A Closed Door to the Past

close door to past

There was nothing left to glean from all this revisiting. No more knowledge, no more insight, no more wisdom to be mined.

Brighthill is proud to bring you a guest blogger, Rashi Starlight.

When I was writing up my notes for a pentacle class a few weeks ago, I was pondering how it would be to get out of balance with each element. It wasn’t until several weeks later that I realized that I was living my life way out of balance with Spirit. I was too much in Spirit, and so obsessed with working out issues that it prevented me from connecting with Deity. More importantly, I was so out of touch with myself that I became mentally isolated from my entire life and found it impossible to find joy in the now.

I became so intent with working out feelings from the past that I started forcing myself for go farther and farther back and basically reliving every wound, every slight (real or imagined) that I ever felt. I constantly thought about past relationships, past tricks, childhood slights, how much I dislike my parents, blah blah blah blah… After I spent days forcing myself to “face” and “deal with” every emotional ache and pain that I had experienced in high school, I finally understood that I was just torturing myself for no real reason. And that I was being outright stupid.

And hence, the title of this post and the picture of a CLOSED DOOR. I was in meditation, in the throes of yet another episode of angst from some forgotten bully who was mean to me 30 years ago, when suddenly I said, “This is nonsense!” So, I forced myself up, took off my clothes, and lay in the tub under the shower praying to see what the point of this all was. And it came to me…there was none. We live in an Oprah, New Age world where every pain, every sorrow needs to be beaten into the ground with hours of talk and years of therapy. I did all this and paid my dues, and it came to me that I was done. None of it mattered.

I could spend endless hours reliving everything in my past (which wasn’t that bad, in the big scheme of things) or I could just say, “ENOUGH!” I had enough of process, of reliving trauma, of trying to make things worse or better than they may have been. There was nothing left to glean from all this revisiting. No more knowledge, no more insight, no more wisdom to be mined. I do not consider myself to be wise, enlightened, a “survivor” or whatever modern terminology applies to dictate what you should be. But I know that I have seen, dealt, and grown. It can all be put into permanent storage now.

So, underneath the soothing water of the showerhead, with my Walmart candles lighting the bathroom, I decided to shut it all off. I visualized a door slamming on all this baggage. Mom, Dad, high school, probation, old shames, and unrequited love no longer mattered. Nostalgia no longer matters. The door on the past is closed. Slammed, with great force.

Having never had one, I don’t believe in “a-ha! moments,” but I can say that this was definitely a shift in perspective. I was ready to enter the world of the living and the world of now. I felt lighter, happier, and motivated to do things for the sake of doing them, just because I wanted to. I finally understand that to overcome life challenges, you have to actually overcome them—not relive them over and over, hoping that some nugget of insight will come down from the sky to instantly make you a light being. I experienced pain and lessons, and I learned about what makes me tick and what makes me go down a rabbit hole of despair. Now I just want to do my thing and live my life again.

I remember some awful pop song from the 70s where some confessional singer kept saying, “These are the good ol’ days.” All of the different phases of my life, before “enlightenment,” were happy. I lived in the now and had fun. Some disastrous results occurred, but what the hell? I had tons of “good ol’ days,” and I was sad because I should be having them again. All the things were aligned:  great dogs, my coven, the workshop that I teach, a cute apartment, boxes of art supplies, and my friends who are really my family. The only thing that was in my way was the past. My quest to know myself got lost in a ghost land of half remembered despair that I felt I needed to heal.

Now I see that the healing comes in acknowledging, learning, and closing the door once and for all. These are the good old days!

Choosing High Vibrational Music

high vibration musicAs you grow and heal, you may find that some of the music you used to listen to doesn’t appeal to you as much. The reason is that you are raising your vibration, and music with a lower vibration is making you feel irritated or uncomfortable. To support your healing, it’s important to seek out music that has a higher vibration. But what does that sound like?

A few years ago, we had the good fortune to see Andre Rieu and his orchestra at the Rose Garden. He is a fine example of a musician who works in a higher vibration because he infuses all that he does with his own joy. Watching him perform, I knew that this man was a total mush. He’s happy, he’s joyful, he likes to have fun, and he probably cries when he watches a sad movie. It’s no wonder he was drawn to Johann Strauss. Honestly, there are few forms of music more joyful than a waltz. It would take a determined grouch not to feel uplifted by hearing one. When Andre played “The Blue Danube,” people got up and danced in the aisles.

