Tag Archive | approval seeking

Take Me to the River

I was strolling by myself in the woods one day when I happened upon a river.  Since I felt uncomfortably alone in the spot where I stood, I made my way out into the open air towards the gushing water.  The constancy and surging strength of the current comforted me.  It made me feel less alone.

You see my journey thus far had been harrowing.  It had felt like the faster I walked through the forest, the less progress I made.  It made no sense.  I made no sense.

But here, right next to this bubbling cadence of soul-cleansing water, I stopped my journey completely.

It was time to change my plan of action.  The new action plan required that I stop taking any action.

I only needed to be still.

The banks were rocky and appeared to be jutting and jagged in a way that was anything but inviting.  Since I could no longer take action, I was forced to sit. Once I sat down I noticed that the rocks were actually quite smooth.  They felt good against my crossed-legs and backside.  Given I was no longer making progress, I was happy that at least I was comfortable.

I sat in stillness for a long while.

The river called to me.

How does a river call you may wonder?  Not by words but by example.  A river is a river.  It never once in the whole dawn of its existence was anything other than a river.  That’s not to say it didn’t evolve over time. Sometimes it was massive in its force, other times it was slow and meandering. Still, it was always a river.

The river’s call was my invitation.  It was inviting me to join in its authenticity.

I liked that idea very much but I was afraid.

While I had been sitting in stillness, a crowd of people had gathered behind me on the banks of the river. These were the people I had been trying to find this whole time!  My journey was over…or so it seemed.

Somehow, the pull of the river was more powerful than belonging.

I made a choice.

I chose the river and simply waved goodbye to all the people I had so desperately wanted to see.

Of course I still wanted to be with the people.  That’s where it’s at, right?  We are taught other people are the ticket to loving ourselves.  It’s through their acceptance that we are able to have the courage to love ourselves.

But, I didn’t see it quite that way anymore.  Maybe the wisdom of the river was on to something.  Maybe if I could at least stick my toes in the water, I would no longer care about fitting in with anyone or anywhere.  I would let the strength of the river sustain me.

I knew this would be enough.

I quickly slipped off my hiking boots and peeled off my socks.  I admit there was still fear within my soul as I endeavored to place my toes into that rushing surface.  What if it’s too cold?  What if who-I-really-am is not enough?

I did it anyway.

Turns out, the river was everything I never knew I needed and more.  Turns out, I was already everything I never knew I needed and more.  The river and I were one.

I was emboldened by the joy that flowed through my body simply by connecting with this powerful source of authentic love.

I submerged both my feet.

I may have been alone but I felt more alive than ever before.

I was free.

I knew from that point on I was going to do whatever it took to express whatever was in my heart exactly in the moment that it would arise.  The approval of others and the search for belonging were over.

I was home.

As I continued to bask in the river’s love, something caught my attention.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed another brave soul had joined me.  They said, “Seeing you in the river has given me the courage to put my toes in, too.  Are you sure it’s safe?”

I replied, “It’s 100% safe.  You are going to be your truest self when you are in the river.  It is the most sustained joy you can experience while being on earth.”

I could tell this was extremely tempting to them.  They asked more questions.  “But what if my friends and family don’t understand my truest self?  What if they leave me?”

In their eyes was the same fear I had experienced a few short moments before.  Instead of comforting them, I gave the truth.  “Your friends and family may not understand your truest self.  They may make fun of you, say hurtful things or when all is said and done, they may walk right out of your life forever.”

At hearing this, the near river adventurer became frozen with doubt.

Even though I knew they did not want to hear more of the truth, I continued. “I didn’t tell you that to stop you in any way.  All I can offer you is my example.  Here I am.  I am standing with both my feet fully submerged in the river.  I am free here.  I would love to have my family and friends join me, but now I know without hesitation that it’s okay if they don’t.  I have a feeling the ones that matter the most to me are going to honor my river journey.  In fact, the bravest ones may even join me.  All I can do is be me, be free and let them be.”

With that, I took my first giant step towards the other side of the river bank.

I didn’t look back.

Not even once.

The Suppression of Joy

A huge part of a spiritual awakening process, is aligning with your personality’s authenticity.  While the eventual goal is to detach from the personal, while you are still in the process, you have to honor the Truth of your personal self.  What this does is signal to your Mind that you are opening to the Higher Self within.  Being your Truest tiny self is the gateway to your Holy Self.

