#7 – Who needs an Ashram when you have a comfy couch
Hello my name is Heidi and one of my favourite things to do in this world is absolutely nothing, just being in the stillness.
I can remember loving this experience ever since I was little girl, just sitting and day dreaming. Some days watching the movies play in my mind and some days just listening to my own heart beat. I can just sit in my own space and experience this for hours, days and weeks on end. Doing nothing other than listening to the little voice who chatters away about anything and everything. That connection to stillness is my heaven on earth. Yet I’ve heard others say that this is their very definition of h*ll.
In my light bulb moment of realisation that I needed to take a new path in life (see post #6 – Crossroads) I knew there was only one place I needed to be and that was sitting in silence on my comfy couch. I needed to retreat from the noise of the outside world that I had previously surrounded myself with and to re-connect with the stillness. In that stillness I’d always found the answers before. Especially in the face of adversity when everyone else has told me to do one thing and I’ve gone and done another because that was what I’d known as my path. The little voice from within the stillness had always given me the answer before, even where to look for the solution to the most obscure business challenge. I just ask and when the time is right, she answers, boom!
So with a myriad of questions bouncing around in head, I retreated. I knew if I wanted to change the way I was experiencing life, the answer was not in just changing my external environment. It was in understanding how and why I had constructed my existing identity and then setting off into a new journey of re-creation.
The process of transformation is never in focusing on the action itself (a symptom), it’s in the investigation of the reason for the action in the first place (the root cause). I wanted to understand why had I created my overweight body? Why was I feeling like every step I was taking in life I was being watched and judged? Why was I so attuned to other people’s needs for attention? Why was I so uncomfortable at voicing my own needs?
So in my typical Heidi fashion I set off, I was going to transcend this new journey challenge like I’ve navigated all those other brick walls in my path before, my way. Head first. I’m going to find the answer to re-creation. And just like that, like Alice went tumbling down the Rabbit Hole, the old identity of Heidi that I’d created over the years launched herself off into the abyss. Falling down into the darkness, hitting what felt like every branch of the tree of life on the way down, ending up feeling battered, bruised and alone.
As the days, weeks, months and years ticked by, I was absolutely succeeding at fading away my identity by being and doing things differently and yet I found myself left with the most uncomfortable sense of nothingness.
The saying that “the strongest force in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with how we define ourselves” (Tony Robbins) rings very true to me. The identity we have created from childhood is a set of beliefs and rules that we use to define ourselves and it is what other people use to define us too. It’s our own unique living masterpiece which we will protect at all costs, regardless of whether it brings pleasure or pain to our human experience.
Often it’s an external event of loss that brings us face to face with our created identity such as a health issue, redundancy, relationship changes, financial impacts or the passing of a loved one. These events can come to us with the intensity of a tickle of a feather, being hit by a brick or the force of being run over by a truck. Whilst the event absolutely does occur, is it the internal (often unconscious) challenge of how this impacts your established identity that often causes the greatest anguish.
For me, the event was my light bulb career moment in my meeting (see post #5 – Saving who?) which forced me to question my created identity. Why was I doing what I was doing when it was bringing so much unnecessary stress into my experience? Why was I trying to save other people from the inevitable? And why did I feel that I need to prove that others were wrong to doubt my abilities?
To find the answer to my own questions, I’d embarked on a journey of questioning everything I had created. Why? Because everything I do is simply a choice. Why I make the choices I do is a much more interesting question. Honestly, it’s actually the only question that I’ve really ever been interested in finding an answer to.
If you are wondering what I learned from my journey into the abyss, it is simply this. Nothing really exists except energy. Our perceptions and experiences of life and everything within it are just a continually flowing process of transmitting energy.
Receiving energy and giving energy out. How you uniquely go about doing this, is your identity. Yes, your creation is influenced by the energetic behaviours of those within your environment and your body’s innate physiological drive to ensure its own survival, but it’s an energetic creation none the less.
I can create a transmission of energy out into the world by using my internal energy (thoughts, emotions etc) and my physical body by moving my fingers on a keyboard. I can choose the content of this transmission to be as an act of love/healing or as an act of defense. I can do the same with my voice, I can say I love you or I hate you. I can transmit this to others or to myself – both of these are just different constructs of exactly the same thing.
Energy is the only one thing that really exists and the connection to this is what I refer to as the little voice. You might call it something different. But that little voice is your unique expression. It walks every footstep of your journey with you. It’s trying to make itself heard in every breath. It costs you nothing, you were born with it and it will be with you every moment of your life. Nobody other than you can interact with it. It surrounds you and it’s within you. Peace, stillness, love, wholeheartedness and the power to create anything and everything – it all comes from how you interact with the energy of your little voice. You can dance with it or run from it – the choice is yours.
Anything other than this is simply a ghost within the machine which you have created as a result of your body’s sensory survival mechanism (the Autonomic Nervous System) sensing danger and seeking a way to protect your constructed identity, as a way of ensuring your survival. Nothing more, nothing less.
In hindsight, the creation of my old Heidi identity was an unconscious collaboration between the ghosts in the machine and the little voice. Whichever one shouted loudest in the moment, was the one who controlled me. As soon as I found my stress levels dialed up, the ghosts would drown out the voice. When I could sit in stillness, the little voice would return. This is really just another way of saying that when my Autonomic Nervous System was operating in Sympathetic mode (flight, fight or freeze) the ghosts were in charge. In this mode, it’s the ghosts who ran my habitual behaviour, who instructed me to think, feel, say and act as I did, all as a way of attempting to achieve a sense of safety and protection.
All of this makes both no sense and yet perfect sense. It’s the ultimate paradox. And the most beautiful thing about all of this is that I was the creator (just as you are your own creator) so we can choose to re-create ourselves at any time.
But how do you go about doing this? How do you quieten the ghosts in the machine and dial up the volume of the little voice, especially when you aren’t meditating in an ashram or sitting in silence on your comfy couch?
Next #8 – Saying boo to ghosts
30 October @ 10:00 am - 31 October @ 3:00 pm