Monthly Archives: May 2016

Excited and Terrified

On Wednesday I took the first step towards what I’m being called to do, by telling my boss I want to go to half-time at work, and that I was planning to move out of state in a couple of months.

So exciting and terrifying at the same time! Or perhaps excitement and terror are just two sides of the same coin.

I posted on Facebook about this first step, without saying much as to where this path is leading, and, of course, I got tons of questions. Answering the questions has led me to be more committed to the path I am on – at least the part that is about moving from Seattle to upstate New York. Because now I have told everyone that is what I plan to do. Not that I couldn’t change my mind, but it feels like by telling people I am affirming that this is my next step.

And once again, it is exciting and terrifying at the same time!

The other thing about making my intentions known publicly, is that many people just don’t understand. They want to know why I’m moving – did a I get a new job, do I have relatives there, did I grow up there? They want to have a logical and rational reason, and there isn’t one.

Their questions have been really good for me, to be able to simply say that I’m following my heart. I don’t need a concrete reason; I just know that it is right for me. I know that those who need that rational reason are not ready yet to understand, so I don’t try to convince them. That’s not my job, anyway.

I have also gotten a lot of support from people who “get it.” I am grateful for their cheerleading, and grateful especially for the cheerleaders who have surprised me.

So, excited and terrified (although less and less terrified), on I go!

I Know Why

I now know why I was called back to this blog, albeit in a very roundabout way.

One of the people who began following my blog last week blogs about A Course of Love. I had never heard of A Course of Love, and I believe I was meant to find it at this time in my life.

A Course of Love (ACOL) is a channeled book that is (supposedly) a follow-on to A Course in Miracles (ACIM). I don’t really care if it really was channeled, if Jesus is or isn’t the author, if it is intended as a supplement to ACIM or not.

These are all the controversies surrounding it, that have no meaning to me. All I care about is does it resonate for me. I have already gotten my money’s worth from the $7.99 Kindle version in reading just a few pages.

At the end of 2011 I was introduced to ACIM, and joined a study group for a few months. But like most things during this transition period I’ve been in over the past several years, it served me briefly, and then I was ready to move on. Frankly, ACIM never really felt right for me. I’m not saying it doesn’t have value; I know for many people it is literally a God-send.

But I’ve learned over time that not everything is a fit for me. Additionally, I may not be ready for something I’m introduced to, or I may already have surpassed that lesson. So I’ve gotten really good at being able to say, yes, this thing has value, and it’s not for me right now. Along with that, I’ve gotten really good at recognizing when something is for me, and diving in.

So, back to why I was supposed to find ACOL right now.

As I blogged about last week, I am in a period of huge change right now. Many of us are, as is the earth itself. And, it can feel quite uncomfortable. I have been in a bit of a tizzy for the past couple of weeks, feeling ungrounded and unfocused. Along with that has come this intermittent feeling of fear and anxiety. And, I haven’t seemed able to make a decision to save my life, when for most of my life I have been quite decisive.

Yesterday I realized, that it would help me to have some validation around the choices I am currently making – the source of all that anxiety. I truly believe I’m on my right path, but, as I said it is pretty scary. It would be nice to have someone else say, “Yes, Laura, keep going.”

I decided to do a session with a psychic and medium I have known for several years. I told her where I was at. She immediately told me that yes, I was headed in the right direction, and that part of the process was to develop that trust that meant I didn’t have to see beyond the next step (something I believe in and blogged about last week, but still is scary!).

I have planned a trip to New England in July, because I believe I’m being called to move there. I have had so much trouble deciding how long I should stay in each location, which has meant I haven’t booked anywhere to stay beyond the first night. I feel very uncomfortable about this. My practitioner told me this was part of my process, to trust that I will know where to go and will find the exact perfect place to stay without planning in advance.

Whoa! I’m someone who likes to know what to expect, at least when it comes to the bottom level of Maslow’s hierarchy: safety, food, shelter. Still, on some level I already knew this truth. That’s why I haven’t been able to nail anything down.