Of course, Andre plays more than just waltzes. During the course of the evening, we heard everything from classical pieces to movie themes and popular songs. At one point, he played “America the Beautiful,” and the older gentleman standing next to me wiped tears from his eyes afterward: it brought forth his love of his homeland. A rendering of “Amazing Grace,” complete with bagpipe, also brought tears to many eyes, as it often does. You don’t have to subscribe to any particular religion or spirituality to feel the depth of God’s love for all of us, and how affecting that truly is.

By the end of the evening, balloons had fallen on the audience, and everyone was dancing and playing with the balloons while the orchestra played on. In short, the audience was behaving like children. In the span of two brief hours, music had taken us back to our child selves. We danced and sang along with the abandon of three-year-olds. Now that is music of a higher vibration!

Emotion is the Key

None of this means that you are destined to listen only to classical music or Enya for the rest of your days. Not all classical music has a high vibration, just as not all rock or pop has a low one. The trick is to learn to discern for yourself. The key to a song’s vibration is emotion. Emotion is a very powerful energy. When combined with music, it has a definite effect on your mind, mood, and sense of well-being. Angry or depressive music can fuel these same emotions in you. Likewise, calm or joyful music can produce these feelings in you as well. And of course, there’s a lot of emotion in between, some of which is helpful, and some of which can be harmful.

When listening to any music, you should tune in to how it makes you feel. This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the lyrics, however. For example, there is nothing wrong with listening to some sad songs. Sad songs say so much, as Elton said. And a few swear words are not necessarily an indicator that you should drop the CD in the trash, either. No, you have to tune into the energy of the music. This takes some practice.

You can really love an artist’s music, but if they have an overly cynical world view or a depressive personality, this energy may be in their music and will affect you negatively. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that an artist has to live like a saint and be perfectly healed. Many artists have personal struggles and still manage to infuse love and joy in their music. Human beings are multi-faceted, and we all experience the range of emotions, positive and negative.

How Does it Make You Feel?

The next time you’re listening to your favorite music, ask yourself how you feel. Do you feel sad? Sad is not a bad feeling. Some of the most beautiful music ever written tells a sad story that can make you weep a river of tears. And this is OK—unless you’re wallowing in sad music because you’re depressed. There should be a balance in all things.

Likewise, however, some music makes you feel happy or joyful. This is my favorite kind. Artists like Neil Diamond, the Beach Boys, and John Denver are masters at expressing joy in their music. And Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” speaks for itself.

Of course, most music falls into a vast “in between” area of complex emotion. Determining how you feel when you hear it may take some time. For example, it’s possible for a song to be uplifting, critical, gritty, and hopeful, all at once. For me, U2 and Bob Dylan fall into this category.

Problematic music will make you feel angry, depressed, or hopeless. These are all indicators of a lower vibration, and you should avoid it. Just as a joyful song can make you feel like a happy three-year-old again, a lower vibrational song will only serve to make you feel worse about yourself and your life. With practice, however, you can soon determine whether an album belongs in your collection or not. Follow your own inner guidance.

I also want to encourage you to check out a lot of the new musicians out there. Many of them are doing good work at a higher vibration, as our crystal and rainbow kids grow up. You may not hear them on the radio, unfortunately. Some artists who are less well known sell through sites such as CDBaby.com. Many may only perform locally as they struggle to get started. Keep your ears—and your heart—open and ask for good music to come into your life. Music can be very healing, and when it is, it’s a blessing in our lives.

You’re Not in Control

June 17, 2009 protest on Krimkhan Street in Tehran

June 17, 2009 protest on Krimkhan Street in Tehran

Most people try to control their world to some degree. We do whatever we think will make us feel secure, safe, and happy. Driven by the allure of safety and order, we believe that we can control our environment, our jobs, the people around us, and even society or the world at large. This belief, however, is an illusion that only serves to mask inner pain, constant worry, low self-esteem, and a deep-seated unhappiness in ourselves.

Control is an illusion for all of us, because of course we have control over practically nothing. It’s worth repeating:  we are not in control. Our egos will attempt to argue the point, but it’s useless. The only things we can control are the choices we make and how we react to situations. That’s it.

We are not in control of the other drivers on the road. We are not in control of whether our boss likes us. We are not in control of who our children are; we can’t even control whether they take a nap or not. We can provide guidelines and discipline, but our kids will be who they are and make their own choices, ultimately. And we cannot “prevent” so-called bad experiences from happening to us because, in the divine order of things, we need these experiences to learn and grow. However, we do have control over how we react to these experiences and deal with them.

