Rules For Life

AS I sit here, I’m on my third day of feeling a slight cold that’s not uncommon of a childcare provider working all day with the under three crowd in her house. I’ve been allowing myself to sleep in which means I wake up around 6:45 every morning instead of 5. I haven’t had a solid meditation practice in three days either and last night I took an Asthana class because I haven’t been exercising due to the sleep in (and I am not motivated enough in the evening for exercise!) which did NOT make me feel any better. I often judge myself when I get out of my spiritual and exercise routine and have to try and remember that nothing ever stays the same and things always seem to shift as they should, especially when we need to slow down and take care of ourselves.

I am one of those Virgo rising who really identifies with the darker side of Virgo-judgments, lists, rules, criticisms and it must be this way or that or everything is ruined. I’m often fickle and that can make me, well, cranky. 2017 has for sure been a year of examining what it is I need to let go of, and the big thing that came to me the other day was identification. What am I identifying with? What are you identifying with? As a species, what are we identifying with?

I wrote in my last blog about how we have this tendency to get wrapped in our attachments to our ego selves. I am a woman, I am a mom, I give up too easily,  I am too critical, I am too skinny, I don’t do enough, I take on too much then complain, I should be this way, I wish I was that way…and on and on we go. Then we take all that self-criticism and we identify ourselves with it. That brews up a whole mess of toxicity inside of us, whether we recognize it or not, and guess what? We project, judge and criticize others in an effort to keep our ego happy by saying, “Ok, maybe I am that way but they…”

Sound familiar?

I read Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements about 10 years ago. One of the agreements is Be Impeccable with your word. He says this one agreement will pull together all the other agreements: always do your best, don’t take anything personal, and don’t make assumptions. Often times when we are judging others we start gossiping about them. We may start to feel good about ourselves for a while, but if we self-reflect and examine the conversation, whether it took place with others or with ourselves, we can see that it’s actually brought up toxic emotions that plant their seeds in us rather than them. Often times the gossip is based off of assumptions about the other person. Sometimes we perceive something that that person has said or done to be a personal slight against us and we take it personal. And finally, gossiping and judging is not being our best selves, and it certainly is not doing our best

So I read that book ten years ago. TEN. And I still have to always remind myself “be impeccable with your word” because my inner critic finds so much judgment in myself and others and the gossip is hard to stop. This doesn’t mean that I always talk to other people about other people; I often times make these judgements in my head. Who doesn’t?  That’s our left brain ego. And we need that left brain, so let’s not demonize it. It’s there to tell us where we stop and others begin. It helps us cultivate healthy boundaries with people. It ensures that we stay safe and know who to trust and who not to trust. It gives us our likes and our dislikes. In short, left ego brain makes us who we are. And it’s not going away, but we can balance it with that compassionate, creative right side. That’s part of the work of life.

This is my huge goal for the coming new-year. Balance. Grace. Being impeccable with word and action.

2017 was heavy. Sometimes it was dark. We see so much shadow and dark coming up right now with the sexual harassment cases in Hollywood and the #metoo movement that was started a few months back. People are speaking up for themselves and they should. We need this to come up. We need to address these mass shooting attacks. I can’t comment on why it is happening or what laws need to be enacted in order to prevent these tragedies but I think there is clearly a deeper seated issue that we, as whole, as a collective of human being brothers and sisters, need to address. We are so divisive- I am Republican you are Democrat, I am for guns you are against, I’m on this end, you’re on that etc. That we forget that we are stronger when we work together, not apart.

We don’t all have to go out and be Gandhi in order to make a positive change in the world. I’m not always the nicest person, an armor I built up from years of people pissing on me and putting me down. Having married the nicest Puerto Rican man on earth I am learning what it means to be nice and create an aura of energy that attracts people rather than repel them. When do we finally let that protective armor down and learn how to create healthy boundaries with people, not take it personal when people are assholes to us, and show up as our best selves for those who need us to? And hell why not show up as our best selves for those who could care less and, what the hell, even ourselves, while we’re at it?! That’s the definition of always do your best.

Think back to a time you were really pissed off at someone and you either let it out in a fit of rage or you just stewed in it. How did that make you feel? Empowered? No. Happy? Hopefully not. Irritation happens. Anger happens. Being mad at someone who got our order wrong at Starbucks will more than likely happen. Being subpoenaed on a case involving someone you’d rather forget and someone you could care less about happens. Should we go yelling at our loved ones? No. Should we scream at the barista who made an honest mistake? That doesn’t seem right. Do we call the attorney a bitch for calling us in as a witness when it was her client who named us? Well, ya, I did that. I felt bad enough to call and apologize and see where I could level with her (and you know what? She couldn’t have been more gracious about it.) We find teachers in some of the most intriguing ways. Life lessons can range from huge-like an accident that leaves us impaired, a loved one dying or a divorce, to small- like the aforementioned wrong coffee order. Each instance gives us an opportunity to let something go (the anger, the unfairness, irritation) and grow. That’s what were really here for anyway.

Think about the word emotion for a second. E-MOTION. Energy, in Motion. That’s all emotions are. But we identify with them. If we don’t want to identify with our negative emotions, fine, don’t. But then don’t identify with the positive ones either because those, like water running through a river, will pass as well. If you’ve attached yourself to all this joy because of a new pair of shoes, you’ll be seriously pissed off when they get muddy which is probably inevitable. Suppressing our negative emotions is as unhealthy as suppressing the positive ones. This is what I mean by identification, and it shows us how we need to live unattached. Can we still love? Yes, but with freedom to understand that things will always change. In two words: LET GO.

The rules for life are simple in my book, though not always easy to follow. I promise to myself and all 12 people who actually read this that I will make every effort possible to be impeccable with my word. When judgements are placed upon me, I won’t take it personal because in reality it’s not. If you have a judgement, that is your judgement. You own that shit, and I will, too.

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor says, “Take responsibility for the energy you bring onto this room.” Perhaps this is the biggest rule of life we should all strive to live by.

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