Monday, August 19, 2019

When Going Backward Is Going Forward

In the Spirit of starting from the back to go forward, here is how the blog ends:

You Are Powerful, Capable, Always at Choice, Open and Ready, 

Operating at the Speed of the Divine

Why the paradox of going backward to go forward?

There is a psychotherapy concept, asreculer pour mieux sauter:  going backward to be able to leap forward better. It is the process of going backward to your beginnings, whether you do it on your own, in a support group, or with the help of a psychotherapist, practitioner, healer, etc. which can, in effect, give you a running start when you turn around to go forward again.

When do we do that successfully?
1) With palindromes – backwards & forwards are same like with racecar, civic, deified, kayak, level, madam, noon, radar, refer, sagas, solos, tenet, and wow.
2)  In grief, like through a memorial or life celebration. They are full of memories which, in there reminiscence, assist in healing the grief.
3)  Living a life full of gratitude. Gratitude is the knowing and acceptance of past experience in the now.

In this process, asreculer pour mieux sauter,  you step into what Friar Richard Rohr calls, liminal space. From Living on the Edge, his Center for Action and Contemplation meditation blog, he tells us:

Liminal space (from the Latin limen for "threshold") is an inner state and sometimes an outer situation where we can begin to think and act in genuinely new ways. It is when we are betwixt and between, having left one room or stage of life but not yet entered the next. We often enter liminal space when our former way of being is challenged or changed--perhaps when we lose a job or a loved one, during illness, engagement, or at the birth of a child. During this graced time we are not certain or in control. This openness allows room for something genuinely new to happen. We are empty and receptive--an erased tablet waiting for new words. Liminal space is where we are most teachable.
An example in literature and popular culture is like the time between the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents and his becoming Batman. Or in Star Wars, during Luke Skywalker’s apprenticeship with Yoda in the swamps of Dagobah. Or in the classics like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, the time between Elizabeth Bennet’s realization she likes Mr. Darcy and the moment she agrees to marry him.

Liminal space is where we transform, sometimes radically, and reveal and reorganize our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about things, thus our actions and experiences. Rites of passage are liminal spaces. Examples are going off to college, a bar mitzvah, a marriage, getting fired or laid off or death. My move in with Patte was a liminal space time. The decisions of her stuff, my stuff...what stays, what goes to the trash, recycling, storage. And closet space...I lost on that one.

Some are daunting challenges, destructive & chaotic; a time when we feel heartbroken and lost, must start over, or have that fearful "NOW WHAT?" in our heads. You ever feel like life is making you go heels. An extra difficult position for most men. That phrase, "backwards in heels," originated in a 1982 Frank and Ernest cartoon by Robert Thaves. It was talking about Fred Astaire when one of the characters said, "Sure he was great, but don't forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did...backwards and in high heels." Have you ever felt that way? We probably all have been in that space and most of the time we don't do it with the grace and ease of Ginger Rogers.

Backwards is not necessarily a negative! I read a story about a Yoga teacher who said to her class one afternoon during a downward facing dog asana:
Sometimes, you feel as though you are riding the bicycle backwards. You feel like you are backtracking and heading in the wrong direction, but really what’s happening is contraction and release. The universe is preparing you for something much greater and like a sling shot, it’s going to shoot you forward - you just have to move backwards for a little bit.
Let's remember what Friar Rohr said:
...we often enter liminal space when our former way of being is challenged or changed...
Transformation is about decision. A decision to stay in the dark or step into the light. Again, Rohr:
During this graced time we are not certain or in control. This openness allows room for something genuinely new to happen. We are empty and receptive--an erased tablet waiting for new words. Liminal space is where we are most teachable.
Sometimes, we sit in resistant to the yuckiness. Don't! Go ahead and be sad, disappointed, angry, etc. Let's say 45 seconds. Then take action ... inward!

Decide:  Do I want to experience a woe is me life or a wow is me life?

Decide:  Do I want to do it the hard way or the natural/organic way … the factory settings way?

Decide...per Ralph Waldo Emerson:
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
What is "to be yourself" mean?

There's a story about caterpillar crawling to a wall. He looked each way, seeing what seemed like infinity. He looked up the wall, it was never-ending. Frustrated and angry, the caterpillar didn't know how to get over wall. He could try to crawl up the wall like some Navy Seal, but that would take a strength he did not possess. What was the caterpillar to do? Finally, in this liminal space, it decides to be patient, using the strategy of allowing its true self to emerge. He crawled up a nearby tree to contemplate. Two weeks later, the caterpillar true self emerged and just flew over the wall. It transformed by transcending through its true and authentic nature.

The trick, when you are in that liminal space -that graced time...the most teachable moment- is to stop and listen, stop working on the solution, the fix, or the how and commit to the what; and remember who you are...get back to the basics, the factory settings I wrote about last time.

Estelle Frankel, Berkeley psychotherapist & teacher of Jewish mysticism:
...if I take the time….to sit down, close my eyes, say a prayer, open myself to Spirit, then my identity begins to expand, and I remember that I’m not just Estelle, the personality, that I’m a soul, that I’m an embodiment of the Divine, and I move from what Jewish mystics say is ‘small mind’ to ‘big mind’ (also, the Buddha said that). And in that other state, the bonds of the self, the small identity that limits us and dictates who we think we are, it frees up – it’s sort of like a zooming out that you would do with a camera, but it’s zooming out all the way to infinity, all the way to eternity, beyond time, beyond space. And in that moment of deep meditation, or prayer, anything becomes possible, because you are rising above the workings of time.
You are allowing Self to re-emerge! A new you? Maybe...probably, but through the oldest of you … the eternal you … the Divine YOU!

The answer or treat may hide in so and so's books, but all are saying so much of the same thing in a new vernacular. Ideas like Thoughts are things, change your thinking/change your life, the Universe has your back, or by using the countdown method of Mel Robbins or the take dynamic/bold action ideas of Tony Robbins (no relation), through affirmative prayer and other spiritual practices; all are really ancient wisdom from all sorts of cultures, theologies, philosophies, ideas, etc. re-packaged.

There is a vibration, an energy that is always there to tap into; it's first step in these liminal space moments, in these times of transformation. It is there we can move any story of woe / chaos / indecision / loss of control / being off balance; any feelings of “what the hell am I doing and how the heck did I get here?” or the “What now???” to the state of wow:
There's a living Presence within and I recognize It as the One and Only Power in the Universe and I unify with It.
You are of IT and that cannot be taken away from you!!! So stop and listen! The Universe, it has the hows and the strategy you require to transcend the transformation, to allow the new you to emerge from the original you … to reanimate the Divine Intelligence that is seemingly lying dormant.

In that liminal space where you are the most teachable, go back to basics. Transform into who you already are! And that is:

You Are Powerful, Capable, Always at Choice, Open and Ready
Operating at the Speed of the Divine

At the Speed of Love!

...even heels

Think, feel, believe and pray....that is what I am doing today.
Think, feel, believe and pray....deciding that this is a fabulous day.
I think, feel, believe and know my life shines bright through the thoughts I sow. 
Within, I declare and reveal my best, optimized from this day forward, from now to the rest.
Dancing into a life so full, I surround myself with love, kindness, wisdom, creativity and vitality....nurturing my body, mind and soul with goodness, laughter, and gratitude.

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