I apologize for beating you with my fists and feet when you were small and vulnerable. I apologize for wounding your body temple. I apologize for burning your hands, breaking your finger, scarring your flesh. I simply couldn’t see you, laying there in a pool of blood and sorrow. Blinded my own repressed rage, I saw an easy mark for my aggression. I saw a new host for my pain. I now understand that my abusiveness was a smokescreen for my own woundedness. A habit entrenched early in life, it felt easier to repeat the abuse than to heal it. And, in many ways, your aliveness reminded me of my own deadness- I had to shut you down so I could remain asleep. Below it all, I had so much love for you, my sweet child. I just couldn’t manifest it. I don’t ask for your forgiveness- you must be true to your own process first- but I do ask that you grant yourself permission to heal and to live a life that is liberated from my effects.
I apologize for attempting to dim your beautiful light. It was so bright that it threatened my own unmet need for attention- who would notice me, in your enlivened presence? Although I was chronologically older than you when we had you, I was actually emotionally regressed, trapped in an unhealed primal consciousness that ruled my behavior. I had grown up in a family of love starved narcissists, each of us clamoring to see our individual reflections in a too tiny pool of validation. With our lights hidden under a bushel of shame, no one ever felt seen. Stealing other people’s light became my misguided path of self-elevation, a misplaced attempt at boosting my diminished self-concept. I am so sorry for this attack on the integrity of your being. You had every right to embody your magnificence with dignity. You had every right to shine.
I apologize for vilifying and scapegoating you. I am sorry that I actively blamed you for my own misery. I couldn’t hold my self-hatred any longer- I needed to pass it on to someone else. You were the perfect recipient for my frustration- you couldn’t defend yourself. And, I remember the worst of it- telling you that my life would have been better if you had died instead of the daughter I lost. As I read these words, I find myself almost turning away from your picture- it is too much to imagine that I could leave you with that- but I stay and face your image. I face it not because I can change what I have done, but because I owe it to you to stay in the fire of my own regret.
I apologize for mocking you and repeatedly calling you names. I should have known the scars that insults leave on a vulnerable being- mockery was fundamental to my family dynamics. In the heat of desperate survivalism, insulting each other was a momentary relief from our chronic state of hopelessness. I am sorry for perpetuating that pattern at your expense. I only wish I could reach inside of you and take back the words I left there. I know that you internalized many of those insults and believed them to be true. I know that it shaped your lens. Please know that my message was entirely my own stuff. Please know that you are beautiful in my eyes. And, more importantly, please know that you are beautiful through your own eyes. Please heal the remnants of my madness.
I apologize for turning others against you and pitting you against your siblings. Lodged in a competitive world view, my reality was divided into territories- threats and protections, enemies and friends, them and us. The demons of duality- ne’er the twain shall meet. Through this fearful lens, differences were equated with threats to survival rather than opportunities for learning. Like snorting animals on the prowl, if you didn’t behave like us, you were the enemy. Because you were so different from the rest of us, I identified you as an enemy. I forgot our biological connection, our shared humanness, our karmic engagement. I forgot the bridge that existed between our hearts.
I am so deeply sorry that I left you alone in your developing years. I apologize for abandoning you when you needed me most. I remember your cries for contact, your tireless efforts to connect, your tearful eyes through the living room window as I drove away. I looked away, but I still felt you. I just couldn’t do anything about it. In many ways, I confused you with the bad marriage that produced you, a marriage that I longed to escape from so desperately. When I had you, I was so emotionally immature. There was so little space inside me for another person’s needs. As I grow into my real adulthood, I am able to empathize with your heartbreak. In the last years, I have spent much time growing into the parent you deserved. Please know that I have taken that journey seriously.
I want you to know that I see you better now. I see the fear that I left you with. I see the ways that it impacted on your life choices, emotional availability, patterns of self-distraction. I see the ways that self-doubt prevented you from fully owning your power. Despite my madness, some part of me noticed the ways that you shut down to cope- the shallowing of your breath, the armoring of your heart, the reluctance to be seen. But I also see the ways that you overcame. I see the ways that you championed your own cause. I see the ways that you converted your fear into hope. I see how hard you worked to grow yourself. I am proud of you in ways that words can never express.
Most of the greatest achievements on the planet are unknown to others- private overcomings, silent attempts at belief, re-opening a shattered heart. The real path of champions truly lies within- the transforming of suffering into expansion, the clearing of horrifying debris, the building of a healthy self-concept without tools. The greatest achievers have found a way to believe in something good despite being traumatized and fractured on life’s battlefields. You are one of them. You overcame me. No matter what else you accomplish in your life, you are already a champion.
I am grateful that you disconnected from me many years ago instead of coming back for more abuse. You realized that I couldn’t meet your parental needs and that you had to look elsewhere. You were so very right. By choosing to protecting yourself, you also created the conditions for my own transformation. In your absence, in your determined refusal to enable my patterns, I was forced to recognize my impact. At first, I resisted the learning, but the love I felt for you penetrated my defenses and left me with no other option but to do the work. That work took me far back in time- both to our time together and to my own early life. Ah, the Power of Then- the impact of unresolved feelings on our now consciousness. Try as I did to disarm them by witnessing them, it was entirely ineffective. You cannot heal and resolve your emotional material with your mind. Your emotional material does not evaporate because you watch it. You can only heal your heart with your heart. I had no choice but to go back down the path and re-claim my feelings. In this way, you were my greatest teacher- the one who gave me back my heart.
Over the years, my own emotional armour has melted away. I have lost the energy that I once had to distract from my truth. I have grown tired of my falsity, denials and projections. And something has grown within me- a willingness to see what I have done and to acknowledge where I have failed. I don’t know if I will have another incarnation to do it better, but I want to set a loving intention before I die. I want to be living in truth when I close my eyes on this lifetime. And some part of the truth is horrifying to me. I know what I have done. I know the violence in my heart. And I know the causal factors: the desperate survivalism that plagued my family line, the shutting down of my emotional current, the build-up of resentment. But I also know that I had a choice. I could hear the voice of love calling me away during those acts of violence, but I chose to continue. I was influenced by my childhood, but I alone chose my path. Before God and before you, I am accountable for those choices.
As our society crosses the bridge from survivalism to authenticity as our way of being, I have every faith that we will one day move from love. I have done it, and I feel confident that others will follow. As part of that process, I call on all bullies to step out of their comfort zone and make determined efforts to shift their abusive paradigm. To find the courage to face the source of their rage. To break the lineage of toxic conditioning. To find constructive ways to soften their edges. To steer the collective (un)consciousness in new directions. To learn healthy ways to channel their aggression. Don’t do it only for those who you are harming. Do it for yourself as well. There is no life with a closed heart.
I do not know how God will judge me. I do not know how you will judge me. I do know that I have done all I can to own my actions and to open my heart. I am on my knees before truth. Know that I understand if you choose to remain disconnected. I truly do. You have to be true to your own process. But also know that I am here for you if ever you choose to open the gate again. Nearly 50 years late, but the way is clear.
A former criminal lawyer and psychotherapist, Jeff Brown is the author of “Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation,” and the just released “Ascending with Both Feet on the Ground”. Endorsed by authors Elizabeth Lesser, Oriah Mountain Dreamer and Katherine Woodward Thomas, “Ascending” is a collection of Jeff’s most popular spiritual graffiti—quotes, soul-bytes and aphorisms frequently shared in social media. He is also the author of “Apologies to the Divine Feminine (from a warrior in transition)” and the producer and key journeyer in the new spiritual documentary- Karmageddon- which also stars Ram Dass, Seane Corn, David Life, Deva Premal and Miten. You can connect with Jeff’s work at www.soulshaping.com.
