Posted By Lynn / 11th November 2011 /
Yes, this is my white belt and it is one of my most treasured possessions. I received this as a gift from my ontological coaching program Newfield Network as a reminder of the importance of being a “white belt” in life. Simply put, wearing my white belt grounds me in the awareness of embodying life as a beginner.
I keep it in my bedroom so that I can maintain my daily intention throughout my day. As I greet my day each morning, I engage in a practice of holding it. We often only think of practice as a verb — learning to master something in order to get there: thinner, smarter, richer, etc. However, when used as a noun, practice describes something you engage in as a regular part of your life — not as something that you do, but something you are.
My son, upon hearing my attachment to it, laughed and said, “No mama, you’ve got it all wrong, you want to have a black belt — not a white belt.”
Yes, I get the black belt stuff. It’s everywhere. Our brains are constantly having this conversation about lacking, needing, more. There is an abundant supply of this everywhere. Our world does not let us forget that we always could be better and do more — that a “good life” is being the best and having “the best”, always striving for more. I’ve tried the black belt thing and find this way of being leaves me tired, empty and anxious.
Most importantly, my white belt represents the power of choice — in how I choose everyday to see things in my life. Every moment, every day, I have a choice in how I choose to view life.
As I contemplate starting my day, I choose to see life as learning and being a beginner. There is an ease and lightness in the simplicity in keeping it small. The lens of a beginner makes everyday tasks and even tough moments a lot easier to tackle.
My white belt gives me permission to be “the fool”, be silly, take risks, be bold and mess up. In being a beginner, I can live in the questions without knowing the answers. I can live in a mood of curiousity, rather than having the “right answers”. This creates a sense of awe in which we can let go of the certainties to touch the mysteries in life.
My white belt invites the paradox of being complete and incomplete at the same time. I trust that I am enough. I am good, I am pure, I am whole. I am not perfect, nor do I need to be. When I have this foundation I also can see where I need to grow, learn and tackle new challenges.
This seems to be the foundation that many of us are missing as we’re moving through our lives as black belts. No thing can make us more whole or complete. No accomplishment. Nothing can do this but us acknowledging our essential goodness. From here, yes, anything is possible.
When wearing my white belt, I choose to be grounded in the present instead of reaching ahead. When we are striving for results we often become future-focused, which limits our way of viewing life. In this mindset, we confuse living with control and think the answer to a “good life” is managing and controlling the world around us. A wise man says, “when we have the truth, we expect others to obey us.”
With my white belt, I choose gratitude. I appreciate what I have and see that it is enough. Often in pursuing the black belt, we lose gratitude.
I continue to “earn it” everyday as my white belt has become a practice in daily living. It is never done and always unfolding. However with my white belt, life is viewed as a learning journey. Instead of worrying about tomorrow and what’s coming next, I accept the mystery as part of the journey — and a part of life.
I invite you to try on your white belt today and see what shows up for you.
“Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.”
~Henry David Thoreau
Posted By Lynn / 19th September 2011 /
This being human is a guest house
every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
I spend many hours a day, many days a week doing something that most people don’t do. I hold the space for emotions to unfold. As I do this, I welcome emotions as gifts. Gifts which unravel a story revealing a window into the soul. I know that it is in this space magic happens. The magic is the emotional place where new learning can emerge. Without it, there is nothing but the story.
Along the way our world has begun to look at emotions as a liability. While I love positive psychology, I think if we too quickly dismiss our negative emotions, labeling them as “bad” and jumping to the positive before investigating, we miss out. All too often in our “one button touch”, quick fix society we expect solutions to every discomfort or problem. This reductionistic and mechanized way of being leaves us as individuals and as a society stressed and hurting. We don’t have to look too far to see the consequences of this way of being our world has adopted.
Some assume negative emotions to be a sign of weakness — something to purge or destroy asap. If they are a blemish indicating something is broken or wrong, we can only swallow deeply in order to be “strong”, put on a (; and push, push, push those emotions down and away….
hmmm…. How does that feel? Really feel….?
I find they have a way of creeping back up and hijacking us in the forms of depression, chronic pain, back aches, anger outbursts, fatigue, headaches, addictions, etc.
What if we took a closer look at our relationhsip with our emotions?
Perhaps we might look at the emotional realm as sacred. If you think about it, all learning occurs in the emotional world. Everything. Perhaps our anger, sadness, jealousy, other negative emotions are just our being’s reminder that there is a need in there somewhere that wants to be understood and acknowledged. Not acknowledged by merely acting-on our emotions (which may be helpful at times), but going in and listening, understanding — the way we would with a friend.
We often assume there is something externally conditioned about things in our lives which cause problems or create uncomfortable emotions. And yet in stepping back, we can see it is how we’re looking at something, our unique observer which informs our reality. Our emotions are a way in to better understand and take care of ourselves. By avoiding emotions and viewing them as “problems”, we really begin to have problems.
What if we greeted our emotions with warmth, receptivity and curiosity?
Imagine yourself having a loving conversation with your anger, hurt or sadness…either internally, writing in a journal or with some expressive activity.
In that conversation, your emotion is validated, understood and heard…..
As you acknowledge emotions you begin to allow and hold the space for them….non-judgementally, not clinging or pushing away, but allowing them to be present. .
As they are present you can listen and be present with awareness of their purpose so you can begin to acknowledge it’s function in your life. ….listening in on a deeper level may allow an awareness to surface that otherwise you might never know.
Also remembering that when strong emotions arise, they are not permanant but shift like the weather, mellowing and fading eventually.
This process allows us to have a deeper, more intimate relationship with our self. As we become better attunded to “listen in” with love and compassion to our emotions, we become better equipped to take care of our self. Freedom is moving in to these feelings and acknowledging they are inside, not outside. This keeps us from endlessly looking for external solutions to our “problems” and blaming others. If we don’t listen in, we don’t know we have a need and we can’t take steps to make a request, an offer, say “No” or set a limit. In “listening in” our lens expands, allowing us to see different possibilities unfolding. This is the foundation for transformational learning.
*An added bonus — as we are learning to be more present with our self, we can embrace others’ emotional experiences to allow for true intimacy.