Passing through crazy to come home to wholesome and wholehearted

In my classes and retreats, I often speak to ‘coming home’ to yourself. This is the first essential step in experiencing joy and freedom. To truly live from that place of ‘home’, however, deeply rooted in your authentic self, means to fully embrace all of you, to be wholesome and wholehearted.

We all know the phrase, “Home is where the heart is”. It can certainly mean the time or place where, or the people with whom, we feel a deep, heartfelt connection. It can also mean literally wherever we currently find ourselves, alive and heart beating, conscious and present to all that we are feeling and experiencing. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “Wherever you go, there you are”.

But have you ever found yourself feeling torn between two or more possibilities, two decisions, two points of view? If I walk out this door right now my life will be completely different than if I stay put.

Every moment, with every thought, word and action, we are influencing and creating our reality.

We all have the capacity to imagine and experience multiple realities. We can ‘put ourselves in their shoes’ as we say, to get a sense of someone else’s perspective. Even beyond sharing life experiences with another, we have the capacity to empathise with any other human or even animal. That’s awesome (and a bit more of it is generally needed!)

We are many things all at once. In me is child, mother, priestess, seductress, warrior, human, animal, goddess. I am masculine and feminine. I am witch and bitch. I am a lover and hater. I am physical muscles, bones and organs, and I hold the elements of the entire universe within me. I am forty years old and I have lived many lifetimes. I am ignorant and I am wise beyond all knowledge.

To be wholesome, we must remain truthful to our vulnerable complexity. In order to keep our balance, we need to hold the interior and exterior, visible and invisible, known and unknown, temporal and eternal, ancient and new, together. No-one else can undertake this task for you. You are the one and only threshold of an inner world. This wholesomeness is holiness. To be holy is to be natural; to befriend the worlds that come to balance in you.

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

John O’Donohue continues to write, “Each one of us is doomed and privileged to be an inner artist who carries and shapes a unique world“.

Our ability to shape-shift and imagine and create is extraordinary, confusing and terrifying at the same time. Perhaps it is this that creates so much stress, fear, neurotic behaviour, and, dare I say it, willingness to be strongly conditioned by societal norms. We struggle to make sense and peace with our own complexity. We are terrified that some of that inner madness might make us unloveable or do something bad that would have us rejected.

So when we sit with ourselves and notice and hear and feel our inner world, that can feel kind of crazy at first! As we sit more and more, it can feel even more crazy!

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Taking to time to sit and contemplate the inner landscape. Georgina Peard by CarlosGonzalez Photographie

So I am here to say, it’s ok. It’s even ‘normal’.

Alongside the downright crazy is the imaginative potential to create a new paradigm on earth.

Many of us skim the surface or simply avoid this inner space though. Many of us nourish the parts that we like, and attempt to diminish other parts that appear a bit dark and ugly.

Brené Brown refers to the whole messy process of being human, and that it takes a whole lot of vulnerability and courage and compassion to own all that we are, to show up and be seen, and to live life wholeheartedly.

Wholehearted living, as Brené calls it, is about loving ourselves and embracing all that we are. It’s a process and a choice in each moment.

So first we must dare to come home to ourselves and embrace the magnificent, wild and wonderful inner world with honesty, curiosity and love, as well as a certain lighthearted sense of humour.

Gradually then, we begin to truly rest within ourselves, to feel deeply rooted in our own being, at home in our own soul essence.

From this wholesome and wholehearted place, we may then be truly surprised and delighted by the unique and authentic expression that is born, again and again.

Let’s not fear or shy away from ALL that we are, but rather, as O’Donohue explains it from the Celtic understanding of inner friendship, let’s embrace our “nature, divinity, underworld and human world as one”.

Allow the child in you to delight in such fanciful imagination and limitless possibility.

From a place of wholeness, enjoy creating yourself anew in each moment.

“When we rediscover our childlike nature, we enter into a world of gentle possibility. Consequently, we will find ourselves more frequently at the place of ease, delight and celebration”

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

Hello 2016 – Here I AM!