THE AWAKENING WOMAN: A PORTRAIT OF POSSIBILITY FOR HUMANKIND
The Awakening Woman is consciously aware of herself and strives to be intimate with all facets of her being. She is her own person as well as relational. She nurtures and honors the relationship with herself as well as with others. She is actively awakening and supports the awakening of those around her. Her devotion to herself allows her devotion to others to be genuine and nourishing. She is sincere, authentic, vulnerable and strong. She is protective, and accepts and values protection from others when appropriate. She establishes healthy boundaries while keeping an open heart.
The Awakening Woman is intimate with her painbody and the feminine wound. She does not deny her pain, but turns towards it for healing. She knows that the dysfunctional views and oppression of females/femaleness is nothing she caused, but acknowledges the ways in which she has participated or was complacent in the unjust treatment of women and the roles that support it, and chooses to no longer participate.
The Awakening Woman does not objectify herself. She stands against the objectification of girls and women. She does not support or consent to those things that degrade or exploit what is female or feminine as well as what is male or masculine.
The Awakening Woman fights for equality at every turn and asks people to take a stand for woman’s issues and gender equality, knowing that this is foundational to all other forms of equality. She will not allow deflection or take the blame for her own victimhood, but will not over-identify with it or over-dramatize it to where it immobilizes her or stunts her own growth.
The Awakening Woman does not use sex or her femininity to manipulate or get what she wants. She ceases to engage in love-making without heart, but rather chooses love-making that is connected, organic, fully mutual, and from the healthy ego. She will not allow sex to be used as a substitute for true intimacy, or a distraction from unresolved wounds. She is not afraid to be called a prude or a slut for making her own conscious decisions around sex. She does not let patriarchy, religion, politics, the media, or the unhealthy male ego define sex, beauty, or relationship for her. Her relationship to sex is her own and comes from within, not from what has been dictated to her all her life by a culture that doesn’t value healthy sexuality. She does not placate or sell herself out to gain male approval, nor does she compete with or sell her sisters out for male attention.
The Awakening Woman speaks her truth. She speaks up when things don’t feel good to her. She values her intuition over others’ intellect. She seeks to be empowered through the divine essence of her being coupled with the cultivation of a healthy ego, and not from external sources and adoration. She uses direct communication and knows how to ask for what she needs. She does not let the good qualities in another overshadow what isn’t working in a relationship. She knows when to walk away and gives up control of trying to change people who do not meet her where she is. The Awakening Woman moves on.
The Awakening Woman distinguishes between the healthy masculine and unhealthy masculine. She has compassion and empathy for the masculine wound and reverence for the healthy masculine. She seeks union and equality with the masculine and acknowledges and expresses gratitude for those times she’s had to call on the male warrior or masculine energies in her life. She sees the masculine and feminine energies as complimentary and necessary to the co-creative force that will bring balance to herself, her relationships and to the planet.
The Awakening Woman is self-parenting and protects the little girl inside. She does not tolerate emotional or physical abuse. She knows how to openly give and receive love, without losing herself in another. She is moving away from the ‘people pleaser’ model. She uses NO as a complete sentence and doesn’t feel the need to over-justify herself or pacify others for the sake of being ‘comfortable.’
The Awakening Woman knows her value even when she’s not giving to or doing for others. She does not let outside influences overshadow or dominate her inner voice and knowing. She does not dim herself down to be liked and accepted. She is willing to be alone in truth over being in dishonest company, and accepts that being alone may be a part of her awakening journey.
The Awakening Woman acknowledges and learns from her past mistakes, patterns and unhealthy behaviors. Instead of letting guilt and shame keep her from actualizing her highest self, she makes a conscious and concerted effort to not repeat these things that have caused her and others discord. She works at shedding the parts of her ego that are no longer serving her or others, while developing the parts that do serve.
The Awakening Woman loves and honors her body and is endlessly grateful for it and how it provides for her. She smiles at the lines in her face, knowing that’s how they got there to begin with. She embraces her humor and laughs from her belly. She also cries and rages from her belly. She lets her belly expand naturally. She puts self care before self image and looks deeply at her conditioning around her external image.
The Awakening Woman is emotionally literate. She can identify and process her feelings and takes responsibility for her emotions. She does not apologize for her feelings and expresses them healthily towards herself and others. She refrains from displacing her anger or other emotions. She walks her talk and admits and corrects it when she falters. She knows how to give a healthy apology for any misstep. She is actively identifying and integrating the disowned parts of herself and does not project her happiness or discontent, positive or negative qualities, onto others.
The Awakening Woman does not carry others’ emotions for them, but holds a loving, compassionate space for them when possible. She asks for others to be responsible with and for their emotions so as to not engender co-dependency. The Awakening Woman will not settle for a love partner who is not her equal and him/herself awakening.
The Awakening Woman works to come from a place of abundance rather than scarcity. She is intimate with her fear, knowing when to let it guide her and when to confront and move through it; she uses it and other emotions as sacred keys to unlock the depths of her soul. She goes to her edge, yet honors her limitations without judgment or shame. She makes it a priority to find some refuge in a world that can feel unsafe to her.
The Awakening Woman is connected to nature and knows her own wonder. She knows how to DO and how to BE. She does not succumb to materialism and unconscious consumerism. She creates more than she consumes; and does both responsibly – mindfully choosing what is nourishing and not harmful.
The Awakening Woman has integrity within herself and with others. She is accountable, self actualizing and above all, works to cultivate a loving relationship with herself instead of relying on others to define her value or worth. She is finding ways to answer the callings of her life’s purpose and continues to expand into it.
The Awakening Woman is enough.
The Awakening Woman is a role model for humanity; the embodied potential of the divine as expressed through human form. She is here, right now; and though she often goes unnoticed, she is helping to guide us home.
© Jessica Bahr. Author in process. She can be reached at: Relationshifting@gmail.com
*This piece is a companion piece to a blog Jeff Brown wrote in 2011 called ‘The Awakening Man: A Portrait of Possibility for Humankind, which you can read at http://www.spiritofmaat.com/jul11/the_awakening_man.html
You are Sacred Purpose.
You are not your shame, your fears, your addictions, your games, your guilt, the internalized remnants of negative messaging… You are not your resistance to your true path … You are not your self-doubt… You are not your self-distraction patterns. You are not your escape hatches… you are not your pessimism about a life of meaning and purpose. You are not here merely to survive and endure.
You are Sacred Purpose.
No matter what others have mistakenly told you about who you are, no matter what mistakes you may have made in the past, you are here with a sacred purpose living at the core of your being. If that weren’t true you never would have made it down the birth canal. You never would have overcome what you have already overcome in your life.
You are Sacred Purpose.
