Labeling: Presence About What Presents
Labeling things "good" or "bad" appears to be a more significant barrier to contentment than I thought.
Well, "Is Labeling a barrier... T/F'?" I might have marked this question right on a test. I get the concept. But what appears to be required is a deeper release of this labeling mechanism than I realized was going to be necessary.
Eckhart Tolle, my first real teacher via his books when I dropped Christianity as a primary paradigm, taught me that labeling pretty much anything is a function of Ego. Now, we can drill down on that statement for days, but I would say with certainty that labeling can be Egoic. The Ego wants what it wants and if it doesn't get it, it pouts (at best). It may throw a tantrum. It may self-sabotage. Why? Because what is happening is "bad," and ...
... it “doesn't deserve that,” or;
... that means that God doesn't like me, or;
... that means that I’m flawed, or;
... this is just another slap-down by life, or;
You get the idea.
I was talking with a friend the other day. We were talking about how nice it would be when "things get back to normal." Well, wait... will it? Weren't we ready for a change? Haven't I been praying for a shift?
I sure have.
So, for me to label this as anything negative as we’re going through a serious shift is probably less-helpful at best. After all, childbirth appears to be a real pain for the kid, let alone the mother. Why would RE-birth be anything different?
Now, it's ok to acknowledge our pain, from time to time. We're human. It's cool. But back to Tolle, it's all about the energy we put toward the label if we’re going to use them at all. Is it mere "noticing," or is it "rejection?" Those are two very different things, energetically.
One is energy-neutral. The other is destructive - i.e.. devoid of gratitude.
There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about how annoying it is to some that we are speaking in a more “politically correct” manner. This is a fine example of why we’re doing
this. Words matter. Labels matter. Energy behind the words we speak - or think - matter.
This is nothing new. Napolean Hill was teaching this a century ago. But we're coming to understand that for accurate communication to occur, we have to use more than the symbols of language. Why? It turns out they are too broad – English is, anyway. We’re moving past words alone to communicate. That's a change that's been happening since the 1960's. Proper energy is becoming required. And if it requires more specific verbiage to communicate in a way that aligns with our intended energy, so be it.
The same can be said of our attitudes around any difficulty we experience. Including, and especially, this one.
I’ve had some dark, lonely days around the current situation. Deep discontent. Most of us have. I’m writing this little essay to remind myself to be not only patient but grateful for what’s happening, wherever possible. And to illustrate that none of us "Seekers of A Better Way" are alone as we experience the challenge of this rebirth.
Let’s face it. None of us know what “normal” will be on the other side of this. Or if there is even going to be an "other side." We could spin out for months on that question, too. The "where’s" and the "why’s" and the "what-for’s" and the "who’s responsible?" Come on. That’s a sinkhole of less-helpful questions - for right now, anyway. For people who are ready to build a New Way of Being, that’s like asking who the father is while the child is in the birth canal. It’s a fine question to ask at some point, before or after, but we’re too busy right now to concentrate on anything but rebirth. That means being present. It means being grateful for the new life that is emerging, right now, in this moment. The moment for which we’ve been praying.
There are no epidurals for this process, my friends. We probably forgot to pray for that, and it’s too late now. We're dilated to a 10, and it's time to push. All we can do is support one another. We can do our own shadow work. We can ground down into our practices – and take them into game time. Because we’re playing for keeps, now.
In the end, the best course of action appears to be radical presence and sincere gratitude for what presents. And when we feel less grateful, malcontent, it’s important to pay close attention to the words and feelings we use to describe to self or others what we’re going through. Words matter. Energy matters. And the process of rebirth is going to challenge us to be who we need to be, in order for the change to remain.
Welcome to the maternity ward.
Whatever Child is coming is bound to be beautiful, because we are ready to proclaim it as such in any way we can. We’ve practiced presence. We're dedicated to accuracy in the way we communicate. We are unafraid of truth. “Beautiful” is the kind of life we’re going to live – and we’re going to do it together.
These are the kinds of labels we can live with.
(Photo by Matt Briney)