It’s a New Year, So…
I really don’t know how I arrived at 2018. It certainly wasn’t somewhere I set out to get to. (This is where I was going to make a lame joke about getting here ahead of Time, but I realized that the whole concept was too convoluted and stopped myself. 😉 ) Truth is, though, that last year, like its Sisters before it, got over with before I had a chance to settle into it comfortably. I suppose 2018 will be much the same.
However, I take heart from the fact that I have begun 2018 from a better Place than I have these past few years. I am not where I want to be by a long shot, but I am ever so much more firmly and consistently on the Path. This is for several reasons—
- I am, more or less, content with myself.
- My attitude, though not always great, is greatly improved.
- While I have by no means slowed down, I have rediscovered that still place within, and visit it often these days.
- My connection with Spirit, and with the Guidance that is always present when we stop and listen, is stronger than it has been in a long while.
While none of these things taken on their own are that significant, I feel a huge paradigm shift approaching, a groundswell of Consciousness returning to this planet as it hasn’t been able to since the Fall of Atlantis and the Earth’s tumble into Two Dimensionality. It is still very far from being a done deal, as some people say, and there is much confusion and unrest in the world, but Change can only come out of Chaos.
I am approaching this New Year with Hope! I know that the disasters in the news, both natural and man-made will continue, and that the world is going to keep seeming Crazy for a good while to come, but I have high hopes that out of all of this discord, a new pattern will arise. I truly believe that a great number of people are working for this change, and that a great many more are finally open to and searching for a more balanced, meaningful way of life.
Ego, Self-Preservation and Selfishness
Everywhere I look these days I see photos and posts touting Self Care. I have been on a Spiritual Path for a very long time, and I have seen a great deal of change, both of attitudes and expression, in what was labeled the New Age Movement in the 1980s. There is also a lot of talk about Self Love. Both of these concepts are very important, and I think they have come to the forefront because we live in a world so rushed that people can easily lose track of just what their priorities and main concerns should be. If Self Care is remembering to take care of yourself, of understanding that you need to stay healthy, to eat right, exercise and get enough sleep, etc., than this is indeed a Good thing. If Self Love is realizing that unless you can love and accept yourself, flaws and all, just as you are at any given moment, without judgement or needless guilt and self-recrimination—you will not be able to love others unconditionally— than that is just right.
Where is the line though, between all of this Self attention, and Selfishness. I have to wonder. I see so much of self-indulgence and self preoccupation put forward by people supposedly Spiritual and in pursuit of higher consciousness, and to me, at least, it often smacks of Ego stroking. Just how many Selfies does it take to go from self-acceptance and being comfortable in your own skin— to vanity and narcissism? How spiritual is it to package the pursuit of Higher Consciousness as a marketable How-To and sell it with a slick Social Media campaign?
Part and parcel of a Spiritual Path, no matter what the philosophy or religion, is Self Sacrifice and Selflessness, the act of putting others before Self, of eradicating the Ego Self, and replacing it with the aspect of the Higher Self who loves all and sundry unconditionally and without judgement. The ultimate goal is to dissolve all patterns and obstacles that prevent us from recognizing our identity as a part of All-That-Is.
Now this is a tall order, and a difficult balance to reach or maintain. The Ego uses every tactic at its disposal to keep us as an [I] rather than I AM. While the concepts of Self Love and Selflessness can on the surface seem a paradox, they really are not. We simply must learn to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”— to Nurture ourselves the same as we should Nurture others. When caring for our own health and well-being is so that we can continue to be of service to others, than we are on the track back to God or Spirit. I think the temptation to Self Indulgence is perhaps stronger than it has ever been. With our constant connection to the media through our phones, computers, devices and television, it has become all-pervasive.
December/January— 10 Minutes
I do see the challenges that life presents to self-care and maintenance. I am a prime example. While I am doing better, I plainly see how far I have to go. Taking time to exercise, eat right and meditate are perhaps my biggest challenges. Like so many other in this fast-paced world, I am eternally either busy or too tired to contemplate anything besides reading or watching TV. I get so caught up in the chores and jobs I have set for myself, or the endless minutiae of life these days, that I often just can’t get myself to Stop.
A month or so ago, during a short meditation, I was Told that if I was ever going to take steps to begin living a more balanced life I needed to start. And that starting small was okay! Just give this quest for balance, this yearning toward a more fit and healthy lifestyle 10 Minutes a day to start with. I am trying (though with the holidays and the rush these past weeks, I have not always succeeded) and more often than not being able to devote this time to at least more meditating and self-healing. Though it is in baby steps, progress is being made. I think I will do better once my work room is rescued from its current state of chaos.
From early December, when the roofers arrived and I had to pull lots of items (I have literally boxes and bins of fragile and breakable vintage items in this room) away from the outer walls to protect them from the vibrations, through deciding to update my storage closet while all the holiday decorations were out, it’s been a mess in here. I was so busy packing and shipping for my Etsy Shop during December (Yay!) that I still haven’t got my inventory closet back in order. Christmas decor is half in bins upstairs or still waiting to be packed up downstairs. I finished painting the storage closet though, and assembling the shelving. Yesterday afternoon I began the daunting job of reorganizing. Wish me luck!
And in the midst of this, I sometimes have a hard time carving out 10 Minutes. But I will keep trying, and when I Know it is time, I will increase that to 20 minutes, then 30…
The holiday baked goods are only a memory now. We are eating better. We began the New Year last week with our traditional black-eyed peas and collard greens dinner. A good start I always think. We are eating lots better, lots of leafy green salads and all sorts of veggies. I made a simple Tuscan tortellini soup last night, and it was oh so good. The weather has been miserable of late, and I am so looking forward to when we can again get outside to work and play.
As a challenge to myself, I am going to try to do a monthly update on my progress (or backsliding 😕 ) I need the accountability, I think. If you have thoughts regarding the Title topic of this post—Selflessness and Self Love— please feel free to weigh in. I hope the New Year is being kind so far, and send my prayers out to those in California who have endured so much devastation and loss these past couple of months.
Till next time…