Whatever your ways of distracting, postponing, delaying, armouring, avoiding, altering, feigning, artificializing, externalizing, superficializing your life… I encourage you to STOP IT NOW. This really is no game, this is completely real, this sacred purpose that courses through your soul veins crying out to be heard from below the surface of our avoidance. I cannot say this with enough assertiveness… To the extent that you identify and honour your true path in this lifetime, you will know genuine satisfaction, real peace in your skin.. You will be infused with vitality and a clarified focus, new pathways of possibility appear where before there were obstacles. You will know a peace that will buffer you against the madness of the world, a clarity of direction that will carry you from one satisfaction to another… Life will still have its challenges, but you will interface with them differently, coated in an authenticity of purpose that sees through the veils to what really matters. To the extent, that you avoid the quest for purpose, you will live frustrated, a half-life.. your avoidance manifest in all manner of illness, perpetual dissatisfaction, emotional problems, depression, addictive patterns, ALL REFLECTIONS OF YOUR own alienation from the purposeful root of your being.. You see, there really is no escape from reality, all there is, is postponement. you should be more afraid of avoiding your path than walking it.
You are Sacred Purpose.
AND It doesn’t matter what anyone tells you about who you are. There is so much of that. This is your journey. Even those with the best of intentions, cannot know the path you are here to walk. The REAL journey is not one of adapting ourselves to someone elses vision, but instead, shaping who we are with our own two hands. The unique clay we work with lives deep inside our soul bones, awaiting our own detection & expression. You are the sculptor of your own reality- don’t hand your tools to anyone else. Only you can know the path u r here to walk.. it’s a personal decision, and it doesn’t have to be grandiose. Your purpose can be as simple as learning how to listen better, how to enjoy the moment without getting in your own way.. wherever the growing is, wherever you find genuine peace with path, wherever you feel unmasked and genuinely real.. in the survivalist world that we are coming from, we defined ourselves by what GOT US through the day, whatever masks got food on the table, whatever way of being endured this challenging life.. but we are at the beginning of a new way, a way of being that is sourced in who we REALLY ARE, not our egoic face, not our survivalist face, not the false face of our hidden power, but the real face, the real path, the no bullshit no hype no pretence expression of WHO u REALLY ARE and a life that fully and deeply expresses the magnificence that lives within you.. Your sacred purpose may be covered in dust, it may be HIDDEN FROM VIEW, but its still in there, sparkling with infinite possibility..
You are Sacred Purpose.
This is a call to action. A call to authenticity. A call to dig yourself out from below the bushel of shame and self-doubt that has plagued humanity. A call to get off the dime and do the real work to call yourself on your distraction patterns and excavate your own purpose in this lifetime. What are you here to learn? What are you here to overcome? What are you here to express? What does your authentic face look like? Who are you, above and beyond all the noise and haste.. this is not about money, or bullshit ideas of abundance, or gratifying your ego, this is about the real thing, the real deal, the vulnerable and courageous truth about who you are and why you are here. I ENCOURAGE you to take the question of sacred purpose seriously… to not postpone it for another hour, or week, or till you retire, until the next lifetime, til you finish school, or end your relationship, but to take it seriously now… To work like a dog to find out what lives inside of you, what you are here to express, what you are here to manifest and express, what you are here to give, to share, to learn, to create, to dance, to art, to walk…. You don’t know how long you have, it may be 60 years, it may be 60 seconds, you may not make it to retirement, you may not make it to tomorrow morning, atleast if you are questing for your purpose, living your truth, you will not suffer when its time to leave your body in this lifetime, you will be living in your authenticity, this is no small achievement in this distracted world, where the unconscious media and manipulative marketers try to turn us generic and frightened so we will be locked into their script., fuck that. You are already have a script and it lives deep inside you…that script is your purpose, what you are here to express, to learn, to embody, to humanifest… So u decide which script to read- the fictional novel written by those who do not SEE u, or the HOLY BOOK written by your glorious spirit. When you walk through the gateway of purpose, you walk into yourself. You are sacred purpose, you are sacred purpose, you are sacred purpose. Don’t stop until you find it.
Jeff Brown, author of ‘Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation’ (www.soulshaping.com)
THE AWAKENING MAN: A PORTRAIT OF POSSIBILITY FOR HUMANKIND
The awakening man is conscious, heartfully defined. Through his eyes, being conscious is not a cerebral construct, nor an intellectual exercise bereft of feeling. It is a felt experience, an ever-expanding awareness that moves from the heart outward. It is feeling God, not thinking God. The new man is always in process, awakening through a deepening interface with the world of feeling. He continues to strive for a more heartfelt and inclusive awareness.
The awakening man has shifted his focus from a localized and ethnocentric perspective to a world-centric framework of perception. His community is humanity. Rooted in the relational, his sense of responsibility extends well beyond his localized self and community. Where possible, his choice-making is fuelled by an expansive vision of possibility for all of humankind. Not every man for himself, but every man for humanity.
The awakening man has reverence for the divine feminine, in all her forms. He celebrates the wonder that is woman. He is respectful, honouring and gracious. He is saddened by the horrors perpetuated against women by the malevolent masculine. He holds his brothers accountable. He makes amends for his own misdeeds. He co-creates a world where all women will feel safe to move about freely, to find their voice, to actualize their inherent magnificence. He welcomes a world where women and men stand as equal partners. Humankind.
The awakening man is not externally derived. He is authentically sourced. He does not compare himself to others. He does not adapt his personality to the dictates of the crowd. He stands in his own centre, respectful of others but not defined by them. He works diligently to liberate his consciousness from the egoic ties that bind. He has become his own benchmark, valuing authenticity over image. He is the sculptor of his own reality.
The awakening man courageously works on his emotional processes. He clears his emotional debris and sheds his armour. He faces his issues and unconscious patterns heart on. He calls himself on his self-avoidant tendencies and honours the wisdom at the heart of his pain. He communicates his feelings in a way that is respectful to others. He learns and speaks the language of the heart.
The awakening man leads a purpose-full existence. He has heard the call to a deeper life. Not satisfied with survival alone, his ambitions are rooted in higher considerations- the excavation and actualization of his sacred purpose. He is energized by his purpose, not by the machinations of the unhealthy ego. He is coated in an authenticity of purpose that sees through the veils to what really matters. His purpose is his path.
The awakening man is accountable for his actions and their effects. He does not deflect responsibility. He does not sidestep or blame. He is self-admitting and emotionally honest. He admits his errors, and makes amends. He works diligently in the deep within, crafting a more clarified awareness with every lesson.
The awakening man moves from the inside out. More interested in inner expansion than outer achievement, he cultivates and honours his intuition. He explores and develops his inner geography. He adventures deep within, integrating the treasures he excavates into his way of being. He seeks congruity between his inner life and his outer manifestation.
The awakening man seeks wholeness. He is not satisfied with a fragmented way of being. He has no attachment to archaic, linear notions of masculinity. He seeks a sacred balance between the healthy masculine and the healthy feminine. He seeks an inclusive way of being, one that reflects all of his archetypal aspects. He is role flexible, comfortable moving through life in many different ways.
The awakening man embodies the highest standard of integrity in his words and deeds. He makes a sustained effort to work through anything that is not integrity within him. His framework of integrity is never convenient or self-serving. He honours his word, even at his own expense. He moves from a value system that is unwaveringly incorruptible. He recognizes that success without integrity is karmically unsound and meaningless.
The awakening man prioritizes conscious relationship. He values authentic co-creation. He honours relationship as spiritual practice. He seeks physical intimacy that is deeply vulnerable and heartfully connective. He is attuned, engaged and healthily boundaried. When relational challenges arise, he courageously works through any obstructions to intimacy. He stands in the heartfire.
The awakening man is a warrior of the heart. He has taken his clarifying sword inward, cutting away everything that is not compassionate. After too many lifetimes with weapon in hand, a benevolent warrior is being birthed at the core of his being. He honours the warrior capacity for assertiveness, but he is not arbitrarily aggressive. He moves from love and compassion.