For example, we can decide to be so irked with that guy who cut us off on the turnpike that it ruins our day. Which only hurts…us. Or we can shrug it off and let it go. We can decide that a medical challenge means that our life is over. Or we can find the gift in the experience and choose to live each moment to its fullest, regardless of the outcome. We can choose to worry and be upset, or we can choose to be positive and make the most of what’s been given to us.

Governments around the world are realizing how little control they have, as the people—awake at last—take to the streets and demand their rights. This doesn’t prevent any government from trying to maintain control, however. Many governments throughout history have used violence in an attempt to maintain power and control. Tiananmen Square, the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in India, Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland.  It can happen anywhere, including the U.S.:  the National Guard killed four peaceful protesters and wounded nine others in the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970. In the summer of 1921, coal miners attempting to unionize fought the Battle of Blair Mountain against not only company men, but also area deputies and federal troops. President Warren G. Harding authorized the use of Army bombers, and World War I era gas and explosive bombs were used against the miners. Ultimately, however, the government failed to maintain the status quo, and this tragedy, along with others from the same era, eventually led to the enactment of reasonable labor laws in the U.S. Modern governments, no doubt, will also learn—again—how little they control.

Governments cannot control people when they choose to take their power. Nor can it control the economy or the markets. The most brilliant Ivy League financial mind cannot even predict with any real certainty what the markets will do, and all attempts at controlling it are feeble manipulations of what is, in truth, a chaotic system that responds to the emotional states of human beings. You might as well herd cats instead.

And of course, we can never control another human being. You can’t “force” democracy onto someone, even if you think it will make them happier in the end. We can create a temporary illusion of control at gunpoint, but most people will say anything when a gun is pointing at their head. To win the mind, one must win the heart, and even then, each person makes their own sovereign choices at the end of the day. You may earn some influence, but you will never have control.

Why do we have the need to control things we can’t? The issue is largely one of TRUST—the lack of it. A control freak does not trust anyone. Some people are so distrustful of even their spouse and children that they feel like they have to do everything themselves—because no one else in the family “does it right.” The result? A person who has overburdened themselves to the breaking point and can’t accept help—because they don’t trust that anyone else will perform the tasks to their satisfaction.

For people in power, of course, they don’t trust their own power. In fact, they have given it away:  they rely on others to validate their power by doing what they say. In short, they have given their power to the things they wish to control, and they become controlled instead. Let’s take the late Kim Jong-Il, for example. He had no self-esteem, no real self-worth. The only way he has figured out how to feel better about himself is to exercise power over other people, so he did that. He told people what to do, and he felt better. But then he worried about his power. Was it enough? As he squeezed more tightly, he increased his attempts to control the people whose sole purpose was to validate him. But the main issue was still there:  inside, he didn’t really like himself much. He worried that other people didn’t like him, either. He didn’t trust himself to be enough. So he kept looking for external validation. He needed it, just like a drug. And he was controlled by it.

So what should you trust? Yourself, for one. And your own power. Your power has nothing to do with how many people agree with you or jump to attention when you enter the room. Your power is independent of other people and situations. Your power comes from the one Source:  the Universe, God, the Divine, whatever you want to call it.

If you are trying to control your world, then you do not trust this Source. God has our best interests at heart, and always will. God will handle things for our highest good, all the time. The only thing we have to do is actually listen to that small, quiet voice in our hearts that will lead us to our true happiness. The voice of the mind, the ego, shouts down the voice in the heart whenever it can, and most people listen to the ego instead of the heart. They take the safe job that provides security and “pays well” instead of pursuing their dream. Maybe they marry a person of the opposite sex, even though their heart points in another direction. Whatever it is that our heart tells us, that is God saying, “Trust me. Your heart’s desire, your soul’s purpose, lies on this path. Trust me to fulfill your dreams. Trust me to take care of you.”

If you listen to this voice, and if you trust this voice, you will have everything your heart desires, you will make it through any challenge, and you will find your happiness. And when you relinquish control, you will find your freedom as well.

How to Overcome Victim Mentality and Become a Powerful Creator

overcome victim mentality and become a powerful creatorDo you want to be happy? Do you want to feel at peace? Are you tired of struggling? Do you believe that the perfect set of circumstances must appear before any of this is possible? Maybe you’re waiting for a certain time. Maybe you’re waiting for enlightenment to reveal itself to you. Maybe you’re just waiting for the right partner or the right job or the right amount of money in your bank account. Or maybe you’re waiting for the people around you to change. But if you’re waiting for anything, you are living as a victim instead of a powerful creator.