So, what does all this have to do with ACOL? Earlier in the day I received an email with a post from the blogger who writes about ACOL. When I had time to read it, the quote from ACOL was: “This resting place is indeed hallowed ground and an earned respite, a demarcation even between the old way and the new way of living. But it is not the end that is sought. No matter how peaceful this place of rest may at first seem, it will soon become stagnant and unsatisfying. Left in such a place without further instruction, you would soon return to your old ideas of heaven and see peace as a state of being for those too weary to fully live. Done with the adventures of living, you would deem yourself no longer interested in the hunt for buried treasure and see it not.”

In the past month I have become dissatisfied and bored with work, and with my life in general. I feel like I just don’t know what to do with myself. Nothing appeals to me. This quote was right-on in telling me, “Okay, your rest is over, time to get moving again.” That is exactly what this move I am planning will do, get me further down the path.

After reading that passage last night, I decided to buy the Kindle version of ACOL, and downloaded it. This morning I had a few spare minutes while in a class I was taking and began to read the Foreword, which told the story of how Mari Perron received the information. In it she talked about how there was this dichotomy between the Oneness she felt when she was engaged with Jesus receiving the material, and when she wasn’t. She would try to recreate that feeling, but couldn’t. She finally realized she was trying to recreate it with her mind, which is not where Oneness resides (my words).

Further on in the Foreword Mari says, “You are about to receive this Course. As you open your heart to it, don’t rely on your mind to recognize what you receive. When you close the book and go about your day, don’t do as I did and bring it to your mind. Hold it in your heart. Stay in love’s presence. Don’t step back into separation…Don’t think too much. Let your heart lead the way.”

In my life I have been guilty of thinking too much. Way too much.

This really resonated with my current experience. My mind has been trying to sort everything out and make order of the chaos, but it can’t. Because this isn’t about my mind and choosing something thoughtfully and rationally. It is about following my heart, and my mind doesn’t know how to do that – that isn’t my mind’s job.

So I will trust my heart. I will trust Spirit. I will trust that everything that happens is for my benefit.

Even when I’m feeling scared.

To Write or not to Write (or What to Write)?

It’s not been a week since I started this blog up again, and I find myself avoiding writing. On the one hand, I feel like I have so much to say it’s hard to choose a topic. On the other hand, I am constantly weighing what I can write that will be of benefit to others, and how to present that.

This morning it occurred to me that I’ve already moved away from my purpose in re-starting this blog, which is not to instruct or guide others, but rather to say what is going on for me.

Reading a young woman’s blog the other day reminded me that why I started this blog was to allow myself to be vulnerable, and fully seen. I can still remember how terrified I was 4 years ago when I first started blogging. Terrified of being judged. Terrified of being seen.

Now, I’ve been putting on my teacher’s hat, which is a much safer place for me. But I didn’t come here to be safe, I came here to be seen. So…

I begin again.

I have to acknowledge that I’ve been wanting to start up my counseling and coaching practice again, but with a spiritual exploration focus. In the back of my mind is the thought that people reading my blog could see how wise I’ve become, how many lessons I’ve learned, and be drawn to counseling with me. But…that’s not the purpose of this blog. I already have a website for my (former) business, with lots of blog posts geared in that way. This blog was originally started for me to be me, unabashedly, and I want to maintain that focus here.

And, I have some discomfort with the commercializing of my feelings and experiences. Which is why I wasn’t being completely honest with myself about my motivations for blogging again. I judge myself, and I don’t want to. However, I choose to use this blog is okay, there’s nothing wrong with using a blog as a jumping off point for offering my services. But, I don’t think that was why I was guided to begin this blog again.

Deciding to begin again here, rather than on my counseling website, is rather an interesting journey. I actually did begin with the idea of revamping my dormant website to attempt to attract clients that were interested in spiritual development. However, in that process, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

I have a WordPress-based site, and I hadn’t made any updates to it in almost two years. So the first thing I wanted to do was apply all the updates and get up to date. But first I wanted to make a backup, just in case.