The awakening man endeavours to live in a state of perpetual gratitude. He is grateful for the gift of life. He is grateful for those ancestors who built the foundation that his expansion relies upon. He is grateful for those who encouraged him before he could encourage himself. He is grateful for those who stand beside him in this lifetime. He knows that he does not stand alone.
The awakening man is comfortable in his vulnerability. He participates in his own revealing. He is not afraid to surrender- to reality, to love, to truth. This is not a weakened form of surrender, but one that is emblazoned with courage. It takes more courage to surrender than to numb. He openly explores his capacities for receptivity and tenderness. He does not identify these capacities as distinctly feminine, but as whole human. He is strong enough at the core to live in a vast array of emotions.
The awakening man moves through the marketplace responsibly, with a vigilant eye to the ways of the unhealthy ego. He is not opportunistic in a vacuum. He does not compete for competition’s sake. He does not accumulate for the sake of accumulation. In charting his course, he is mindful of his impact on humanity. He is empowered but he does not exploit power. He derives his power from his connection to source, not from power over others. Where possible, he shares the abundance, gifting back to humanity. He works hard to bridge the world as it is with a world of divine possibility.
The awakening man has reverence for Mother Earth. He has reverence for animals. He never imagines himself superior or distinct from the natural world. He understands the interconnected and interdependent nature of reality. He knows that if he does damage to the environment, he does damage to himself. He walks carefully, with awareness, consciousness and appreciation.
The awakening man has no claims on God. His spirituality is tolerant, inclusive, respectful. He honours all paths to God, so long they are respectful of others. He accepts those who believe, and those who don’t. He condemns any path that uses religious differences as a justification for destruction.
The awakening man brings forward many of the qualities of the healthy masculine of old. He is noble. He is responsible. He is productive. He is kind-hearted. He is protective. He is unswervingly honourable. He is down to earth. He is sturdy. He is flexible. He is realistic. He is hopeful. He is sensitive, not fragile. He is healthily egoic, not self-centred. He is both practical and heightened at the same time. He ascends with both feet on the ground. He is really here.
A former criminal lawyer and psychotherapist, Jeff Brown is the author of “Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation,” recently published by North Atlantic Books. Endorsed by authors Elizabeth Lesser and Ram Dass, “Soulshaping” is Brown’s autobiography — an inner travelogue of his journey from archetypal male warrior to a more surrendered path. He is also the author of “Apologies to the Divine Feminine (from a warrior in transition). You can connect with his work at www.soulshaping.com.
APOLOGIES TO THE SACRED MASCULINE (The letter this warrior-in-transition would like to receive)
I apologize for those moments when I couldn’t see beyond my projections to your true nature. With so much relational trauma in the rear view mirror, I couldn’t distinguish the heartless from the benevolent warrior. With my lens blurred by unhealed emotions, I was unable to see you in your wholeness. I unknowingly projected my negative expectations without recognizing those moments when you were moving from love. Please forgive me my projections, and know that below my pain was a heart that genuinely longed to merge with yours.
I apologize for pushing you to open your heart when you weren’t ready. I longed to be met in my openness, and I couldn’t bear the disconnect between us. I am nourished by direct communication, and I took your silence personally. I didn’t understand the relationship between your detachment and your warrior conditioning. I do see this now. From the beginning, you have been cast in the role of warrior protector and your emotional armour was fundamental to your task. Without it, you would not have been able to remain vigilant on the battlefield, nor succeed in the competitive marketplace. As our world moves away from survivalism as a way of being, I am hopeful that you will feel safe enough to live from an open heart. Such beautiful light comes through that opening.
I apologize for not always seeing your limitations and struggles. There were times when I could not see past my expectations and fantasies. I had grown up with a fairy tale of a great knight that would save me, and I clung to that vision, preferring the perfection projection to the reality of humanness. As a result, I didn’t always see how much stress you carried, how difficult things were, how hard it was to hold it all together. Of course, we perpetuated the projection together- you hid your humanness from view while I chose not to look for it. I look forward to the day when our relationships are not predicated on illusions, but on a deep recognition of each other’s authenticity.
I apologize for giving you mixed messages about how I wanted you to manifest. At times, I wanted you to be soft and tender. At other times, dominant and protective. How confusing this must have been for you, how challenging to go back and forth between such differing feeling states. It has been so confusing for all of us, trying to straddle the line between our needs for both safety and vulnerability. One day, the perversions of polarity will fall away and we will arrive at a sacred balance between all healthy ways of being. Women will feel safe to assert their voice and embody their wholeness, and men will feel equally safe disarming and speaking from their vulnerability. On the rivers of essence, everything flows in the same direction- towards the ocean of wholeness.
I apologize for being passive aggressive towards you. I was not taught to express anger directly, and I was frightened of your aggressiveness. I know that you have had similar challenges with experiencing your sadness and releasing your tears. In the world we are moving towards, I am hopeful that both genders will have seamless access to all emotional states and healthy forms of expression.
I am sorry that I expected you to fill my emptiness, when the only one who can fill it is me. I have often looked for answers in relationship, somehow imagining that another could complete me. After so many centuries of disempowerment, I didn’t realize that I had the tools for my own self-creation. But I am recognizing it now. Where before we met as two fragmented beings, we will soon meet as two whole beings- each of us healthily boundaried, well-integrated and intrinsically complete. Two soulitudes.
I am grateful for all those moments when you held me safe and operated within the heart of compassion. The backlash of recent decades was a necessary response to generations of suffering, but many of your contributions got lost in the shuffle. In my efforts to find my voice and stand my ground, I have not always given credit where it is due. I encourage you to re-claim anything you have lost along the way, and to proudly embody the sacred masculine as you once did. I apologize for those moments when I discouraged your power. I could not distinguish it from its historical misuses.
I am grateful for the many positive contributions you have made to my reality. I realize that you often communicated your love for me and the village with deeds, not words. I thank you for helping to construct the structures that my expansion relies upon. I thank you for labouring long and hard to establish rule of law. I honour the warrior spirit that built the railroads, the cities, the bridges that bring us into contact with one another. I honour those warriors who fought and died on battlefields in an effort to protect us. You have sacrificed so much in order to hold us safe. Praise to those benevolent warriors who came before.
I am grateful for GrandFather, for holding the space for my expansion with patience and wisdom. I am grateful for Father, for defending and sheltering me. I am grateful for Father Sky, for showing me a vision of possibility that transcended my circumstances. I am grateful for the Divine Father, the real Father of us all. I now feel his divine presence, so close. Fiercely compassionate, he was always right here, holding me safe.
There has been so much blame between us, so much hatred and name-calling. To be sure, it is essential that we express our anger and heal our hearts. Nothing should be swept under the rug in that process, everything should be exposed. But it is also important that we have compassion for each other and endeavour to understand the context for our actions. We have all been victims of a sociological landscape that impacted on our identifications and behaviours. Like two different species in the same bed, we were compelled by circumstances to inhabit roles that kept us miles apart. Those roles have caused us great suffering, each gender suffering in its own way. To the extent that one gender was denied wholeness, the other was denied it as well. Women were denied the right to basic protections and pathways of expression, men were denied access to a tender, receptive way of being. No one got off easy, despite appearances.
