The Art of Allowing

Oh my, it feels as though I have so much to say after not writing here for quite some time. I always know it’s time to return–when I’m having conversations with you all in my mind.

I wonder if you feel what I do at just this time–a great shifting in how Life experiences you, and in turn how you experience it–but in the most subtle of ways. Undoubtedly many of us are continuing to move through the spiral of our own journey, unearthing pieces of ourselves, dismantling layers of beliefs and barriers no longer needed. But what has occurred for me over the last couple of months feels quite extraordinary, in the most simple of ways.

Gorgeous Beach Roses, overlooking the marsh at Moody, Maine.
Gorgeous Beach Roses, overlooking the marsh at Moody, Maine.

It’s the first time–EVER–I was on my own for a few weeks this summer, and it was extraordinary. My husband’s father passed away three years ago, and his mother just this January. That leaves my husband as the ‘elder’ in his family, which in itself is quite surreal. There were two properties to be managed – her home to be sorted through, cleaned out and put on the market to sell – and a family cottage on the coast of Maine to be transferred into our ownership and oversight as it’s also a rental property. A friend and I traveled together up to New England and spent a week cleaning, packing, making repairs in the home to be sold. Our time together was filled with laughter, lots of dust and we even managed to get in a few nights out on the town. She then went on to visit family in Canada and I spent the next week by myself at the beach cottage.

I don’t quite have all the words to describe this experience, but I know it changed me in ways I’m not yet aware. When I met my husband nearly 22 years ago, we fell in love and married within less than a year. I moved from my parents’ home to his. So being in this sacred place I love so much and having it all to myself as the energetic shift in ownership occurred was a beautiful gift. I loved every minute. My dear friend Joss unknowingly spoke what’s true in my heart – Moody Beach is a healing space for me. In years past, it has felt very much in my awareness. This year, it was much more as though I was simply allowing myself to love each moment for what it was. There wasn’t anything BIG or earth-shattering that I felt or recognized inwardly. The movement has been subtle, beautiful, gentle. And I feel that is the energy currently settling into our consciousness as the old paradigm of fear and ‘doing the right thing’ march silently out of focus.

There’s so much I could say, but I do tend to write long posts already, so will try to simplify. I have witnessed the delicate grace having a similar impact on several occasions–moving my spirit when I wasn’t even aware it was happening. First, after a week by myself, I was uncertain if I was ready for my family to arrive. We return to Moody Beach each summer – sometimes just my husband and I, other times the kids will go with us; this year everyone journeyed north. They would fly in on Tuesday, but Sunday evening and even a bit on Monday morning I was concerned I might not be so happy to see them. A gentle breeze of grace shifted my feelings as Monday went on – and I felt a bit lonely accompanied by a longing to connect with my family. When they landed on Tuesday, my heart leapt with joy to see these amazing beings who chose me for their wife and mother.  I felt – and still do – quite amazed with how my emotions and heart moved just as was needed in those moments.

On a brilliantly warm and sunny Friday afternoon, I walked to the nearby marsh to find a large flock of geese enjoying the high tide. They reminded me....'you do not have to be good.'
On a brilliantly warm and sunny Friday afternoon, I walked to the nearby marsh to find a large flock of geese enjoying the high tide. They reminded me….’you do not have to be good.’

Similar experiences happened when it was time for the kids to go, for us to come home from the beach and most recently with my work. My husband and I would spend the remaining week together in New England, and although I so looked forward to that, I felt pangs of grief as I watched my children walk towards their gate for the flight home. When we traveled back home to Atlanta over two days’ journey, I wasn’t so sure coming ‘home’ would be welcome. Halfway through day two, I sensed the shift and desire to be in my beautiful Atlanta HOME once again. And with Sacred Circle Retreats – upon leaving closing out our Spring Program in May, I felt burnt out, unsure about continuing this forward. That feeling of uncertainty seemed to increase as my distance from the work and community did. Just a few weeks ago I wondered if I would be canceling the Fall Program because my heart was no longer in it. My friend and mentor Fay Hart is always talking about miracles and how they are everywhere. I’m convinced a miracle occurred because the passion for this work, for our Fall Program and the women with whom I’m so honored to work has only grown immensely over the last few weeks and I’m elated to launch our new series of events this evening.

Two quotes come to me in closing. The first I read just this morning and shared on the Sacred Circle Retreats FB page, which then led me to write this post (finally!):

Nonresistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe. Through it, consciousness (spirit) is freed from its imprisonment in form. ~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

The second seems to sum up my summer retreat (because for me it WAS a retreat, they come in many forms, my friends):

You do not have to be good…..
You have only to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. ~ Mary Oliver, Wild Geese poem

Undoing ‘Good’

The first line of Mary Oliver’s poem, Wild Geese, playing with my thoughts, my heart, my emotions this morning–and quite suddenly. 

‘YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE GOOD’

It’s one of my most favorite lines of poetry, seared into my consciousness during an intensive with my beloved teacher Andrew Harvey. I loved it as soon as I heard it–felt something release inside myself, liberated. 

Raw, random, personal thoughts fill the space in this post….followed by a pause, feeling, listening, tuning in. What does that mean: ‘You do not have to be good’ ? 

It seems to be a statement to define the unraveling of who we ‘thought’ we were–who I thought I was. 

