A while ago, I had a dream. I heard a voice whispering to me from the dark “Do as the Valkyries do”, those divine mythological creatures of the Vikings who decide who will live and who will die in battle.
At first I thought I needed to take a look at my relationships – both private and professional – and see which I find uplifting and which draining, which I choose to deepen and which I leave to simmer. Then it hit me that maybe my dream meant I should look at what activities I spend my time and energy on and that possibly I should make better choices there, separating the wheat from the chaff. To make sure all was covered, I also made another selection round regarding my possessions at home, what to use and what to lose.
However, I kept on looking and suddenly I realised the dream could only have signified one thing: that I needed to make up my mind regarding my own psychology. What if I needed to put my own traits on the balance scale to distinguish which parts of me would live and which needed to die?
I kept the question open. What do I wish to keep in myself, to cultivate and nurture and what do I wish to get rid of, say farewell to and throw overboard? Creation is also destruction; there’s nothing that creates space like some decent uprooting, and space is needed in order to create. Creation and destruction are two sides of the same coin. What in me would need to die so that I could rise like a Phoenix? Now, at the cusp of a new year cycle, is of course a perfect time for making such choices.
And I see what needs to die is the relentless strength and self-sufficiency that I use to keep others at a distance. I see that if I really wish to fill my life with all the good things I envision for myself, I need to learn to open up more, be vulnerable and ask for support, and be receptive and responsive when love comes my way. Who I am being is not enough (yet) for that which I wish to cultivate, so my stinginess with myself needs to die, my safe-keeping, my holding back, my hiding.
What I choose to cultivate, on the other hand, is generosity, not merely the kind that allows me to spend my money on those around me, give them presents or invest my time and energy in service of others. The kind of generosity I’m aiming for goes beyond all of that. It’s a matter of being, not doing. It’s the generosity of truly listening to another without thinking of something clever to say, the generosity of giving another the benefit of the doubt, of saying a heartfelt thank you instead of brushing things over, of real forgiveness, of staying available and open even when hurt, of truly seeing another and acknowledging them for what they bring into my life and the world, the generosity of wishing for another what they want as much as I would wish for myself what I want, the generosity of fully accepting and surrendering to each and every moment whatever it may bring, even if my Identity doesn’t like the status quo at all.
I’m not there yet. I often feel like a beginner in the art of conscious living no matter how much work I’ve done. It regularly drives me cuckoo and results in me resembling the Pulp Fiction character of Samuel L. Jackson as he savagely waves his gun at Tim Roth and in furious desperation utters: “I’m trying Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd!”
But maybe being there already isn’t the point. Who I am now is a narrow definition of who I truly am. It’s only the way I define myself and me buying into that idea that holds me back from being anything else. All I need to do is allow myself to go beyond that, being willing to take a risk, to look stupid, make mistakes, not reach quite yet, but keep on trying and stretching myself. So if you catch me unconscious, stingy and overly self-protective, remember I’m just walking through the valley of darkness .. and I’m trying, I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.
Which doors do you need to close before new ones can be opened in your life?
Trainer & Coach at Creative Consciousness