Sunday, 8 February 2009

How strange it was.....being back in London

I conquered another fear of mine this evening which was driving from London to Brighton. I can't claim all the credit however because I had a sat nav which after my journey down here is my dearest friend now. I bought it in the sale in Halfords in January but hadn't used it so when I took it out of its pristine case outside my house in London and tried to key in where I wanted to go it started flashing with different screens which had everything I just didn't want. Eventually I managed to find the screen I wanted and typed in the post-code, hurrah, I recognised my address in Brighton. Buoyed up with the greatness of my achievement I set off down my road. As I approached the bottom of the road I thought to myself I'm sure there's meant to be another voice besides me and the radio in this car. But there was nothing only an arrow telling me to turn left. I experienced a couple of seconds of blind panic as I thought that I needed to hear directions and then realised that I didn't really. Yet it bugged me because I've been in cars that have sat nav and I know they speak.

I set off driving and also playing around with the screen which wasn't very clever. But then I saw an option to 'change preferences'. I hit this and to my delight saw an option' turn sound on'..reesult....I hit the option and immediately the dulcet tones of a woman came into my car with a direction. Happy beyond words I set off for Brighton.

Before I continue writing I want to clear up that I promised I would write this blog on Saturday and I didn't. I started in an internet cafe on Saturday before going to training but just as I started to write my mobile phone rang and I saw that it was my good friend. At that moment I had a choice. I could have continued writing my blog and being true to my word but I chose to take the call from my friend. The impact of me doing this was that I wasn't powerful in the conversation in that I had stood for Team 1 team leader on Friday night and hadn't been successful and so my way of being on the call was 'woe is me and life is horrible' which is not who I am. The impact of taking the call and speaking about it made it more real than if I had just written about it in this blog. What I have learned from this is the power of keeping my word in order to keep myself in a place of power. I learned a good lesson from this and from now on it is my word that is going to come before my feelings. Feelings come and go. They are not who I am, my Word is who I am. I used to say when I was younger, 'if you don't have a word, you have nothing' It's something that I have always felt strongly about and I don't know where it came from. I had this way before I started any of the training with Landmark Education. The training has just made it stronger. I know from meditation that I am not my thoughts or feelings because they come and go so I can't rely on them for stability or permanence. But I can rely always and ever on my word and doing what I said I would do, when I said I would do it, or else getting in contact with whoever I have given my word to the moment I realise that I'm not going to be able to keep it.

This has nothing to do with right or wrong. When I don't keep my word it is not wrong it just robs me of power. I didn't keep my word to write my blog and the result was a loss of power for me in the conversation with my friend. I completed my training which was all about 'being a stand for something' and what that means. We spoke about people who were 'stands' for things like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and what that meant in terms of the lives that they lived. I spoke about the experience I had on the very first evening of the introductory Buddhist course I went on when I learned about the Buddhist concept of the Bodhissatva. This is someone who understands the nature of suffering and can relieve the suffering of others but who chooses not to leave this world until everyone is free of suffering. When I first heard this, I was gripped by the most intense desire to be this. It's hard to put words on the strength of that grip. In that moment of hearing this, there was nothing else but that burning desire, my consciousness was gripped and I felt something shift. This to me is being a stand. However, what I am learning is that being a stand doesn't necessarily bring about the opportunities or events which make it possible to realise that stand. To make the stand a reality in the physical world.

I spoke about the power of that moment and how I have never experienced it since. I learned that being a stand brings with it resistance and it is not easy. To be a stand is to experience being stopped but the tragedy is not being stopped this is normal, but to give up on the stand. I came away from the training having connected once again with this stand and with a determination to be this stand for everyone all the time. I promised that I would begin to declare this stand, and how it will show itself is that I will the space for everyone including me to be the best that they can be. When we experience being the best that we can be there is no suffering, only total fulfillment and joy. In this way my stand becomes a reality and not just some fancy words on a page.

I was so pleased that I had opted for this voluntary training because I had returned to London and had been feeling low. After not being elected as Team 1 Team leader I returned to my flat which was cold and lonely. I was so lucky in that one person had said she would stay with me after the team meeting so that I didn't go back there alone. I was so touched with this unexpected gesture of support. It always seems like there is someone to take away my suffering. After the classroom we went to the pub and I so needed a drink and I had a glass of lager. It got so late that we missed the last train and had to walk quite a long way. By the time we got back to my flat it was the early hours of the morning. I was so glad to have her there when I walked in and it was so bare and cold. We went to bed and the next morning for some inexplicable reason I felt so low. I didn't want to get out of bed. She came into the room to see how I was and I started to cry about how uncertain I was about everything. I realised that not getting the position of team leader had had a big impact on me. I had wanted it because of the powerful training I would have got on my last quarter of the programme. And also for how I could have been a powerful contribution to everyone on Team. But I accept that I haven't showed up as powerful for Team which is why I was not elected.