As we move towards a more enheartened interface, may we create space for new visions of possibility. We must begin the process by healing the genderation gap that exists between us. We must soften the edges perpetuated by our reactivities. We must heal the rifts along the gender continuum that keep us apart. In my most clarified imaginings, I envision a world that fully celebrates the healthy feminine and the healthy masculine. Instead of throwing all gender differences out with the bath water, we make a conscious distinction between benevolent and destructive identifications. We craft a sacred balance of our healthiest aspects. Each of us identifies the unique fusion of feminine and masculine energies that aligns with our essential nature. And we openly learn from one another -men teach healthy manifestation, women teach healthy womanifestation- and we come to humanifestation together. We meet each other in our entirety.
May we never forget the relational and co-transformative nature of human expansion. Although the ultimate romance is with your own soul, it is our experiences together that give birth to the essential lessons. We are each here to participate in this dance of sacred imagination, stepping on each other’s toes and turning each other toward God one clumsy step after another. We trip, and then we get back up with greater awareness. With this in heart, I am hopeful that we can learn to accept one another in our humanness. We are going to continue to make mistakes, but there is grace in that if we see our errors through to the lessons they contain.
I look forward to the day when we can meet one another in our true nakedness, stripped free of unresolved emotions, pain-induced projections, the distortions of duality. For too long we have been on opposite sides of the river, the bridge between our hearts washed away by a flood of pain. But the time has come to construct a new bridge, one that comes into being with each step we take, one that is fortified with benevolent intentions and authentic self-revealing. As we walk toward one another, our emotional armour falls to the ground, transforming into the light at its source. And when we are ready, we walk right into the Godself at the centre of the bridge, puzzled that we ever imagined ourselves separate.
May you feel the presence of the Divine Mother close at heart, inviting you to rest deeply on the tender shores of your own essence, nestling you in the grateful arms of those you have protected. Those who have received your blessings may not always acknowledge it, but your acts of love have landed within us, growing us stronger and infusing us with love’s light. Rest dear warrior, rest. I hold your heart safe.
© Jeff Brown, 2011 (Author of ‘Soulshaping- A Journey of Self-Creation’; www.soulshaping.com)
*’Apologies to the Sacred Masculine’ is the second in this apology series. The first piece ‘Apologies to the Divine Feminine (from a warrior- in-transition)’ can be read at http://soulshaping.com/?p=782
As the model of Grounded Spirituality at the heart of Soulshaping continues to deepen its roots, I continue to work on clarifying my lens on what it really means to be a Soulshaper. I am not attached to these ideas, but identify them as a good starting point for the discussion. What I have come to love about this approach is that it does not leave anyone out. Too often, as I was struggling on my path, I felt like I was not spiritual if I wasn't blissful, or detached, or able to get what I wanted from the universe simply by asking for it. What I wanted was a model for spirituality that met me right where I lived, and that honored my struggles down here on Mother Earth as actual reflections of my spiritual path, that is, the idea that my grounded challenges were the grist for the soul mill for my spiritual growth, and, in their essence, indistinguishable from it.. I want us to celebrate ourselves right where we are on the journey, recognizing that our journey is always spiritual, as we seek to uncover and to embody the divine purpose that sources our birth..
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SOULSHAPER
MEANING-DRIVEN: The Soulshaper believes in something more than the arbitrariness of the universe. Life has directionality and purpose. The Universe is inherently benevolent. The key is to uncover the meaning that threads through our existence.
TRUE-PATH: At the heart of the soulshaping journey is the quest for 'true-path'- that path which reflects our particular purpose in this lifetime. The Soulshaper makes a conscious distinction between true-path and false-path. True-path is reflected in our 'innate image'- an encoded vision of who we are here to become in this lifetime. Embodying that vision depends on our ability to identify and honor our soul scriptures- those particular callings, lessons and archetypal pathways that live at the heart of our transformation. To the extent that we honor true-path, our soul's consciousness expands. To the degree that we misidentify, we come back the next time with the same lessons waiting in the wings.
DIVINE PERSPIRATION: The Soulshaper works hard to develop his inner muscle, the soul-driven determination to deal with whatever challenges come his way. Under no illusion that the processes of self-creation are easy, he recognizes that walking a sacred path is often challenging in a survivalist world. Before even identifying his scriptures, he may have many obstacles to overcome- economic challenges, emotional debris, patterns of self-distraction, negative beliefs, the weight of the world. He works hard at it, persistently and courageously, until true-path is liberated and rises to the rafters of consciousness.
SOUL ADVENTURER: To clarify the path, the Soulshaper has no attachment to any one tool or technique. She is willing to explore any and all pathways of possibility. At times she sits in the place of not knowing and practices the art of detachment. At other times, she befriends her confusion, lives in the question, jumps into experience. A swashbuckler of the spirit, she ignites depth charges- intentional efforts to excavate her callings- whenever necessary. With a relentless sense of wander, she eagerly lets go of her localized frame of perception, and adventures into broader and more inclusive realms of consciousness. When a calling is excavated, she tries it on for size, checking its authenticity against her soul-scriptures. She boldly goes where her soul has not gone before.
SOUL-TRACKER: The Soulshaper strives to become an expert soul-tracker, ever sensitive to directional signs as to path that emanate from within. These signs can take many forms- an intuitive hit, a spiritual emergingcy, a sacred grumble, a lingering truth ache. A student of inner dissonance, he looks hard for symptoms of his own falsity. Ever vigilant, he faces his patterns of avoidance head-on. He identifies his escape hatches. He names his game. He is all about living in truth.
INTENTIONALITY: The Soulshaper is all about a soulful intention. He is not interested in the act itself, so much as what compels it: Am I doing this action to honor true-path, or to distract from it? Am I ending this relationship because I am afraid of going deeper, or because it is a distraction from my callings? Depth-avoidant behavior or Soul-driven action?
THE BODY GARDEN: The Soulshaper honors her body as the karmic field where her spiritual lessons are harvested. Far more than just a vessel for the soul, the body is the embodiment of the soul- the soul's garden of truth. She tills the soul-soil with purifying practices- enlivening exercises, armor-busters, heart-openers- in an effort to create space inside for true-path to emerge. A built-in authenticity-mometer, her body dulls when she is living falsely, and glows when she is true to path.
THE SCHOOL OF HEART KNOCKS: To actualize his karmic lessons, the Soulshaper surrenders to his emotional processes, making no distinction between his emotional life and his spiritual path. Although mindful of the perils of misidentification (the thinking that we are ONLY our identifications), he recognizes that the state of his incarnation is a direct reflection of the shape of his soul. Therefore he works hard on his stuff, clearing his emotional debris both because it creates space inside for his authentic self to emerge, and because inherent in those feelings and memories are the lessons he needs to grow in his spiritually. Although lessons can be pleasurable, they are often painful at this stage of our collective transformation- the ladder to heaven is made from broken rungs. Our ascension depends on our capacity to 'cell our soul', to bring our suffering through our emotional body until our spiritual lesson is birthed. Fully actualized, these lessons are the grist that grows the soul, karmic fodder for the mill of spiritual expansion. Karma yoga meets therapeutic process.
GOD IS IN THE PEOPLE: In its essence, Soulshaping is an immersion model. It is about jumping into life, immersing ourselves in our feelings and experiences in an effort to learn what we need to expand our soul's consciousness. It is about embodied spirituality. It is about 'feeling' God, not 'thinking' God. It is about healthy, selective attachment. It is about the inextricable relationship between the opening of the heart and the expansion of the soul (Open-bless-a-me). It is about heartfelt connection as the path to God, connection in all its forms: We-God.