Every time it comes around again, it feels as though there is a clear shift occurring in my belief system, very visible, very palpably felt. While I’m not yet ready to share the details of this transition, I’m soothed by Mary Oliver’s statement to us all: You do not have to be good. 

Funny how it is, though isn’t it–‘good’–a goal we can chase all our lives and never quite reach it. 

Because it’s a fallacy, an illusion that we have taken on and decided holds our truth. 

Then just as we release one layer of that illusion, another reveals itself–opening the cracks that lead to healing, surrender….wholeness. 

And so it goes….the spiral, the cycle of this journey. Letting go….of ‘being good.’ 

Instead….just BEing. Allowing. 

Thank you, Mary Oliver for sharing such richness and Universal truth. 

My statement to myself this day: I do not have to be good. 

I have only to be ME. And THAT is enough. 

The Truth About ‘Good’

It began as I read the post of a fellow blogger, ‘Something Beautiful’ from the Wordsmith’s Desk.  The first few lines of the post were from an old church hymn I remember singing as a child.

Something beautiful, something good

These are the words that played over in my thoughts–especially something good. From there I heard Maria and the Captain von Trapp singing ‘somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good’ as they realized they were in love and couldn’t imagine the good fortune of being together and having found one another.

‘Something good.’ In her poem ‘Wild Geese’ Mary Oliver begins with ‘You do not have to be good.’ It’s an interesting word–GOOD. And even more so what we’ve created as reality within our beings around it. ‘Be good. That’s good. It wasn’t good. Do good.’ Just typing and repeating ‘good’ is rapidly removing the insinuated context of its meaning from my thinking mind. (Which I’m realizing as I’m typing this could be a very effective exercise in quieting the mind or practicing disassociation from our perceptions of ‘what is.’)

First, the reality that I’m hearing from deep within myself is that we are already GOOD. What Mary Oliver meant to indicate, or at least what it feels to me, is that we don’t have to try to be good. We don’t have to follow a set standard of living or being in order to obtain the beauty, grace and true Divine ‘goodness’ of who we already ARE. It’s a paradox really: ‘you don’t have to BE good because you already ARE good.’

So let’s go a step further and feel the definition of this word ‘good.’ I love thesaurus.com for quick clarity and understanding; here are the words synonymous with ‘good:’ admirable, charitable, honest, innocent, perfect, pure, worthy, whole. YOU are ALREADY ALL of these qualities. WE are! Not because we’ve done something to be so. And there’s nothing we can do to not be so.

In the very core of who we are lives the innocence of our being. At the heart of our presence we are pure, we are whole. Wholly perfect. This is unrelated to what we say, what we do, how we live or what we accomplish. We are a soul center, filled with the grace of the Divine. We are beautifully PERFECT. And our journey here through Earth school is to REMEMBER that truth and stop trying to prove or create it. IT ALREADY IS.

Today. You. Own it. You are a Divine being filled with perfection. Imagine if we already knew that–how differently would you live? This is our journey my friends. To engage and connect to this truth. And to BE the ‘goodness’ we already ARE. Stop trying to attain it. It’s yours–you came with it! Just let it shine. BE YOU. I AM Jackie. And I AM good. Already. It is so. Listen dear ones, for you will hear its truth confirmed in the whispers of your own heart.

 

On Being a “Good Girl”

At a quiet moment in my day yesterday, I had one of those AHA! moments.  The kind where something that has always been part of your life changes its meaning and form, a light bulb goes off and you become enlightened to a rich awareness.

We all have the dialogue that goes on in the “back” of our thoughts.  That voice that can be our mother, our judge or another archetypal presence.  In this particular instance, it was that “mother” voice within my own consciousness that came to the stage.  I heard her say “that’s right, good girl” in support of what I was doing.  And in that exact moment….the switch flipped!

I really could feel the energy within myself change.  We’ve all experienced these moments, and really, they’re quite stunning are they not?!  In my younger years, I soaked it up every time my mom said out loud or even hinted at me being a “good girl.”  This meant I was loved, and as many of us do I took on that to be a “good girl” – to be loved – I had to be pleasing in my actions and my words.  A rigorous code of conduct began to weave itself within my subconscious, driving me to always be pleasing to others in order to be liked or loved.

But here’s the AHA! moment, my friends.  The entirety of my being realized in the space of a nano-second – this is not true!  The goodness of my “good girl” is love, kindness, joy.  That was what my mom could feel.  THAT was why she said “good girl” to me, filled with loving sentiment.  I didn’t have to get A’s, make sure my mom was happy, try to hide any perceived flaws or mistakes.  I just was me….and that was enough!  I was a “good girl” and indeed am a “good girl” just because I am Jackie.  Just because I love to love, respect people where they are, offer kindness and caring.  And even in the times when I struggle to find this place in myself, the good does not go away.  I don’t have to earn my goodness….it just is!

What a liberating, exhilarating and incredibly uplifting realization!  This changes the whole order of your existence, an AHA! such as this!

You too are GOOD.  Not because you have to be, but because you are.  I love the first line in Mary Oliver’s poem WILD GEESE:  “you do not have to be good.”  What she conveys is you do not have to try to be good by human standards.  You are good in the eyes of the Universe.  Take a pause, and let that sink in.  You ARE good.

Your heart will tell you so.  When you pause….listen to its whispers and feel the goodness that is you.