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Coming into the New Year, I was feeling into the energy of Dharma/life path. Over the past year, I’d been incorporating many practices, from many different spiritual traditions, and I had also been incorporating many different aspects into my offerings as a yoga/meditation teacher, Spiritual mentor/life coach, and most recently in offering Thai bodywork. I feel IN LOVE and JOY and DEVOTION while in the experience of these practices and services, but I kept hearing a nagging, anxious voice say, “You need to choose one; just pick one and stick to it”. This is feedback (verbal and nonverbal) I’ve also received from mentors in the past.
Any of you who have known me for a while might be giggling because this direct approach of “pick one thing and sticking to it” isn’t a natural tendency of mine; I like to explore many paths, often- to the dismay of my husband and family- all at once. While my studies might be mostly in the realm of Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions, I am always trying and learning new things. This is a part of myself that I’ve experienced with love, understanding, acceptance and also with annoyance, fear, and insecurity. There have definitely been times when I have said to myself, “Why can’t you just pick ONE: one job, one hobby, one belief system, one practice, and call it a day?” This simple, clear identity that I am describing is absolutely beautiful to me; and though it may be for many, it’s not authentic to what I experience as Truth.
If I am being completely open and honest, there isn’t One Thing with which I feel completely whole or to be a full expression of who I am: not one job, one relationship, one practice, one lineage, one spiritual belief system; yet I feel the experience of Oneness, Connectedness, and Wholeness when I embrace and blend all of them. For a long, long time, I’ve kept this quiet; quietly, desperately, subconsciously seeking to find that illusive one thing that would create a deep sense of peace and contentment within my whole being, that I could distill into a simple word; I am "that", I belong to "this" group, I practice "this" type of yoga or meditation. At the beginning of this year, I thought, “I’ve found it!” I’ve recently allowed myself to really drop into Thai healing studies: the bodywork, the Buddhist practices that go along with it, and the herbal healing studies. While considering doing “just this one thing” didn’t feel celebratory, it felt peaceful and simple. I just do this one thing, this one set of practices, I have just this one offering for people, I study just this one thing.
Just as I was getting comfortable with this idea of myself, I had an intuitive mapping session with a mentor. As I spoke about what I love, what I desire, what I am willing to do, she said, “It sounds like you are great at holding space for blending many sacred traditions and teachings. It also sounds like you tend to like to go inward and learn and drop deeply into practice for yourself; what are you willing to step up and into to share with others?” She added, “It feels a little bit like you are hiding.” YEP! I felt the truth of it immediately; the punch to the gut that said: “how dare you shine a light into my cozy meditation (hiding) spot!” It’s true; I do feel much more comfortable in the quiet space of my own internal practice. My inner critic is also good at keeping me quiet and to myself by saying things like, “There are already a million people sharing this message; why add to it? You don’t have anything special to say. Who are you to share these traditions; you’re not a yoga/meditation/spiritual master.” And that’s also true, but who am I really serving by keeping quiet and to myself?
If I stop making it about me, take the “I” out of the equation, and just make it about service, about spreading the love, joy and wisdom through these teachings and practices to all who desire it, it feels like a no-brainer (because it it is; comes from the heart). But when “I” (ego identity; the many roles we play) steps in, things become more confusing and scary. “What if they don’t like me?” “What if they tell me I’m wrong or bad for what I say or believe or practice?” “I could never know enough to be certain”. If I let this voice carry on for too long, it’s sure to shut me down and keep me quiet and isolated, afraid that I’m the only one who feels this way. For some, following one path, one set of practices, one set of spiritual beliefs feels like HOME, and that is beautiful. At the same time, it is no surprise that I feel a connection to many paths and practices, because a core belief of mine is that the Creator of the Universe is Infinite and as such, there must be infinite expressions of and paths to that experience of Oneness, Wholeness, the Truth of Who We Are. While for me the voice of fear and scarcity says, “there is only One Right Way, and you must Choose One”, the voice of Love, the voice of Unity, the voice of Oneness says, “We are all One, and we are All, All of it, no matter the expression”.
So for me, Dharmic action feels like embracing, practicing, celebrating, and sharing all of the practices, teachings, and lineages I’ve had the immense fortune of studying, in a way that feels authentic. What does Dharmic action look like and feel like for you? Which aspects of yourself are you being asked to embrace and express more fully? Where is scarcity keeping you quiet? And what is the Truth of your being asking you to open to?
I send this message to you all with Love, Humility, and Gratitude for the many paths back to the One Truth that unites us all.