Well, the backup program erred out. I hadn’t used that in almost two years, either. So I contacted the person that hosts my site, and realized I hadn’t paid for hosting for the previous year, or the upcoming year. So, once I did that she “fixed” the backup problem.

Only, she didn’t. I didn’t get the same error, but it still didn’t work. After some back and forth we decided that since it worked for her, she would run it and then send me the file.

Once I got the file, I ran all the updates. There were a lot, both for WordPress itself, as well as all the plugins my site uses. Everything seemed to go fine. The site rendered properly and it seemed all was well.

Until…I went in to begin editing the pages and there was nothing there to edit! The text fields had a squiggly red line in them.This was the point where I finally got the message from Spirit: this isn’t the path I’m supposed to be going down.

So I had my host restore from backup, back to where I started, while I started thinking about other choices. There were some problems with the restore process, too, which further validated that this is not what I was supposed to be doing.

And, I still didn’t get the real message.

I have several other domain names, and one of them had been used for presenting opt-in offers. Since I hadn’t been active in my business in several years, I was no longer using it for this purpose. So, my next thought was that I would use that site and start from scratch to be this “spiritual guidance” site I was imagining.

But, more problems encountered here. I was finally able to get it working, but what was the message? I have learned that when something requires too  much effort, is too hard, then I’ve veered off course.

Finally, I thought of this personal blog that had been unused for two years. Is that where I was supposed to be go?

Well, as I said above, within a week of beginning again here, I have stopped enjoying it. I don’t feel like doing it, it feels like a chore.

So, once again, I have to look at why is this so hard? Obviously I’m not on the right path or I would be inspired to write. And for the most part, I haven’t been.

You may not see any more posts from me for a while – or at all. If that’s the case, it means I’m not feeling inspired.

Or, I may find once again the personal value in sharing my thoughts, feelings and experiences.

I have to believe that I was led back here for a reason. But, as in much of my life, it’s only in hindsight that I can understand what that reason is. For now, all I can do is follow my heart. And we’ll see if it leads me to write here.

Mother’s Day Part 1 – Lessons My Mother Taught Me

Mother’s Day is always good for bringing up stuff for me. It began when I was at the store the other day looking for a card for my mother. We’ve had a rough go of it – at least from my perspective. I don’t think she is conscious of how difficult I have found our relationship, even as I have tried to address some of the issues with her over the years. And of course that is part of the problem.

Looking for a Mother’s Day card is always interesting. Most of them are all about what a wonderful mother the person in question has been. How loving, how supportive, how… fill in the blank. The problem is that I don’t feel that my mother was a good mother for me. Yes, we always had food, clothing and shelter. My sister and I were not physically abused. My mother was not an alcoholic or a drug addict. She was the epitome of a good, responsible citizen.

Unfortunately, that was not enough. I didn’t get what I needed most: unconditional love.

Yes, I know she did her best. Yes, I know she was the product of her own upbringing and environment. And, as I have told my counseling clients many times, just because you can understand and have compassion for why someone acted a certain way, does not make it okay that they acted that way.

I do have compassion for my mother. And I still did not get what I needed as a child.

This morning I was looking at all the tributes to mothers on Facebook, and it was in my face again. I couldn’t honestly say that I felt the same way about my own mother.

In thinking about this more, I realized that, in fact, I got exactly what I needed from my mother. My relationship with my mother has been my greatest source of personal and spiritual growth.

Here are the lessons my mother taught me.

  1. Perfectionism. In my mother’s world you must do something perfectly, or you fail. An A- is not good enough. 2nd place is not good enough.

The real lesson:  I am already perfect. As a soul I am whole and perfect. It is the human part of me that needs to work on becoming perfectly myself. Because I’m already perfect.