As I step nervously toward the edge I feel weak in my legs. Nothing but vast Atlantic Ocean reaches out before me. No land stands between me and the West Coast of Africa. The rising sun is mirrored on the swelling waters. Almost 100m of a drop below me to the frothing waves crashing against the cliffs, sculpted by the never-ending beat of the sea. The warm Caribbean winds gust around me, testing my balance. On the narrow rock beneath me a number of fiercely prickly cacti await any misplaced step or loss of balance. Standing alone here on the Southern most tip of Antigua on New Year’s day 2016, I feel called to step out onto this overhanging cliff edge. “Crikey!” I wonder. “What on earth for?”

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This is the spot for my New Year ritual! I went back the next day with my sister who took this picture. Southern Coast, Antigua. © Georgina Peard

Imagining some passionate and triumphant Kate-Winslet-on-the-Titanic-type moment, I find myself on the edge of fear and elation. In honesty, more fear than elation! There is no Leonardo DiCaprio to hold me safe here!!

I feel incredibly vulnerable. 

Face-to-face with the immensity and power of nature, I feel tiny. The insignificance of ME and my life is glaring at me.

I try to ground down through my feet and legs. “C’mon, I can do this. I’m a yogic, shamanic, spiritually-connected, free, inspired -being for goodness sake!! What is there to be scared of? Trust more. Let go. Feel the stability rising up from the support of the Earth.”

I desperately want to drop to all fours and hold on for dear life, but with me and the “fierce” cacti on this bit of rock there’s not enough space for hands and feet. “Dammit! This is ridiculous. What am I trying to prove?”

But something in me keeps me there. I consciously experience the fear rather than shying away from it back to my comfort zone. 

I am aware of the voices playing in my mind – “don’t be stupid, get away from the edge, the rocks could crumble or the wind catch you”, “there’s nothing to be afraid of, it’s all in your mind, anyone else could do that easy”.

“HERE I AM!” I hear myself suddenly shout out at the top of my lungs. I breathe deep and do it a few more times. I start to realise what I am doing.

Here I AM with all my fear and doubt and vulnerability.

Here I AM with all my vices and failings and weaknesses.

Here I AM with all my strengths and gifts and accomplishments.

Here I AM with all my stuff.

Here I AM as me, in this moment, a work in progress.

Here I AM authentically human. No more. No less.

Here I AM 2016.

In this moment, there is no proclaiming limitless power or holding on to dreamy visions and hopes of what I want to be or think I should be. The visceral fear has me totally present, stripped down to the naked truth. I am humbled. I am real.

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“HERE I AM !!” Stepping out and showing up with ALL I am! Heart open, legs still a little nervous! © Georgina Peard

As I step into 2016 I choose to show up in my naked truth. To be honest and compassionate and confident in my awesome imperfection. To engage fully and courageously in the human experience with all I am. Yes all of it! And I choose to DARE GREATLY. 

(Indeed, I owe much to my inspiring read during the end of year holidays of Brené Brown’s “Daring Greatly” which I highly recommend!! )

I step slightly back from the edge where I find a little bit more space to move. I let my heart and soul sing as loud as I want. No-one can hear. I chant and and let my body move as I perform an intuitive ritual to celebrate and welcome in this new year.

A big brown pelican takes flight from below and surfs gracefully the gusts of wind. I start to feel in my body the power of the ocean, the wind, the sun and the land. The fear and vulnerability are still there but I am leaning into them, accepting the discomfort and dancing with it. It feels good!

Finally, I jump back off the overhang and breathe a sigh of relief as I settle back into my comfort zone. I acknowledge my courage and at the same time giggle at my self for the drama!!

That little unexpected adventure reminded me of what it takes and how it feels to step out of my comfort zone; that I can stand consciously in my fear and vulnerability; and that this is where I may grow the most.

On the edge of the comfort zone is where we are most ALIVE! 

Wishing you a very happy, healthy and abundant 2016.
May you dare greatly and enjoy the ride!

Happy New Year! Original artwork by Georgina Peard :)) © Georgina Peard