s next? What’s your plan?”
I don’t know. I truly don’t know. All I can see is what’s right in front of me.
The difference between the camping/mining headlamp and Ajna Chakra is that Ajna comes from within. By clearing the grime, or doubt, from my screens and tuning in more and more, and even more yet, to what lightens and brightens me up, the illumination itself opens the way and steers me. Does that make sense? There’s both a light emanating from within as well as the illumination it extends outside and beyond oneself. For example, my smile in that top image. It’s taken me years of doubt about my smile or about how I look in pictures or how I truly am deep in my being, to be willing to fully smile freely for the camera. And photos don’t lie, so this was evident. These days it not only feels freeing and light to smile fully, my small act of bravery gives others an opportunity to do the same, whatever that looks like for each individual. I’m allowing my light to shine.
There are only a few songs in English that stick around in my head and this is one of them:
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine–let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!
I sing it to animals, to children, to my mother and to myself. It’s an easy mantra, cheerful.
In MYOGA’s Seasonal Structure, I align Ajna Chakra with First Winter. Right now in the Northern Hemisphere we’ve gone beyond First Winter and it’s Deep Winter, approaching First Spring. And where I am in the Southern Hemisphere it’s Fullest Summer, approaching Autumn. So why am I writing about this now? Because our seasons have gotten so out of whack. I’ve seen it myself everywhere I’ve had the privilege to travel, and I’ve heard it told from the people there, and in many other places around the globe.
Nobody knows what’s what anymore.
One day it’s freezing, the next it’s sunny and warm. The animals and plants continually respond to what-is on the most immediate level. What else can they do? Adaptability is essential these days. We must ‘trust the longer journey’ even when we can only see what’s right in front of us.
Years and years ago, when I was living in India and on an assignment to take photos of men in turbans, I wrote this:
What lights you up? What draws you towards it? If you’re in doubt, confused, how would it feel to focus for a time on light? What would it feel and look like in your life to allow yourself to be drawn towards the light like a moth? And what would it look or feel like to radiate light outwards, to whatever extent it will radiate out of you easily in this moment, this Now?!
Instead of fixating on the doubt, perhaps the trick here is to focus on the light and what you do know–what’s right in front of you right now.
In these past few years of deep not-knowing I started studying stand-up comedy, as a way of allowing myself to be drawn towards lightness. I’ve been practicing lightening up. I’m no good at the stand-up, but who cares?! I amuse myself at least! I also still have doubts about my ability to ever be any good at it, but in the meantime I am thoroughly enjoying the process of learning, of attempting the art. And those persistent stabs in the dark, through the doubt, are increasing my confidence.
I’d love to hear what makes you feel lighter and brighter. Or even what you feel you really don’t know or can’t see right now. Sometimes the light is so dim it’s barely a flicker, but when you can identify it you then have a better chance of blowing some life into it!
Feel free to share in the comments–it’s amazing how much we all share the same world…