  1. You have to earn love. This is a corollary to #1. The reason you need to be perfect is so that people will love you. Otherwise, you will be abandoned and alone.

The real lesson:  As a spiritual being, I am love. I don’t have to seek love from others, because that is who I am – and who they are – at the core. I have the love of Spirit, no matter what. No matter what I do or don’t do.

  1. What others think of you is more important than what you think of you. Starting to see a pattern here? Yup, once again about earning the approval / love of others. This time by being what they want you to be, which may not be who you really are.

The real lesson: Be true to myself. People come and people go. Some like me, some don’t. In the end, I’m the one who has to like me.

  1. Rules are made to be followed. If you break a rule / law, you will get in trouble. People will find out. They won’t like you anymore. Boy, was I good at following the rules! (I still struggle a bit with this and judgement of others when they break rules. But I’m working on it!)

The real lesson: Rules and laws are useful to keep society in check. And I do what feels right to me. If what I’m doing harms no one else (for me this is the litmus test), then so what if it’s against the rules?

  1. Right and wrong are opposites and clear cut. My mother has a strong sense of right and wrong – and difficulty seeing a situation from anything other than her own perspective. My sister and I used to say, “There’s our mother’s way to do something and the wrong way.”

The real lesson: I know what’s right for me. I don’t necessarily know what’s right for you. And there’s a whole lot of grey between those opposites of black and white.

In looking back over these, they really are all closely related. They’re all about judging and being judged in order to give or earn love. I guess that’s the crux of my issues with my mother and her way of being: I constantly felt judged and was constantly trying to earn her love.

These days my mother and I have the best relationship of our lives, in my opinion. I accept her for who she is, but I don’t buy into her stuff. That’s about her, not about me. I rarely feel guilty that I’m not being her vision of a “good daughter.” Once I gave up the guilt and the feeling of obligation that caused it, it was a lot easier to want to spend time with her.

I don’t have any illusions that my mother will ever become the mother I wish I’d had. But I do feel compassion for her and her own struggles, and I recognize the ways in which she tries to show me that she loves me. I’ve let go of feeling that every good deed from her comes with a price tag attached (that’s one I forgot to mention – if I do something nice for you, you owe me), and instead just express my gratitude for whatever the favor is.

Finally, I am grateful for the lessons I learned through having her as my mother. I believe that we pick our life lessons and who will play them out with us before we come for another lifetime, so obviously I set this all up for my own benefit. I guess I can’t be mad at anyone about that, but myself!

One Step at a Time

I’ve really been having a week of upheaval. There is the potential for all the basics in my life (work and home) in the next few months. I’m looking at moving across the country, and with that, through necessity, changing jobs – or at least changing what my current job is like.

On Tuesday I hit my limit with the unknown and feeling overwhelmed and, let’s face it, scared. Even though these changes are completely my own choice, and I know that I am being called to do them, it’s darn scary!

I am feeling called to move to upstate New York, and am planning a trip there in July to check it out. My goal is to make a decision by the end of July and move in August. Earlier this week I started planning my trip, and promptly became paralyzed by indecision. Which is not at all like me. I couldn’t decide whether to fly or drive. I couldn’t make myself fill out and turn in the vacation request at work. I spent hours online looking at AirBNB and driving routes and flight choices. And couldn’t decide a thing.

To top things off, there has been some drama at work in the past week that throws a wrench in the works of how I was planning my graceful exit there. Or if not a full exit, at least a transition to working remotely as a contract employee. And I was left feeling like everything in my life was up in the air and unknown.

Of course if I’m honest, that’s always true! I don’t have control over the majority of what happens in my life. But like most of us, I have carried that illusion of control with me for many years, and it feels just teensy bit (okay, a whole lot) uncomfortable when I run up against it. And I have been someone who has had an inner knowing of what I want to do and is very decisive, in general.

