I only found the love I was seeking because I became the woman who could live in it. Many years ago I was jaded about relationships, marriage, partnership, and all things romantic love. After my divorce, I was convinced that I wasn’t meant for pairing up. I was sure it stifled my spiritual practice, inevitably led to suffering, and stopped us from awakening. I could find plenty of spiritual traditions and opinions to back me up. Renunciation was valued in most Eastern leaning traditions. Celibacy was king and queen. With spiritual fervor in my heart and ideas in my head I said “no” to any future idea of romance.
Several years as I traveled cross-country, I had a strong sense that I was meant to become a renunciant once and for all. While my solo journey across the United States included stopping in national parks, my main focus was on arriving safely to a Buddhist monastery I was sure I’d spend my days growing old as a nun. Upon arriving, my time living in community felt like affirmation. It felt like the ease and simplicity I had been looking for. Agreeing to come back and move in with the community later that summer, I asked one of the senior nuns to shave my head as a reminder of the new path I had chosen. Then something interesting happened. On my journey back East before leaving California, my intuition told me to Google “retreats” and “Arizona.” I thought I might find a retreat center to take refuge in and stay in retreat spaces throughout the remainder of my travel back East. At the top of my Google search was a property with tiny houses equipped for personal retreats in the mountains of Arizona. It looked interesting, had great reviews, and I booked a cabin.
Upon arrival the owner asked me if I was up for meeting for tea the next morning and I agreed. Little did I know how important this meeting would be. As I sat down for tea, the old man with long white hair smiled at the sky and then turned to me. “I know this is maybe presumptuous of me and may feel strange since I just met you, but I strongly feel you are meant to stay here longer than you plan.” Imagine this is the first line of your meeting over tea with a stranger....in the mountains. As I sat there looking quizzically back at him I wondered what he meant. “You’ve made a decision of some kind, I don’t know what it is, but I feel you are meant to reconsider it. Spend your time in silence on the land, don’t leave to go into town much, and really consider this decision you’ve made.” Well that’s crazy I think. Since I know exactly what decision he’s speaking about. My decision to become a nun.
This man knew nothing about my plans. He had no idea why I was passing through Arizona, but the Universe did. This is one of those times where the Universe intervened in my bright ideas. It often does this like a scene from a movie that I can’t make up. This was one of those moments.
As I spent time nestled in the mountains and surrounded by elk I decided both to stay longer in Arizona and to push pause on my move to the monastery. I discovered that what was most important was not what I was choosing in my decision, but rather what I wasn’t choosing. What I wasn’t choosing was what I was afraid of. It wasn’t true that I was fully convinced partnership was dead. Rather I was petrified of it and when I saw this amongst the list of other things I was scared of (for example, supporting myself financially as an independent entrepreneur outside the government) I knew what I had to do. I knew the Universe was beckoning me to walk straight into the fires of my fears.
To become the person I am today for the partnership I live in, I had to walk towards everything I was scared of.
I had to let go of the guards I put up. I had to get super vulnerable with myself about all of the beliefs, feelings, circumstances, social conditioning that fueled this fear of relationships. I had to date some people that were a bad fit to refine what I wanted. I needed to see a narcissist to exercise my personal power, learn how to draw boundaries and say no. I had to start asking for what I needed in relationships regardless of how scary it felt. I had to be willing to walk away from anything in service of honoring myself. I had to learn how to put myself first. As I did all of this hard work that at times felt like it was proving my point in the first place...relationships are suffering, something cracked and shifted inside of me and I suddenly saw that I was healing the parts of me that were unaligned to receive the partnership I desired.
A few months before my partner and I went on our first date I sat down with my journal and pen, a cup of tea in the corner of my apartment, sun streaming in the through the window, knowing it was time to write a fateful list. At the top of the page I wrote: "What I don’t want" and started writing furiously. All of the qualities, characteristics, habits, behaviors I didn’t want in a partner after a few years of dating poured onto the page. After I was finished, I took a deep sigh, turned the page, and at the top of a new page I wrote: "What I want." This felt powerful because I had written many "what I want" lists before and I knew this time was different. This time I had dived to the deepest depths of my soul. This time I had worked with healers, mentors, and coaches to meet the shadows of my "relationship self." This time I knew that the bad dates I’d experienced, the abusive personalities, the lying, the lack of commitment forests I walked through were simply contrast from the Universe teaching me what I was worthy of and calling me to honor that.
