by Elektra Porzel
Each year parents take pictures of their children on the first day of school. They compare this year’s pictures to ones from the previous years and realize graphically how much their children have changed. The chubby preschooler has morphed into the skinny kindergartener. The awkard middle schooler has morphed into a striking young adult. When did that happen? We realize that it happened right under our nose. We track their physical changes and then we track their shift in capabilities and capacities. When did they stop believing that we were so wise? When did she/he start focusing so much on cars/homework/schools? We admire their new strengths and plan how we will help them conquer their fears and calm their concerns. We are there for our children as they navigate life and growing up. Yet we don’t play that same role for ourselves. Why not?
Is it just that we don’t change physically all that much or is it that we need another assessment tool – one that is based on our own definitions of maturity, ethics, capabilities; not on society’s outward measures. Here is a list of some capabilities that I would measure: Listening to my sentient intelligence and responding to that information; opening to new ideas; gathering more possibilities around decisions; taking responsibility for the decisions I make and the actions that I take; connecting with others in co-creation, in exploration and discovery; respecting all life on this planet including all humans, animals, plants etc; making sure that there are moments of joy in my day/week/year; taking time to focus on becoming more of whom I came here to be. What measures would you like in your self-assessment tool? There is only one codicil in developing your Self-Assessment tools – Self compassion is a must!
Not all years are filled with successes like a new marriage, babies or new homes. Some are filled with job layoffs, a marriage ending, sickness in our families, not to mention that sometimes overwhelming push to be more of whom we came here to be. So how do we be compassionate with ourselves when those ‘hard’ years happen? When we don’t ‘succeed’ by the standards of others? Who else will be compassionate with us except ourselves? Family may blame you or blindly support you. You may be deep into the judgment game of ‘not being enough’. So, the first rule is to be compassionate with yourself and to know that it is bigger long-range picture that you need to attend to.
As infants, we are born with our Spirit and Body in balance, but the adaptations that we have had to make to survive in this western culture resulted in our minds being limited to historic information and our spirits being something rarely connected with. Probably some of my assessment questions aren’t in our society’s assessments, and they are in mine because they matter more to me than whatever society thinks I should be doing or having at this stage of my life. What matters to you? I propose that the question that we all have to ultimately answer is whose assessment do we give priority to? Society’s or our own? So how do you intend to BE someday and what practices do you deliberately add to your life so that you can BE that more and more each year? So how did you handle the new baby, the job loss, etc? What was different this time? What helped you step back and see the bigger picture?
There were years where I kept reading books from all these different disciplines and I was wondering, why? I didn’t understand why I was driven to read on economics, then climate change, then Indian culture, then Taoism. I just knew that the attraction to some new book or topic was the cue that I should go ahead and read it, soak myself in it. After several years, I started to see the matrix of ideas, concepts, practices that began to ground me in my spiritual work and in my work in the world. Ultimately those various books led me to a life assessment and I switched careers. That switch took a number of years of training and building a new business, and I know that by following my sentient nudges, my sentient intelligence, I found my next step in my path to BEING whom I came here to BE.
Sentient nudges is my name for the experience of my sentient intelligence. They are sensations and energies that we experience in our physical and energetic systems. They arise when something is life-enhancing, life-generating for us, and also if something is life defeating and needs to be avoided. If you are not familiar with this concept, pay attention to what arises when you write your craving exercises. As you write a life-enhancing phrase, what is happening in and around your body? In the Language of Creation class, we called them resonant markers. (Our Instructional video set 1 covers this in depth in the Craving video. –http://iuwcinstitute.com/store/ )
The creation exercises are a tool that I have used for about 4 years now to help me focus on how I want to be in the world. They moved me out of simply intending that some goal come into existence, instead they helped me define how that craving would be sustained and maintained and embodied. I have experienced my cravings manifested within months of writing them and also experienced cravings that don’t so much manifest as whole cloth, but more so as part of a process of continually peeling the onion, moving them out of the intractable into the possible.
Frequency of writing the creation exercises is important. Just like we can’t be proficient in a new software program if we only look at once a week or every couple of months, we can’t be proficient in the creation exercises with just a sporadic trial. Some new users tell me that it was too hard to write the creation exercises, so they just went back to their old ways of giving themselves support. I urged them and I urge you to try again to write a creation exercise even daily if you can. There is a wealth of self-encouragement in those creation exercises. There is a wealth of assessment in the Observings. As I write a craving, I define what I want that craving to be when it is sustained and maintained as well as embodied in my life. As I write a ‘craving what’ exercise, I define what that word or concept will mean for me in my life. I am no longer limited to the meaning that society gave it. With my definition of a word, it is no longer part of judgment of me but is a support for me to stand in who I am and whom I came here to be. Both the cravings and the observings help me become my Self moving ever closer to the balance of Spirit and Flesh, Alchemical and Biochemical, Infinite and Finite that was my birthright. It’s your birthright as well.
So I ask you…Where o where are you going? Where o where have you gone?