from nothing to everything.

“This oracle comes with guidance for you. You are being asked to let go to receive, to become empty to be filled… It is the divine paradox that when we are asked to surrender a story or a fantasy, it is because reality is knocking at our door, more often than not, with the delivery of what we have been fantasizing about–but in the best way for us. The human experience of this paradox is that you may feel you are giving up hope, that your fantasy is dying. It may be very painful and bring you much grief. But all that is dying is your attachment and opinion about how it must be. This needs to happen so you can stop dreaming and start living it… Do not fear any part of your process; embrace it without expectation, with trust in your heart, that the Divine is simply guiding you from fantasy into fulfillment.”

Alana Fairchild, Rumi Oracle

From nothing to everything.

Nothing.
Nothing.
Nothing.

Everything.
Everything.
Everything.

When I go to my Rumi Oracle deck, I know I will be given nothing but true and clear guidance. So here I am, surrounded by Christmas lights, a sleeping cat and flickering candles in an apartment that smells of incense and pine, as lightning lights up the sky of a warm southern winter night. I am asking for something–anything–to help me understand this past year. What’s the most important lesson to take away? What should I definitely leave behind? What awaits me? Whenever December hits, I am overtaken by this feeling of overwhelm. It is both exciting and serious. Which I’m sure by no coincidence corresponds with the two Zodiac signs that rule the month–Sagittarius (playful, optimistic, prophetic) and Capricorn (structured, responsible, timely). So I pull this card, From Nothing to Everything. Actually, I don’t pull it at all. It jumps out as soon as I ask my question during shuffle, and I know it is a message that will not be ignored.

This card speaks of the release of a “story” and how our “storytelling” often gets in the way of our ability to receive our blessings and embody who we are meant to be. Our stories are made up of attachments and expectations. They are an amalgamation of how we’ve interpreted our past experiences and others interpretations of us that we’ve accepted as true. Our stories are messy, wonderful, wounded and intricate.

Our stories must be wiped clean.

This energy is already in the collective. The current astrologic aspects (the Saturn Pluto conjunction that culminates in 2020 is one in particular) are all about us finally releasing an old story we’ve been telling ourselves (for years, possibly all of our lives) and choosing a new one. Our new story speaks from our soul and who we are at our core, without the clouded judgment of our ego and outside validation. It is a massive step into personal power that also heals the collective. This is no small task. To choose a new story is to seemingly abandon “who we are” now. This is terrifying, unsettling and also kind of angering. I don’t know about you but I’ve worked pretty hard to become the person I am now. I love the person I am and the last thing I want to do is abandon her. Yet everywhere I turn, it feels as though that is what the Universe is asking of me.

Here’s the thing–it is, and it isn’t. Yes, we are being asked to let go of a narrative we’ve accepted as truth, but it’s only to become MORE of ourselves. This is an uncomfortable paradox of identity. I’ve found some comfort in Jack Kornfield’s words when approaching this process:

“As a Buddhist psychologist, I am aware that sometimes when people hear about the teaching of selflessness, they can become agitated or afraid. This is because focusing on selflessness is not always the right medicine. Speaking of selflessness when a person feels shaky, traumatized and fragile can bring up feelings of disorientation and even terror. At such times, what is needed is safety and a feeling of balance. We can provide this balance through our reassuring presence, through the reminders of compassion and spacious awareness. But even those who are fragile can eventually benefit from the freedom beyond self-image, beyond the illusion of self.”

Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart

You are more than the stories that you’ve collected to make up your self image.
But in the same breath that you are more, you are also less.
You are as expansive as the outmost reaching edges of the cosmos and as minimal as the atom.
Being here,
being this,
being You.
Which, You are.
How can You Be
but also Be Nothing?

How do we reconcile this paradox? Hell if I know.

Seriously, haha. This is something people have dedicated their lives to discovering and teaching. It is something I am still learning to navigate. I am diving in completely, happily bewildered as a student of this life. This post is not about me teaching You, the reader, anything. I am simply sharing my experience of where I am at, and I am checking in with you. How is it that in our Emptiness, our ability to hold that vast undefined space within us, exists while we remain so connected to who we are? It seems to boil down to a balance, to a practice, and to breath. But it is also a much bigger question I think I will be ruminating on for the remainder of this life. On a lighter note, there are some questions I think we all are a bit more equipped to answer.

What parts of your story feel like they don’t fit anymore?
Are you owning how much you’ve stepped into something new?
I beg you to really think about this. I know many of you have being digging into the deepest parts of yourself. You’ve put in so much work. Are you living a life that does said work justice? Or are you still stuck in an old mode/sense of self?

There is no shame in being stuck. We get stuck because something needs our attention, and we loop continuously until we finally face it. This is where compassion comes in. As your friend, as your partner, as your sister, as your fellow human, I can hold you in loving kindness and safety as you move through into what a new story means for you.

I am very aware of how heady this all sounds. But as the 6th principle of Buddhist psychology says, “Our life has universal and personal nature. Both dimensions must be respected if we are to be happy and free.” A release of an old story is NOT spiritual bypassing. What you DON’T get to do is decide, “Well that’s not who I am anymore,” and suddenly be absolved of all responsibility, suffering and pain. What you DO get to do is decide, “Well that’s not who I am anymore,” own your responsibilities and work through your suffering and pain. Then you can release it from your grasp, opening up your hands to receive something new.

