"Good Girl"

20170406_114206Here’s what I’ve learned from delving into self help, personal development, philosophy and spirituality…there is no magic cure all or quick fix or cosmic solution. Everything is only a tool. The more I’ve explored, questioned and tried different ways of being and coping, the more I realize that the best practices are those which promote simplicity, kindness, love and peace. Being human is a messy business often overwhelming and confusing.

There are problems we all face, but mostly the fact that it’s all temporary is what causes us the most grief. We all die and we grieve over our losses. There is pain, suffering and loss inherent in being human. We all scramble trying to make the most of our fleeting existence. And we have visions of how things should be and how we want them to be which do not match reality here on earth.

So we search and strive to be as happy and fulfilled as humanly possible. Some more consciously and carefully than others. And deep down we seek the oneness that we truly are in spirit, to bridge that gap between physical and spiritual. Well, we only achieve that when we depart this physical plane, some come closer to embodying oneness on earth than others, but being human means you are dense, physical and subject to the laws that govern the human experience.

Recently I’ve been reading a book called Loving What Is by Byron Katie. I began reading it over a year ago and I had to put it down and pick it up again in spurts. And I still find it extremely confusing and unsettling and can’t quite grasp it. Mainly because it has contradictions within it. It is illogical to me and so I puzzle over it and have decided that I must not fully understand the process. But, I do realize that it is only a tool and not a way of life. And that’s where people get into trouble with self help, spirituality, therapy, religion and the like.

We have to use our common sense, logic and check in with our gut instincts and morality. There is no instant solution. We have to take action and do some difficult things which take courage. Self help, law of attraction or faith in the ephemeral will not mystically make everything wonderful for us. So though changing some aspects of my ways of thinking and being may help, I am still subject to the challenges of life. And telling me that I am projecting everything I see doesn’t really help me, especially when so many things are truly not within my control. It’s too much for a human to bear, telling me I am responsible for everything I see? Or knowing that everything is temporary or illusory is not really comforting? I may know that from a spiritual viewpoint, intellectually but that really is not helpful when caught in the throes of grief, loss, abuse, disaster or war? And actually some practices keep us in abusive situations, for example, my Catholic upbringing kept me in the mindset of forgiveness which was more like martyrdom. We can forgive others while also protecting ourselves by ceasing interactions with abusive people.

Byron Katie is confusing because on one hand she says there is no abuse, and on the other she says we are abusing ourselves by staying in compromising situations? My head was spinning reading that book. Double binds much? I understood the process of creating an observer of thoughts, so there may be control of thoughts which do not help us. For example continuing to relive past traumas in our heads day in and day out is not helpful. Gaining control of our thoughts is truly helpful in promoting peace and clarity in our lives.

What I have issues with is bypassing our humanity, our emotions are there to guide us and lead to compassion, awareness and understanding. Denying that there is trauma/victimization here is not helpful and borders on sociopathy. Or believing that having negative emotions and thoughts is gonna screw you and everyone else is ludicrous. I’ve seen people that avoid negativity like the plague. Really? It’s built into human existence, we have negativity for a reason and to bypass our discomfort is to live in denial and unconsciousness. Compartmentalizing and denying the depths of our beings…where our truth lies. Where eventually that dark pit of denial comes around and wallops you exponentially in your all light and love a**. Bypassing and hiding behind positive psychology and detachment is only a bandaid at best.

So, yes in spirit all is well always, and we are spiritual beings, yet being human means we also live in the physical realm where there is pain, death, suffering, trials and tribulations. It is helpful to explore different means of coping and to try to change the world for the better. What is NOT helpful is denying full process of all the depths of our humanity and emotions. Or denying that there are indeed victims.

We, none of us are privy to absolute sight and knowing of the totality of it all. We may catch glimpses and insights, but none of us can say we know for absolute certainty what the truth of all of this is? The more I live, the more I see that I really don’t know anything for sure, except that I have to trust my instincts and deep inner knowing more than anything else. And when you cut yourself off from any aspect of your feelings, then you cut yourself off from truth. So though thought stopping, being in the now and thinking positively are tools for more freedom and peace, they are no substitutes for actually being fully present and feeling everything so we can live truthfully from the depths of our hearts, souls and beings.  It’s how we have compassion, empathy, conscience and caring, especially when it comes to looking out for ourselves.

So those alarm bells going off when I read Byron Katie? They’re there for a good reason.

People are more easily controlled when all happy and compliant, aren’t they? It is wonderful to be peaceful and loving, cooperative, but not when you are so disconnected that you are smiling blissfully while you’re being abused. I did that for a while there, trying not to hurt anyone while sacrificing myself. Finally loved myself enough to stop playing martyr, to stop being a “good girl.” I don’t have to “love what is.” I can choose to go to a better place where loving what is doesn’t have to be manufactured by “turning it around.”  Sometimes “loving what is” keeps us stuck in an unloving environment. So I say it is better to be an activist sometimes. (Though I for one am overwhelmed by so many causes it’s difficult to choose these days).

Speaking of being a “good girl?” Recent events  have shown me that times really haven’t changed very much at all. I have been questioning so many aspects of our so called modern day, progressive living. I feel blindsided. That’s another reason I am more and more skeptical of some of our spiritual practices and self help tactics. To see only the “good” in people often comes at a high price while being human. Looking for the good in people and spinning everyone in a positive, forgiving light? Is that me projecting? What’s true? What I’ve seen is people can be liars and chameleons. So we need to be more realistic  in discerning if we should “love what is.” We can accept or love what is, but that doesn’t mean we have to sit there and take it. There is an objective reality after all. 🙂

I am feeling a bit done, can you tell? heh 🙂

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Michelle Miyagi
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