I’ve realised that I’m never more at peace than when I’m not trying to fit into any one way of being or belief system.
The path is me: there is no other and there never has been.
As a young child I knew this; I talked to God, journaled, prayed, but walked my own unique path, always aligned with my heart.
There are tools, teachings, guides, but ultimately everything leads back to where I started from: myself.
For a time I thought this egotistical, but then I realised this is the very point:
God/spirit has planted the seed within me and my journey is about connecting with it, trusting it, and allowing it to flower and bloom.
Life circumstances, by pure chance or design, have meant that my inner journey has always been the most important one of my life. In fact, the ONLY one. People and situations have only sought to show me that.
There is no outer path beyond where experiences take me. When I try to find one, I suffer. When I try to fit in the world and crave things that weren’t meant to be, it causes me pain.
The Sun is shining through the fog once again. My soul has awakened. And yet the grief, the desperation, the search, it’s all part of the rich tapestry of what it means to be here.
I’m aware that each time I write a truly vulnerable account of how I’m feeling about my disabled son I probably lose a few readers – understandably so because not everyone wants to read about someone’s suffering, especially those seeking a more uplifting story – so I’m drawn to say thank you to those who are drawn to read my experiences and feelings, regardless of reason. Sometimes I feel very alone and it helps to write it down and know people are reading my words, even when I am going around in circles with the same feelings and issues, or at least seem to be. I really do appreciate it.
I know in my heart that each of us is on a spiritual journey to realising our true self – our Christ self, Divine indwelling, soul – whichever term you feel most comfortable with -and we can’t drop off the path no matter what we do or feel. Sometimes life can feel completely unbearable and I think it is important to be honest about the suffering because it is the freedom of speaking the truth that ultimately saves us. As Carl Jung (I think) said, ‘suffering can’t always be worked through, only transcended.’ I cannot escape my pain. It just is. It exists in a state of consciousness that is fully human and I love and respect it. It will never leave me for it is part of me. But it is not ALL of me. And therein lies the answer.
I think it was Mother Teresa who said ‘when you know better, do better.’ We experience life in accordance with our level of consciousness, so once we grow spiritually, we experience life, and God/the Divine, from a higher state of awareness. However, growth is not a linear process, as I know all too well. I have meditated and prayed for years and feel I have a healthy relationship with my spirituality and the Divine. I am always growing and evolving and increasing my capacity for unconditional love. The difficulty is when old wounds get activated, or, as Eckhart Tolle says, the pain body, and once again I am lost in the pain of wanting what can never be. The pain body is the emotional element of the conditioned self – who we believe ourselves to be in relation to the outer world. Some people call this the ego, and indeed I have done sometimes, but I dislike the term, maybe because it reduces it to an unpleasant sounding entity rather than being part of my being which evolved to try and help me live in this world, however misguided it has been. It also seems to suggest that my emotions are ‘wrong’ on some level. My emotions over my son and wishing things were different are not ‘wrong’; they simply are. I can’t imagine anyone in my situation not feeling this way; at least, not without a huge and permanent shift in consciousness to the extent that one’s personal history just doesn’t matter any more because one abides purely in a state of love. This ideal was perfectly executed in the story of Jesus.
Regardless of what I, or anyone else, think about the whole mystery of Jesus, whether he was real, a myth, whether he was the only ‘son of God’ or pointing to the potential that exists in all of us, it highlights that Jesus was both fully human AND fully Divine. He often referred to himself as the ‘Son of Man’ i.e son of humanity, rather than God! He fully embraced his emotions, his humanness, his fear, anger, reluctance, sense of abandonment etc. He befriended the hurting, lost and broken people. He must have felt terribly alone in a world that wasn’t ready for him and did not understand him. He suffered unimaginably horribly in the hands of others, feeling betrayed and alone, all the while trusting in God’s plan for his life.
