Then and now.

This blog that I started back in college, used to be titled "With All Our Hearts". I don't remember what made me think of that name, I just remember I was sitting at my on campus job in the BYU maintenance center, waiting to hear back from my son's doctor, when I thought of it. Three years later, that title feels pretty relevant. This post isn’t really about that time period, although it kind of is. 

It’s about the shifts that take place in us and the awakenings they lead to. While awakenings can take place as giant spiritual experiences, they can also mean something as simple as recognizing the default inputs that unintentionally control us.

Default inputs can be anything that affects our mood or beliefs without us even realizing it. They can be anything from: high fructose corn syrup, a never ending face book feed, empty fear instilling news, or overt social norms which more than we know, can determine our own beliefs of what is acceptable and what’s not. 

Our awareness of these inputs correlates directly with our ability to create from the heart. The more aware of them we are, the more likely we will feel like co creators in this existence, as opposed to feeling like a herd of cattle being force fed grain. 

We’ve all been the cattle at some point, and as long as Facebook and media remain unchecked, as long as we put certain types of lifestyles on pedestals, refuse to feel what we are feeling, and to ignore our intuition, this pattern will continue. I’ve come to decide that living looks a lot like a tug of war between at times being the cattle, and doing the feeding. But there’s another lesson to be found in this tug of war: There exists an area in between, and it means stepping away all together. It means, instead, letting whatever is happening inside of us, be. It’s there that we find our center. 

When I think back to my old blog, I remember everything that was going down during that time period. My last semester in college, I sat in the BYU honor code office, and confessed to having had sex while my husband and I were separated. I knew I signed an honor code and I knew this meant I had technically broken it. The guilt had eaten away at me, so I confessed. 

I loved BYU, so this situation felt particularly devastating. College isn’t for everyone, but it was for me. I met life long friends in classes and my on campus job, read books and took lectures that made me come alive, I got full access to a gym and got to play intramural sports every semester, and I had my physical, mental, and emotional energies tested on every level. I loved it. 

So when I sat across from a counselor who told me that despite it being my last semester, I may have lost my eligibility to graduate, I felt equally shocked and weirdly relieved. I didn't have my shit together, and now having an honor code counselor and a hand full of other people that knew this, I could maybe stop pretending like I did. Still, my eyes graced a quote on the wall by Brigham Young about honor, and I sat in my chair let the sting and tears I'd been fighting come.  It didn’t feel like anything new, this shame. The shame that is accompanied with feeling separated. Isolated. Abnormally flawed. Another default input that had become so familiar, it became safer to feel it than to not.

I ended up getting to walk in graduation, as long as I committed to a 9 month repentance process, after which I received my degree. The whole thing was pretty stressful, but seeing as I had spent nearly half of my college years in doctors offices worried about the outcome of my son’s life, and as a married and eventually divorced student, the stress of the situation wasn't anything I wasn't used to.  

I was grateful they gave me the opportunity to graduate, a privilege not afforded to many that have been in similar circumstances. I don’t have much else to say about that time period. Other then I’ve since retained my degree, and my dignity. 

The other day, I got to both photograph and watch a birth for the first time. I'll share some photos and more about the experience in my next post. The whole thing was insanely beautiful and it reminded me that we were all there at one point. Making our entry into this world untouched and unaffected. That first breath and first cry, it marks the beginning of our journey with separation. Separation from the womb, from oneness, from source. 

And in that despair, in our most gutted places. We are held. We are Urged. Uplifted. Encouraged. In these places, we can find the truth underneath it all: 

We were never separate to begin with. 

Of course, it gets confusing because tomorrow you’re going to wake up and you’ll check your Facebook feed and you’ll see another horrifying story about a maniac that hurt people. You'll read something that doesn’t speak to you, yet you'll see how much it speaks to a person that shared it, and that will feel isolating. You'll see the hurt and wrong in the world, and feel bad that you have the luxury of a roof over your head, food in your fridge, and the ability to type at your computer about experiences from your college years, while the world is suffering. It’s going to feel unfair, living where you are when there’s always someone dying somewhere that shouldn’t be dying. It’s going to feel complicated, all the information shouted at you about stories you should care about and products you should want. 

The only way navigate this world of conflicting truths, where there are always sources waiting to let you know you should be doing things differently, the only way to exist is to learn navigate your own inner world. It will mean feeling things that will set you free, and it will also mean stepping away because going there will affect your ability to do your job. It will mean your truth not looking the same as someone else’s, and that will mean navigating the complexity of knowing whether it’s truth speaking, or pain speaking. And it will mean being okay without knowing the answer to that right away. It will mean seeing injustice, so much injustice, and being able to help at times, and sometimes only being able to help the people in front of you. 

But no matter what, learning to navigate your inner world, will always mean one thing: 

Letting the truth inside of you, exist as the truth outside of you. This is the only way to become aware of and heal from the default inputs, so you can create from your center. It’s the only way to find the answers you long for. The ones telling you, we are not separate, and we never were. 

This is whole hearted living. This is living awake.