Compare if You Dare (the snowflake)

renderedI was driving in Vermont recently watching the snow fall outside my window and thinking about the miracle that each snowflake presents to us. Each one of billions different from the next. Each uniquely beautiful, intricate, perfect in its own way. Then I imagined one snowflake seeing another and feeling less than – not good enough in some way. Longing to look and feel exactly like the other. Melting itself down to alter its angles, lose some crystals, reduce its water content and change its texture until it looked and felt exactly like the one it thought was better. A profound sadness washed over me imagining that snowflake would never realize it was perfect all along and would be lost forever. And there would never be another one like it.  

“Everything is perfect until we compare it to something else.”

That was lingering in the back of my mind when I watched those snowflakes fall. I realized in that moment that the source of so much of my anxiety, fear and shame through the years can be directly linked to comparing myself to others.

Value is defined as “the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” I’ve learned the hard way that when I look outside of myself to determine what my value is or to answer the question “Am I enough?”, I am playing a harmful, unwinnable game of comparison.

Like snowflakes, we are all created with a divine individuality. We lose sight of that when we compare ourselves to others and allow our ego to take over and talk us into a senseless competition. Instead of celebrating and cultivating what makes us unique, we critique and discourage it. Psychiatrists describe this constant comparison as “monkey brain.” This type of behavior is common among primates, even chickens. But only humans have the level of consciousness to see what we are doing, realize its destructive nature and change our behavior.  

But it takes practice because we are taught to compare ourselves from a very young age. And the ego grows stronger as it perpetuates itself. So those grooves are deeply cut and difficult to redirect.  

For years, rather than see myself as a diamond, celebrating the unique facets that reflect and shine my light, I filed them down to a smooth, perfectly dull surface that reflected only insecurity. I didn’t realize I was stripping away the interesting, covering up the scars that told my story and sanitizing my journey. By chasing after images of perfection and illusions of happiness that I saw outside of myself, in a desire to be “enough” and therefore worthy of love, I lost myself. I lost myself in a sea of snowflakes. That was the price of admission. After comparing myself to outside influences to become the best version of myself, I was disillusioned and disconnected.

It is only when I found the courage to step out and crack my heart open, expose what felt like weaknesses, bleed my story onto the page, and shine a light on my dark places… only when I was brave enough to see my differences as gifts and my individuality as divine, did I finally find real connection and feel true love. Connection and love based on anything else is fleeting at best.

Now I meditate on that snowflake and see every crystal as a part of me reflecting how I have grown and been affected over time by my unique journey. Each branch representing the paths I have taken, not all connected to each other necessarily, but connected by the center, by me. A perfect web of interlaced experiences reflected by a beautiful, divinely unique creature. There can be no comparing what is authentic. In that, there is no judgment. There is no better or worse, strong or weak, pretty or ugly, there is only different.   

i want to fly

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I want to fly, I want to fly…
I repeat with a tear in my eye.

I look into the light and cry.

But where to find the wind,
the strength to move my wings,
the courage to fly above all others.

I spin myself to dizziness.

In which direction shall I go?
And at what time will I know?
They will watch with scrutiny from below.

But their hollow breath becomes a breeze that quickens my pace
and lifts me higher.

For I’ll fly naked, baring my soul to the heavens,
the voice of my critics no more my concern.

~WTR

A Guided Fall #6 – Rejoice

Rejoicing is the outward expression of gratitude. In a state of gratitude there is no toxicity, no fear, no panic, no holding a grudge, no feeling less than or unlovable. Gratitude is giving thanks for the big and the small, the unanswered prayers and the unimaginable gifts. Rejoicing is dancing with it and singing about it; swimming through it and walking along side it.

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Reflect . Refocus . Restore . Revive . Receive . Rejoice

We’ve reset our compass, refocused our energy, infused some restorative practices into our lives, revived a dream and emptied our cups in preparation to receive our bountiful harvest. Now it’s time to rejoice!    

Here is the sixth and final installment in our six week journey to consciously create a time of growth and renewal.

Rejoicing is the outward expression of gratitude. In a state of gratitude there is no toxicity, no fear, no panic, no holding a grudge, no feeling less than or unlovable.

Gratitude is giving thanks for the big and the small, the unanswered prayers and the unimaginable gifts.

Rejoicing is dancing with it and singing about it; swimming through it and walking along side it.

Rejoicing is sitting by a window watching waves carry new gifts onto the shore and sharing champagne and stories of gratitude with someone you love.