The most important part of the entire story: Jesus was not left to die; he was resurrected into his Christ self which transcended all his pain and suffering and restored him to his Divine identity. His old self had to die for the new self to be born. Whatever one believes about this, there is a lesson in letting go and having faith, that our suffering does not have to define us, even if it is part of us for a time (even a long time; indeed, some of us live with deep hurts our entire lives and only find relief on physical death). The story of Jesus has always brought me comfort because this is a man who went through the worst torture that I imagine is possible to man, all the while feeling abandoned by God, yet loving and forgiving those who inflicted such suffering on him, who then transcended it all; a personal reminder of the renewal of all life and our own eternal nature.
When I feel crucified by my personal circumstances and unable to find relief in any of my life’s blessings due to feeling consumed by wishing things had turned out differently, I remember that fighting against my suffering will not work. My suffering results from a part of me who understandably feels devastated and angry and let down by life. I also know that I carry within me some part of the Christ mystery – my Divine spark – which both encompasses and transcends this human life. It is a daily juggle, holding those aspects of my being, but maybe knowing they are there and perfectly okay, is enough.
A few days ago I was crying hard when I had an epiphany. I realised with utter certainty that my entire life has been preparing me for what I’m currently going through – a shedding of the old me; a peeling away of the layers of conditioned self that I have wrapped around myself for comfort and familiarity; a removing of the desires that keep me entrenched in this way of being.
Suffering breaks our heart open, if we let it. It makes us realise that we were never in control and never will be. That is an illusion. There is the conditioned self and there is the soul who expresses through the personality structure as love itself. My conditioned self is falling away, bit by bit. It isn’t needed anymore. Everything it wrapped its identity up in is disappearing. Only love is left. Only love is real.
I’ve been feeling quite confused and preoccupied lately following my son’s move into assisted living and my own up and down experience with the emotions of dating. I haven’t reached any real conclusions about the latter, only that I find it hard to trust my emotions, maybe because I’m aware that emotions are temporary and not truly who I am. Even so, I wish they would provide me with some consistency and less like I’m completely insane. I went to bed last night feeling very low and genuinely wondering if there was something wrong with me. Yep – it always seems to boil down to that. Maybe because the root of all this pain is feeling disconnected from my soul and from God/the Universe. I thought my dating experience was a way to share my soul and give love but maybe subconsciously I HAVE been trying to fill a gap that historically I’ve filled with spiritual practices such as meditation. Maybe none of this will ever make sense until I make connecting with my soul a priority again. I haven’t stopped meditating but my energy has been elsewhere, seeking experiences that will never make me whole.
I don’t know how relevant this is but it FEELS so. Last night I had a dream that I was adopting an African child of about five years old. She was absolutely beautiful – very long, wiry, black hair. I was aware she was called Shia. I carried her on my hip. Then I went to see her biological parents who were giving her up for adoption. I referred to them as ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’ for Shia’s benefit. Then I looked at the parents with love and compassion and said ‘I know you don’t want her but there’s no judgement. I completely understand.’ My thoughts turned to my own son and my struggles to raise him, and I truly did.
The dream felt very comforting on my waking and I wanted to explore it further. I feel it relates to my feeling very bad about myself last night, that there’s something inherently wrong with me and my emotions. This may have been projected onto the parents in the dream who felt wrong for giving up their little girl. Maybe I need my own love and compassion and assurance that no one is judging me. My ego feels judged. That is a powerful thought. Judged by whom? Or maybe it is guilt at feeling disconnected from my own light. Interestingly, the little girl may represent my wounded inner child who is looking for safety and love and acceptance – again from my own being. No one else can give that to her, at least, not in a way that assures permanence. The parents rejected her, representing those part of myself that are rejecting my innocence, as well as the literal context of feeling guilty about my autistic son. Finally, I looked up the name Shia and it means ‘God is salvation.’ This reinforces the whole meaning of the dream – and I use the word ‘whole’ with intent – as it’s all about listening to my soul, loving the aspects of myself that are wounded and scared, and bringing it all to the light of awareness and compassion to become whole. This is our salvation.
Someone once said to me – a Jehovah’s Witness no less, but then I don’t discount anyone’s beliefs if they resonate with me on a deeper level – ‘Put God first, then everything else will fall into place.’ I’ve never forgotten it because I recognise the truth in it. Humans have human experiences and there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s what we’re here to do. But losing contact with our soul is a recipe for suffering and leads to a dish of emptiness and misery. I know now that I feel judged when I have lost my connection with my inner being. No one is judging me; I’m doing that to myself, only turning it into guilt and shame. This is as old as time. It’s the fall of Adam and Eve. The way forward is to recognise it and pour our compassion on it. In my dream I even used the words ‘there is no judgement.’ What a relief to hear! We judge ourselves because we know deep down we’re not embracing the perfect, beautiful, holy beings that we truly are.
While I’m not in that place yet, I believe that bringing myself back to a place of deep spiritual connection will bring some clarity to the situations I’m struggling with. I won’t be throwing myself into dating longing for it to bring me answers, or for my emotions to suddenly make some kind of sense. I will know intuitively what I need to do and what is right for us both. And likewise, seeing my son from a place of connection and wholeness will mean not desperately seeking something from him that can never be and feeling upset when he can’t give it. I need to get out of my own way. I need space to find myself again.
On a morning walk with my dog I heard beautiful birdsong and watched the sparrows and tits peeping out of overgrown hedges and disappearing again. And for a second I wished I could join them. I wanted to trade my life as a human with all its pain and complexities for the simple, carefree life of a hedge sparrow. The longing arose from deep within, pointing to a knowledge that no matter what I’m dealing with or the world is facing, my soul flies free. I don’t have to be chained to fears and illusions of this world, only insofar as necessary to play my role here. Jesus said ‘Be in the world but not of it’ and this statement has never felt more true. My heart is the bridge between the spiritual and the physical; I exist in both, but my soul is always home no matter where it is, flying high.
My health hasn’t been the greatest lately. I have to keep reminding myself to stay centred in the present moment and not get caught up in thoughts about past or future. Not easy to do especially when anxiety takes over, but I am learning more and more than the state of my physical body influences my mental health as much as the opposite: there is no separation. For instance, I have problems with my adrenal glands. They don’t produce enough cortisol so I struggle to manage stress and my body tries to over-compensate with flooding with adrenaline. This creates anxiety because my body is literally gearing up to fight. It also has the effect of intense crying; I suspect this is to release the energy associated with the release of adrenaline.
But I’m okay. In the moment I’m okay. This moment is all there is and I am connected to Spirit. I know that my soul is whole and free even if my fragmented mind and struggling body can’t always realise it. There has been a lot of stress in my life lately – my dog having a stroke, my mother being involved in a car accident, the pain of Christmas, and plain overdoing it to try and manage those emotions. Now is the time to bring everything home to the now and trust in life and in myself.
To anyone having a bad time with health or otherwise, I feel you. It’s a long hard journey, especially when well meaning people ask whether you’ve tried this or that and you’ve literally tried everything, so it brings you down. But this is your personal journey, as it is mine, and all we can really do is listen to our bodies and let them be our messengers. The body is in the present moment; it reflects what we think and feel. Our job is to notice and be with what is happening. If the body is saying it is under attack/threat, we can feel compassion for that state of being or at least accept it. Not resisting it, not pretending it’s not happening, but being fully with it. It’s really not easy, it’s painful and frustrating and devastating, but this is what I feel brings the greatest peace.
I’ve come to the realisation that the best way to live my life is to keep it simple.
Simplicity is peaceful, calm, and beautiful. It’s not trying to get to some place or other, some state of being or other; it just is. The raw natural state of Being.
Having an analytical mind is both a blessing and a curse. It is a tool to help me grow and meet my goals. It keeps me honest. It helps me connect to others. It can also drive me to distraction trying to figure out how to get there from here, criticising me for all my perceived mistakes that brought me here in the first place, all the while blinding me to the present moment and the love, joy, freedom and creativity that is available right here, right now.
We are inseparable from nature. It is our essence. When we strip away all the conditioning – from our families, societies and culture – we are left with who we were always meant to be; our organic, awakened, soul-self. Flowers don’t beat themselves up for not being as perfect as the next flower. Each flower blooms in the way it’s supposed to.
