This little light of mine….

The buzz word in self-improvement today is mindfulness.  I’m taking a class on it as we speak.  So I thought to myself “Self – why don’t you blog about that”  and  here I am.  Blogging away.  Let’s start with the phrase “self-improvement”.  I don’t like it.  I don’t like it at all.  We don’t need to improve.  Why?  Because we‘re exactly perfect the way we are.  Ok, we do and say really stupid things.  I make mistakes and hurt the people I love all the time.  Why?  Because I’m human.  I know what you’re saying….”If we’re perfect the way we are and we don’t need self-improvement, why are you making so many mistakes Molly?  Why don’t you act very perfect?  Why aren’t we all just a bunch of perfect people living in a perfect world?”  Because the perfect part of us is buried under a bunch of crap.  Years and years of crap.  In my case – 50 years of crap.  The goal is to chip away at all that crap to let our perfect selves show through.  Follow me here, and see if you agree.  God made us.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  He made us in His image, which is perfect.  Therefore, we’re perfect.  The problem is, we have spent 1000’s of years living a life that is not in line with God.  We live the life that WE want not the one that He wants.  So until we get ourselves back in line with Him, we’re going to be adding more crap on and covering ourselves up more and more.  So instead of self-improvement, what we really need is self-discovery.  We just need to find our perfect self that is buried under all the crap.  Holy cow.  This is deep stuff.

So how do we get rid of the crap to get to our real selves?  And if we aren’t our “real” selves, who are we?  Good questions.  We are cheap imposters.  We are like the fake Elvis in Vegas.  Everybody knows it’s not Elvis.  Everyone knows Elvis left the building.  So why would someone go around pretending to be Elvis?  Who knows.  Maybe they need the money – and that’s as good a way as any to make money.  Maybe they loved Elvis and want to be like him.  Maybe they like to act a part.  Who knows.   The point is, it works for them.  They’re making some money and they’re having fun.  So what’s the problem with that?  There is no problem.  Until…… Until they start to believe they really are Elvis.  It comes on slow and gradual.  Maybe they start to talk like their Elvis persona in their everyday life as Joe Schmo.  Maybe they start to style their hair like Elvis even when they aren’t impersonating.  Maybe they start saying “Thank you. Thank you very much” when someone passes them the catsup.  And little by little they lose Joe Schmo and they “become” Elvis.  They have completely forgotten who they are.  Their family may even start thinking of them as Elvis.  Their friends might start thinking of them as Elvis.  And after a while, they start thinking of themselves as Elvis.  Houston we have a problem.  There’s only one Elvis.  Here’s a kicker for you.  We are all Elvis wannabees.  That’s right.  We’re all Elvis impersonators.  We’ve completely forgotten who we are.  We’ve completely forgotten what we even look like.  We are pretending to be someone else.  We need some serious self-discovery.  We need to find our lost, perfect selves!

So who are we?  We are perfect children of God.  Simple.  Hard.  So very, very simple and so very, very hard.  Think about this.  In this exact moment….. right now this very second….. you are perfect.  You don’t have to do anything special, you don’t have to look a certain way, you don’t have to say anything smart.  So, you are probably saying to yourself “Molly, you just wrote a pretty long run-on sentence.  That’s a mistake.  You’re not perfect.”  No. I. Am. Not.  I’m not even close to being perfect in what I do.  I make about a hundred mistakes a day.  But those are in my past.  That run-on sentence I just wrote 15 seconds ago is in my past.  It’s not who I am now.  It’s what I did, but it’s not WHO I am.  Do I have to be accountable for it?  Yep.  I have to be held accountable for everything wrong that I do.  But, it’s not who I am.  This very second, I’m perfect.  The present doesn’t last very long.  Millasecond.  Less.  But it’s also an eternity.  The present lasts forever.  Crazy thought.  I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around it.  I’m not even going to try.  But, I do know this.  In the present, I’m perfect and so are you.  What you did in the past, is just that – in the past.  What you do in the future , is just that – in the future.  But right now this very second, you are just the way you are supposed to be.

