Lessons come from our experiences every minute of the day — if we pay attention to hear them. The process of self-actualization does not just happen in any given moment, it is an accumulation of moments that last a lifetime; life’s lessons do not cease. Whether anyone ever truly reaches the invisible marker of enlightenment, or self-actualization, is one of life’s biggest mysteries. When do we get there? How will we know we have arrived?
I have begun to understand that we never just get there — as if it is the top landing of the staircase, where we reach our destination. I do not feel that the lessons ever stop, and that we ever really stop advancing in the lessons of the soul unless we close ourselves off to the significance of life itself.
As Witches we understand this concept….the circle has no beginning and no ending. There is no moment that the continuous cycle of life is not in the process of life, death, and rebirth; we start over again and again. And while we Witches know this, sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of the incredible magic that goes with the ability to learn until the day we come to the end of this cycle (hopefully to start another).
I thought about this all today after a series of interesting personal experiences. I have always felt that I was in a process of learning and growing into who I am. I do not necessarily think I will ever reach an end-point of learning; I am clear that I have a lot to learn about myself, others, and the world. And so, every situation that comes across my path in an opportunity. And if I get out of my own way, I might be able to learn from it.
While some element of growth is inevitable, today it was a conscious process for me, one that I appreciated being awake for. Today I felt some clarity on several situations that have been renting space in some part of my life, heart or memories for a couple of months, and I needed to release them in a positive way that felt in line with my spirit and my soul. This process is not done, as it consists of several things I have to do to complete this cycle, but the point is that I got it today in a way I wasn’t expecting. What a blessing.
So here is a short list of things (only six) I am reminding myself of, and choosing to share, so that release and healing can be a part of the process of learning.
1. We are the oppressors and the oppressed: When we can connect to the idea that we feel pain, and we create pain, then we can step away from judgment and step closer toward empathy. While some people set out to harm, most people do not. Yet every moment that we are breathing, we are affecting those around us in positive, and sometimes not–so-positive, ways. It is not always purposeful, and we often are responding to internal or external stimuli that have created hurt in us. We are hurt, and we hurt. It is not an indicator of good and bad, it is an understanding that being human comes with impacting others. When we become aware of our impact, we can make a choice to acknowledge, and — sometimes — change it.
2. We get to choose what we learn: We hold a lot of power, both individually and collectively. I am a believer that all people hold power, all things are of energy, yet we Witches hold even more power because we learn to use it differently. So when we are walking our spiritual walk through the normal day, we have choices in how we learn and what we want to get out of the moment. We can choose to grow, and we can choose to stay stuck. Sometimes it is important to remember that we have some control as to who we are at any given time, and we can make a conscious and spiritual choice to internalize the lessons that will expand our soul.
3. The time is always now: Often I find myself thinking: When it is time for me to do something, it will present itself. And in some circumstances, timing is everything and I have to be skillful in picking my timing, and I also have to recognize when to act, and when to wait. That is still important, yet it should not be a blanket answer to our inability to move in right action when we can. The time is always now to do right by ourselves and by others. We do not have to wait to show empathy, love, or make actions in good intent. We do not have to wait to make decisions that are in our best interest, and that are healthy for us physically, emotionally, psychologically, and karmically. And while circumstances and options may change, the time is always now to hold space for positive outcomes in our lives.
4. We can still choose to love, even when it hurts: This is a hard one for most of us. When someone or something hurts us, our instinct is to retract love in order to protect ourselves. And while this is normal, sometimes we have to remember that we do not have to like, or accept, in order to still see love in all things and in others. There is a distinct difference in feeling love and seeing it, as I understand it spiritually. We can love who a person is to others, love the God or Goddess in him or her, love the God or Goddess that they are to their children, or husband…even if we do not feel love personally. In my spiritual belief, “in perfect love and perfect trust” refers to the actions of the Gods, not just what I want it to — all things are made of them, and so all things are of them as well.
5. If you hold on, then you are choosing to keep it: Disappointment, frustration, pain, sadness, anger, or even fear are all emotional responses that have energetic power. While we hold onto these emotions as a form of identifying with our reality, we can also create a situation where these emotions not only shape our future reality, but they also block us from bringing in more love. When we do not choose to work towards release, we are choosing to trap ourselves in our hurt.
6. You are the only one responsible for you: We can cast all the blame in the world toward others who have harmed us, but in the end, each of us is responsible for ourselves. No one else can heal me, change me, or be me…..that is my job. And I have to be accountable for how I project myself to others, realizing that only I have the power to manage myself. An increased amount of accountability in all things “me” is essential to learning, moving forward, releasing, and making my corner of the world full of love.
Spiritual lessons come to us when we least expect them, and yet they are all around us all the time. Each of us can make the choice to embrace the lessons before us, or we can choose not to. Today I am working really hard to listen to what the universe is telling me; lessons are do not always come in the most comfortable of ways and sometimes are best not repeated. Knowing that I am accountable for my own spiritual growth reminds me that I have control in any given situation, even when it feels like I have none.
May we all continue to be so blessed.
** Special Note of THANKS to my dear friend, sister, and loved one Beth Lear VanderYacht for supporting me as one of the best editors a girl can have…. and being a good person.