I am not usually a fan of ‘do not waste another minute of your life’ maxims. I feel scolded by them, criticized for wasting talents or wasting time or just generally not doing or being enough. And I find them pushy, and pressuring. “Go go go! Do do do! Act Now! Act Now! Act Now!” they shout, and incite anxiety within me, and within our already fearful culture. “GO WHERE???!!! DO WHAT???!!! ACT HOW???!!!” And we all spin in circles with our hearts racing, desperate to find the thing it is we’re supposed to be doing because the CLOCK IS TICKING and we are DOING SOMETHING WRONG.
When a person is ready to hear those words, they may come as inspiration. But if a person is learning to BE, and love herself and accept herself and trust in uncertainty while she does not know where to go or what to do or how to act, those words can trigger freak-out panic. So I have tended to ignore them. Bless them and their senders, and dismiss them as not being very helpful to me.
But I’m going to use them today.
Dear beautiful souls: Please do not waste another moment of your life in ignorance of how beautiful, lovable, and how truly loved you are.
These sweet words of wisdom, the lesson in my own life, came to me two weekends ago as I sifted through old photos, in search of a shot of Kelley Powell and myself to use in my RR +KSP +The Merit Birds post. I was down in the basement, squatting on the cold cement floor, making peace with the tiny brown spiders I had disrupted when pulling the photos out from their storage space. And my quick-quick mission to grab the photo I had in mind and zip upstairs turned into a moving and eye-opening hour.
What I saw, squatting and then kneeling and then sitting there, looking at pictures of me in happy, drunken embraces with high school friends at Kellie’s cottage (different Kellie), and then smiling and silly (mostly also drunk) at university, was love. I was loved.
See here’s the thing. I bought a cute little book recently called The Soulmate Secret, by Arielle Ford. (I flipped through it in the bookstore for about twenty minutes, and was pleased with myself for being whimsical and inspired and deciding to buy it. As I walked out of the store a handsome, soulful-looking man with a man-bun was walking right by. Did I smile? Take that as a chance to be whimsical and inspired? Non. Oh Robin. I thought, “That can’t be him– I haven’t read the book yet.”)
So you know how we talk about limiting beliefs and how they can hold us back? Well, invited by my new book to do some digging, I uncovered a whole set of subconscious beliefs that had been messing with my self-esteem and relationships since grade school. I realized that I had been carrying ‘I am undesirable’ around with me since the 1980’s days of my crush on blue-eyed Robbie Dodd. (I think they were blue. Blond hair, anyway. So cute, when we were ten.) ‘Boys may like me, but they will never choose me’ was a part of that belief. And ‘it is a challenge to love me’ evolved easily from that.
It is incredible to fathom the power of our beliefs in determining the course of our lives. I was a pretty confident girl. But I would have interpreted these boys’ disinterest, awkwardness or immaturity as evidence of a personal flaw, developed the theory that there was just something about me that was not love-interest material, and hardened that into a belief as my expectations of romantic failure were fulfilled again and again. With a belief in my undesirability running the show, it didn’t matter that I was smart, funny, or thought I was pretty some of the time. The law of attraction had to comply with what I was emitting energetically.
So I was attracted to boys who would always pick the other girl. Young men who felt powerful playing with emotions. Men who may have taken an interest, but who were incapable of taking action. And if exceptions to that rule did show up at my door with flowers (I think someone sent me chicken wings once… but never flowers), my ego was so invested in being right about my undesirability that I would send these suitors away. I would show so-and-so that loving me was hard. There was something wrong with me, after all. And if he couldn’t see it then there was obviously something wrong with him. (I wasn’t sure what ‘it’ was, exactly. But I soon came to doubt the very attributes I had viewed as strengths. I reasoned that funny wasn’t sexy, smart wasn’t sexy, and pretty wasn’t… well, with small breasts, pretty wasn’t sexy either.)
This subconscious belief stuff is fascinating to me. I hadn’t even realized until just now how insidious this programming was. It’s not like I believed deep down that I was undesirable, but continued to function happily in other areas of my life. (Which is what I’ve been thinking until now.) I came to believe that everything about me was undesirable. YIKES. And that extends the reach of these slithery roots beyond just my relationships with men. Unwanted as an actor. Undesired as a coach… writer, mother, sister, daughter, friend. Yeesh. I’ve got to go back and update my affirmations.
I love affirmations. They have always worked really well for me, and I enlisted their aid two months ago when my ‘undesirability’ program first came to light. “I am desirable, and I always have been. I am desired. I am loveable and loved.” And then some special wording for the lover-man. “My soulmate and I are drawn to each other. We connect easily and ___________.” (Blissfully, happily, romantically, nakedly. Whatever.) Thankfully, I had done enough heart healing and Robin-loving up to that point that releasing and replacing my negative beliefs was actually easy. I was mindful of my affirmations moving forward, and put the past behind me.
