“We do not attract what we want, but what we are.” —James Lane Allen
Today’s global pandemic and the largest civil rights movement in our history is a sign that something is changing, not only on the outside, but also inside us. The crises affecting our outer world have laid bare some of society’s urgent weaknesses, like inequality, bringing up opportunities for everyone to change for the better.
Although crises have a bad reputation, throughout history, crisis has been the catalyst for major shifts, both personal and structural. For example, public health systems were established after the 1918 flu pandemic, and widespread social welfare policies were created after World War II. Now that many people in the world are undergoing the biggest crisis of their lifetimes, opportunities abound to improve in unimaginable ways, not only outside but also inside each of us.
The crises we’re living today are completely new for us individually and collectively, and the mind doesn’t know how to operate with new information. Maybe you don’t know this, but our mind works very much like software on a computer. Software runs on information that has been fed into it. It accepts the information inside its programming and rejects any information that differs from that programming. In the same way, each of us subjectively perceives our reality according to the data our minds have been fed (or programmed with)—the information we were and are exposed to from our surroundings. And when we lack specific information inside us, it literally creates a crack in the system. This is what we experience as suffering. But interestingly this crack also allows access to new information and our own healing. According to Rumi, a Sufi mystic, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”
The world is changing right in front of our eyes, and we don’t really know how to deal with it. This is new information for all of us! We don’t know what to think and believe! We don’t know how to handle it, because it’s something we’ve never dealt with before and it’s very confusing for our minds. We experience fear as a result of our mind lacking information. But we still have a choice. We can either give into fear and cling tightly to our old programming, or we can open ourselves and allow the light to enter us.
Ancients related the mind to the nature of our thoughts and knew long ago that the thoughts we think every single second create the reality we live in. They knew, too, that crises open spaces inside us—between our thoughts—to allow in new information that otherwise would be rejected by the program of our mind.
We have learned that crisis is related with darkness, but through our history, crises have been related to light and grown, and I’ve found this true in my own life experiences as well. What would it mean for us to use the current crisis as an opportunity to become our greatest selves and create a better humanity and world?
Fear brings our thoughts and emotions out of alignment—creating division, discrimination, and separation. If we want to create a better world, we must focus our attention on what integrates us (and not what separates us). When our thoughts are aligned with the best of us, we are able to spread light instead of darkness. We can give the best of ourselves even during these uncertain moments and inspire others to do the same and create a better world for everyone.
Crisis is the perfect timing to recalibrate ourselves and get back into alignment. How? Not by pointing fingers and judging others, but by pouring light inside each and every one of us. We do this when we choose healing and retracing our steps.
I hear you! It’s much easier to say I’m not going to be afraid than it is to actually not be afraid. Every time we experience a situation outside of us that causes us fear, our mind records this information. And when we come across situations that seem similar, that same recorded fear is triggered inside us. This, together with the storm we’ve been immersed in during the past months, has alerted our fight-and-flight response and all our survival mechanisms. Wanted or not, our attention is focused on the negative and on the perceived threats around us. This focus validates the fear inside us that originated in experiences of fragmentation and polarization in our families of origin during our youth.
Whether or not you’re aware of this, it was in your childhood that you developed the patterns you experience today as your shadow—those things you’re unaware of that live inside you and take many shapes outside of you.
As children, we needed the continuous caring of our parents, because we simply didn’t know how to care for ourselves. The way they cared for us built the data inside us that determines how we relate to and engage with our reality, including our triggers and reactions and many of our trauma responses.
To understand the unique programming inside you that guides your engagement with the world, ask yourself questions like: Were my parents there for me? Were they happy? Did they like me? How did they show up? Did they abandon me? What was the main emotion I felt as a kid when I was around my parents? Was it fear? Was it insecurity?
Were you an abused or abandoned child? Did you generally feel safe while you were growing up? If not, why not? How did you handle that? As a child what did you do to get to safety? Did you go invisible or hide from others? Did you become the perfect child? The fixer? Were you held responsible for everything that went wrong with the family? Did you feel like an orphan even if you had parents? Did you become the protector of your parents? Maybe your parents or those who replaced them were racist or misogynist or homophobic. Maybe they were sexists. Maybe you had a tyrannical or absent father or mother or a codependent parent. Maybe one of your parents was selfish or alcoholic. What emotional resources were handed out? Did you inherit from your family?
Whatever it was for you, acknowledging how you processed and handled your challenging childhood situations is very important. For those of you who didn’t have safety and security in your home, the patterns you developed to respond to the resulting fear will determine how you will or will not shine. The problem is, when we don’t become aware of and work on all this inner toxicity inside of us, we reflect it into the world.
If we want to become good leaders and stop the continuous madness the world is living, this is the right time to bring this information inside us forward in order to heal it and shift it. We cannot expect change in the world if the people who are leading the world are doing so from their unconscious separation consciousness.
First, begin to create an inner safe home inside of you, where inclusivity, compassion, benevolence, understanding, and conciliation abound. What the world needs now is more kindness, cooperation, solidarity, and tolerance—more love and more wholeness. If you’re a leader, it’s important to work on the inside what the world needs on the outside. If you don’t first build that model inside you, no matter how good your intentions are, you’ll never be able to replicate it in the world. It’s up to you! You can remain in the same consciousness of separation and bring more separation. Or you can step up into who you really are (who you were at birth), shine your light, and illuminate the lives of others so they can also shine—just as I did.
My life hasn’t been very easy. Those who know me closely know that my personal life has been full of struggles since the moment I opened my eyes into the world. I had a difficult relationship with my mother and suffered from cancer. Yes, I am white and didn’t have struggles based on skin color discrimination. But as a woman raised in a misogynistic culture that discriminated against females and praised men over women, I did face identity discrimination. This was reflected throughout my relationships, my work, and my life. Because of it, I lost my kids in a divorce, experienced economic hardship, and lived through and witnessed addiction and abuse with different partners. Literally, I have gone through hell many times, but this hasn’t stopped me from giving the best of me in every way I can and shining my light. Nothing has prevented me from sharing my love, understanding, and kindness with the world. And I owe this to working consciously on myself in order to heal myself and switch my mindset from separation to wholeness on a continuous basis using different holistic tools.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there are no excuses when it comes to improving our lives and the lives of others. If I was able to give the best of me in the worst times, I know you can do it too—if you prioritize your own healing today.
This is a time to be careful, not only with ourselves but also with those around us. We’re all in fight-or-flight mode and more reactive than usual. You and I may see the world differently, but that doesn’t make me right and you wrong.
It’s easy to react based on or act out the unfinished work inside of us. It’s easy to type an aggressive answer on social media and project our pain, only defending our own point of view, without hearing what others have to say or putting yourself in the shoes of others. It’s hard to be neutral or to be understanding, loving, and compassionate with others when you’re afraid.
I invite you to take a new route the next time you’re triggered. Before reacting, take a deep breath and go deep inside yourself to recognize the real cause of what is triggering you. It’s very important to stay in the observer mode, rather than reacting impulsively. Just know that you are responding from trauma when you lose your flexibility, become rigid, and close yourself off to giving the best of you.
This is a time to dig deep—to discover what’s unconscious for you and discard whatever is not aligned with the best part of you. It’s time to recognize the whats and whys of your triggers or trauma responses. What are the patterns you’re continuously reacting to or repeating that aren’t allowing you to expand or integrate new information?
If you’re able to control your response, choose not to react. Instead, slow down and review what you’re resonating with inside of you. What’s underneath the surface—the reason you’re feeling the way you feel? We can look into the past, for example, and become aware of where along our history we have experienced these emotions before or who around us triggers them. Think for a moment. How can you shift your limited thinking or your perceptions? How can you improve your connection with and relation to others?
Our mind and heart need to align in order to become who we really are and are meant to be. If you choose to consciously make this realignment a priority, we all will benefit.
Everyone is undergoing intense emotional stress right now. And we all have limited perceptions when we don’t engage in inner work to expand our perspectives. Additionally, divisive thinking has become a habitual way of thinking, sometimes spread through media and propaganda. I invite you not to argue with family and friends over politics, racism, gender issues, and so on. Instead of participating in heated discussions where each person simply defends her or his own points of view, ask yourself, how can I expand my inner knowing to integrate more? Rather than attacking, ask yourself, how can I meet at the center with the other person or inspire tolerance in others? How can I inspire others to be their best? How can I react better so I can serve the world better? How can I work on coherence, congruency, and harmony? How can I be sure my thoughts and feelings are aligned with those of the other person? How can I serve better?
A lot of people are running away from the inner work they need to do. The key to service is giving both ourselves and others the best of ourselves.
Ask yourself this: Do my feelings match my actions? Being conscious of that alignment is important during these times.
When something is unconscious—like unconscious racist or misogynist bias—you’re not aware of it. Take responsibility when your sense of unworthiness has resulted in actions or words that were hurtful to others. Take responsibility when you have behaved unreservedly, exhibiting a bluntness that doesn’t align with the way you want to engage with the world. Change your scarcity resonance, which can cause you to cling tightly to old programming and result in actions that promote separation, rather than inclusivity. We are up for a consciousness change.
Maybe you’re thinking that others are responsible for your problems. But your limited thinking and perception are also part of the problem; these limitations comprise a mirage created by past experiences that live within you and the human experience of disconnection we all find ourselves in. This is a time to be very discerning when it comes to uncovering and naming the real roots of your explosions.
The pandemic and world crises have opened up great opportunities for solidarity and cooperation. We are witnessing the dawn of a new era. The individual growth that comes at any period of change should refocus our thinking to become better in every way we can. This is a rare opportunity to think carefully about where we want to be and not spend all of our time thinking about how we can be exactly like we were. This is our opportunity to be something better than we were—to recalibrate and realign from the inside out in order to be the best we can be individually for ourselves and collectively for the world. It’s time to heal! Heal yourself; heal the world! Inspire others to be their best! The world needs you!
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