BE REAL NOW: The Soulshaper is not seeking enLIGHTenment-a word that implies that the most advanced forms of consciousness are brightly lit, perpetually blissful. She is seeking enREALment: an inclusive consciousness that incorporates all planes of awareness at one time- shadow and light, subtle and gross realms, ego and soul, earth and sky, localized lens and archetypal wave. That is, a model that weaves the Eastern quest for the Eternal with the Western quest for Emotional and Mental Health. Unity Consciousness meets Self-concept on a bridge across forever.
A SOLE TO SOUL PHILOSOPHY: At the heart of 'Enrealment' is a vision of a human being that 'Ascends with both feet on the ground'. The Soulshaper understands that our ascension to the Godself can only be sustained if it is an embodied unfolding from the ground up. We begin with the root chakra- the quest for Om begins at home- and we work our way up from there. It is not enough for our feet to merely skim the ground. The mythic life begins with our feet planted on Mother Earth. With our soles firmly planted, our Soul has a leg to stand on in its efforts to go higher. As we develop a healthy ego and work through our chakras, we become organically present in our bodies and in the moment. From this stable presence emerges a natural and sustainable movement upward, toward God. Instead of settling for the occasional peak experience, we are now capable of sustaining a more heightened way of being. Sole meets soul on sacred footpaths..
HONORING THE UBS: The Soulshaper has faith in the Universal Broadcasting system, the dynamic and benevolent network of relatedness that brings lessons and messengers onto our path in an ongoing effort to grow our soul. He works hard to clarify his inner channel so that he can summon and receive what he needs more readily. He has no expectation that the universe will send him everything he asks for, but he does have faith that the UBS will send him just what he needs to grow to the next stage. If the universe is attuned to anything, it is attuned to our 'soulular state', how close or how far we are from honoring our divine purpose for this lifetime.
SOUL SUCCESS: The Soulshaper is ever conscious of the difference between egoic and soulful notions of achievement. She is governed by a notion of success that is directly linked to the actualization of her soul-scriptures: lessons, callings, authentic expansion. Material success is only meaningful to the extent that it reflects and actualizes her innate image.
ONLY SOUL KNOWS: The Soulshaper recognizes that only he can know his soul's path. Other may have opinions that are of value, others may call out to and remind him of his knowing, but only he holds the key to his kingdom. He is always his primary guru. In the same way, he will always attempt to give others back their own power, refusing to exploit their projections onto him as knower. At heart, the Soulshaper believes that every individual is here for a profound reason, however simple or humble it may outwardly appear. Through this lens, he strives to make the 'Presumption of Essence' in those he encounters. Instead of seeing individuals exclusively in terms of their adaptations and disguises, he seeks to honor and connect with the soulful being that lives at the core.
INCH WORMS: Although persistent, the Soulshaper recognizes that real change takes time. The Soulshaping journey is life-long and lives long. Growers are inch worms. The fall back to habitual ways is a natural part of the journey home. So long as we persist in sticking our head back out a little further each time, we continue to grow: Three steps forward, two steps back is progress.
GENDER BRIDGE: The Soulshaper does not see the world through a gendered lens, recognizing that the most inclusive soul contains all aspects of traditional gender roles in equal measure. Gender is just a way-station, an opportunity for the soul to embody particular archetypes and work through its karmic lessons. The ultimate being is poly-gendered. At some point, the assertive and the surrendered become indistinguishable.
SOULPOD-SEEKING: The Soulshaper understands the relevance of the 'soulpod' on her evolutionary path. The soulpod is that person or group of people whom our soul finds resonance with at any given moment. They are so often the key to our expansion. Although her growth may demand a disconnection from certain family and friends, she honors her ancestors wherever possible and attempts to see their actions in context. She honors those souls that established the foundation for her to go higher, those souls who died on battlefields so she could live, those souls who did anything positive to light her way. At the same time, she does not bypass her feelings or forgive the past arbitrarily, but only when that forgiveness is an organic manifestation of genuine emotional resolution.
GIFT BACK: The Soulshaper inherently understands that the individual soul is inextricably linked to the collective soul. We are each here as part of the sacred dance, stepping on each others toes and turning each other toward god, one clumsy step after another. Once he reaches a measure of soul satisfaction, the Soulshaper begins to actively look for ways to benefit other souls who are stumbling on the dance floor. He gifts back to the Universe that gifted him with this precious life. We are in this together. We are this, together.
Jeff Brown (www.soulshaping.com)
JUDGMENT IS BAD (wow, that was a judgment !) (The anti-judgment mantra)
Wisdom: Judgment has been a divisive and destructive force, often wielded as a weapon against those deemed different. It separates us, it undermines us, it perpetuates a dualistic framework of perception that fractures rather than heals. It is one of the primary roots of the poisonous tree. It is essential that we become conscious of our own judgmental tendencies and seek a more compassionate approach. Compassion is a much healthier and more productive path, one that enheartens humanity and brings us into connection with each other.
Perils: In its extreme forms, the anti-judgment mantra can actually perpetuate the dualistic madness it seeks to avoid by nullifying one’s freedom of thought and expression. It becomes a spiritual bypass mechanism, one where individuals repress valid and fair-minded perceptions because they fear that they are being “judgmental” toward others. When this happens, the individual becomes split between an unactualized inner knowing and an adaptation to an externally influenced “idea” of appropriate behavior. The anti-judgment mantra often works to the benefit of those who are seeking to repress freedom of expression and deflect personal responsibility for their own actions.
Grounded Perspective: To make a distinction between arbitrary, malicious judgment and grounded, intuition honouring, meaning-based discernment. The former destroys, the latter honors our intuition and supports our efforts to create a healthier reality. Not everything fits with who we are, or who we are becoming. The important thing is to enhearten our processes of discernment so that we are both honouring our own right to choose and emanating from a compassionate source spring. In other words, to do the least harm when we are making distinctions between what resonates and what doesn’t.
DESIRE/ATTACHMENT IS THE ENEMY OF A HEALTHY SPIRITUAL LIFE
Wisdom: For those of us who are so lost in our desires/attachments that we cannot stop getting in our own way, there is value in this extreme perspective. To be sure, there are times when well-boundaried detachment is necessary: when we need to be reminded of something beyond our localized lens, when we need a peek into a vaster reality, when we need to distinguish between that which serves us and that which derails us. Some of us need to detach from our desires in an extreme fashion in order to recognize/heal our pain bodies and come back to centre. This is particularly true for those with addictive patterns, and those unable to break destructive relational cycles.
Perils: When not implemented in a balanced manner, this perspective dissociates us from the heart of spiritual life- our felt experience. One of the rancid prongs of the spiritual bypass movement, the anti-attachment mantra becomes a technique for self-avoidance that can go too far, inviting seekers to define spirituality in heady, disembodied terms. Radical detachers often end up manifesting as automatons, seemingly calm and reasonable but not integrated in their humanness, a bubbling cauldron of repressed and unresolved feelings and memories.
