Horne: The untethered soul: Doing less is being more

Seniors' columnist feels others pain as they move through parents' dying process. Grace Full Aging workshop March 28.

It’s been almost four months since my mum passed away. I got a call from a close friend this past week as she was about to leave to be with her dear mum who had just suffered a massive stroke. My heart went out to her and very quickly over the next 24 hours I noticed my own energy beginning to close down. Her pain, without me realizing it, had once again triggered my own feelings of loss around my mum’s death and the fact that I miss her very much.

Emotional pain is a funny thing. We only want to give it our attention for short periods of time. We seem to have a natural human tendency to move towards protecting these tender inner feelings by closing in rather than opening up, to resist rather than allow pain to simply pass through our heart and be released. Embracing feelings of loss are often put on a timer, not intentionally, but our inclination is to not linger with internal pain and try to get over it as quickly as possible. I noticed that over the days that followed after sending my heartfelt empathy to my friend, I became wrapped up in the busyness of my life, working late and getting up very early to attend to all that needed “doing”.

This doingness got more and more intense. My body began getting tight and my fuse short. I have enough consciousness to know better, but resist I did, until finally, without naming what was happening, I made myself take the afternoon off and head for the bath, my place of refuge when I know that I need to stop, listen and connect with my own inner being. Of course it wasn’t long before the connection to the pain happened. There is a deep hurt around the loss of my mum, but if I am willing, it takes me to an even deeper pain that needs releasing. This deeper pain is one that many of us hold and it often revolves around the three big issues that prevent us from being open and receptive.

They are memories of rejection, abandonment and betrayal and we hold them like prize possessions in a way, past experiences stacked up on a shelf like trophies we have worked hard for. These core issues can prevent us from living our best life, enjoying the moment and creating new positive experiences to engage with wholeheartedly.

One of the benefits of age is that you have been on this journey for a while and are more inclined to have some willingness to stop resisting, just because you have been there so many times before and know that it never really takes you where you want to go. You do have a true desire to try something different and not just pretend to want to change, you really do mean it.

Coming to understand that spiritual growth exists in that moment when you are consciously willing to pay the price for finding grace and freedom by relaxing and releasing emotional pain. A decision made to just let go and let it pass through your heart, giving you the awareness that leads to living a truly vibrant life. It is a decision that has to be made over and over again in these moments that retrigger our deepest pockets of pain. We choose to want to go in or we choose to let our thoughts control us and then our protective behaviours, expectations and manipulations take over. We all know where that leads.

One of my favourite books is by Michael Singer and is called the Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself. Michael has a very simplistic way of explaining consciousness that goes right to the heart of the obsessive patterns we try to employ to find happiness and a sense of safety from fear. He asks, “If you resist the pain, do you actually think it will go away.” Well yes, I guess we do. Instead, it contracts our hearts and lessens the possibility of experiencing the fullness of life, real wholeness within ourselves and all the abundance that is ours to enjoy. We all want more passion, joy and love, but are we willing to do the work that is really necessary to give these positive energies the space to move in and through us? How do we gain the strength to keep choosing to feel and not suppress pain?

Intention is the ruler of all creation. The desire to heal must be strong to really affect negative patterns that are firmly entrenched in our being. As you feel the release of contraction, it does awaken a belief that feeling the pain is worth it. There lies an openness in it that feels true and right. It encourages you to go on and try it again. So, the moment you feel your body starting to contract, withdraw and withhold, choose to let go, go in and connect with yourself. You then make choices in your life not for the avoidance of pain, but to embrace what each challenging experience, loss or disappointment is offering you in order to learn that coming to wholeness is an inside-out job. This is how full aliveness can really happen in your life, no matter what your age, layer by layer.

Joining with others who want to age consciously is a good way to take a step into the vulnerability that allows protection to be released. You’re never alone on this journey of expansion, unless you choose to be. Come and just give peace a chance at the one day workshop called Grace Full Aging: Creating the Life You Want on March 28. Contact me for further details.