I always considered myself to be anti-racist; I married into a multicultural family and have lived in Asia, Europe and The Middle East. My work has involved supporting communities process the horrendous repercussions of war and communities divided by hate. But, an uncomfortable realisation has been dawning on me. I'd thought that being blind to skin colour was a stance of inclusivity and unity. Now I realise seeing everyone as 'the same' was borne out of a sense of privilege that leads to negligence, avoidance and denial of the depths and expansive reach of racial injustice and discrimination. I never needed to ignore skin colour, I needed to stand against any implication that skin colour has any bearing on a human's value. I now choose to look directly and listen deeper, so that I can be a better friend, family member and neighbour.
When clients talk about wanting to be the 'best versions' of themselves, I ask them to check what soil they're planting their intentions in. If they're coming from a place of judgment and rejection of the current 'version' of themselves, their efforts are likely to be an uphill struggle leading to unsustainable results. Self-sabotage patterns reflect unmet emotional needs and hidden beliefs (e.g. "I don't deserve to be successful" etc.) rather than fundamental character flaws that need to be fixed. Once we can identify these patterns with care and understanding, we shift into greater presence, and being our 'best version' comes with ease.
Coping mechanisms provide you ways to hold your nose, spritz perfume and sprinkle glitter so that the inner 'mess' is less offensive and more manageable, but that won’t ultimately change the fact that you’re still standing in a pile of crap.
If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and dig deep into your underworld, you'll find that everything you’ve been avoiding – what you’re most ashamed of, where you feel most in pain- turns into your gold.
This is the work of inner alchemy, transforming your emotional density into connection with your authentic Self through awareness and acceptance. To try to take the short-cut removes the opportunity to do this deep, transformative soulful work.
I often find clients running around in mental circles, pressurising themselves to transform ‘negative’ thinking to ‘positive’ thinking. When they notice negative thoughts, they panic and try to ramp up the positivity quota.
Trying to control thinking with more thinking results in strain and self-judgment.
I suggest my clients leave the 'negative' thoughts alone. We then place our focus on the part that’s aware of the thoughts, and from there, we question the validity of the stressful mental patterns. From this place of awareness (which is effortlessly and authentically ‘positive’), it’s easy to see many of these thoughts aren’t even true.
Like a radio playing softly in the background, we naturally no longer respond to the thought transmission when it doesn’t resonate.
All thoughts are neutral visitors, it’s our relationship to them that makes the difference.
Self-Love is accepting yourself for the messy reality of who you are.
If you’re able to hold a child in tenderness when they express anger, anxiety or overwhelm– are you ready to exercise the same compassion towards yourself?
Within our Higher-Self is a smaller-self (ego), that feels rage at its powerlessness and judges itself as inferior/superior to others.
Do you embrace this part with compassion and understanding? In doing so, the ego is no longer unconscious, and you start to experience a greater connection with your higher-self.
In choosing Love rather than judgment, our authentic higher-self naturally takes the driving seat, and our smaller self-becomes the passenger.
Feeling connected, accepted and loved is an inside job.