Most people do not believe that they are living as victims, yet they are quick to blame other sources for their problems:  the government, the banks, political parties, “mean people,” the boss, the in-laws, the spouse, or even a physical or mental disability. When you blame your problems on anything, you are choosing the role of victim. You will never be able to change these things, so if you decide that these are the things that must be “fixed” in order to be happy or at peace in your life, then you will always be a long-suffering victim.

You do have another option, however. You can take your power. You can be the Powerful Creator that you already are. But what does this mean?

Being a Powerful Creator doesn’t mean that you can control the Universe. That still won’t work. But you can control your thoughts, choices, and reactions, and those are very powerful creative tools.

When you came into your human body, Victim Mode was the default setting. This was done by design. You came here to pretend for awhile to be everything you ARE NOT:   powerless, weak, separate, you name it. But when you begin to take your power, you are moving back into the consciousness of what you ARE:  a divine, powerful creator, made in the image of God.

To move from Victim to Creator doesn’t require a special date or event. It doesn’t require everyone else to “wake up” at the same moment. All that is needed is for you to shift your consciousness. Don’t wait for an event to live in an ascended world. That world is here NOW. It is available NOW. You can live in it NOW. But you have to take your power to get there.

When you take your power and shift your consciousness, that doesn’t mean that “bad” things will never happen to you. You are still going to face challenges in your life, possibly some very difficult ones. But when you are in your power, you will view them through a different lens and you will choose to handle them differently. Instead of blaming and becoming a victim of circumstance, take a deep breath and ask what Spirit needs of you next. Know that everything happens for a reason, even if that reason is hard to see in the moment. You may never know exactly why some things happen the way they do, but in order to live in your power you must also exercise your Trust in Spirit—or Faith, if you prefer.

Victims blame and react defensively, but Powerful Creators look within for their answers and cultivate Trust—knowing that they will always be led to make the perfect choice if they listen and stop blaming. If you are going to be a Powerful Creator, then you must start living in the moment NOW. Spirit doesn’t guide you yesterday or tomorrow. Spirit is guiding you right now, and in every moment. Stop and listen.

It is a paradox that to be a Powerful Creator you must surrender control. But when you are a Powerful Creator, you take control of yourself and surrender control of everything else. Victims try to control the world around them. They want to change people so that they behave a certain way. They want to change the way the world is. Powerful Creators know that by changing themselves, they ultimately do change the world—but not by force, and not in the way that they may think. The more Powerful Creators there are in the world, the more awakened people there are. And this is how the great shift in consciousness is occurring now.

So I have described how to be a Powerful Creator in logical terms, but living it and breaking old patterns can be difficult. How do you do this? Practice makes perfect.

Pick a day, any day, and wake up and ask, “What does God/Spirit need of me today?” Wait for the answer. Do whatever you hear, and keep asking all day long. When you complete a task, ask again, then wait. The answer could be mundane: go to your dentist appointment. The answer might not make sense: do nothing and just be (a difficult directive if you feel you have 50 things that you should be doing). But do it anyway, whatever you hear. As you practice, you will discover that you are perfectly guided at all times. And when you see that your long to-do list still gets done in a more relaxed, nurturing way, then you will learn to trust what you hear. Building this trust with your inner guidance is more important than I can possibly say in this article. It is vital. It is the key to your power.

When you live in the space of the new consciousness, you may discover that many things that used to bother you no longer affect you in quite the same way. This is because you begin to realize that everything truly is perfect right now. There is a gift in all things, even if you can’t see it yet. This is beautifully illustrated by the Taoist parable of “The Farmer’s Luck,” which is included in the children’s book Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
:

There was once an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years.

One day, his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.

“Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning, the horse returned, bringing with it two other wild horses.

“Such good luck!” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the farmer.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown off, and broke his leg.

Again, the neighbors came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Such bad luck,” they said.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after that, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army to fight in a war. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by.

“Such good luck!” cried the neighbors.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

Fearsome Freedom

are americans freeAs Americans, we do not question whether we are free or not. We assume that we are free, by virtue of where we live. And yet, we favor policies that will restrict our freedoms. Paradox? Or self-delusion?

In essence, most people believe in the freedom of all—as long as everyone agrees with their point of view. If you are a religious conservative, you are fine with freedom—unless you are gay and want to marry, or you want universal access to birth control. If you are an atheist, you are fine with freedom—as long as no one ever mentions God. If you are a liberal, you are fine with freedom—unless you want to own a gun. The list of “exceptions” is endless.