As I hone my authenticity, I realize that more often than not, I hide from others.  I am afraid to be this authentic self when I have an audience.  I am too worried that I will make others uncomfortable or wind up in an awkward situtaion.

I am a deeply feeling person.  I am introverted, intuitive, observant and empathic.  I want to talk about the circumstances of my life that appear to be causing my internal stress (they are not).  I want to chip away at my personal story to find the roots of my discomfort.  I want to cry.  I want to crack jokes.  I want to be free.

There are so many times throughout my day that I am stalled in a conversation that feels so untrue that I feel like pulling my hair out.  It seems like we are talking about something that is causing distress, but it feels off.

I have connected to the space between thoughts enough to know that we are never upset for the reason we think we are.  The only source of our discomfort is that we believe we are separate from God.

We never left God.

God never left us.

It’s heartbreaking when we believe we are separate and alone.  Thinking we have to conquer an impossible world by ourselves is hard. That’s a terrible story to live over and over.

I want to talk about it.  I have almost convinced myself that I need to talk about it with others.  I need to have my viewpoint validated to assure me I am on my way to spiritual freedom.

This is no more true than thinking I am separate from God.

No one is holding me back from authenticity.

Only I can do that to myself.

My joy and Truth are not suppressed.

I promise to give my best to each day, to be authentic as much as I’m able and learn the lesson that only I can lead me to where I need to go.

Where will you go today?

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The Basket of Bread

A spiritual seeker is often the least popular person in the room. Being that a seeker is often highly perceptive, they know this and silence their Truth. That is why they are lonely in a crowd. They do their best to fit in when in fact, they only widen the divide of belonging by staying quiet.

It never pays to be less than Who-We-Are. Our choice as a seeker is simple. Choose your Truth or choose belonging.

Seekers must learn that belonging is the illusion. Only Truth is real.

For a long time a seeker will be alone, stuck in the need to connect with the world. It seems easier to play along, keep quiet and at least be invited into the room.

Eventually, the seeker loses strength, loses patience, loses hope.

Why is it that we seekers must wait to lose all hope before we journey back to Truth? I’m sad for the lost seekers. I’m also joyful that they are finally on their way Home.

Every day I am stepping out of the crowded room and speaking my Heart.  No one exactly knows what I’m talking about. No one actually gets what I’m trying to say. I’m not quite ready to give up on belonging for good, but I know I will let go of it eventually. It will fall away and I will once again be comfortable in any room, even if it’s crowded, vacant or won’t willingly open its doors for me.  It will not matter.  The rooms, the people, me…none of it matters.

Everything that does matter is within me. I have all the belonging I could every dream of multiplied by a thousand.  So do you.

Oh, my Dear Friend! You aren’t lost.

You are finally found.

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Self-Full

“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.”

-Lao Tzu

There comes a point in one’s journey where you realize that trying to win over someone else’s love and approval is impossible.  Circumstances, feelings, thoughts and dynamics swirl about in constant chaos never permanently landing. Of course you will catch glimpses of seeming external love and approval, but they are fleeting.  You can feel love around you sometimes, but you can never really grasp it.

The world hurts when you expect the people in it to love you.  It hurts a lot.  You can try to change, or you can try to manipulate others to change to fulfill your approval quota, but this is inauthentically hollow.  Your only solution is to let go of your need for approval entirely.

How can you do this?

The answer is simple and hard.

Love yourself.

This is a platitude that seems impossible.

It is impossible.

You cannot fully love your tiny self.  You can have moments of love for the personal self and its story.  You can have times where you think you are ‘getting life right’, but inevitably, these float away as quickly as they arrive.  Soon you make a horrible mistake, you lose your temper, you hate how you look, you judge yourself and others so harshly that if you spoke the words out loud you would be shamed for eternity.

The tiny self, like the external world, will never get anything perfectly right making sustainable self-approval an impossibility.

Your only option is to connect to your Whole Self.  In this giant, rock-solid landscape there are mountains of permanent approval.

You already have all the approval you need.  If you came to know this, imagine how your life would be transformed.  You would make decisions based in authenticity, not based on fear of others’ reactions.

You would be Whole.

You would be Self-Full.