Originally posted on January 31, 2017 by Jennifer Matson
This is my very first ever blog post. Another first step in the ever evolving exploration of this fantastically beautiful, challenging, tempering experience of life. In fact, tempering is a very good word to describe the experiences of the last several years. The definition I found online is 1. improve the hardness and elasticity of (steel or other metal) by reheating and then cooling it. I have been tempered, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
What do I mean by tempering? I feel that many of you already know what I'm talking about, but perhaps hadn't thought of it in this way. Or perhaps you have. When life seems to be a series of difficulties, challenges where you are driven to make a choice, pushed to recognize where things in your life are not working. Another way we say this is "not in alignment with your best and highest good."
In my experience, there is a process. In the beginning, it was kind of exciting to explore spirituality on a deeper level, to start to look into myself. Why now? Why this time? Seems to be happening to a lot of people. Once the process started though, it took on a life of its own. Similar to the feeling of having gotten into the seat of the roller coaster and buckled in. Now the ride is out of my hands. Like a roller coaster, it has been both terrifying and thrilling. Making it around each corner, becoming more and more confident that I can handle what comes next. TRUSTING in my abilities, my inner guidance, my belief (which I had to remind myself often) that the universe is not out to get me.
These times of tempering, of the fire, are difficult but necessary. I have been holding on to a great deal of unnecessary baggage, in the form of ideas about myself, the world and my place in it. My destructive patterns that could easily (because I was so practiced at it) be rationalized and put aside. Besides, most of our society says it's ok, why shouldn't I? That kind of mentality had to go and it is not a pretty or painless process, but wow! it feels great to be rid of it.
So without going into too much detail, based on my experience, what would I recommend to those who are going through something similar?
1. Trust - The bedrock of this whole process, from the beginning. And it is not as easy as it sounds. In the beginning I had to remind myself again and again to trust, let go of control. Things are NOT always going to happen the way you want them to. Trusting that whatever experience you are having is the right one for your development and for you to learn from is essential.
2. Let go of attachment - The sooner you learn, and by that I mean not just with your head, but with your heart, that if the universe has something in store for you, no amount of protest will stop that. And in fact, by holding on you will endure a greater deal of suffering. This takes a very long time to become comfortable with and requires a great deal of #4. Compassion. Spoiler alert* Life becomes SO much easier when you are able to let go of attachment, and in my experience results in gaining those things that I've always truly wanted.
3. Community - This is not something that you can do on your own. You need support from like minded people. If there is no-one near you now that can or will support you in this process, seek them out. These people are an invaluable component of this process.
4. Compassion - for your self and others. It is surprising how difficult it was in the beginning and how much practice it took to have compassion for myself. In my belief, one of the greatest gifts of suffering is our ability to have compassion.
There you have it. Blog post #1. If you have any comments or questions, I welcome them. "Dare to live life with your heart wide open."