As I wrote this new list I felt empowered, I felt righted, I felt worthy of what I was writing down for the very first time. Several months later I went on a first date with a beautiful man I’d met at yoga and something clicked. Immediately the same night we agreed to start a relationship which felt oh so right and oh so crazy to both of us. We started spending all of our weekends together, three months later we moved in together, and ever since we’ve been growing together. Our partnership isn’t perfect, but it’s my kind of perfect. After a few weeks of dating I found my "what I want" list in my journal and re-read it. Immediately I felt butterfly sensations in my stomach and along my arms. The list, was him. When I shared this with him he smiled because he...had done the same.
Whatever change we desire in our life. Whatever dream we desire to manifest. We are asked to become the person of that change, in that dream now. We are asked to align to what the Universe knows we are worthy of and so much more.
Every phase of my growth has required me to become an expanded version of myself...to change. When I resist this becoming I feel stuck, blocked, and disconnected.
“If your spiritual practice isn’t changing you, there’s something wrong.” ~ Anam Thubten
I had to become more courageous to leave the government and start my business. I had to become more intuitive and receptive to embrace the seerer and healer inside of me. I had to become more vulnerable with myself and others to step into the love I always wanted. I had to become more empowered and worthy to take on a full client load. I had to become more resilient to live the life of an entrepreneur. I had to become more loving and kind to myself to practice true self care. The list goes on. Every major dream and desire I’ve had has asked me to become a different person. To change.
Inspiration is not by accident. Consistent inspiration is the Universe inviting you to dance.
To honor these moments of inspiration to start your own business, to train to become a teacher, to explore the metaphysical realities, to find the love of your life, to move to the mountains, whatever it is the Universe asks us to change for the new.
For this week’s Joy Tip Wednesday, I’m inviting us to get clear on who we need to be for the life we are invited into. Here’s how:
Pick one dream or a desire that’s been hanging out in the back of your mind. Something that you feel is whispered to you often. An inspiration that hasn’t left. Maybe it visits you in the shower, while you drive to work, or as you wait for the kids to come home. Choose the first one that comes into your mind when you read this text.
Consider who would you have to be to make this so? Grab a notebook and pen and prepare to write. Imagine that you already wrote the book you’ve been dreaming of. Imagine you successfully launched your business. Imagine you created your dream partnership. Imagine you no longer are hard on yourself and meet your pitfalls with tons of love. In that world where it has already happened, who would you be? If I was a fly on the wall, what three to five words would I use to describe who I see? Think adjectives. Write them down.
Take one step each day into your new becoming. Look at your adjectives list and ask yourself, what one action can I take to become this new version of myself? Maybe it’s new steps like hiring that coach/healer/mentor/therapist you want to work with to develop some more self love. Maybe it’s attending a networking event for professionals in the new field of work you want to explore. Committing to reading that new book about the area of expertise you want to develop. Or maybe it’s doing the same differently like paying your bills from a place of gratitude rather than scarcity. Or cleaning your house as an act of sacred worship rather than a frustrating chore.
This is a brick by brick not an overnight process. To become the partner I need to be for my love I took tiny steps for almost two years straight before we met and continue to take those steps until today. I’m still in the process of becoming because the truth is change is always guaranteed in life. As the Universe continues to expand on it’s own, so too, does it ask us to continue expanding. This is how we thrive. This is how we realize our truest potential. This is how we find fullness in life. It requires courage. It requires surrender. It requires dedication. And you are worthy of all of that.
The path is yours to take one step at a time. The opportunity starts now and each morning you wake up. Each moment you remember anew the qualities you want to activate in your system. They are already there inside of you otherwise you wouldn’t be able to recognize what is needed. Now its time to practice calling them home to you every day so that their vibration, their essence, takes over your being and you become the expanded version of future self today.
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