In the past 10 years I have made a lot of significant changes in my life, and have handled them with grace and ease. I’ve had friends remark on the courage it took to change careers, when to me it just felt like the logical next step for me. Similarly, when I sold my house a few years ago and decided to rent instead (in preparation for a move out of state or country at some unknown time in the future), friends told me how brave I was. And, once again, I knew deep in my heart that it was the right path for me, and although I had moments of sadness in leaving the home where I had raised my son, 95% of me was excited for the change.

So this feeling of being almost paralyzed by fear of the unknown is somewhat new to me.

A few things happened, and I had some reminders that helped me to regroup and calm down.

  • I let it all out. I had a couple of experiences at work that day that got me really worked up. I left work and got in my car and drove. I cried. I ranted. I swore (yes, this can sometime be helpful!). I raged. I got mad at other drivers. I yelled at my boss and co-worker. And within 15 minutes it was all out, and I felt a lot better.

My inclination is to stuff everything and not feel the yuck. But when I do that, I really can’t think straight, because there’s all that stuff in their trying to get out. I recently read a great book, Letting Go, The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins. The concepts were not new to me, but they were a great reminder that as we stuff our emotions rather than letting them flow through us, we create strife in our lives that manifests in many different ways.

So, I let go of all the anger, frustration and rage that had been building up inside me. No, it’s not all about what happened at work that day. But that situation was a catalyst to release more of what has built up over more than 50 years in this body.

  • Nothing is forever. Once I was calm, I could think straight. I remembered that no matter what decision I make, it’s not forever. If I don’t like the result, I can always make a different choice. I wasn’t going to let fear of making a mistake keep me from moving forward.
  • I only need to know the next step. Part of what was getting me so tied up in knots that I couldn’t move was not being able to know how everything will pan out.

Will my boss be agreeable to me working remotely? Will another employment option I have work out? How will I support myself? How will my cats deal with 5 days on the road when we move? Will I find a place I like to live?

As you can see, none of these questions have a thing to do with planning my trip to explore. But this is what was keeping me paralyzed. I couldn’t predict the future.

I was reminded of something profound that a friend said to me four years ago when I was in a similar state. I was planning a trip to Edinburgh with the idea of checking it out as a place I might like to live. I was going through all the same kinds of questions and getting myself pretty freaked out.

As I shared this with my wise friend, he said “You only need to know the next step.”

Well, duh! But how profound! I have used this wisdom from my friend many times in the past few years when I get myself in a tizzy over the future, and it has served me well. Thank you, Mark.

So, I got unstuck and booked my trip the next day. I still have a bit of trepidation about how the future will unfold, I suppose that’s only natural, even as I trust in Spirit to guide me. But I am no longer paralyzed and am moving forward.

Feeling Grumpy and Out of Sorts

I woke up feeling grumpy and out of sorts the other day. I know that writing helps me process what’s going on when I feel this way, but I didn’t have the right tools, or so my ego (small self) told me. I needed a new journal, a bigger size than any of the many blank journals I currently have.

Yeah, right.

But, that’s where I was. Listening to that ego chatter telling me that I couldn’t do what I knew was in my best interest.

So instead, I decided to do a 3 card spread with my Tarot cards. This is a practice I did faithfully every day for a full year a couple of years ago, until it felt like it no longer served me. Recently I’ve gotten back into using the cards to help me access guidance from Spirit (my higher self).

Of course the cards I drew were perfect.

Tarot Spread 2016-05-02

So perfect that I felt the emotion well up in me and began to cry. I felt so supported and so validated, and knowing that I was on my right path helped, even though right now it doesn’t feel exactly right to me.

I realized a couple of things, all lessons that continue to show up for me over the past few years.