In a truly free society, every opinion, every choice, every way of living or being is welcome. There are no boundaries, no exceptions, and no box for true freedom. And this scares the heck out of people.

It’s a given that there is always someone in the world who will challenge your beliefs and your way of thinking. If everyone is truly free to express themselves in their truth, you will readily find someone who will challenge the borders of your box. And that can be truly frightening. We use our boxes to feel safe and secure. We seek out those who will agree with how the box should look to validate our own beliefs. So when someone comes across our path who is living out loud outside of our box, we react with fear.

Fear is the tool of the Ego, and we can probably attribute the source of every problem in the world to this little god. Fear keeps us trapped in our boxes, from where we can judge an “us” and a “them.” Fear encourages us to give our power to those who care about their own interests, rather than the highest good. Fear makes slaves of us all.

Fear is also the author of the great counter-argument to Freedom:  what about those who would kill us? What about murderers, thieves, and abusers? Surely they do not deserve the freedom to do as they please. This is a complex question, and the issue is largely one of context. Should you be free to kill? Most of us agree we should not; however, under certain circumstances, we are currently free to do so. If you are in the military, you are free to kill the enemy. If you are defending your life from another, you are free to kill your assailant. The state is free to kill convicted murderers or those convicted of treason.

Really, this question is about the age-old struggle of the rights of the individual vs. the rights of society. But is it really an issue? The answer is probably best answered by the Wiccan rede:  “An it do no harm, do what thou will.” In a truly free society, the individuals are free to be who they are and how they are, but they must also respect the choices and the existence of others.

In other words, people have the right to exist, whether you agree with them or not. Fear makes people believe that those in opposition should not exist; if the “enemy” no longer exists, frightened people don’t have to be challenged by their beliefs. This is the path of terrorism, genocide, and fascism. “If I can kill it or make it go away, then I won’t have to examine my own beliefs.”

Everyone feels that their beliefs are “right.” If they didn’t, they wouldn’t think them. No one wakes up and decides that they are going to make “wrong” or “bad” decisions all day. Each person operates from their own sense of “rightness,” which may be completely in opposition to someone else’s views. Does that make the other person “wrong?” No, it means that they are both right. And, they are both wrong.

Right and wrong is a matter of perspective. For the farmer, if a thief steals his produce, the farmer may feel anxious that he will not have enough of his crop to feed his own family, store food for the winter, and provide seed for the following season. From the farmer’s perspective, the thief is wrong to benefit from the farmer’s labor and threaten the farmer’s security. The thief, on the other hand, may not have land of his own and may simply be trying to survive and feed his family. From the thief’s perspective, the farmer is wealthy and can afford to share his crop with someone in dire need. In this scenario, there is no right or wrong. In any scenario, there is no right or wrong.

Freedoms are often curtailed because they are considered to be “wrong” (morally, religiously, empirically), while the restriction on these freedoms is hailed as “right.” It is another way of saying, “You are wrong to do this, so we want to stop you from doing it.” This is, quite simply, tyranny. It is also an attempt to control that which cannot be controlled:  the choices of others.

This back and forth, the ritual of “right and wrong,” is as old as duality. The thing is, duality is ending. And with its end comes the birth of True Freedom. Are you ready for that? Are you ready for what that’s going to look like? Are you ready to allow other points of view, other boxes, or even no boxes at all? Are you ready for the infinite possibilities that each of us embodies and can manifest, right here on this earth?

For those of us who thought we believed in “freedom,” the task may be hardest. We haven’t really believed in freedom—there were too many exceptions, which isn’t freedom at all. But freedom is coming. We are each a divine co-creator. We can create whatever we want, be however we want. But we also have a responsibility to the whole, to the highest good of all. This will require us to choose our thoughts carefully. The vibrational shift we are experiencing, the great change that is upon us, right now, is causing our thoughts and choices to manifest at an accelerated rate. Yes, we are free to make choices that do not serve us, or that do not serve the highest good, but we will be held accountable for what we choose, because we will experience the results ourselves.

In the past, many have defied convention to speak their truth and to live their truth. Many of these visionaries were silenced by those who feared their words and their vision. The list is long:  Christ; Joan of Arc; Galileo; Martin Luther King, Jr.; and the many nameless victims, including those accused of witchcraft, heretics, and the politically “inconvenient.” Those days are ending. If you are still trapped in fear, you will suffer, because you believe that you must. But if you can overcome your fear, you will find your freedom, and you will contribute to the freedom of others. As always, it is a choice.