Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Noticing is All That's Necessary

Dear mk,

Thank you so much for writing. I like your language: "feeling a bit under the weather today.. kind of sad too.."

There's something so sweet and humanly poignant about those words.

I thought about you today and about your letter when I found myself ruminating on what seemed to be a problem in my world. I was into the details of it and into why I was justified in feeling stressed. And when I thought about your letter and thought about what I wanted to say to you, I got space in my own world. So I thank you for that. We are in this together.

What I want to share with you is simple: if you are able to notice when you are spinning your mental and emotional wheels in attempt to solve a situation, it's likely that you are simply caught up in the details of the situation. And noticing is all that's necessary. All enlightenment is right there.

These tiny moments that shift our perspective from the level of words, thoughts, stories, complaints, judgments, offense, defense, justification, . . . give our consciousness a chance to breathe, to come out and stretch. Just a momentary breath is access to infinity.

This noticing includes noticing when you're making yourself wrong for how you're feeling. This self-judgment is often such a natural place to go, we seldom notice it's happening, but it will take a person out like nothing else can.

A bit of faith and trust is useful here. And you can take my word for it. There seems to be a cumulative effect of moment upon moment of noticing, of coming back to quiet -- even just for a second -- out of the noisy conversation of the mind and emotional reaction, no matter what the topic. That cumulative effect is peace.

The trust comes into play because you might not seem to get relief immediately in the moment, but any moment that you are able to disidentify with the mind, you are giving yourself the ultimate gift possible in the human experience.


Now, regarding the relationships, I wonder if you are "trying to understand others' positions and allow him respect, space, etc.. " out of an underlying should?

What I see here is an opportunity to allow what you're feeling. Here's the trick, though: allow your feelings while still observing them. That is, when you are able, simply notice. Notice the feelings and the thoughts that are going along with them. Allow them, feel them, experience them, quiet down the mind for a moment so you can really feel what your system is experiencing, keep breathing, and allow it to pass through you.

And when it comes back, keep breathing.

This is the paradox and miracle of the painful experiences in life: heartbreak leads to divine love, if we're willing to bathe in those warm waters rather than fight them.

This all ties to your question about tucking into your shell and re-grouping. It's my experience that the quieter the mind and the more room we create for our deepest nature to arise and guide us, the more valuable that quiet time is. Or it may be that as we quiet down and let our deepest nature guide us, we no longer have the need or desire to reach outside of ourselves as much.

This does not make it so we no longer connect. In fact, we are able to connect most deeply when we are being truest to ourselves. You may find in doing so that those relationships that feel draining or feel like failures either transform with your own opening heart or they naturally fall away.

I like to think of people as 6.7 billion fingers on the hand of God, each one a unique and detailed creation. There is no set program by which any individual should live. In other words, my dear mk, your intuition and instinct know exactly how to live in the best way for you.

So if your shell is calling you, I say, grab some comfy blankets and a couple seasons of "The Office" on DVD, and get on in there. Your self-care benefits all.

Thank you so much. I'm grateful for your message.


If other questions arise from this writing, please email

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Hi Carina,
feeling a bit under the weather today.. kind of sad too.. I try so hard.. my boyfriend from the middle east (on work assignment from Illinois) .....hasn't written for weeks.. he's busy and doesn't have inet at home..............but gosh, i want to be mad and delete the emails from the last year, .........but i can't nor do I really want to .......... trying to understand others' positions and allow him respect, space, etc..
For me, i am the kind of person who has a few really, really good friends and sometimes i try so hard to build that friendship when others just seem to have acquaintance friends (I guess)......I am frustrated that i try so hard actually, have tried everything... and now i just have to let go ... fine.. why do i spend so much energy on people?.. I bend over backwards in accommodation and now just feel like i put myself in jeopardy and am a bit exhausted and sad ....and somewhat pissed... (i can't expect anything).... just want to get into my own shell and re-group.....what do you think?.. monks-kolson

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Source has not left you. It is impossible.

Peace be with you and thank you for writing.

Let's step out of the details of the situation and look to see where some space might be opened for [your own] deepest wisdom and peace to enter.

You write, "although I try to stay connected to Source, I'm pretty freakin scared of losing everything." Of course one can understand this fear, and I empathize with you. It is persistent, at some level, with just about every person, whether the individual is attuned to it or not.

I want you to consider, if you can, that Source has not left you, even when you are wrapped in fear. It is impossible.

But I don't want you to try to rationalize this statement and try to believe it if you're not able to feel it. And please don't make yourself wrong for not being able to feel God's love and protection. This is the most basic human experience. The poet Rumi writes:

Listen to the story told by the reed,
of being separated.