Grounded Perspective: Selective attachment is the middle way. In the context of Soulshaping, ‘selective attachment’ is the process of sifting everything through an essential filter, connecting only to those experiences and relationships that support true-path. If something fits, we bring it on. If it doesn’t, we stay away. We embrace the idea that certain desires and attachments are healthy and soul-affirming under the right circumstances: How will we learn our lessons if we do not get involved? What is wrong with pleasure as a path? And we embrace the idea that non-attachment is the right path at other times: Why stay connected in the heart of unbearable suffering? Is separation not essential to individuation? Although we embrace the value of detachment practices as essential to the journey, the grounded perspective recognizes that to live in perpetual detachment is to miss the moment altogether. It is to trip out of the body that carries the karmic seeds for our transformation. It is to leave earth before our time. At some point, we need to come back down into our bodies and our personal identifications and work with what lives inside of us. Not identifying ourselves as our stuff, but identifying our stuff as a key to our transformation.
THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF SPIRITUAL LIFE IS (something called) ‘ENLIGHTENMENT’
Wisdom: Healthily characterized and construed, the quest for enlightenment is a noble path, reminding us that we have access to a wondrous and vast consciousness.
Perils: Although enlightenment has been broadly defined in the spiritual literature, it is often interpreted as a kind of pure consciousness; a 'heightened' and purified state of being that is detached from our everyday concerns. In its own way, this interpretation can actually invite us away from the karmic field of expansion itself- our daily life. On my journey, I have been exposed to all manner of definition- enlightenment as seen through the eyes of the head-tripper (mind as path), the bliss-seeker (en’light’enment= fleeing the pain-body, pleasure as path), the radical detacher (bypass as path), the all-knowing guru. Unfortunately, the head-tripper has removed the heart from the equation, the bliss-seeker mistakes the delights of self-avoidance for wholeness, the radical detacher has left the planet, and the all-knowing guru is usually too egoically bloated to taste from the tree of enlightenment. Its fruits only fall on those who have the good sense to know how little they know.
Grounded Perspective: A more grounded and balanced perspective would invite all aspects of the human experience into the equation. I prefer the term “Enrealment”, fundamental to my understanding of Soulshaping as path. Enrealment is the quest for a more inclusive consciousness, one that makes no distinction between our spiritual and earthly lives. It is about living in all aspects of reality simultaneously rather than only those realms that feel the most comfortable. Instead of tripping out of our earthly experience to find God, we find God everywhere – shadow and light, subtle and gross realms, grocery list and unity consciousness. Through this lens, spirituality is just another word for reality. The more authentically connected we are to all elements of reality, the more spiritual our experience. Be Real Now. Entirety as path..
Jeff Brown, Author of Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation (www.soulshaping.com)
EXPRESSING ANGER IS NOT SPIRITUAL AND NOT WELCOME
Wisdom– For obvious reasons, discouraging the inappropriate expression of anger is wise. In our efforts to shift from an animalistic to a civilized world, it has been necessary to put various laws and judgments in place around anger to ensure that others are protected.
Perils– In a mad dash to react away from the perils of anger, we went too far and lost a key piece of the emotional integrity and expression cycle. Anger is a legitimate emotion that signals that a person has been violated. By discouraging and shaming its organic experience/expression, we actually disrupt natural emotional rhythms and encourage inauthentic ways of being. In addition, repressing the emotions simply keeps the anger alive. The negativity goes underground, manifesting in a myriad of destructive forms, including passive aggressiveness, self-destructive behaviour and all manner of disease. By not saying “f*#k you,” we have f*#ked ourselves. In addition, the world improves when people experience/express legitimate anger because it communicates a message that certain things that are happening are not acceptable. As we move towards a higher collective vibration, appropriate anger shows us injustices that would not have even been noticed in earlier times. If we fully condemn healthy anger, we condemn ourselves to endure realities that are not healthy or forward-moving.
Grounded Perspective– Anger is no less spiritual than any other legitimate emotion. Spirituality simply means reality, and an inclusive spiritual experience includes access to a broad and vital range of authentic emotional states and avenues of expression. The important thing is to honor its wisdom and meaning in ways that are appropriate and not physically threatening. This can certainly include healthy and direct communication of anger (verbal, written, legal, boundary assertion etc.), and can also include various methods of embodied release. The important thing is to be true to the emotions, without doing needless harm.
EVERYTHING YOU DISLIKE IN ANOTHER IS A REFLECTION OF A PART OF YOU AND/OR SOMETHING YOU DISLIKE IN YOURSELF (‘The Mirror Defence’)
Wisdom– Understood properly, this perspective invites us to recognize the often reflective nature of reality. Quite often, our reaction to another is a projected response that is sourced in our own emotional material and patterns. Perhaps there is something in our response that can help us to better understand ourselves. For example, you may dislike someone’s passive aggressiveness because you are actually passive aggressive and you don’t want that reflected back to you.
Perils– When misused, the ‘mirror bypass’ invites us away from reality- the truth of how we really feel about someone’s characteristics/actions. Even if their characteristics are similar to our own, this doesn’t mean that we like those characteristics or have to embrace them in another. Quite often, this perspective is used as a defence against accountability by wrong-doers, who expertly shift the focus away from their own actions by turning the mirror back on those they have wronged “Look! It’s not me you dislike, It’s you!” Trickster gurus are particularly adept at these techniques. The guru claims that his (questionable) actions were not actually for his own benefit but done with the conscious intention of reflecting back to you the unresolved aspects of your own consciousness. If you felt betrayed, it was because you have issues around betrayal that you need to look at. *Try hitting on the guru’s girlfriend, and see what he says then.
Grounded Perspective– It is always good to consider the possibility that our reaction to another is sourced in our own projections and unresolved issues. At the same time, it is also perfectly fine to dislike something in another that does not resonate with who we are or with what we value. Yes, we can respect everyone’s right to be who they are, while also honouring our right to dislike some/all of their characteristics. We can also make the presumption of essence in everyone we meet- seeing individuals as fellow souls traveling through time- while simultaneously accepting that we don’t enjoy hanging out with their incarnation .
WE ARE “ALL-ONE”/DUALITY IS THE ENEMY OF A HEALTHY SPIRITUAL LIFE
Wisdom: Lost to the overwhelm and fragmentation of daily life, many of us forget that there is a unified field of consciousness beyond our localized awareness. We get trapped in our monkey mind, our neurotic anxieties, our sense of alienation from our environment and other people. The All-Oneness movement invites us to nestle into this vaster consciousness, to reach beyond limiting dualities and recognize our connection to an intertwined and interdependent network of expansion. This perspective is particularly helpful to those who are over-contained and rigidly boundaried, and unable to feel connected to anything ‘outside’ themselves.
Perils: When taken too far, the “All-One” Mantra can become a recipe for radical detachment and self-avoidance. Instead of recognizing our divine purpose and doing the individual work to actually become more connected and unified, seekers jump ship and swim in the vaster ocean, where they drown (together) in their unresolveds. One of the more complicated prongs of the spiritual bypass movement, the All-oneness mantra often removes the ego, body and emotional life from its vision of wholeness. In other words, it’s only All-One if it feels good. No shadows or hard shoes allowed on the dance floor, just light and easy dance moves. Not so much All-One, as All-Fun. Quite often, the spiritual bypass community encourages us to 'oneness' before we have a 'self' to come home to. Its backwards. We need to grow into a recognition of our individual significance before we can truly understand and surrender to our connection to unit y.
