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Hip Sobriety School, Day 15

"I believe in myself."

You're an ancient gladiator of joy who chose the jungles of time and space with your superhero friends to experiment with shape shifting, mind bending, and planetary transformations. —Mike Dooley, Notes from The Universe

Saying this mantra out loud is...interesting for lack of a better word. This is the first one so far that has hit a doubtful note. All the little voices in the committee who think it's a crock of shit start shouting "Who are you kidding?" but the vote is widely split. Some say "Once in a while, yes" and others want to differentiate between the Little Me and the Greater Self before answering.

We can argue all day long about blatant failures to walk the talk versus getting it right some of the time, but I think the third group has a corner on the truth: I don't always believe in the Little Me but I have unwavering faith in the unlimited power of my Greater Self.

Eckhart Tolle is right about the Little Me. It resists the Now and lives in the past or the future, always feeling "not enough yet" and wanting to add more to itself "to get there." Everything would be fine if I could lose 25 pounds, have more money, look like a model, have a new wardrobe, drive a nicer car, live in a bigger house, work with better people, find my soulmate, move to a different city, dump this deadhead spouse. Or maybe our "I need to" list is filled with things like make healthier choices, exercise regularly, start doing yoga, stop drinking, cut out the sugar, stop biting my nails, be more patient with my kids. The Not Enough Yet List varies but it has no end—no peace.

And God knows I'm not knocking self-improvement or transformational work. Desiring, creating, and making dreams come true and rising in consciousness are the sacred drives of our very Soul. But for me, struggling on the level of Little Me is just that: endless struggle. I set an intention, decide what I can do to make it happen, and attempt to do it—flawlessly and regularly. About 99 percent of the time, my gung-ho efforts fizzle into fits and spurts, I lose steam and eventually give up—or more accurately, postpone that particular bit of transformation. As my friend Carol once said: "I found a list of things I wanted to change in my habits and my life from two decades ago and I could have written it this morning!"

Whatever we set out to do is a starting place, and we have to start somewhere, but the real magic kicks in when the Little Me gets out of the way and surrenders to the Greater Me. SARK talks about her Inner Wise Self in her book Succulent, Wild Relationships and urges others to connect with this unconditionally loving and wise part of their being just by asking and listening. Regularly. The guidance that comes through can be surprising or even off-the-wall, but she's learned to trust whether it makes rational sense—or feels slightly insane. Her Inner Wise Self has a knowing that transcends space and time, so the oddest intuitive impulses have turned out to be some of the most brilliant. She has some great stories.

Sebastian Dudley (sebastiandudley.com for inquiring minds) has another take on connecting to what he calls our true Self. My first experience with this fellow was the day after Easter at one of his Awakening Soul Recognition events. The group was limited to six, so there we were—all women—sitting in a quasi-meditative circle around him, poised for enlightenment. Just before I left the house, my daughter Katie and I were texting:

ME: I have to go now, I'm off to see some guy who is going to dissolve our false identities and bring us to awareness of our true Self. (I knew my daughter's response would be priceless—wait for it, wait for it....)

KATIE: He must have a fuck-ton of Golden Magic Dust!

Sebastian opened the evening by explaining that we are all captives of our false identities. We believe that WE ARE our conditioning, our constant steam of thoughts, our emotions, and the roles we play in the world. His work is to help us expose those false identities for what they are—illusions. Help us break the spell, end the grip of the Matrix.

Most of the evening he said very little, leaving silent spaces in between each statement or question. Whenever someone ventured forth with an answer to a question he left hanging in the air, Sebastian would ask, "Who is the one saying that?" The question was so confounding that most of the time it was met with stammering hesitation. Awkward was growing a bit more awkward with every exchange. All over the room, "I wish I knew what's going on because this is weird" vibes were floating above the deepening peace.

I could sense in myself and in others a growing reluctance to engage because we needed to be right, to have the right answers, to hopefully say something profound—to come across as the experienced, wise spiritual seekers we knew ourselves to be. Just observing this charade almost made me laugh out loud. God! I love this guy! He's onto something here!

I'm usually one of the first to chime in to any group. But in this strange space, I just fell into a deep relaxing breath. My monkey mind found it easy to quiet down because it was busy absorbing the voices around me and focusing on the few words he had given us at the very beginning: This is a letting go, not a thinking or doing. Just allow your true Presence to come forth. Allow. Nothing else is required.

Actually, my mantra was "I am willing to allow" because I wasn't sure how allowing on this level even happens. But I do understand willingness. I can do that one. The more I relaxed, the greater the swell of intensity in the power within and around me, like a mega-watt sunrise peeking over the horizon. The experience was familiar because it's the place I always hope to reach in meditation, feeling so connected to All That Is and lost in sensations of indescribable love and peace. But there I was, sitting in a room with others talking around me—not alone in the silence where any sudden noise would jolt me back to Earth's reality. It's as if my consciousness had come back into the room from a deeply ecstatic meditation but somehow managed to still be "out there." And that's when I spoke—more of an exclamation of wonder than a sharing:

"Oh. my. God. I have felt this way so many times in a meditative state, and the recognition has always been, "Ohhhh, this is God. But this, THIS! This is the first time I have ever felt that Presence as who I truly am. The God within me."​

Sebastian lit up with excitement, "Yes! Who can keep riding this wave?" No one said a word but I had a burning question: "I want to be live in this state with every breath, for all my days—how I stay like this when I walk out the door?"

I don't remember his exact words, but the spirit of it went like this: We can all be living from our Presence. The vibrations of the Earth are quickening and ushering in the Divine Human is our calling. It's not about killing the ego or false identities or struggling against anything. It's a matter of seeing all of life unfolding on a stage, everyone acting out their script, light or dark, it's all part of the play. Our true Self can observe all this drama—including the dance of our own false identities—with a sense of amusement, wonder, love and compassion rather than fear or anxiety or a need to control.

Note that he didn't really answer my question. He just concluded by saying we can't predict the day or time, but we all have a date with the Divine where we'll step into and begin to live from our Truth. Maybe SARK has the more practical guide for everyday living: Just start conversing with this Being-ness, whatever you decide to call it, with every breath. Let it start running the show and enjoy watching the miracles unfold.

The Divine has hidden Herself within us only to find herself again. —Deepak Chopra

So yes, I do believe in myself.

I love the words from the song Woodstock by Crosby, Stills and Nash:

We are stardust

We are golden

We are billion-year-old carbon

And we've got to get ourselves back to the Garden.

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