Leap of Faith#1
Oil on Canvas
If it’s one thing that is at the forefront of my life right now, it’s the two polar opposing energies, or at least they appear to be opposing. As I drop into the centre of my life right now I am faced with the eternal question, do I trust or do I withdraw and take the route of safety and security? That old automated way, that easy and comfortable way. It’s what seems logical. The brain seems hardwired for it.
Yet what I have learned from the years I have spent with those I love, from those whom inspire me, from my beloved is that that nothing of true value ever arrives without a complete surrender.
There is a point at which I must totally go beyond fear, to edge towards the precipice, towards the chasm that lies beyond the known world, from which a new world awaits. A world outside my comfort zone.
Just last night I watched Jim Carrey’s speech at the Maharishi’s University in USA, he spoke about how you can choose safety and security like his father did and still fail or you can choose what you absolutely love and like Jim succeed. He spoke full of love saying to give your whole heart to your passion and if you fail, keep going, try again and know in your heart that there is something far greater within you than fear. People who are gripped by it will want to tell you not to trust, to do what is safe because they haven’t allowed themselves to reach for their dreams.
Jim spoke about shining your brightest light will make the world a place worth living in.
So as I sit with this, as I feel into the potency of the space I am in at present, my life that I have approached with fear and my beloved who has been coaching me to trust deeper than I have ever dared, I find myself like the skydiver in a perfectly good aeroplane edging on his seat knowing that I am ready to take my greatest leap of faith, ever. Knowing that living with such a deep trust is going to be absolutely exhilarating.
Yet, I have found myself wavering. Wanting security, wanting to know exactly how my future will look, especially with my beloved, wanting her to give me the assurance that we will be together, that the obstacles we face must be overcome now, before I am to fully commit. Yet, I’ve blamed her for not committing. In my thoughts I point and say it is you that’s scared, you that wants all the answers before they are present, it is you that can’t commit yet. Though as I look deeper I know it is me that isn’t trusting. Me that’s afraid. It is me that has been placing responsibility on her to make me happy.
So, yes, I have been scared and vulnerable. That, was when I let go, that, was when I felt free. At that time, an ancient, deep sadness overcame me. It was then that I knew no relationship could rescue me from the pain of my own suffering. The pain that comes from knowing, no body else will ever complete me, not even my beloved. The marriage that I thought was pure, had been tainted by my own insecurities and I didn’t even know it until I faced the fears and sat within the depths of my own heart, courageous enough to know what lay at my own core. A truth that became evident as I searched in the depths, among the ashes of my ego’s lies. I realised then, it isn’t about what I am doing, what job I have, who I am with, but the presence I bring to everything I do. What vibration/consciousness do I carry into these things? How much attention do I give to each moment? Am I fighting life or am I making love to each and everything I come into contact with. No, I have placed conditions on the world, on my beloved, on my family, my friends and on life before giving my total presence.
I have not loved fully. No, not even close. I have been blaming my beloved for being conditional with her love and here I had not even been witness to my own conditions I have placed on how she turns up. How can love flourish when there is so much I have been asking to be different before I turn up without conditions?
There have been so many times when I had no idea of the outcome, no idea if what I wanted would happen or not, no guarantee that I would achieve and succeed in my dreams. It was then at that time that my beloved prompted me to trust. It was her that would encourage me to step outside my fears and drive out the demons of my pessimism born from my past disappointments. It was her who knocked on the doors of my heart to find the little child within weeping, curled up in foetal position, it was her that entered softly, gently, to tell him, “you are completely loved.”
Now it’s me that holds the little child. Because today, me and my beloved are separated by thousands of miles, oceans and continents between us, no guarantees or certainties of outcome.
I am reminded that as I am faced with primordial fears that have my little child within feeling like a crippled emotional dinosaur in the land of the dead, that there is a power that still carries me. There is something far bigger than I am aware of. It is this power that gives my life breath, it is this that gives ALL life breath. It is this that gives my life a vantage point above all of the entire world, a perspective that shifts the entirety of my soul. There is a unifying force animating all living things. It is into this that I surrender.
It is not up to me, that little me that had been gripped by fear, no, it is up to life and my alignment with this power that recreates all that is needed to be born in this world.
So when I was working, cleaning, performing a duty that my mind claimed was not my life purpose, it was then I realised, everything is my life purpose. Who I am and everything I do is in it’s own rite, sacred and truly purposeful. I may not know the future between me and my beloved right now but I do feel love, it begins with me. Not in the saying of words, but in the grace that comes with letting life in. In surrender and embrace, not in conflict with what is.
I do know that there have been miracles, I know that I forgot to create space for miracles in my loving because I became scared, but that’s ok, I forgive myself. I can hold space for the bridges to appear. I can find the the reunion in my own heart. My attention is not on me now, it is on life, it is on the sanctity of my own heart. To rest in my own inner beloved. I know I have hurt my partner because of my fear and she has also hurt me because of her fear. I am now taking responsibility for my part in withdrawing the suffering in my life, for ending adding any additional pain in my relationships and in the world. Whatever happens, I can, again and again return to choose love. Whatever comes of my marriage, between me and my beloved, I can always end the conflict in my own being. Trusting that love, that life finds a way. Because it is possible that life is love, just the way it is.
The truth is, we are all connected. Things come to us from an Infinite Divine Intelligence, wether we understand it, feel it or resist it. It is all there, available and ready to be tapped into at anytime, always.
This morning the word ‘Affusion’ arrived. I’ve never heard of this word, let alone used it. But it came to me when I thought about what writing does for me.
