I haven’t written since I moved to Huntington Beach and started my job. I’ve been going through the very interesting task of acclimating to my “new, old” life. This has been an interesting process in itself and yet one more learning experience. Finally, I’m beginning to settle in and truly enjoy where I’m at. I am finally at peace after a long two-year period of intense soul growth.
I’ve written extensively about how I love Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey because it depicts life’s experiences. I am now experiencing what Campbell refers to as The Return. I have returned from my inner battle to share my treasure with others. What treasure did I discover in the past two years? I learned living a happier life requires us to do the three following things, which are all intertwined:
1. Let Go of Judgment
Judgment should be avoided at all costs, whether it is judgment of self or others. This means that there is no wrong or right, good or bad. This is a tough idea to come to terms with and goes against everything we are taught by society. From a very young age, we are taught to compare ourselves to others and make a judgement about what that means. However, we will never find happiness if we compare and judge ourselves to others. Judgment isn’t reality because it is always tainted with our past experiences. Judgment doesn’t allow us to see things clearly. Remove the judgment and things just are.
*A qualifier – It's important to recognize the difference between discernment and judgment. Discerning is defined as “to see or understand the difference” whereas the definition of judgment is “something believed or asserted.” See how judgment has attachment and emotion to it? Recognizing differences is helpful and necessary, judgment is not.
2. Let Go of Attachment
This is a concept I’ve been working on understanding for some time now and I’ve written about the idea several times in my blogs. But when life events took an abrupt turn into the unexpected, I had the opportunity to practice this concept at a deeper level.
In my two years of trying to create a more meaningful life, I had a picture in my head of what that looked like. I tried to put myself in that mindset every day. I had a vision board in my kitchen, said affirmations, journaled about it, and worked so hard to FEEL as if it was already true. When that much energy goes into something, it’s no wonder it is completely discombobulating when it turns out much differently! How could I not be confused? I did what the spiritual teachers say! What did I do wrong (judgment)?! How could I fail to this extent (more judgment)?! I must be a complete f-up (and even more judgment).
To my ego’s chagrin, I am actually really happy now, despite the fact that my life looks much different than anticipated. Now that I’ve let go of the attachment to how I thought things would look and allowed myself to accept and acclimate, I am able to relax and enjoy my life.
No, this isn’t what I expected, but what I discovered is that the only reason I was struggling with the outcome is that I was judging myself and my experience (back to #1). If I removed the judgment, all that’s left is that I’m starting another adventure. That’s it. I can let go of the anger, resentment, regret, feelings of failure and not being good enough. It’s the next act in my life’s play and I’m excited to see where this road leads me.
When we let go of attachment and judgment, life can be experienced with gentle curiosity. What a difference that makes!
3. Cultivate Self-Love
The final piece that intertwines with the other two is cultivating self-love. Removing judgment and attachment are essential pieces to the self-love puzzle. We can not truly love ourselves while we are judging ourselves. Every client that I have worked with has had this at the core of their struggles. They judge themselves more harshly than anyone and hold incredibly high standards for themselves. When they “fail” to say the “right” thing or do the “right” thing, they beat themselves up. They take responsibility for the world. It is as if they don’t “hold themselves accountable,” for their seemingly erroneous behavior, that the world won’t be right. Every time they do this, their sense of self gets more beat down.
When we let go of judgment and attachment, we allow ourselves to be loved unconditionally. Every experience is as it should be. Whether we may initially judge it as good or bad, we know that ultimately, it is just one more opportunity to learn and grow. And that’s what life is all about.
Following my soul’s desire meant that I entered into a sort of self-imposed spiritual boot camp. At the end of my training, I was sent back out into the world so that I could use all of the tools that I learned to experience life in a completely new way. There was no other way for me to get to where I am today. This is the cycle of the Hero’s Journey that we all go through. This is the cycle of life.
Love and Light,