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“We often move away from pain, which is helpful only before being hurt. Once in pain, it seems the only way out is through. Like someone falling off a boat, struggling to stay above the water only makes things worse. We must accept we are there and settle enough so we can be carried by the deep. The willingness to do this is the genesis of faith, the giving over to currents larger than us. Even fallen leaves float in lakes, demonstrating how surrender can hold us up.” 


― Mark NepoThe Book of Awakening Quotes by Mark Nepo

Jeff Brown Wisdom

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‘I had a friend who died. One of the things that contributed to her death was her immersion in the mantras of the New Cage movement: the body is an illusion, your suffering is an illusion, the ego is all bad, ‘just ask for what you want and it will come’, presence is what happens when you watch your pain from across the room. These dissociative, dehumanizing perspectives were appealing to her because she wanted so desperately to turn off her pain and to find an easier way. This would have been fine if she had simply utilized these techniques as a detachment tool, but she went farther, and made them into a way of being. Unfortunately, these tools became weapons that turned against her. When her unresolved pain rose back into consciousness again- as it always will in its efforts to be seen and healed- she was now entirely ill-prepared to deal with it, having floated away from reality for so long in a pseudo enlightened spirituality-induced stupor. She couldn’t deal with the now because she was still crippled by the then. What she needed was healing, not more self-avoidance techniques. When reality became too much to bear, she ended her life, unable or unwilling to work through her material. Let there be no doubt that models that lead people away from the healing of the heart do not serve humanity. Real spirituality is all about enrealment- it includes everything human in the equation. The real now is the one that includes everything we left behind on the path. We must work through our story, before the unresolved elements of our story kill us. Prayers for those who have been led astray.’- Jeff Brown 

The Hungry Child

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‘One of the great challenges for those who have survived abusive and neglectful parents is that there is often a part of us that is still waiting for them to love us, even if there is very little chance of that happening. Locked in an archaic mindset, we continue to go back for more, looking for love in all the wrong places. Somehow we imagine that they will come around one day, realize their mistakes, see our worth, soften those armored edges. And some do, often when they are very old, made vulnerable by sickness and time. But many don’t, and we need to stop putting our emotional lives on hold waiting for something that may never happen. The bridge from stagnation to empowerment lies in our willingness to see them for who they really are, to take them off their primal pedestal and recognize their human limitations. This is not easy- the hungry child self clings to illusions- but it is oh so necessary. Until we accept the reality of who can’t love us, we cannot embrace the love of those who can.’-Jeff Brown

The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo

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“When a plate breaks, we call it an accident. When a heart breaks, we call it sad. If it is ours, we say tragic. When a dream breaks, we sometimes call it unfair. Yet ants drop dirt and manage more and birds drop food and peck again. But as humans, when we drop what we need, philosophies and complaints abound.

It’s not that we moan, but that we stop living to hear ourselves moan. Still, stars collide and histories begin. In our world, something is always letting go and something is always hitting the Earth. Often that which lets go survives by releasing, by not holding on until what needs to go is ripped from it. Often that which is hit survives by staying soft, by allowing what hits it to temporarily shape it the way stones shape mud.

As humans, we take turns letting go and being hit. Love softens this process, and peace slows it down, until in moments that are blessed, we seem to play catch with what we need.” ~Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

To the Beautiful People, you know who you are.

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“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” –

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Get Real- Jeff Brown

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Photographer Erkin Demir

“I know we often want it all happy and positive, but that’s just not where much of humanity is. Many of us are overwhelmed with pain, undigested sadness, unexpressed anger, unseen truths. This is where we are at, as a collective. So we have two choices. We can continue to pretend it’s not there, shame and shun it in ourselves and others, distract and detach whenever possible. Or we can face it heart-on, own it within ourselves, look for it in others with compassion, create a culture that is focused on authenticity and healthy emotional release. If we continue to push it all down, we are both creating illness and delaying our collective expansion. But if we can just own the shadow, express it, release it, love each other through it, we can finally graduate from the School of Heart Knocks and begin to enjoy this magnificent life as we were intended. Pretending the pain isn’t there just embeds it further. Let’s illuminate it instead.”

~ Jeff Brown

The Courage to Heal by Jeff Foster

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Healing does not always look or feel good, pretty or kind. True healing nearly always involves the re-opening of old wounds, the death of illusion, and a courageous confrontation with our pain.

One of the most dangerous myths we have inherited is that healing is supposed to ‘feel good’. No, not always. Sometimes our discomfort actually intensifies as the darkness emerges into the light, as unconscious material makes its way into awareness, as our old illusions burn up. Pain is not wrong, a mistake, or a sign that we are doomed. Pain may actually indicate that our healing process is intensifying, not stalling; that we are actually more awake and sensitive than ever, more deeply connected with the here and now, less willing to turn away.

There is such a tendency in our culture to avoid discomfort of any kind, distract ourselves from it, label it as ‘wrong’ or ‘negative’ or even ‘unspiritual’, meditate or medicate it away. Much of our Western medicine is geared towards the removal of symptoms, the silencing of disruption, the numbing of chaos and the journey towards some socially acceptable ‘normality’.

What is ‘normal’?

But sometimes, friends, we no longer have any interest in ‘returning to normal’! The ‘normal’ was the problem, not the solution! The status quo needed to shift. It was unstable and false. Old dreams were keeping us trapped.

Sometimes our ‘normality’ needs to break open into chaos and crisis, our pain and sorrow, frustration, exhaustion and doubts needs to be felt more fully than ever before, the heart needs to break open more completely. Our pain is not a punishment from a judgmental god, nor a mistake in a broken universe, nor evidence of our failure and unenlightened ignorance, but a profoundly alive spiritual teaching.

Witness Jesus on the cross. The device of his torture became his ultimate invitation to healing – the rediscovery of his own unbreakable Presence prior to his human incarnation, prior to time itself.

Consider the possibility that within your suffering you are being given an invitation: to let go, to wake up from the dream of normality, to embrace life in all its brokenness and wonder. To fall in love with where you are. To come out of the story of past and future, and turn towards the present moment, the place where you stand.

Let the winds blow, let the tempests rage, let all that is false be purified, let all that is dead remain dead, let life explode where you are. You are only being invited to a deeper healing, even though it feels like pain, even though the heart is tender and raw, even though you cannot yet feel your tomorrows.

– Jeff Foster

Source: https://www.ekhartyoga.com/blog/the-courage-to-heal

Awakening

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“A person who is beginning to sense the suffering of life is, at the same time, beginning to awaken to deeper realities, truer realities. For suffering smashes to pieces the complacency of our normal fictions about reality, and forces us to come alive in a special sense–to see carefully, to feel deeply, to touch ourselves and our worlds in ways we have heretofore avoided.”

~Ken Wilber

Thy Wild Self 

“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.”

-Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes