In today’s audio channeling we are all advised to work on shedding our belief systems and being open to those moments of awakening, when what we experience changes us. Remember to stay awake! That’s the key.
Have a wonderful week!
My ego makes an appearance in dreaming. It wants to be selected to participate in a cross-country ski race, sure it will win. It is not even considered, though it makes itself known, insisting that it be picked. Someone else, however, is selected for the team. The selection committee does not even notice my ego, in fact seems to be ignoring it on purpose despite its loud and obnoxious attempt to be seen and heard. My dreaming observer self is aware of how ludicrous the ego’s insistence is because I am totally out of shape for such a feat, have not skied in years, and I don’t even own a pair of skis. None of this matters to my ego. It inflates and inflates, totally ignoring all the obvious truths.
My ego, which keeps a pretty low profile in waking life, must have needed an outlet, for it surely came to life in my dream. I have to laugh at how big it was, how insistent in spite of the truth! Perhaps far better to let it play out its issues of inflation in a bardo dream, especially designed for its drama, allowing waking life to be relieved of its struggles.
About 14 years ago, when I was doing my recapitulation, I had a sadly deflated ego. It was all I could do to wake it up and make my way in the world. A little too deflated, it rarely stood up for me, rarely was so insistent as in my dream. I worked on it and got it into alignment with the life I was building, a post-divorce, post-recapitulation life where I needed a well-rounded ego and a good sense of self-worth. Since then I have discovered that the ego comes in many colors, wears many costumes, and makes many appearances.
A couple of weeks ago in my blog entitled Gazing, I wrote about being guided to understand that if one is to reach a true place of love, compassion, kindness and to experience the oneness of everything, one of the most important things is to shed the ego’s self interest. It’s a constant process because, as my guidance explained, everything is egocentric. Even my writing this blog and hoping that someone will find it helpful—a good intention—is egocentric. But this is what I do, it’s part of who I am, so I will continue to write this blog, but then I will let it go and move on, no attachment to outcome. That is one way to deal with ego. Do the job before you, do it impeccably, and then move on. There is rarely a need to turn back if the job is done right the first time. This is our ego serving the needs of the higher self.
Often my ego is sluggish. It refuses to do certain things, only wants to do what it wants. It’s pretty annoying then. Such a time is not a time for shedding, but instead a time to pry it out of the mud and get it moving. Only after missions are accomplished, fully, is it appropriate to retire the ego. We could not function in the world if we did not keep our ego in good shape.
So, how does an ego in good shape act and feel? Well, an ego in good shape is in alignment with our spirit’s intent to live an ever-evolving life. It isn’t too inflated or too deflated. It resides in alignment with our spirit, inside and outside, within the natural ebb and flow of our life. It’s pliable, eager to learn, and yet also sometimes recalcitrant as all heck. Whatever the ego presents is probably a true picture of where we are in our lives, what our key issues are, and what we must work on. It’s a pretty good barometer of how we are really feeling from day to day too.
An ego in alignment and balance knows when to act, when to react, and when to back down. It reads the energy of a situation and makes a decision about whether or not its worth a fight and why. Often the ego may jump ahead and do something before thoughtful contemplation has a chance to intercede and that might cause issues. Other times it’s not quick enough and that will also cause issues. All of this takes time and attention before the ego is naturally in balance with spirit all the time, which might take most of a lifetime, or many lifetimes. I know, I’m still working on it! These are just some of the instances that might arise as the ego navigates the outer world. The ego in the inner world is another creature altogether.
This ego, made up of thoughts, ideas, voices, is often connected to the child self, the unfulfilled self, the negative or positive self, the happy-go-lucky self, the unstoppable self, the fearful self, the demeaning self, or any number of alter egos. This ego is the judge, the one who makes decisions and keeps a running commentary going, who criticizes and gets angry. This is the ego that speaks volumes as well, who notices every little thing that’s right, that’s wrong, that’s gone unnoticed, unappreciated, or is perfect and should not change at all. It is not shy about pointing all these things out either. This ego can get us into as much trouble as the outer ego because it contains all the same parts, known and unknown, freed and held back, expressed and unexpressed. As the guidance in Gazing told me, everything is ego attachment, and thus eventually everything needs to be shed.
Such advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Far better to have ego imbalance than to shed too much too fast. When we are ready the shedding happens naturally. When I was twenty-one I sure needed an ego. That age is a time of ego-building in the world, as one sets out to find out what life has in store, as one learns about the world and how to live in it and survive.
Everyone experiences life at their own pace, equipped with whatever they have when they start out. Some people are gifted with healthy egos right from the start, others less so, but all of us must strive to get them in balance. As I learned, a deflated ego was as detrimental as an overly inflated one. I was always quick to notice a big ego in someone else, but did I feel any more superior because of not having such an inflated ego? Not in the least, my self-esteem was in the pits and it never afforded me much compensatory feeling. I was still who I was, no matter who someone else turned out to be.
And so, as we build our egos we also learn how they tend to be approached, treated, admired, defeated and even trampled on. If we are aware of the work to be done, determined to get that ego into alignment so that it does not always feel so bruised, we are open and ready to take everything as a learning ground. We pick ourselves up and go out again and again into the world, even if we don’t want to, because we know we have to. We know we are on a journey that serves a higher purpose.
We all have to grow up, and part of that growing up is presenting our egos to the world. It’s in the outer ego’s trials and tribulations that we temper and tame the inner ego’s judgments, criticisms, and outlandish ideas. Between the two, we have everything we need to succeed at getting into alignment with what our spirit has in store for us, to eventually evolve into beings of love, kindness, and compassion.
If we are to become such evolved beings then, yes, we must constantly attend to and relativize our egos. It is the role of the ego, as an independent entity, to serve the spirit. And so, aspirations independent of spirit need to constantly be shed.
In other words: just as ego is the parent of the child self, so is ego the child of the spirit self. And just as the child self must merge with the ego, so ego’s will must be merged with spirit. This is true shedding of the ego. Once that occurs we become the gentle, nonjudgmental, kind and compassionate beings that we all really are, spirit beings, who are not only believers of love but are love, loving beings all the time, to everyone and to everything.
This emergence of spirit self is, in the end, the true shedding of the ego self. And then, when we shed the body, when we are ready to meet the infinite, we will glide right on into the oneness of everything, for there will be no ego stopping us, arguing with us, afraid or concerned. We will be in total alignment with spirit, with all of life, with the natural easing out of one form and into another.
I lived in Sweden in the 1970s. One day there was a knock at the apartment door. I answered it and saw three little girls standing there.
Dressed in long skirts, with kerchiefs around their heads and brightly painted red cheeks, they held out copper kettles, singing something indecipherable in lilting voices. It looked a lot like Halloween to me, but it was Pink Thursday, the day before Good Friday.
Luckily, I was baking cookies for the guests who would be arriving the next day. I couldn’t speak Swedish very well at the time, so I held up a finger—wait a sec—and went into the kitchen to grab a handful of warm chocolate chip cookies, a rarity in Sweden at the time. (I’d had the chocolate chips sent to me by my parents as they were not available there.)
“Kakor?” I asked, reappearing with cookies in hand.
“Ja!” they replied, quite happily.
Grabbing the cookies they gobbled them down, making pleasing sounds while I smiled at them and nodded, saying, “Ja, ja,” or something like that. We waved goodbye as they turned to knock on my neighbor’s door. I shut the door and ran back into the kitchen, just in time to rescue the next batch of cookies from being burned in the oven.
Those little girls were enacting a tradition, playing the witches who supposedly cavorted with the devil on that day; all part of the springtime rituals, I was to learn. Usually coins were placed in the tea kettles but, as I told my husband, those little girls didn’t mind the cookies at all!