It’s far from easy because we hold expectations of how life should be and what we want for our particular life – that is natural too. We want to be happy. We want to avoid pain. That’s all part of it. We have free will – that is the blessed beauty of living a human life with its particular joys and tragedies. We are free to respond or react to what happens. At a certain point we can even choose whether to stay awake or fall back to sleep. Regardless, our true essence remains like a jewel waiting to be discovered…and re-discovered.
Once that happens, life’s inherent simplicity and inter-connectedness emerges. We are all beautiful souls in various stages of soul growth, with different tests and challenges to deal with, all of which can lead us back to our essence, reflected in the beauty of nature itself and the remarkable trials it often faces to simply survive.
For today, I keep it very simple. My essence is the soul I was born with, the individualised speck of the Divine I was always meant to be. In that knowledge I do my best to speak and act. I have a plan for my future – my aromatherapy/essential oils website and business – which may or may not come to fruition. I live for now, in this moment; being aware of my thoughts and emotions as much as possible, listening to my body; and embrace the preciousness of it all.
I finished reading a beautiful novel today about a lady who was diagnosed with Dementia and began to forget her daily routine, followed by people she knew well, then eventually her own family. The beauty of the story lay in its reminder of the power of the eternal present, in what is real, fresh and true, in the here and now. Most of all, it’s a story about enduring love even as bodies and minds disintegrate and fade away.
Out of the many beautiful quotes, this one is my favourite. It’s deeply poignant and sad on a human level but speaks of the deeper truth behind all feelings and experiences. The lady had forgotten who her husband was, the person she married many years earlier, who had tried hard to support her throughout her devastating diagnosis and rapid deterioration:
‘And Dennis realised then that the book entitled Dennis had already fallen off the shelf. He wondered what the point was of coming here, week after week, year after year. What was the point of it all? He looked at the pale pink roses on the carpet at his feet and wondered why he bothered. They had long ceased to bring her back to him. He lifted his gaze to her guileless face, to the sweet smile that hovered uncertainly upon it, and something tugged inside his heart.
And then he knew. He knew with a certainty that rose in him like a powerful wave, an indestructible wave of unconditional love, and he understood. It didn’t matter that she didn’t know who he was, because he knew who she was. She was his Goldie, his beloved, beautiful, irreplaceable Goldie, and she always would be.’
Whether or not the author intended it, I felt the Divine truth behind those words, the realisation that even though I forget the truth of who I am and the fact I am Spirit, Spirit does not forget me. I am a soul who comes from Spirit, which is perfect Love. The amount of times that I have reflected on my life thus far and wondered what the point of it all was and felt so hopeless because things didn’t turn out in any way close to how I’d tried so hard for them to be, and yet, all the while I am loved eternally for being me. I don’t need to do or be any different, only realise it.
We experience life through our minds and emotions but they are not us. Our inner being, our soul, is whole, enduring, love and beauty itself. In the early stages of her condition, Marigold, the main character, draws upon the scent of a rose to remind herself of her husband’s enduring love no matter what. As she starts to deteriorate, she reflects with sadness that she will no longer remember her husband bringing her the beautiful flowers, but then realises that while she won’t have the memories, which is undeniably sad, she WILL still experience the beauty of the rose in the moment, which is all she can ever do. The symbolism of this takes my breath away. Our inner being is that rose: Pure Love itself.
I don’t intend to romanticise Dementia. I have no direct experience of it but I know it is devastating. To effectively lose a person you love without them actually dying is just beyond dreadful. I have some experience of the latter, having lost my father to cancer some years ago and watched his mind and body shut down. And yet, even then I was aware of him becoming more alive than he ever had as the rest of him faded away. It was some comfort knowing that despite appearances, love always endures. It is who we are.
In another beautiful quote, Marigold’s deceased father points this out:
“Don’t you see Goldie?” he said calmly. “You’ll always be you. No disease can take that away. You’re eternal. Nothing can destroy you.”
Amen to that.
In case anyone is interested in reading this powerful novel it’s called ‘Here and Now’ by Santa Montefiore. (I’m not in any way connected to the author or publishers, I just love it!)
