Day 23: Unconditioning

It’s baby day. We have had the pleasure of spending time with two different friends that both have kids under two. Both are very environmentally conscious moms using cloth nappies and parenting according to what they believe is right in combination with the research they’ve done, not just what they learned by default from their own parents. I really appreciate that. How else are we going to progress our conditioning from bad to slightly less bad?

One of the moms was saying ‘yes’ to her child a fair bit. She explained that she was aware of how much kids hear the word ‘no’ and for many it’s one of the first words they learn. Sure, they’re differentiating themselves, learning boundaries and asserting their power. All of that is really important but perhaps there’s a balance to be struck. Learning to love ourselves includes saying no and having clear boundaries AND it’s also about saying yes, yes to ourselves, yes to receiving love and contribution from others and saying yes to life.

We learn to limit ourselves so quickly. We are conditioned to respond to limitation and curtail our expression from a very young age. Our parents thought they were teaching us how to safely and respectfully be in the world, to fit in, to behave appropriately. We also learned that we can’t have what we want, can’t express our desires and of course many of babyTus interpret it ever further to believe we can’t be who we are. So how the hell are we supposed to be authentic. What does that even mean? We are conditioned to move so far away from the essence of who we are that we spend the rest of our lives trying to find out who we are at our core, the long process of rediscovering ourselves, letting go of conditioning, baggage and false notions of who we think the world wants us to be.

Perhaps this is the human journey, perhaps it is what we are here to learn. To forget who we are and rediscover ourselves. What would it be like if we didn’t forget? Who would we be if we didn’t have to spend so much time rediscovering ourselves? Imagine what we could achieve if all (or even some) of that was out of the way and we were encouraged from birth to fully step into our authentic selves, valued for the unique, wild, wonderful and exquisite beings that we are! Would it be chaos? Would it be a harmonious existence that enabled the development of new ways of being on earth that was starkly different from the existence we have now? What would the planet look like?

I wonder if we would grow up loving ourselves and not have to spend time learning how to do that as an adult. Can you imagine?

Day 10 : Pretense and Duality

Day nine already! Wow. Kiteboarding didn’t go ahead today, not the right wind conditions. Postponed to next Friday. Gives me a chance to do more of the prep I thought about doing and did a small fraction of. I did a fair bit of stretching this morning. Would have been fine but now I have more time to be more active to be really ready to ride the thermals and minimise the impact on this ageing body. I know, age is no excuse.

This afternoon I noticed feeling annoyed and frustrated. The “I love myself” mantra came to mind. Then I realised I was using it to squash the feeling. I brought myself back to the feeling, and gave myself permission to just feel it. It became a bit clearer, and discovered some anger underneath. Soon I found myself repeating the mantra to myself again. Was I trying to self-sooth or escape or both? I was driving so wasn’t totally focused on my internal processing. It felt important to honour the feeling and allow it to be, as much as I could while driving anyway!

Being objective is also a bit tricky, and I’m starting letting go of the need for things to be one or the other. After doing some DeMartini work I can see that everything has a multiplicity of qualities and nothing is black and white. As much as I tend to want to be creating opportunity for growth in an uplifting way, I also value the challenging stuff. Tho it may not be pleasant to experience, I can see the bigger picture and importance of learning though adversity.

It doesn’t change the fact that in our dualistic culture we like to put things into boxes of ‘good or bad’, ‘right or wrong’, ‘male or female’, ‘gay or straight’, ‘monogamous or polyamorous’. The dualism is breaking down, thankfully, yet we have plenty of collective learning to do in embracing the complexity.

One of the big things for me in the self love challenge is to allow for all the stuff in the middle as much as I want to embody and be and be identified with the ‘good’ stuff. I tend to live in the middle of that list of dualities which can be great for authenticity but has me feeling far outside the ‘norm’ at times. As I get older I care less and less about that and am determined to help bring awareness to the middle ground. I tend to be all about the ‘both and’, not so much the ‘either or’.Authenticity Ducky

At times it feels like my life is full of pretense, in that I want it to appear ‘good’. When in fact there is a whole range of stuff that I am less inclined to be public (or blog) about. As I move through the stages of this self loving journey, I can feel the softening of the edges. Getting more real, more authentic and yes, more vulnerable. All of that is self loving. Pretense can also be about ambition, of course aspiring to be more self loving!

I can see the internal and external duality and it’s interplay. What happens internally, when I am activating the ‘self loving’ mentality, influences the expression, and the action. Even though I was using the “I love myself” mantra to counter my ‘bad’ feeling as I stepped into that way of being, I actually started to feel better!