Elemental Balancing Ritual Stillness Month 30

3-23-17 One of the most pivotal lessons my work with stillness has taught me is to stop looking outside myself for completion. Stop looking toward a job, a lover, friends, etc., because when you do that, it never satisfies you and objectifies the people. With romantic love, we're sold a myth that you can find that one true love, or multiple loves that can somehow complete us and know us. But no one can know you the way you know yourself...and yet many people do not know themselves. This is one of the challenges of internal work: It forces us to really know ourselves and to recognize that any sense of completion must come from our own ability to resolve the internal tensions in our lives, and as a result discover the true liberation of the self from all the conditioning and patterns we've previously lived with.

When a person is willing to do that work (and it's a long path), what they'll discover is genuine fulfillment comes from being fully present and living your life from a place of genuine awareness that is cultivated by the purposeful internal work you've done to liberate yourself from the cultural and familial preconceptions that have previously bound your life to an unfulfilling existence. Genuine fulfillment isn't found in your accomplishments, or who you're screwing or whatever else. Those are all fleeting at the end of the day, and best appreciated in the moment, instead of held onto as an attachment. Genuine fulfillment is found in BEING...fully BEING in the moment, and yet also being able to let go of the moment and move to the next moment, ready to step into whatever joy, bliss, sorrow , or discomfort presents itself to you.

Easily said, hard to do, but worth it, for when you are no longer attached to being completed or known, that's when you begin to discover yourself and the path toward genuine contentment, which is found in being yourself without putting expectations on what you ought to become or who will complete you.

3-27-17 I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a man. My own relationship with my masculinity has gone through some changes over the years and I think, in general, what it means to be a man is something that needs to be redefined, both in mundane and sacred terms. So its something I'm going to chew on for a while. I have some ideas, but I really need to be present with them to see where they take me.

3-28-17 In the Tao of Letting Go, I learned a couple of stretching exercises for the spine. Whenever I learn a new physical exercise, what fascinates me is how it actually feels. I come to this new awareness of my body, both in terms of what my body can do, and what the internal tensions feel like. And its often simple exercises...but the complexity is discovered in the simplicity. So today I stretched my spine a couple different ways and felt some of the back tension shift and my awareness also shift to settle into my body differently...and that in turn shifted my awareness mentally and emotionally.

4-5-2017  You can't attend to the sacred until you understand the mundane. This speaks a lot to the last year of my life and what will likely be happening for another year. Contemplating that as I also consider that change is a reality of life and sometimes change brings a parting of the ways with people who don't like how you've changed. I can live with that because the change is ultimately for what I feel will bring a better direction to my life. I've been changing my approach to magic, among other things, precisely because sticking with the status quo is where you stagnate. Challenging what you know, to discover what you can learn is scary, but also liberating.

4-7-2017 Today I was reading more of The Gifts of Imperfection and the author defines Stillness as follows: "Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it's about creating a clearing. It's opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question." I like this definition a lot...and thinking about my own stillness work, it feels like that's really been what it's about and still is about. I'm clearing away a lot of what doesn't work. for me and figuring out what does work. In some ways the past 2 and a half years has been a reset of who I am and what I'm doing. And when the stillness work concludes in October...I'll still do stillness work, but I will also know that I've learned the lessons this element can teach me and move on to the next.

4-11-2017 In the Gifts of Imperfection, the author mentions that sometimes people respond to anxiety by over-functioning. Over-functioning involves focusing on other people and their problems and/or micromanaging and getting in their business because you don't want to deal with your own anxiety. I recognize myself...I am an over functioner and its something I'm changing, in part because I feel like I've allowed people to take advantage of my generous nature, but also because I need to hold space with me instead of focusing so much on other people.

4-15-2017 The hardest part of stillness work is handling the emotions that come up. You can feel, in stark relief, things you were hiding from...and stillness won't let you ignore those feelings anymore. The only way to deal with them is to feel them and work through them.

4-19-2017 I woke up today with this moment of clarity...that its time for the egg to start hatching. Time to start moving again...6 months out Stillness ends, but the preparation begins now.

4-21-2017 I'm so humbled by the people who've contributed to the magical experiments podcast. When I was telling Kat about the most recent donations, she said, "It really shows how the podcast has meaning to the community. And the people who've donated to it have claimed it as part of their community." And you know that's true. They believe in the podcast. They believe in what its about and that it can enrich their lives.

I'm reading Our Inner Western Way by William G. Gray and among other things he talks about the initiatory experience and how a person navigates their way to spiritual truths through the experiences they have. He points out that the experiences stack on each other. And you know he's right. When I look at the various experiences I've had and navigated I see this over-arcing narrative that brings it altogether. When I look back at the last 2 and a half years I see these huge changes going on that have transformed my relationships on every level, ultimately for the better, because of doing the work and sticking with it. With stillness it's been persistence and focus on getting to the core of stillness and allowing those experiences to become transformative. And if you're with stillness long enough, I find it really does transform who you are.