So.  The question is – do you believe it?  Do you believe it?  I try to, but I can’t.  While my head tells me it’s true, my heart tells me everyone else might be, but not me.  Nope.  I’m just of average intelligence, average looks, average niceness and not very grammatically correct.  I keep thinking I need to be something different.  Something better.  That’s because I’m walking around thinking I’m Elvis and I can’t see my real self anymore.  What’s worse, I can’t see it in other people either.  What we have to start doing is see ourselves for who we are.  And we have to see other people for who they are.  God didn’t make any mistakes.  People may have done terrible things in the past and they will need to suffer those consequences, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have that true person somewhere deep down inside of them.  A little glow covered up by a lot of crap.  We have to try and see that little glow in people.  And if it’s too covered up, we need to at least acknowledge that it’s there.  It’s in there somewhere.  But, that’s for them to work on.  We just have to worry about our own selves and taking off our own Elvis costume.

So, how do we do that?  All of the steps to peace and contentment that I’ve been talking about of course!  And now I’m throwing in mindfulness, only I’m not going to call it that.  I’m going to call it, “Shut up and listen”.  It’s somewhere in all of the religions of the world.  “Be still and know that I Am” or “Shut up and listen”.  We are so blasted by noise, both outside of us and inside of us that we stopped listening.  It’s just too much.  The more we can shut off the noise and listen, the more we’ll find peace in our lives.  And…… the more we shut off the noise and listen, the more we’ll find our real selves!  This is when God talks to us.  Now, I’m not talking about hearing voices.  I’m not sure that God talks to us in an actual conversation.  I think He might just give us thoughts and pieces of wisdom.  And those thoughts come when we…… Shut up and listen.

So how do we do that?  It sounds ridiculously hokey and hippy, but we have to turn all of our attention inward.  We have to completely tune out the world around us.  Why?  Because that little glow is inside of us.  God is inside of us.  So if we want to hear Him, we have to look inside ourselves.  That is HARD to do.  And we are sooooo not used to trying to hear God.  We don’t really feel comfortable doing it.  At least I don’t.  I’m much more comfortable pleading my case.  Praying , begging, you name it.  We think that the more we pray and the more we ask God for help the better our chances of Him hearing us.  It’s like buying lots and lots of lotto tickets with the hope that one of them will win.  I’m not saying praying is wrong.  But, my prayers are usually about me and what I want God to do for me or for the people I love.  Instead I should probably be spending my time telling Him I trust Him and I believe in Him and then let Him do His work.  What I have to do is just shut up and listen.  Easy.  Not.  So, how do we listen?  We can do that through meditation, being very aware of our present moment, going inward, visualization, whatever works for you.

You could do the deep belly breathing that I talked about in the menu bar under relaxation.  Just close your eyes and take deep breathes in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Put all of your focus on your breathing.  Don’t think of anything else.  And when thoughts do pop in your head, just say “listen” and go back to paying attention to your breathing.  As you’re breathing in and out, visualize a glow in you.  See light coming in you when you breathe in and see dark going out when you breathe out.  That’s Elvis leaving the building.  I visualize my tiny little light (the real part of my soul that God made perfect) deep inside my belly and I concentrate on it.  I just see that light.  I don’t try to say or think anything in my head.  I just try to keep seeing the light.  When  thoughts pop in my head (and they always do), I just say “listen” and I bring myself back to seeing my light.   It takes a lot of practice and I’m not very good at it.  But I’m trying.

The Progressive Muscular Relaxation that I talk about in the menu bar under relaxation will work too.  You just have to really focus all of your attention and energy on one part of your body.  Really, really, really tune out everything and just pay attention to that one part of your body.  Close your eyes and see that body part.  Then see a little glow in it.  If it’s your foot, see a little glow inside of your foot and concentrate on that glow.  That’s shutting up and listening.  That’s when we get the little jewels of wisdom that pop into our heads.  Boy is it hard to do.  There are lots of ways to do this.  You just have to find what works for you.  But, you should practice it all day long.  That’s all it is.  Practice.  You are practicing to listen so your light can grow bigger and bigger and bigger.

