The False Safety of Insecurity

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By: Jenni Taylor, Co-founder

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

e.e. cummings

This little blog project was started out of a need to create a spiritual community. It was like sending morse code messages out to the universe, hoping someone out there would receive our words, interpret them, and send back their own messages of love and wisdom.

Only sometimes those morse code signals are few and far between during a long and lonely night, and sending out love and wisdom becomes increasingly difficult when you begin to fear you have neither.

It is always safer to curl up under the covers in a very turtle-like way when you feel empty and lonely. One may think, “if I keep my head down long enough, I will magically feel renewed and full of light and wonderful things to share. If I hide myself away, I will become an old and wise hermit who will eventually come out again full of wisdom.”

But as turtles and ostriches and any other expert in denial must learn, there is a spiritual truth that you can’t give unless you receive, and you can’t receive unless you give. A wise woman left a comment on our blog not long ago, gently reminding us of the joy of surrender. There is wisdom in opening one’s tightly closed fists, instead of hanging on to the security of self doubt. When we open ourselves, when we surrender, when we allow ourselves to receive from others- that’s when our own fountain of giving can open up its rusty pipes and begin to flow again.

The irony of having insecurities is that they make us feel secure. They paint us a picture of who we are: a safe picture, a picture we know and recognize and claim as our own, so we can avoid seeing the truth- the beautiful possibilities of greatness that fill us. Insecurities give us excuses to stay hidden away, waiting for something else to change us. As e.e. cummings said, “it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

What if we let ourselves see the truth? What if we see the noble, beautiful, BIGNESS of ourselves and step away from the safety of our self doubt?

What if?

So I pray,

Grant me courage to be everything that is already inside of me. Help me give my giant, beautiful, joyful soul free reign to be awesome. Thank you, universe, for being so full of love and wisdom I only have to open my hands and receive it. Help me pass that wisdom on to others.

Amen.

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5 Ways To Start Your Journey Towards Self-Acceptance

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So far this month we have talked about accepting our choices, accepting differences, but we haven’t delved too deeply into the realm of self-acceptance. Loving and accepting ourselves may be one of the hardest aspects of acceptance, but self-acceptance is far from impossible. Here are five ways to begin your journey to self-acceptance. We hope they bring you lots of wisdom and love.

  1. Be a bumble bee…which is to say watch Harry Baker performing spoken word about self-acceptance at a Ted Talk.
  2. Take a course on self-acceptance. Everyday Feminism has a great one focusing on self-love (with reduced rates for folks with lower incomes), and Oprah offers a free ten day path towards self-acceptance.
  3. Explore your own unique type of courage with this quiz from Greenpeace.
  4. Stop comparing yourself to others and just breathe.  Read about the ways that yoga to help with that in this article from Yoga Journal  or this one from Rebelle Society.
  5. Try praying, meditating or writing about the best aspects of yourself. Enjoy them, revel in then, and share them!

Have other ideas about starting the journey to self-acceptance? Share them with us in a post, or below in the comments!

The Wisdom of Acceptance

By: Jenni Taylor, Author in Chief

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Wisdom always appears as a woman to me. In this case, she is Victorian, with upswept hair, high collar, and looking somewhat like a character from Anne of Green Gables. She is middle-aged, experienced, and vivacious. We sit down for tea- complete with wicker chairs, large windows, crossed ankles and perfectly formed sugar cubes.

I begin to tell her about my life. Current struggles are first placed in the boundaries of polite language, and then spill out in waves of excuses, reasons, doubts, fears, wonderment, bewilderment, disappointment and an occasional wry laugh. Lady wisdom nods her head, graciously. Acceptance. Everything I am, everything I say, she takes in and with one gentle gesture, sets me at ease. I am accepted. My past is accepted. My doubts about the future are accepted. My current condition, in this moment, in this second of imaginary life sipping tea and sobbing uncontrollably, is accepted.

But, when my heart has been spilled and the weight has lifted from my shoulders, Lady Wisdom leans in and prepares to tell me that while I am accepted, completely accepted, there are things that are unacceptable. My focus on myself instead of others, for one. My self-pity or self-dislike, for another. She speaks gently but in no uncertain terms. In all her wisdom, she helps me draw boundaries. Going back is unacceptable. Wallowing in mediocrity is unacceptable. Not daring to dream is unacceptable.

Is it wisdom talking, or my own guilt? Does guilt have a place in this? When do we get off the comfy couch and say enough is enough?

Lady Wisdom reminds me to start small. A moment of prayer, a moment of thanks, a ten-second interval before airing my grievances to the world. She reminds me to accept my journey, and to not accept the baggage that is begging to come with me.

Solomon says there is a place and time for everything. Acceptance and unacceptance alike. I can see Lady Wisdom nodding her head and placing a bookmark at that passage to use in our next conversation. Until then, I accept her friendship, her love, and her advice for my life.

Finding Yourself in Silence

By: Jenni Taylor, Author in Chief

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.–Khalil Gibran

I spent three days on the back of a motorcycle steadily winding its way through the mountainous north of Vietnam, through the villages on the outskirts of Hanoi. The guide was driving, and because of the roar of the motor I was excused from making conversation.photo 4

It was three days of near total silence, and the silence was welcomed with open arms. Stress, responsibilities, and agonizing meetings had dominated my life recently, and a break was long overdue. So it began- one the back of this dirt bike Honda.

It was in the silence of the roads, the strength of the mountains, and the patience of the empty rice paddies where I emptied my heart like emptying lint out of old, unused pockets, and filled it up again. If eyes are the windows to the soul, my eyes were due for a window washing. I spent those hours watching the landscape and filling my eyes with beauty, with fog creeping over lakes and fisherman casting their nets.

I let my mind go free. I let thoughts float by, without judgment, just acknowledgment that they needed to exist in order to move on. I thought about places I’ve been, people I know, things I have done. Positive blended with negative in one big pool of remembrance, acknowledgment of pieces of my life I had not given thought to in a long time.

photo 1It was in the silence I began to find healing. There was no music, no conversation to drown out the honesty flashing through my mind, and I stood face to face with myself, a full look at my naked soul in a mirror. I saw someone who was tired, but strong. I saw the experiences that left marks on my heart and began to see those marks as beauty marks. I saw my soul reaching for beauty, truth, and strength.

So I took my soul by the hand and showed it the spectacular beauty, truth, and strength in the mountains surrounding me, and began to see it echoed and copied into my soul’s DNA. I soaked up nature like a sponge in a bathtub, and made it a part of me.

I so desperately needed that silence, the quiet, the roar of the motor and the flashing pavement beneath the wheels. Within another two weeks I found myself crying on a beach looking at a rainbow, and sang a song of thankfulness to the skies. Silence leads to song, and mountaintops lead to more journeys. It is in the silence when you can truly find yourself.