As a typical Aries and “7” on the Enneagram, I love contrasts and contradictions, even within myself (well, to some extent). One day, I can be as unconditionally loving as Amma-the-hugging-saint, or as compassionate as the Dalai Lama, and on another day (or later that day), I’m engrossed in a superficial television show or furious with my partner. I am as gratified by a day at the beach as a night in a dance club. I am a multidimensional being.
Many people are afraid to acknowledge and embrace all of who they are, and I have certainly fallen into this trap as it relates to my work as a healer. All my life, my highly developed spiritual side has been at frequent odds with my highly developed hedonist. I’ve struggled with my desire to pursue my spiritual calling of providing psychic readings and intuitive counseling because I felt I wasn’t “pure” or “good” enough. I’m not a big meditator. I often lack self-discipline. I can be crass, moody, impatient and selfish. So I’ve frequently put my “spiritual work” on hold, while trying to become that highly developed, always peaceful, pious, unconditionally loving person who could be worthy of helping others. Well, I’m 52 and I’m not there yet, so why keep the work waiting? And why can’t a spiritual advisor be both spiritual and love inane entertainment television?
We are taught to label aspects of ourselves as good or bad, deep or shallow, spiritual or banal, and we spend our lives trying to repress those things that are socially unacceptable, politically incorrect, or just outside the mainstream. In doing so, we make ourselves smaller than we are. We squash our deliciously multidimensional selves, disowning, ignoring or hating certain aspects of ourselves.
In the wildly popular book, “Eat, Pray, Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert gives up the security of a predictable and stagnant marriage (and accompanying societal expectations of motherhood and housewifery), to explore aspects of her own hedonism and gluttony, her quest for non-traditional spirituality, and her desire to encounter romantic love, on her own terms (becoming a successful writer in the process). Elizabeth bravely leaves behind a conventional and predictable life, overcoming her fear of the unknown, in order to explore and embrace those aspects of herself, which lied outside of societal and cultural norms. She didn’t put her life on hold for security or societal approval. And look at all she gained. Liberation. Freedom. Joy.
How willing are you to embrace all of the disjointed and seemingly-opposed aspects of yourself? What if we are ok, just as we are, even with our vices, our secret desires, our insecurities, and the “shadow-self” that we keep under wraps? What if we weren’t afraid to be exactly who we are, instead of trying to project an image of how we want people to see us?
What if we let others’ judgments (you’re too old to do that, you move too much, you’ve had too many lovers) fall on deaf ears? And what if each of us approached the world with an attitude of curiosity, rather than fear or judgment? What would life be like if we lived as our full, authentic selves, surrendering to all we are? I think we’d gain a deep sense of peace and expansiveness.
Likewise, what if we radically accepted all the contradictions and dualities of life and those with whom we share it?