  • Trust and Faith: I want to let go of doubt and trust that Spirit has my back. Whatever is happening is in my best interest, even (sometimes especially) when I feel out of sorts. The cards I drew were so absolutely perfect, that there is no doubt that Spirit is guiding me. Trust and faith.
  • Surrender: When I feel grumpy and out of sorts, I’m usually in a growth spurt. I know this well, have identified this in myself over the past several years. It makes perfect sense that as I shift into a new way of being that it feels uncomfortable. That’s normal and I can accept that as my reality in this moment, just as I accept – and trust – that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be and how I’m supposed to be feeling. I don’t need to change a thing.
  • Let Go of Attachment to Outcome: I don’t know what’s going to happen next, and I don’t need to know. Of course I have preferences about how my path will unfold, but experience has taught me that I (the small I – ego) don’t have any idea of what is possible. So I can put out there what I would like, and then let go of making it happen. Let go of managing the situation. I don’t need to know how to make it happen. I don’t even need to know what the end result will look like. I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other on my path.

 

The More Things Change…

Today is May 4, 2016. It’s been 4 years since I started this blog, and 2 years since I last posted. I thought an update to my “about” was in order, given how much my life has changed since I began this blog.

I was surprised by how little had changed from my original “about”, given how much has changed in  my life in the past four years.

My name is Laura Longley. I am a woman in mid-life on a spiritual journey.

It’s about the only thing that hasn’t changed in the past 4 years (or so I thought). Keep reading!

I changed careers several years ago from software development to counseling and coaching – a choice that much better suited me. In this process I identified my purpose as ‘I use my wisdom and knowledge to help others grow, while continuing to learn and grow myself.

Just a bit of history, no change here.

My current phase of growth is around authenticity and love. I had a transformative experience in November, 2011 (see my first post for details: https://blueheronwisdom.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/my-authentic-experience-in-new-york-the-beginning-of-the-rest-of-my-life/) which has jumped me forward in my growth and evolution.  I now see my purpose as ‘I help others be happier through living a more authentic life.’  This is more specific both in the outcome as well as how it is achieved.

I guess I would say this is mostly valid, too, although my sense of my purpose has changed over time. Even though I still believe that others are helped by living a more authentic life, I now read that statement as ‘I help others be happier through living a more authentic life myself.’ I realize that how I show up in the world has an impact on everyone around me. I don’t have to do anything directly in order to impact their happiness. If I’m happier, they’re happier.

My first intention in this blog is to speak my truth, to be open and authentic about who I am and what I’m up to.  Much of my life has been spent monitoring and censoring what I say based on how I think it will be received.  My practice (and believe me, it is practice, not perfect) now is to say what is true for me with love and compassion.

Yup, still true.

My second hope is that my own journey and process may help, inspire or encourage someone else along their own path.

Yup, true again. Although at this point I feel like it truly is a secondary goal, where before it felt a bit like trying to get external validation by helping others. Now, not so much.

So, what has changed for me in the past four years?

  • I quit my private counseling and coaching practice
  • I sold my house
  • I sat around contemplating my naval for a couple of years
  • I tried to make things happen that never materialized
  • I learned to allow things to happen
  • I went back to work in my previous career of software (which I swore I never would do)
  • I became estranged from my teenaged son
  • I became an introvert
  • I experienced many miracles
  • I received guidance through my dreams
  • I moved twice
  • I fought and resisted and cried
  • I enjoyed being mostly free of obligation and demands of others
  • I shifted and changed and changed some more
  • I manifested money (with the help of Spirit) in ways I could never have imagined
  • I discovered my deceased father’s history through a dream and helped him to heal and move on
  • I finally accepted that what others think of me is not about me
  • I learned that Spirit has my back
  • I became aware of synchronicity and serendipity
  • I stopped worrying about money
  • I reconnected with my childhood best friend, who is now my grown-up best friend
  • I let a lot of relationships fall away
  • I learned to trust and value myself

There’s much more – it’s been four years of huge change – but this list is pretty representative.

And still, my outlook on life, my understanding of why I’m here, has not changed. It has deepened and perhaps I have a slightly different perspective. Certainly I have more knowledge, understanding and wisdom. But, in general I still believe that my life purpose (and in my view, the life purpose of each of us) is to move towards becoming more of who we truly are: a spiritual being.