A few weeks later, at the end of April, another spring ritual was enacted. We’d traveled to spend a few days with my in-laws at their summer house on the West coast of Sweden. A bonfire ensued, the natural consequences of doing winter cleanup of the yard, but this too had significance. It was Walpurgis Night, the annual ritual to greet spring’s arrival. Many bonfires were lit that night along the coast, songs were sung and a lot of alcohol, another part of the tradition, was consumed.
It was the first time I was being exposed to ancient traditions outside of those of my Catholic upbringing. I found them intriguing. It was an eyeopener that nature itself was not only leading the way, but was actually being celebrated as the most significant guide in breaking through to new life. It made perfect sense to me, but I’d never encountered it before. Everyone knew the ritual, and everyone participated. Without judgment, it was a tradition that just was, nature allowed its place in a celebratory, honest, and most practical manner. As that Walpurgis Night fire burned, the ritual of the witches cavorting with Satan made perfect sense too. All of a sudden, I understood that nature was a real and powerful ally and entity, and it needed to be paid attention to, honored, and reckoned with.
I’m ready for my own bonfire now. It’s been on my mind that we should have a fire soon in our outdoor pit. The idea has been stirring for weeks, as we’ve waited for the snow to melt so that we could actually see the fire pit! It’s time to intentionally enact the ancient ritual of shedding and burning that which we no longer need. It’s time to begin anew.
Last night I dreamed. My skin was cracking and peeling away. Not like skin that has been sunburned and peels in thin layers. No, this skin was about an inch or two thick. It was old crusty skin. I knew, as I dreamed, that it symbolized that which is no longer necessary, a protective layer that no longer has any use. I was wearing it for no good reason, only out of habit. Beneath the thick old skin lies new pink skin, the tender, innocent and true self. It’s time to fully expose her, to let her live all the time, not just when it feels safe or appropriate, because I suddenly understood that it is always appropriate to live from the tender and real self.
My dream reminded me of a dream I’d had when doing my recapitulation. At that time I’d dreamed of removing a layer of the same kind of thick crusty skin from the soles of my feet. I still cringe as I recall peeling it off only to find beautiful pink soles underneath. In that dream, I put the crusty soles back on because I still had a lot of recapitulation work to do. But it was enough to know what lay in store for me, the innocent and pure self revealed by those tender pink soles. I wasn’t ready at the time to do more than hold the secret of this true self, but last night’s dream tells me that I’m more than ready now. I’ve been walking on the soles of that tender self for a long time now, but as my dream tells me, it’s time to shed everything else I’ve used to keep her protected and let her fully live!
And so, in celebration of spring, I intend to shed the trappings and ideas of an old self. I intend to set upon the altar that which is no longer necessary or desirable. In lighting the pyre, I intend to sacrifice that which oppresses and keeps me from experiencing my fuller self, all the thoughts and ideas that no longer belong in my life. I also set the intent to no longer hide the pure tender soul of who I am. I will be burning that crusty old coat of skin that I no longer need to wear!
I will allow nature to be my guide, both through this ritual burning and in the next steps. I have no idea where I’m going, but in this shedding and burning process I declare that I am open, willing, and ready for new life.
We’ve all come so far in our lives and in our work. Let us not be held back. Let us light the fire on the altar and raise a glass to nature and to spring, to renewal of the true self, and many happy new beginnings.
As I light the fire and raise a glass to spring, I hope you will too,
What needs to happen today for me to become more of me? To me, life is all about shedding: shedding roles, shedding skins, cloaks, crusts, and predicaments to reach the true essence of self. Think of a fruit surrounded by a tough skin, a bitter skin, a sour skin. If we did not remove the skin we would not be able to enjoy the delectable sweetness of the fruit within. Shedding the skin and figuring out who we truly are takes work. In my case it took a full and deep shamanic recapitulation into my very soul, into the darkest self where I met my enemy and went to battle against what had been living inside me my entire life. The process was one of shedding the fearful enemies that hid so well inside. No one but I really knew of their existence, no one but I dealt with them daily, no one but I kept them imprisoned inside me.
I continue my shedding process every day as I ask myself: What can I shed today?
Last week a very subtle inner shift allowed me the freedom to become a little more of the me that I have been allowing to emerge and live. This is autumn, a time of great shedding and most meaningful change and transition. Synchronistically, in the news, Amanda Knox, a young American woman convicted of killing her roommate in Perugia, Italy four years ago, was released from prison. After a long and difficult period of truth-seeking a simple reversal of the decision made four years ago—guilty or not guilty—sent her back home to Seattle, a free woman. Though that decision was deeply meaningful and simultaneously controversial, when it came down to the verdict it was one spoken word that set her free. I see this case as a metaphor for our times, underscoring the need to make decisions that allow for drastic change. These times ask us all to question deeply, ourselves and our world, to find out the truth and to act on it. I have no idea what her truth really is, no one will ever know except Amanda Knox herself perhaps, but we can all learn from her story.
The other day, someone, in a rather accusatory tone, questioned me: “Why are you so fabulously happy all the time?”
“Well,” I said, “I’m done with despair and besides, I spend most of my time with one foot in this world and the other in the ecstatic, why wouldn’t I be happy?” It was all too much for my questioner to fathom.
I didn’t just wake up one day and find myself straddling these two worlds; not at all, I had to go through the deepest, darkest despair to arrive at this place of light and balance. But it was always my choice to take the journey that led to this place, in a gradual yet intentional process of shedding the old self.
So that brings me back to my declaration of independence from Jeanne as teacher and guide that I so boldly declared last week and have, since then, experienced in so many ways. I find that she taught me well. In finally taking her up on her insistence that I could do it on my own, as she so often urged me, I find that I have freed myself from yet one more self-imposed imprisonment. I freed myself from a role that in reality only I was attached to. And all it took was months of inner struggle!
We do tend to imprison ourselves: in labels and declarations, in our student-of-life roles, in our promises that we made a long time ago. It was only in shedding promise after promise that I was able to evolve into someone who is “so fabulously happy all the time.” Although those promises were made when they were extremely necessary, they now no longer serve who I truly am. I don’t mean to imply that I don’t get sad or depressed, but I’ve learned to face the truth with a different outlook now. I take in the broader truth, the long-term perspective that I am a being who is going to die, but also that my life is a never-ending journey. I now, constantly and consciously, focus on urging myself to take the next step, subtle or otherwise.
Who, indeed, can I become today? It may take only a tiny shift in perspective, in action, in thought or inner perception, but it may be a life-changing decision on my part, in the end capable of catapulting me further than I ever thought possible.
As we head into deeper autumn now, as we notice what is happening in the world around us, such as the case of Ms. Knox, can we ask ourselves the same questions that were asked about her? Do I deserve imprisonment for the rest of my life or do I deserve to be set free? What role do I want to play: that of the prisoner or that of the free spirit? The main question, however, is: Where do I imprison myself?
Most of us do keep ourselves shackled to old ideas of the self when, in fact, we’re actually being urged to change, to keep taking the journey of the evolving self.
Who will I become today? If I pay attention to the synchronicities and signs in my life, those that resonate both inside and outside, I may be able to let go of despair, shed an old skin and release the sweetness within, bursting with ripeness.
I face my own shedding process each day as I question myself and ask myself to shed my self-importance or my fear of my evolving spirit, as I once shed old feelings, during my recapitulation, of unworthiness that I did not deserve to walk upon this planet. I take another step each day upon this earth as I wander my path, asking to be guided, knowing that I do indeed deserve to live just this life upon just this planet.
Yes, I fully accept that I am a changing being and that I am a being who is going to die, but before that event I intend to fully live, “so fabulously happy,” as is my choice.