However you rejoice, quietly or with a megaphone, find time to melt into it. Let it envelop and embrace you and feel blessed and restored. Let it run through your veins until your heart bursts open and feel revived, renewed and transformed. 

A Guided Fall #5 – Receive

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“Forget all you know or think you know; abandon power and enforced decree. Inward, where the deepest rivers flow, find the currents of eternity.” ~ Fin Raziel (Willow)

Reflect . Refocus . Restore . Revive . Receive . Rejoice

We’ve reset our compass, refocused our energy, infused some restorative practices into our lives and revived a dream or vision that lay dormant too long. Now, are you open to the changes you seek?  Are your hands so full you can’t open the door you wish to walk through?  

Here is the fifth installment in our six week journey to consciously create a time of growth and renewal.

At so many times in my  life, my first (and sometimes second, third and fourth) reaction is to control the situation to achieve what I think is my desired result.  I could be starting a new endeavor, revisiting an old challenge, feeling under assault in some area of my life or just generally overwhelmed.

As I narrow my vision to focus on my goal, I don’t realize that my view is becoming distorted. I think I have all the knowledge and experience to set a path toward my goal or to identify a problem and formulate a solution. But in most cases, I am acting from a place of vulnerability, fear or even shame and I’m unaware of it. The problems, the results, the goals, the responses and the paths are all tainted by this undercurrent of emotion, these stories I’ve created, so what I think I know likely won’t be enough and my experience may not serve me anymore if my real goal is authentic awareness and connection.

What can serve you during these times is to remember the story of the wise old monk that was visited by an eager young man who proclaimed himself to be well accomplished in Zen philosophy and wanted to confirm there was nothing more the wise monk could teach him. As the monk poured the young man tea until the cup runneth over, he calmly said, “Just like this cup, your mind is so full of ideas that there is no room for any more. Come to me with an empty-cup mind, and then you will learn something.”

In order to receive the gifts, the subtle shifts and the major changes we are now consciously attracting from the Universe or praying for, whether it’s at work, in a relationship or through creative expression, we cannot go into these situations believing we know it all or even know enough to identify our goal or set our course.  

We must acknowledge what we know and then empty ourselves to receive all that we do not.

We must unlearn what we have learned to make space for the new.

We must open our hearts and minds to new possibilities and new ways of seeing ourselves and how we relate to others and the world in order to receive all that the Universe intends for us – all of the love, opportunity, inner peace and joy.

Let go of labels, rid yourself of rules, rethink your definitions. Open your mind, empty your cup and receive.   

A Guided Fall #3 – Restore

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The third installment in our six week journey to consciously create a time of growth and renewal.

Reflect . Refocus . Restore . Revive . Receive . Rejoice

Restore – Now that you have reset your compass and refocused your energy, start taking restorative steps for your mind and body to create the physical energy and mental state necessary to change the negatives and build on the positives.

One definition of “restoration” isn’t about merely returning something to its former state, but it is about receiving back more than has been lost to the point where the final state is greater than the original condition. Let that be our mission. 

Restorative practices are very personal, so find what works for you.

Here are some suggestions –  

  • Meditate to find your center, your “peace core”, your authentic connection to God and/or the Universe; to plug in to the source of creation, energy and renewal within yourself. A wonderful place to start or continue your meditation practice is Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s Free 21-Day Meditation Experience. A new 21-day experience starts on Monday, October 31st. Check it out HERE. I recommend sitting on a comfortable mat or folded blanket with a smaller, hard pillow or yoga block under your seat. The more comfortable you are, the more likely you will stay in and return to the space. I have a super comfortable mat that I look forward to spending time on every day, both physically and mentally. It looks like this….ztnezf_bk__74778-1389909072-1280-1280

          I call it my magic carpet because I never know where it will take me and I know the                   possibilities are endless.

  • Yoga to find a mind-body connection and increase your energy flow. This can be done through gentle stretching in your home or massive sweating in your local Bikram or power yoga class or something in between. I use all three and choose based on what my body is telling me that day. Although, I always have a slight panic attack just thinking about a yoga class packed with super fit men and women who can balance on one hand (levitate really) with their legs in the shape of their first initial. I can barely touch my toes and need blocks, the big ones, to help me get through most poses. But with each pose I feel myself pushing muscular and mental boundaries. And when I find that flow from pose to pose, inhale to exhale, that flow in my body quickly translates into a sacred, spiritual, mental flow that stays with me long after I roll up my mat.

Namaste!