A dream I had last night reminded me most powerfully of the passage of time and the eternal nature of the soul. It showed me a beautiful stretch of countryside with a path where people walked, but as I watched, the scenery and people morphed into new versions of themselves; thick green countryside followed by more trees and cottages and then, finally, the entire landscape became a stretch of water, rather like a canal. I was a witness to this experience; not involved, but not impartial either.
I believe this was part of the same dream: At the the start, I saw hundreds of cats (yes, cats!) on a wall surrounded by a large stretch of water, I’m guessing an ocean, but I didn’t see it. Someone was trying to move the cats off the wall, presumably scared that they would be swallowed by the vast sea. I can’t remember what happened here or if they went, only this large selection of tabby cats gazing at me.
I believe all my dreams have symbolic meaning. I have studied them enough over the years to be sure of it. It also seems that the more I examine them, the more informative and useful they become. It’s as if my subconscious is saying ‘Okay Sarah, now you’re paying attention!’ So this one, like any other, holds an important message for me.
Clearly, I am witnessing change on an external level – the countryside, the people – all the while realising that the essence of all this isn’t going anywhere. Mankind has made its mark on this planet, for good and bad (mainly bad, perhaps), shown in my dream by the countryside slowly becoming more adapted by people, ending with the canal, which symbolises man’s emotional journey in this incarnation, one that is forged by him/herself and his ego development. By contrast, the ocean, the giver of life, represents the ultimate spiritual reality – our Divinity – which is perfect and awe inspiring and eternal.
And the cats? They symbolise my intuitive connection to my Divine self, which I both crave and resist due to its power. I know and sense I have greater capacity to connect to my true nature. I had Kundalini experiences over a decade ago after a period of intense meditation which blew me away and to be honest scared me as well. I wasn’t ready to receive them. I wish I had been, but it is what it is. I am ready now. I am opening myself up to whatever my Soul needs to hear and feel because I trust it will transform me. I fear being ‘swallowed up’ by the great ocean, but isn’t that just what we all fear on the level of the mind-based personality or ego? We may hold onto our separateness, our identity, because we fear we won’t be anything without them. Correction: the ego is nothing without them. Who we really are – a soul, a Divine spark – is so much more. Intuitively, I know that. Like the cats, I sit on the precipice, not wanting to listen to my rational mind and move away.
Such a beautiful dream that reminds me that while time passes , including the mind-based personality or ego structure, our Divinity does not. I am the Soul, the witness to it all.
Last Friday was my birthday which is a day that has historically been a source of sadness, longing and other painful emotions, as well as gratitude for the people who cared and wanted to spend some of the day with me. This year is the first where I have experienced no painful emotions at all, only happiness and gratitude for those many people who thought of me and made it special by sending cards, gifts or, in the case of one good friend, met up with me despite having no money! I am so grateful for them all.
I am also more aware than ever that that day merely marks the incarnation of me in this particular lifetime and I am so much more than that. It doesn’t mean diminishing the importance of my birthday to the part of me who needs it, but remembering it is only one facet of my existence. My soul exists beyond this lifetime: it is part of the Divine and thus has always existed and always will exist. This life, this personality, my experiences in this lifetime, are one colour in a spectrum of many. When I lose sight of this for too long and attach to my personal history as being the totality of who I am, I will suffer. When I embrace my history as part of my soul’s many journeys through many lifetimes, I am free.
This said, my birthday has enabled me to take stock of this lifetime and what wish to experience (within the bounds of what is possible). I’ve decided to join the dating scene again for the first time since before the pandemic and put myself out there, even though it terrifies me. I still fear rejection on an emotional level, despite all I know spiritually. This is because my inner child still longs to belong and be accepted, as much as I am working on accepting myself and belonging to my own sense of being. I have enough self awareness to give myself to a relationship without becoming enmeshed or wanting to back away. At least, that is the hope. I’m an HSP and empath, so relationships have historically been hard, leaving me needing to back away to get some space. Maybe I will find someone who functions on a similar wavelength so we understand each other. That is my birthday message to the Universe: I will experience a healthy, connected, loving relationship where we both understand the wholeness of love that is in our hearts and share it freely. So be it.