‘Writing for me has become a kind of soul affusion on the body of my life.’
The moment the sentence arrived I pondered it’s significance. Immediately, I looked up the meaning. Wikipedia says - Affusion comes from the latin word affusio, meaning to ‘pour on.’ It is a method of baptism where water is poured on the head of the person being baptized.
I was amazed to discover that the meaning was totally relevant to the way writing transforms and blesses my life. I am not a Christian or conform to any religious identity, I don’t need identities to experience spirituality and Divinity. In fact the less rigid I am about myself and my beliefs the more connected I feel.
Recent life transitions prompt me to explore particularly this relevance of identity.
To be truthful, the person I believe myself to be seems to have such a bearing on how I feel. Today I question the very purpose of a fixed identity and how it plays a part in relationships and my ability to accept and embrace the inevitable changes that come.
An epiphany opened up as I realised that, contrary to my fears, I am not reduced or lessened when those I love in my life are no longer in my life or their love is withdrawn. As these changes appear and I am without the company of loved ones, it is my identity or that feels threatened.
There are so many ideas of who I think I am and who I think I’m not. I began to let go and drop the stories behind my relationships. Eckart Tolle asserts we humans place our hopes and efforts to find ourselves, hoping to complete who we are in relationships because deep down we haven’t found our true self.
I began to explore in the stillness, in the not needing to know, withdrawing a search for meaning outside. I began to open into an embodied sense of peace. A satisfying state to be in because nothing was required, nothing needed to change. No-one else was required. Refreshing.
Beautifully, another question arrived, what if it was ok to embrace absolutely everything, every emotion. Sadness, grief, anger, lust, paranoia, panic, joy, power, arrogance, deceit, happiness, exuberance, beauty, aggression, pessimism, devotion, grit, perseverance, deliverance, joy, love, patience, presence, trust, faith and everything else in between.
What if I expanded to encompass all of spectrums of emotion without limit? What if all of life was granted permission? I opened up, embodying every part of life. My consciousness expanded and I shifted. New possibilities, life appeared limitless and perhaps, perhaps it truly is. Perhaps there are so many more things available beyond fear.
It could be that withdrawing the belief that I already know who I am and what I can and can’t achieve connects me to a world of expanding possibilities. To the Divine Intelligence that operates through all of life and connects and provides for us all.
'Evolution of Trust' Oil on canvas (Detail) by Jhana Bowen
It is inevitable as a human being that sooner or later we find ourselves in some measure of uncertainty. Many resist the unknown. In-fact as I wrote in my last blog, our brains are actually wired to avoid danger and threat.
It is uncommon to find in individuals the willingness to lean in towards such feelings of uncertainty, primarily because uncertainty often causes us to feel unsafe. Particularly in areas of life that involve intimate relationships, money, and the like. Usually any human or animal will opt for the known and familiar over and above the uncertain.
What is it exactly about uncertainty that causes us to feel unsafe? Is it because we lack the stillness of spirit to relax when we are faced with situations that involve some measure of risk?
In my personal experience, stillness has become the bedrock that allows space for uncertainty. The vacillations and the cycles of change can be met with presence. It is meditation that offers solace amidst the mind's conflict with uncertainty. It's stillness that opens the doorway to trusting the changes in life.
It enables me to get another perspective on images that are created on my canvas of life.
Recently, I was listening to an audio conversation from the Self Acceptance Project by Tammie the the founder of Sounds True. She spoke with Jeff Foster who was saying how challenging times transform us when we open to receive the wisdom difficult emotions offer us.
In the artwork "Evolution of Trust' above, an Angel with wings emerges out of the painting from what was once ugly. From the very midst of the unattractive elements beauty is born. Yet, the beauty can only be seen and felt when we embrace all the elements of our lives. When we finally turn up to accept full responsibility for all that is.
The ugliness has it's place, the challenges inspire growth and change. The pain offers us a transmutation, a rebirth. A death of the illusory self out of which the true self can emerge.
The "Evolution of Trust' is about trusting life, about dismantling our ego's script that separates us from all that would support us so we can experience our wholeness.
For many people in the world there is often a persona that gets in the way of relating. Relating with ourselves, with those we love, with those we either feel indifferent and those we dislike.
Not too long ago I found myself in disarray, pain was churning me up inside, it was all related to how attached I was to getting what I wanted in my intimate relationship. I wasn't getting what I wanted. This affected how I saw myself and the world around me.
Of-course life was prompting me to dive deeper and to get to the root of the issue.
Most of the time we spend our lives avoiding pain. Our brains are physically hardwired to avoid uncomfortable feelings. Neurologists have proven that the brain is continuously on the lookout for threats, it does all it can to avoid any possible danger.
Yet, beneath these instinctive mechanisms of avoidance biologically built into us, there lies a treasure trove awaiting discovery.
I sat with the pain I felt. Even though it was incredibly uncomfortable. Everything within me was desperately wanting to change position, do anything but face what I was feeling. Yet what happened when I allowed the intense emotions to be present was an amazing discovery.
I shifted. I felt transformed entirely. I realised that all of my pain was a result of a story. A dramatised creation built on a figment of my imagination.
As I realised this I felt a profound sense of peace. I experienced a deeper sense of who I really am. I felt transformed.
The painting above is about our own transformation. It's about who we really are beneath the stories, the drama and the imagined worlds we create. Life invites us to enter into what is right here in front of us. Only our full and complete presence can transform who we are at our most fundamental level.