99 Pathways of the Heart

99 Pathways of the Heart – Maintaining and nourishing yourself

“When you are guided to this pathway, take the opportunity to feel a very steady yet powerful state of awareness in your being that maintains and nourishes you and others.”

This is the pathway that I’ve been reflecting on this past week and it is one that presents plenty of challenges for me. Embodying a steady state is something that I have been working on for as far as I can remember. For me, there is a juxtaposition here with being a free spirit.

This pathway requires pulling yourself inwards whilst you experience life. Being a free spirit, it’s easy for my heart to be called elsewhere. I want to talk about this because for me it is one the most challenging aspects of who I am as a person. This is where the conflict lies and I’m noticing that it is how my power escapes sometimes.

I know I have this immense reservoir of love within me and the capacity to nourish and give to others. This pathway takes me further in to using this source to help maintain myself and it is this very thing that I have been trying to do for a long time. This pathway has helped me to uncover a whole other level and given me an awareness and perspective that goes deeper.

For those of us that are empathic, it’s very easy to relegate our own needs in order to serve others. We think that this is why we came here – to serve. That’s part of it but not the whole of it.

This pathway really made me look at the way I give and the expectations that I have created from others around me. When I began to pull it back and go within, what struck me is how very little I have given myself. With a reservoir so large, it’s almost as if I think can survive on a lot less from the pot so rather than taking from it, I put in to it. This brings up feelings of guilt and feeling selfish. At the same time, I look around me and notice that perhaps I feel this more because of the belief that I came here to serve. There are deep set emotions here about worthiness attached to this and whether I deserve to take when I can give so much. It became obvious to me that there was very little balance in my life when it came to this.

It’s been a really challenging week and working with this pathway has actually made me feel really sad. I have to be raw and honest about how I feel. That’s what this space is for and it needs to be expressed.

The pathway also reminds me that I must not overextend myself. This is what occurred to me and I can see clearly where I am doing this. I can blame being an empath to some extent but the truth of it is that I have plenty of fleeting whims and distractions all created by my ego to prevent me from embodying this state. I can see that very clearly. I realised that I can’t hide behind anything anymore. Especially not when it has been shown to me this clearly. When you realise how little you have given yourself, it brings up anger and resentment and I’ve had to spend a lot of time working with this. I’ve allowed this and I forgive myself. I can change and that is what I am doing. Easy statements to make but if you’ve ever gone through this, you’ll know the raw emotion it brings up.

This idea of sacrifice comes with this type work and it’s something that keeps coming up for me to clear away. The idea that being in service should be at the expense of your own self simply isn’t true. I am entitled to a life just like everyone else. There’s a paradox here as the “service” is actually what I have chosen to do. It’s my own path I’m creating so it is as much for me as it is for humanity. The ego makes you choose one or the other and we are conditioned to believe that choosing service to others is the better thing to do. In actual fact, we can have both but it takes a lot of unlearning which I am still learning to do.

When I call the ego out on this, the contradictions are so very obvious. There is so much pain in saying goodbye to old ways of being. I’ve always tried to be conscious of what my ego is doing and exploring the pathways has brought up a lot of wounds that need to be healed within myself.

It isn’t easy getting the balance within yourself between serving others and serving yourself. We are brought up with conditioning that tells us that putting ourselves first is selfish. We’re taught a linear way of thinking that suggests that if we think about ourselves first, it means that we don’t care about others. It’s difficult to shift to a way of thinking that enables you to be equal to others and there’s a perception that to consider yourself equal equates to being egotistical. It gets really complicated because you can think this logically in your head but when the feelings of guilt show themselves, your heart gets pulled straight back. This is what I’m grappling with.

I’m always banging on about self-worth and I’m a work in progress but what I am learning here has come at a critical time for me. My life is interesting because of the demanding nature of my work. I get phone calls and text messages all the time asking me all sorts of things. I’ve always felt the need to answer and help and I don’t regret helping. I do sometimes resent the demands and that’s me being really honest. I take full responsibility for this now where in the past I’d have blamed others. I’ve created and met these expectations without even thinking about it and it’s difficult to undo without experiencing emotional turmoil. Meeting demands is what I’ve been looking at taking a step back from because there is a line where my work ends and I begin and that can get blurred very easily. Even though boundaries have been set, a plea for help is a plea for help and my heart isn’t one that can ignore it easily. So it’s been an emotional time because for each time that has happened, I’ve had to ask myself who I am putting first. I’m learning to deal with the emotion that comes with it and I can tell you it isn’t easy but it is necessary. This is a spiritual lesson that needs to be learned.

A strong feeling of discomfort comes from taking a step back. It’s like going against what your heart is telling you when you don’t reply to a plea for help but I had to explore this feeling for myself. It feels as if people are relying on me. It feels that there is an urgency for them that I am ignoring and that somehow makes me a bad person. Again, this linear way of thinking is one I’m learning to undo because a lot of that conditioning simply isn’t true.

What I have realised with this pathway is that I go deep and I do have a lot to give. My priority has become to maintain that within myself. Embodying a steady state of awareness and power is important but I didn’t realise how important it was for maintaining and nourishing myself. I thought I was doing that and I know now that I am not doing enough of it. The reason for this is the raw emotion, the guilt, the anger, the feeling selfish that I’m still learning to overcome. And all this just to feel equal to others! It’s mind blowing because I thought I was overcoming myself in terms of self-worth but there’s always more I need to be shown and more I need to do.

It’s interesting because although I do take a lot of time for myself and I switch off when I have to, I’ve developed some sticky habits when it comes to work. It’s the belief that work overrides everything because of it’s nature. It doesn’t though. What overrides everything is my state of being and my ability to maintain and nourish myself and I’m starting to look at that as often as I can in response to meeting the worlds demands on me. I’m taking it one moment at a time and seeing how it feels to choose me.

Just when you think you’ve got the self-worth thing down, the universe throws you a massive curve ball. With things changing as rapidly as they are, this is a very valuable lesson that the universe is giving me. I’ve noticed how quickly it can become about everything else. I’ve noticed how my free spirit slips away under the mask of empathy.

Old beliefs and old habits are dying hard. I’m working hard on taking the shame out of “I’m putting myself first.” It’s one I think a lot of us can relate to. If nice people finish last, I’m not ok with that and so I’m determined to prove that wrong.

I am just as important as everyone else and I’m determined not to forget it!

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