Contacting the Infinite Self

“No one’s noticing that I got MY hair cut too.”

I heard myself say this in a mock-petulant tone recently when two women friends were gushing over a mutual friend’s dramatic new haircut, the day after I had gotten my own locks styled shorter and cuter than before.

Never mind that I hardly ever notice such things on other people, or that her ‘do was incredibly striking. Dammit, I wanted some attention too!

Well this is embarrassing.

But I am learning something here: I often have this amusing need to be validated, complimented, seen.

I’m figuring out that this seemingly bottomless need is one only I can truly fill, by being with myself in quiet and care, by linking up to All that Is. It’s a need that surely stems from a dearth of self-love.

I don’t mean self-love in the aggrandizing sense of “damn, I’m the greatest thing ever (and so is my hair).” I mean self-love in terms of awareness that I am one with the Source. A Divine being of Light.

yucca

I’m talking big-picture self-love. Turns out that it is no different from other-love, because in that expanded state I am All. There’s no separation, and no need to prove anything.

Anita Moorjani calls this the “infinite self” which has no need to please others or gain approval. Since reading her book Dying to be Me, I’m noticing how often I seek validation in even subtle ways. Like spending time obsessing over how to word an email or post in hopes of gaining a positive response. Or agreeing to do something that really doesn’t float my boat, just to feel worthwhile.

I’m not saying I shouldn’t pay attention to messaging, or only do things that please me (though how great that would be!). Rather, I want to look at the motivations behind my actions and decisions. Operating out of a sense of obligation or a need to prove something feels heavy, and it might taint the action, no matter how well-intentioned.

I’d rather act from a space of connection, feeling replete. Feeling light!

That’s the space that has no need of external validation, I suspect.

“A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” A writing teacher once quoted John Candy’s line from Cool Runnings (a fantastic movie about the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the Olympics).

My teacher was talking about publication, but we could easily substitute anything that we hold up as a way of gaining that elusive feeling of “enough.”

In truth, we are all more than enough, because we all—at a soul level—represent holograms of that gorgeous Whole.

Remembering that, acting from that place, is the tricky part—but I’m practicing! What else is life for?

Real Security

Last week I heard an NPR story about an interesting social study. Researchers surveyed residents of Palestinian towns before and after dismantling certain checkpoints that had been set up by Israeli forces.

In areas where the checkpoints were removed and people had greater freedom to move about their towns, the local Palestinians expressed much greater support for a peace process with Israel. Not only that, but there was a corresponding behavior change, with a decrease in Palestinian violence against Israelis in these areas.

It seems like a no-brainer that people would soften their attitudes if restrictions are lifted. The report noted that humiliation is a big driver of anger and violence, per numerous other social studies.

But the point the researchers made was this: Checkpoints put in place to increase security for Israelis actually had the effect of decreasing security.

Real security was achieved by dismantling them.

Baby Black Skimmer Barricade

Hearing the story made me think of a workplace dynamic that had upset a dear friend who’s otherwise happy in her job. Her manager had reacted harshly to a decision my friend had made, and expressed a need to control future such decisions. My friend felt hurt and angry, interpreting this as a lack of faith in her judgment.

The manager’s intent may have been to control an outcome, but the end result was employee dissatisfaction. By enforcing her will, the manager stands to lose the contributions of an innovative thinker. Instead of making the team’s work stronger, she’s created insecurity and mistrust.

A security checkpoint, a squelching of autonomy: It feels the same to me, energetically.

I see everything as an opportunity for self-reflection, and I also believe that anything healed within me helps to heal the world. So these stories prompt me to ask where I have played out a similar story within myself.

Have I posted a guard where it’s not needed, cutting me off from people perceived as “other”? Have I jerked the reins of my creativity in an effort to produce? Have I impeded the flow of inner wisdom with my expectation of a particular outcome?

Wisdom (62/365)

How can I personally move from this old story of control and domination to a new story of trust, openness, and listening? What does it take to nurture that movement in myself and others?