As Jack Kornfield writes, 

“We can’t pretend we are too spiritual for any experience. If we are angry, Ajahn Chah said, we must admit it, look at its causes, know its particulars. If we are sad or frightened or ashamed or needy, this is our human condition, the perfect place to practice. Ajahn Chah insisted we could not find freedom and enlightenment somewhere else, only here and now: ‘It is here in the world of form. Only in form can we develop integrity, patience, generosity, truthfulness, dedication, compassion, the great heart of the Buddha.’
If we fear living the life we’re in, Buddhist psychology insists we explore our resistance. If we’re caught in fear of failure, in past trauma or insecurity, engaging the world can be difficult for us. We need to make conscious whatever keeps us from living fully.”

This is what’s been happening for us over the past decade, and most intensely over this past year. As I lean into the energy of the new year approaching, I feel 2020 refuses to let you enter without surfacing your deepest wounds and admitting what’s been holding you back from embracing Your wildest, truest life. You have to cop to the stories you’ve been telling yourself about yourself, and you have to admit how ridiculous they’ve been at times (be they negative or positive).

From Nothing to Everything.
Stripped down bare; we are all the same.
All nothing, all everything.

It is a paradox both confusing & enlightening. Freeing & terrifying. Your identity is completely made up. It can be ever-evolving and fluid, or you can stay stuck looping around ideas of who you ‘should’ be.

But right now beloved, all this is to say: This is an invitation.
Your invitation.
I am inviting you to flow in the Divine Mystery with a sense of self that is not so rigid.
You are malleable and new.
You are childlike and dancing through varying states of wonder.
You are full of past experiences–joyful and traumatic, mesmerizing and forgettable, simple and complex, and they have all made up your sense of Self. But they also do not have to define who you choose to be now.
In that release you do not lose anything.
You find a more expansive way of being.
You are Nothing
and Everything
and Nothing once again.

So let’s play.

And so it is.

illusions undone.

Yesterday I felt an extremely overwhelming energy move through me. I couldn’t name it as positive or negative, it just was. An intensity. But lately, I’ve seen so many synchronicities. I’ve felt so much support and love coming from every corner of my life. I’ve been nurturing a safety within me where the foundation stems from an unshakeable confidence and trust within myself. After ruminating on all of this, I knew the energy was positive. And of course, naturally, my ego wanted me to doubt it all. My ego wants me to be a mistrustful, self-sabotaging, fearful pessimist. It wants me to accept pain as my reality. Where every light shines to remind me that I am worthy of the wonderful things I pray and work for, a voice in the shadow whispers a terror into my heart in efforts to keep it closed.

But it’s not.

I am open.
I am vulnerable.
I am on a path I trust.
I am joy.
I am connection.
I am making a choice.
I choose differently this time.

I choose to hold the wounded girl who’s voice echoes in the shadow. I choose to help her, love her through her sorrows. I am not separate from her. But I will not allow anguish from my past become suffering in my future. When it comes to my sisters and brothers in this life, I refuse to stand in a place of judgment and condemnation, of criticism and control. I choose acceptance. I choose faith. I choose unconditional love.

I am here now, and I trust it. I trust, and then I know. I know suffering is not my natural state of being, it’s simply one way of being. And once acknowledged, I can move through all of the beautifully painful intricacies of the ways my wounds have colored my world. I forgive myself for it. It helps me to see how you all are navigating your own trauma. I support you. I forgive you. I will not carry it for you, but I will hold your hand.

For so long, it was easier to create a “reality” in the shape of my fear. By anticipating pain I thought I was smarter than pain. But really, I was only ensuring that the pain I agonized over would be my only outcome. The more I anticipated disappointment the more comfortable I felt with it. The less comfortable I felt with actually getting what I deserved/wanted. In fear-based, loveless thinking the question, “What if it doesn’t happen?” isn’t the scary one. You are prepared for that because you’ve built up defenses for years to anticipate such a blow. The terrifying question is, “What if it does?” Because that question accepts loss as a possibility and doesn’t fear it. Because truthfully, loss is not separate from love. Once you recognize this its finally possible to accept we have never been separate from love. So often we’ve simply just refused to accept the abundance of it because lack, hurt and disappointment felt more familiar–a desolate illusion so many of us still cling to.

I ask you to release this illusion. It will take time and work, but it will be worth it. There is no real safety in severing yourself from connection, only an illusionary one that keeps you wandering, lost and wanting. I leave you with a passage from one of my favorite books, A Return to Love, to meditate upon. For myself to meditate upon. Because you and I, we are not separate. We are mirrors. Reflecting back and forth to each other, giving and receiving only what we’re willing to.

“Initially, I had chosen the way of anger. Now I choose the way of love. I did not have to be the wounded animal. I could choose to identify with my own strength, which was in fact the more natural role for me to play. I could choose to see others through a generous, trusting nature. My brother was not here to attack me. He was here to love me. It was completely up to me whether to trust that, and love him back.

In accepting the Atonement, the correction of our perceptions, we are returned to who we really are. Our true, purely loving self can never be uncreated. All illusions will be undone. Although experiences can lead us to deviate from our true nature, the truth itself is held in trust for us by the Holy Spirit until we choose to return.”

— Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love