Grounded Perspective: There’s a sacred balance between our experience of unity consciousness and our connection to our individual path in the heart of it-separate voices inextricably woven through a choir of unified light. Yes, we are inextricably woven together, intertwined with the divine, connected with other, with the natural world, with the universe that sources this incarnation. But we’re not identical to everything and not everything is a perfect reflection of our unique self. Each of us has a unique and significant role to play in the heart of this universal dance. Divine Purpose, the true-path that is embedded in the bones of our being, cries out to be excavated and humanifest. When we embody our divine purpose, we shape the individual and collective soul to the next stage in its movement towards wholeness. The idea that we are all "one" takes on a whole new meaning when we find our unique place in the heart of it and interact with unity from an individuated and clarified purpose. It is an irony of the All-one movement that they often forget the need for individual experience/development in creating a non-dualistic reality (We are not attached at the waist for a reason). The more deeply we grow in our individual spirituality, the more genuine is our experience of unity. The healthier the individual consciousness, the healthier the collective. Although there is a dark side to duality, there is also a perfect side- the separate strands are where we do the work and a breeding ground for the soul’s expansion. We heal the dualities by honouring them and learning the lessons intrinsic to their form. To let go of duality, we must first establish our separateness. To truly taste from unity, we must learn where we end and the other begins.
Jeff Brown, Author of Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation (www.soulshaping.com)
APOLOGIES TO THE DIVINE FEMININE (from a warrior in transition)
I apologize for my inability to distinguish the benevolent warrior from the heartless warrior, a reflection of my own confusion dealing with the battlefields of yore. When I opened my heart too wide, I was vulnerable to attack from warring factions. I was conditioned to believe that I had to stay rigid, focused, prepared for any eventuality, in the desire to protect myself and others from attack. But I went too far, and closed too tight, and eradicated the bridge between our hearts. I am seeing this now and I am sorry.
I apologize for my perpetual absence, a reflection of my own inner absence, my inability to connect from a heart jammed tight by unresolved emotions that I did not have the tools to work through. I still lack many of these tools, but I am open to their emergence.
I apologize for my inability to distinguish relationship from war. Like a warrior in enemy territory, I would sneak in and out of your life in the night, plundering and selfishly taking what I needed, then crawling back to the other side of the abyss with the spoils. I gave little back for fear that I would become vulnerable to attack. I had war on the brain and I could not see the river of love waiting on the other side of the battlefield. I now recognize that love is the antidote for the armoured warrior, but I could not drink the antidote in my driven state.
I apologize for not seeing you, my eyes blinded by congealed rage and unshed tears. If it is any consolation, and I imagine it is not, I could not see myself either. I saw only that which served my hyper-vigilance, my warrior focus. My mirror was a battlefield.
I apologize for my ungrounded materialism, my power driven tyrannies, my obsession with accumulation. Somehow I imagined that accumulation would protect me and those close to me, but I failed to recognize that it just perpetuated the madness. I also apologize for my egoic abuses, a reflection of my own misguided ego, pumped up to deal with an inherently competitive world. I couldn’t distinguish the healthy, confident ego from the cocky, unhealthy ego. I went much too far in the wrong direction.
I apologize for a sexuality that was objectifying and disconnected from the heart. I know you longed for real intimacy, a merging of our souls along the heart-genital highway. But there were too many defences around my heart, and no bridge could form between our souls. There were moments when your loving ways freed me from my body masks, but I had no template to stand in that heart-fire. I am sorry for this, for I know that the path you longed for was the path to God.
I apologize for my horrifying acts of violence, a reflection of my own congealed rage, my own inability to distinguish real enemies from friends. There are no words that can undo what I have done in those moments of madness. I know this, I do. I would hide my face in shame, but that won’t make things better. I need to own my misdeeds, and then find a way to believe in my capacity to move from a more loving place. I call out to other male warriors to be accountable for the actions of our gender, not in a way that is self-hating, but in a way that is courageously self-honest and genuinely compassionate. The heartfelt warrior acknowledges the error of his ways, and has the courage to do all he can to make amends over time.
I apologize for my inability to develop a conscious relationship. You were right there with your beautiful heart on your sleeve but I was too attached to my individualism and afraid of this unknown terrain. I know the forests, the marketplace and the ways of the outer world so well, but my inner geography is foreign to me. You called me to a place I was ill-prepared to go, although I sensed, below the surface of my bravado, that you called me home.
I am grateful for your willingness to believe that who I was in those rare moments of vulnerability was the real me. You were right- the real me lives inside of my heart- but a few moments now and then was the most I could handle. I saw you as dangerous, for in your presence I began to taste a surrendered way of being. Nonetheless, your faith in my goodness kept me going through many a battle, and restored my faith in life when I most needed it. You were the light at the end of a barbaric tunnel, and I am blessed.
I am grateful that you stuck with me through thick and thin, and I also understand those times you had to give up and let go. I now recognize that there is meaningful difference between a love-ship and a relationship. Love alone is not enough. Without a shared willingness to become conscious, there can only be frustration. I was so often impossible, clinging to my unconsciousness like a soldier clings to his weapons. I recognize the courage it took for you to keep your heart open in the presence of my resistance. You had every right to seek an authentic relationship, as your spirit was ignited in its presence. Your beautiful heart had every right to be met in its openness and willingness. I am grateful for the time you gave me, a moments respite from the hiding places I mistakenly called home.
I am grateful for Grandmother, for no one saw my tenderness more clearly. I am grateful for Mother, for choosing to bring me into being and for nourishing my body until I could find my feet. I am grateful for Mother Earth, for grounding my expansion and enlivening my spirit. I am grateful for the Divine Mother, the real Mother of us all. I now feel her divine presence, so close. Fiercely compassionate, she was always right here, breathing life into me, holding me safe. I sit in her lap as she breathes me.
I look forward to the day when the only thing that ignites relationship is two souls calling out to one another, two soul-hearts beating in the same direction, a whisper of longing that bridges one essence to another. I want to want you not because it gratifies my ego, not because you are outwardly beautiful, but because your very presence invites my Godself out of hiding. I want to touch you with my heart on my sleeve, to know chemistry between us that is not gender identified, but that is essence sourced, loves liquid lava flowing from the heart to the genitals to the great beyond. In this love-struck world, relationship will always be experienced as spiritual practice, a devotional expression of our God-self.
I had always believed that sensitivity is impossible to hold to in a harsh world. Yet in this moment, I feel sensitive, but without the fragility. I am still wearing armor but there is a shift in the direction of my intensity. I can linger in the heart-space a little longer than I once could, I am softening in places. After so many lifetimes with weapon in hand, a tenderling warrior is being birthed in the core of my being. He is confused, but he intuitively knows that this is the way home.
Please don’t give up on me or my fellow warriors. Forgive us our misdeeds, or, at the least, be open to the possibility that we will change as the trail expands to meet our shifting intentionality. The day will come when our warrior spirit loses its harsh edge, and comes into alignment with benevolent action. Some of us are already there, and many more of us will follow. The road to transformation is dependent on a bridge between genders, a benevolent bridge that celebrates our differences with respect and kindness. That work must begin with healing the rifts along the gender continuum, working hard to heal the collective heart until one day we can stand on a bridge across forever, hands held together, hearts open and alight, embracing the sacred masculine and divine feminine living at the heart of us all. I will meet you there.
May you feel the love of the Divine Mother crashing down on your heartfelt shores, graciously lifting you up above the madness of the world, nestling you in the grateful arms of those you have nurtured. Those of us who have received your blessings may not always acknowledge it, but your acts of love have landed within us, growing us stronger and infusing us with love’s light. Thank you.
© Jeff Brown, 2010 (www.soulshaping.com)