"Since I was cut from the reedbed,
I have made this crying sound.

Anyone apart from someone he loves
understands what I say.

Anyone pulled from a source
longs to go back."

That you are asking this question shows me that you are in a deep inquiry about how to move in this situation, to honor your relationship and to honor yourself, and also to regain a sense of safety.

I'm sure you know this and I am just here to remind you - as the writing reminds me - that there is nothing better that you can do than to quiet your mind down and disidentify from your thoughts and emotions.

This does not mean stop having thoughts (can't do it anyway!) or feelings. Rather, it means that when you notice that you're on the spinning wheel of solution-seeking, the noticing can be a little bell of mindfulness. You can use that noticing to bring you into the present, into your body, into your feeling, into the feel of your feet on the floor.

The cool thing is that you don't need to try to hold that quiet space. Even seemingly minute slices of stillness - without thought, judgment or resistance - have a cumulative effect of opening up space and wisdom over time.

Your deepest wisdom, your true nature, has all of the answers. Your mind doesn't need to try to figure them out. It can't anyway.

What do we want from our relationships? What do we expect?

I learned something profound through a relationship not long ago.

I was in a relationship that didn't look the way I thought it should look and didn't feel the way I thought it should feel. I came to a point where I felt that I *must* get out of the relationship because it was just too painful for me. I spent a few days crying, really grieving it, and then I went to church and asked for help.

I wrote on an anonymous prayer request form, asking for help. I said I had a relationship that I thought I needed to end but that I was really sad and scared to do so (I was frightened of my own emotions). I asked the question with faith that prayer works.

Later that day I came across an article about how we don't have any proper archetypes in our culture for intimate relationships. This article breathed so much space into my consciousness about my relationship, and the whole scenario was transformed.

I realized that all of the pain I felt came from my rejection and resistance to what is (or was). I was reacting from a very specific picture of what I thought relationships should look like. And if we look across our culture, we see a lot of people struggling to cram themselves and their partners into these rigid pictures that just don't work.

That relationship ended up being one of my greatest teachers and I'm really grateful I went through that process.

In Michael Brown's article, he writes, "The first step required to authentically enter an intimate relationship with another human being is to do so from the point of awareness that we have no idea how to accomplish this."

For what it's worth.

Now, none of this is to tell you to stay - or to leave - your relationship. I don't know the answer to that.

I just invite you to notice when you're spinning your wheels and, even if just for an instant, take the observer stance and watch it all happening. From there, there's really no action that needs to be taken. All can unfold naturally. We ARE Source, kicking back and watching it all go down anyway.

Rumi's reed flute goes on to say,

"At any gathering I am there,
mingling in the laughing and grieving,

a friend to each, but few
will hear the secrets hidden

within the notes. No ears for that.
Body flowing out of spirit,

spirit up from body: no concealing
that mixing. But it's not given us

to see the soul. The reed flute
is fire, not wind. Be that empty."

And Source says, "Pass the popcorn."

I humbly thank you for your message.


If other questions arise from this writing, please email

* * * * * * *

Dear Carina,

I've been with my boyfriend for 13 months. Context: At the moment, I have less money in the bank than I have ever experienced and although I try to stay connected to Source, I'm pretty freakin scared of losing everything. Crazy part of it is that the work I get to do is my passion, it just isn't (yet!) meeting my income requirements I need to cover my monthly expenses.

This has been going on a year and up until a few months ago I had big savings, but that is gone now. He thinks I don't work hard enough, I don't try hard enough and that I should just get a job-job because well, obviously I'm not supporting myself (I've gotten little loans, sold some stocks and am banking on a Tax Return that will pay next month's rent.) So he has loaned me more than some people and he deserves to have a say in how I spend my time, I think.

Thing is that he says he's not sure he "believes in me" and that breaks my heart. I asked if I could move in until I'm "back to being self sufficient" to not have to struggle with rent, but he said "not a good idea." Is this grounds for letting the guy go or do I push through his lack of confidence and "prove myself."

My friends that are all about "you get what you put out" would say I'm attracting him saying that to me. Well, heck yea, I'm really struggling to believe in myself - myself. But, I'm doing lots of work on clearing limiting beliefs like not worthy, deserving or being victim. Unfortunately, in his mind that isn't helping me move fast enough.

Can a person stay in relationship with a person who doesn't know if he believes in them because he has to "see it to believe it?" Mostly we get along swimmingly. But, it's been a year and he thinks I should have had it all together by now or in his mind it's unlikely that I will. It makes me sad.

I'd like to know what information you get when you ask about this in your stillness. Thanks Carina!!