When you get in your car, take 30 seconds to really focus on that little light shining inside of you as you breathe in and out.  Just shut out the noise and listen.  Do it every time you go to the bathroom.  Sounds stupid, I know.  But we all have to go to the bathroom throughout the day.  When you do, just take 30 seconds to stop and breathe.  See that glow inside of you.  Feel the glow.  That glow is God in your soul.  Focus your mind on that one thing and listen.  You’ll be amazed at what happens to you.  You could also shut up and listen before you eat.  Just stop.  Close your eyes. And focus all of your attention on your inner glow as you breathe in and out.  You can even go so far as to focus WHILE you’re eating.  What a great thing to do when you’re eating alone.  As you eat, just close your eyes and see the light inside of you.  Don’t think about anything other than that light.  When thoughts pop in just say “listen” and push them back out.  Enjoy the taste of your food while you do this.  I’m usually so busy doing other things when I eat, that I don’t taste it.  Stop.  Taste it.  Focus your attention on this second.  Not what you should have done earlier in the day.  Not what you should be doing later.  Focus on right now and eating your food while you see your light growing larger.  Try this.  I’m not saying you have to believe in it.  I’m just asking that you try it.  This is how we shut up and listen.  This is how we can let God out of the cage we’ve built around Him.  We think that He’s somewhere “out there” when He is in us.  You have the power Dorothy, just click your heels (ok, bad Wizard of Oz reference there).  But He really has been in us the whole time.   We have that tiny little glow in us that is perfect.  That tiny little glow is God.  We need to let Him out.  We need to remember that we aren’t Elvis.  We need to be the people we truly are.  We are good.  We are kind.  We are loving.  We are not the people that we act like.  We are not the person who is mad at the traffic – that’s Elvis.  We are not the person who doesn’t want to go to work on Monday.  We are not the people that this world has become.  We are that tiny little glow that is inside of us.  That little glow follows us around every second of everyday.  And, if we want to, we can listen to it.  Just shut up and listen!

This was a deep post, I know.  I don’t even understand it myself and I wrote it.  I try to wrap my head around the fact that God is inside of me as my little glowing light, and I can’t really believe it.  I mean really, THE God is inside of me?  Seeing all of my ugly and mess?  Hard to believe.  Impossible to believe.  But true.  He is in there, we just have to believe it.  That little glow in us is perfect.  We don’t have to get better.  We are better.  We don’t need self-improvement, we need self-discovery!  That little glowing light inside of us is there and it’s perfect and it’s us.  We just have to get back to it and believe in us.  We have to let that light shine through all of our crap.  We aren’t going to be happier by having better hair or a thinner body or more money.  All of the peace and contentment and happiness we could ever want is a tiny little glow inside of us.  We just have to believe.  And then work to let it out.  Dig a hole through the crap so our light can shine through!

Are you ready for the next mind blower?  Everyone else is perfect too.  Yep.  Everyone else has that little glow deep in them.  Donald Trump?  Yep, he has it.  Hillary Clinton?  Yep.  She has it.  Horrible murderers and rapists?  Yep they have it.  Do we have to invite them to dinner and be kind to them?  Nope.  They have to suffer the consequences for what they did.  We don’t have to let them into our lives.  But we do need to acknowledge that they are perfect children of God too.  Their glow is just buried under more crap.  It’s their job to find it, not our job to show it to them.  That’s their road.  Our road is to concentrate on our own light.  Here’s what I do.  When I pass someone on a sidewalk or in the store, I practice this by saying in my head “They are a perfect child of God”.  When I hear about something horrible that someone did, I say “They are a perfect child of God, hidden under a lot of crap”.   When people irritate me, I say “They are a perfect child of God” and then I visualize my glow.  I see it burning bright.  I’m letting it out, one breath at a time.

So what do you think about this?  I told you it was some hippy dippy stuff.  Deep hippy dippy stuff.  Do you agree with it?  Do you disagree?  Do you agree, but have trouble seeing the light that’s buried under your crap?  Let me know.  I would love to hear from you.  Here’s to stepping out of our Elvis costume!

Wishing you all the peace in the world,

Molly