Cue: the basement. I was looking for a photo of two nineteen year-old girls in red t-shirts and coveralls, when Kelley and I were ‘gaels’ in our second year of university. It was our esteemed and intoxicated job to lead frosh groups– gaggles of first-year students– through their first week on the Queen’s campus. This Soulmate Secret stuff was no where near my mind. I did find the photo I was looking for, but also found Kelley giving our photographer the finger. (No selfies in 1994.) Not the best pic to promote a respectable author. So I kept looking.
And as I’ve already written, what I saw in those albums and envelopes was love. I had a group of guy friends in high school who were all rather good looking. We partied together, mostly; a close group of girlfriends and ‘the boys’, at cottages, in bars underage, in basements, in bars when we were of age. And I was certainly attracted to one or two or three or four of them over time. But I was always just ‘Robin’ (insert neutral tone here) to them. The friend. The one who liked amaretto. Danced to Abba. I was never the girlfriend or the lover or the wanted one. Or so I thought.
Now I’m not saying that these guys were in love with me or pined over me or still think about me every night of their lives and are so happy I’ve made this discovery and are going to call me this evening (every single one of them) and arrange that we live happily ever after. But right there, in photo after photo, making me sadder and sadder as I stared in awe, was something I had never seen before. I was liked. In those embraces I had ignored as perfunctory, I saw caring, and connection. Interest. Affection, appreciation. Possibly desire. I had mattered.
And I was stunned. “I didn’t know….” I said out loud, to the spiders, and the ether. ” I didn’t know…” On a surface level, I was holding evidence of romantic interest I had not known existed. Okay. But the longer I flipped through the photos, from high school through to the end of university, the more deeply the significance of this registered. A world of possibilities had been open to me– LOVE had been open to me– and I’d never even known. With my recent shift in perception, my reality had changed. I was never unloved, or unloveable. I was never undesired, or undesirable. I was never un-anything. God was always there, in everything, as love. I just couldn’t see it.
So what to make of this gigantic epiphany? Regret over opportunities missed? Guilt over wounds I’d inflicted in ignorance of my lovability? Blame and self-flogging? Panicked declarations of ‘Never again! Never again!’? Those lasted briefly. What took a little longer to come in but has stayed with me still is grace. The invitation to question what it would feel like to come to the end of my life, look back, and realize that I had always had everything I’d ever wanted, right there on offer to me, and that I’d missed it. Can you imagine? The pit in your stomach as you look down from above and see that everything was available to you? That the Universe had felt such love for you, that God had answered every prayer, and that Love, and Abundance, and Health and Happiness were always right there… but you hadn’t seen? You hadn’t known? That brings tears to my eyes.
And it opens them, too. I asked myself where I was blind to the blessings within and around me now, and saw that I’ve not come close to perceiving the love that is present in my life. To my father, my sister, and faraway aunts and uncles, to my mom in the non-physical realm: thank you. To my children: you are love-pumping machines, and I have not fully appreciated nor opened to receive that incredible flow, until now. I am so loved, becomes the new affirmation. I have always been so loved.
I have so much, is my new reminder regarding wealth and material possessions. I have always had so much. Truly, everything that we desire is here now, and we need only eyes to see it. “This now is it. This. Your deepest need and desire is satisfied by the moment’s energy here in your hand.” That’s Rumi. And he seemed to know.
I have since made the peaceful (and not panicked) declaration that I will not waste another moment of my life ‘not knowing’. A lot of women I know, especially after becoming mothers, have looked at photos of themselves from ten or twenty years ago in complete amazement of how good they looked then, compared to how they see themselves now. This is the phenomenon of not seeing what is right in front of us. And I say let’s do away with that now. Let’s SEE, with eyes of love and truth. Let us not waste another second of our lives in ignorance of how SO, SO LOVED we are, now. How BEAUTIFUL. How ABUNDANT. How WORTHY.
I have heard men say that what they love about their girlfriend or wife is that ‘she does not know she is beautiful’. Here I alternate between stone-cold stare and retching motion. No one likes vanity, je comprend. But if she does not know her beauty, inside or out, she is not living in her power. She is not radiating her light into the world. She is diminished. And if that is what you like about her, well, God bless you both with eyes to see.
What happens, when you are in your power? When you know you are lovable, and loved, healthy and wealthy and beautiful now, as you are? Well then you are aligned with the vibration of Truth. You are consciously connected to the Source of all Creation, in the flow with the Infinite, and you are truly and totally free. And you feel that. You can do anything.
So in every little thing you behold– the chives in a jar on the table because the purple blooms are pretty, the cat (who just barfed and is now curled up asleep), the way the sun is beginning to set after the rain– see the Truth. Feel that. And know: You are so loved. You are so loved. You are so loved.