My friend was brilliant. She shared about how she had done something similar to me 3 years ago but she had done everything on her own and was committed that I wouldn't have to go through the same thing. She was with me to clean the flat to have it spotless and gorgeous for the new tenants who are moving in next weekend. She had to leave early to do an agreement and after she left I lay in bed motionless, just looking out of the window. I called my friend who has recently adopted a baby and listened to how happy she was. I recognised that I was in a dark place and didn't know how to get out of it. Eventually I forced myself to shower and get dressed and then I felt better. I sat at the table and did some shorthand and then went to the internet cafe to write my blog before the training. I've already spoken about what displaced my word to write my blog.

I'm also part of a cast rehearsing a play which is based on the distinctions of the communication curriculum and some of last week was spent learning my lines. The play is the Wizard of Oz and I am either playing Dorothy or the Wicked witch. Rehearsing for this lifted me out of the dark place where I was. Then came the training so that by the end of the day I was once again back in power and creating the life that I want to have. I picked up my friend after her agreement and explained the dark place I had been in. She said that she had seen it and thought that when she left me earlier that morning that she had left a 4 year old child in the flat, such was my level of distress and uncertainty. What I realise had happened was that I allowed my identity with its point of view, 'I'm not loved, I'm alone' to run the show. When identity runs the show there is no space for creation. From late Friday evening to mid-day on Saturday I allowed my identity to completely run the show and the impact on me was a complete and utter loss of power. I see all of this so clearly now and what I am committed to is to using every ounce of willpower to pull myself out of it and to generate and create what it is I am up for every time. Staying in a disempowering point of view or an empowering context is nothing else but a choice. I choose to either be in my identity or my possibility. I cannot be in both at once.

Afterwards we went for an Indian meal and both of us relaxed and chatted about what we are going to create for the next few months. I had some champagne which had been given to me as a present and so we had a glass of that and then went to bed. Early Sunday morning she called me to get up to clean the flat and what a cleaning fest we had. I hated every moment of it because cleaning is not my thing. To me it is a total waste of time that could be spent reading, writing but I saw the impact of this on how much cleaning the flat needed to be presentable. I wondered what is it about having spiritual/mystical experiences that shifts the consciousness, at least in my case, so that it is the inner life and not the outer life that becomes most important and interesting. After my first experience of energy rising from the base of my spine my consciousness shifted so that external things weren't important. Yet the spiritual like everything else requires balance to stay grounded and I recognise that when it came to spending time cleaning I didn't have this balance. How I envy women when they say 'I love cleaning, I find it therapeutic'...aagh..I find it the most awful waste of time and when I have done it in the past I've never seen any difference. So not only do I despise cleaning, I'm also useless at it. My mother has often said to me 'I wish I could be like you, you don't even see the dirt!'

Flat spotless we went for lunch and then she went for her train. I couldn't believe that this woman who I have only known for the last 4 months would give up her entire weekend to help me clean my flat. It was such a strange experience to have someone who was such a support to me without there being anything in it for her, only the memory of what it was like doing it alone and her not wanting me to go through that. I was so touched and still am as I write this. When the universe gives me such gifts I get angry at myself that I allow my identity to rob me of power by presenting thoughts that are neither positive or powerful. No thought is true but we allow it to act like it is and then to dictate and dominate our feelings and responses. I am reminded again about the insight that Bryon Katie has around thoughts and how they make us feel when she says 'who would you be without that thought'?

I returned to my flat to finish up the last few bits and pieces and then headed off driving to Brighton. I started off a little wary of my new little gadget but when when I got lost around a roundabout and it brought me safely back in u-like turn I surrendered and put complete trust in it and the result was that I returned here to a quiet house in Brighton with freedom and ease. I came upstairs and connected to the internet where I am writing this very long blog which brings me up to date for tomorrow Monday morning. Now I have to do 1 hour of shorthand which I have promised myself....Tomorrow will the first day of a full week of college......I wonder what it will bring.....

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