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Who You Are: Lessons on Spirituality from Moana



I read the language of energy. It is a language that I know inherently, although that does not mean that I have not needed to practice and learn about the ways of the language in order to be where I am today. Languages are interesting because there are so many levels of potential usage for them.


You may first learn the letters or characters that make up a language, while simultaneously learning about the meaning of a small set of words, yet dissociated with those visual representations. Then you start to identify the letters and how they work together to form words, and then learn how to link the letters or characters with the audio versions of them (spoken words) and eventually the meaning of them.



From there, you start to more easily blend the visual representations with the audible sounds and the meaning together, to become one experienced understanding of that word and how it associates with other words to form sentences. You then explore sentences and how they create a full thought, which can be combined with other thoughts to create a paragraph or a summary of the thoughts, and how they work together to create a concept.



Eventually, your concepts join up with other concepts to create discussions or explorations of theories or scenarios or stories. At some point, some people begin to tie other languages together with the visual representations of the words through letters or characters, and they begin to create images or sounds that represent the words and meanings, but take a different form. Poetry. Music. Visual and performing arts.


They speak the language of colors and vibrations and frequencies and harmony. They begin to feel the meaning of the language and can express the meaning on many levels of understanding that speak to others who can speak the same language as them.


As they practice and experience additional languages, they incorporate them into their expressions of the concepts and this creates wisdom. When wisdom is reached, it does not need a specific language to be expressed, yet can be expressed and understood through any language.



I've been standing on the edge of the water. It calls me. There's just no telling how far I'll go.


These words are paraphrased from the words of a song from the movie Moana. She feels called. Guided. There is something within her that keeps pulling her towards the ocean. Towards the unknown on the other side of the comfort zone. Outside of and rebelling against what she's been taught. The dream, as described by Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements.


What feels different about a calling vs a profession or a career path, is the way that it sits in your body. The way you make decisions from a different place. They don't initiate in your head. They initiate in your gut. In your Hara one could say, or in your solar plexus. Your intuition. And they resonate within your heart. And your mind most likely tries to shame you into believing they are wrong because they are scary and have no proven outcome. They come with the knowledge that there is danger of failure, but the acute awareness that it doesn't matter because it is the only choice that you can make. At some point, you get tired of resisting and although it's no less scary to step into it, not stepping into it is somehow far worse. It is a lie. It is no longer who you are. You have shed that part of you.



Everyone seems so happy. Everything is by design. Everyone has a role here. Maybe I can roll with mine. But the voice inside me sings a different song.


You do have a role here. We all do. But that role is not defined by the needs of others. It is not defined by what someone else experienced and determined worked for them. It is up to each of us to find our own language. The one we know by heart and can speak poetically. The one that seeks out others who speak similar languages that harmonize with your own and to learn about their language as well. And as we grow and learn, so does our identity. We see this often as adding to our toolkit or personality. But I see it as shedding the parts that belong to someone else's image of themselves which they see within you.



It's blinding. No one knows how deep it goes.


The unknown can feel scary because it is dark, clouded, veiled. But no matter how deep you go, you get there one step at a time. One breath at a time. We easily jump ahead in our minds and imaginations to a place where we first see a potential outcome.


Most likely we see a reincarnation of something we've experienced before. Something vaguely familiar, yet mutated into something even worse because it has paired up with other known "monsters" (outcomes/experiences, etc.). And together they create an illusion of something unstoppable. Impenetrable.


Yet you forge on using only your internal compass because you have only this to go on. And you are far more equipped to read it than you realize because you have been practicing for years on more accessible expeditions and adventures. You have learned this language just like you learned the alphabet and how to create poetry from lines and dots.



Let me go. When I cross that line. No one knows how far it goes.


It does go far. It does go deep. And every step of the way has purpose. It has meaning. Just as every word you learned to assemble and pair with another has purpose and meaning.


And eventually you begin to see how the steps together create a path. And the path meets up with another path to create an intersection. And that intersection creates a point of interest, a familiar space. And as the paths continue to grow and wander, they create additional intersections which start to form a network.


And the network can communicate information and move concepts more quickly through each path because there are helpers along the way. Helpers that intersect with other helpers and share their knowledge with each other for the good of all.



So as long as the wind stays behind me, who knows how far I'll go.


Using our knowledge of languages and the wisdom of our experiences to propel us forward on our journey is not only wise, it is necessary. The past is not a waste of time, yet it is not a place where we exist now. We bring forward the lessons that we've gained and implement them in our now, which is the only place where we truly exist. We are in our future and of our past, but we are not either. We are here. Right now.


But the wind changes. Nature cycles and grows and continues moving. And so do we. We may resist growing or changing, but when the winds change and the energies cycle through, we must flow with them. Otherwise we face hardships and challenges.



Isn't this quite a metaphor. We can also call "my hook," "my Shenpa" as Pema Chödrön calls it in her book Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears. That which keeps me right where I am.


Our identity is tied to our behaviors as well as how others respond to our behaviors and actions. But our behaviors are conditioned and learned. Who we are is not what we do. It is what drives us. It is how we see the beauty in the world and each other, and also how we feel and express our pain.


We cannot fully separate ourselves from our behaviors, but they alone do not define us. We may have only one chance to leave an impression on someone, but that act or moment is not who we are. It is someone's experience of us and how they may define us. But we are a full sum of all of it; not only the act but the driver that created the need for the specific reward associated with that act, as well as the way we react to it happening while in action, how we process it, and when and if we let it go.


Our actions can provide glimpses of who we are, but really we can only feel who we truly are. We know it deep in our souls and can feel it in our bodies. Our minds can recognize when we are living our purpose. When we are speaking our truth. When we are aligned; mind, body and soul. And it can feel when we are not.



When we are angry or hurt, we can appear as monsters, even to ourselves. It is an outward reflection of what we are feeling on the inside, directed outward. You may not even know how you feel because you've put up a reflective shield to protect yourself. And the image you see within is that which you have blocked from everyone else.


You see your beauty but only as reflected by the response of others who are seeing only the reflection of their own pain coming back at them, disguised as you.


The more we reflect what hurts us out toward other people, the further we are pushed from the very thing that will heal us. The very thing we are looking for to begin with. Love. But love is vulnerable. When we are vulnerable and take down the shield, it allows others to see your beauty, and allows them to see their own.



At first, we may begin by looking for someone else to come along and treat us the way that we so desperately want to feel. As babies we cry because this is the language we know. When we cry, we attract others to us that want to soothe us. Who arrive with compassion and a genuine desire for us to be relieved from our pain. We learn that this is how we receive love.


While we also learn that it comes to us naturally as we play and explore and are curious, when we are little and cute and innocent, so to speak, this begins to fade away with age. People become busy and distracted and our playfulness becomes and irritation. Who has time to play and be silly when there are serious matters to take care of?!


With these different experiences we are taught different results. And yet we still receive attention (not always the kind we are wanting) for crying out. An image of who we are is being formed by our actions and the reactions of others. And we start putting up shields. And we can see only the image our own reflection and experience it through the lens of the pain of others reflected back at us.


And while gripping so tightly to that image, we are actually pushing ourselves further and further away, and right into the energy of the exact thing we are trying to relieve ourselves from. Pain.


We push the need for external validation so far away that while we once believed we could never heal without someone to love and accept us, we now believe that we will only heal without it. I can do it all by myself. No one else can step up and do it, so I will do it for and by myself.



But at some point, you realize that it can be far easier when you have support. If you can find commonality with others, then the differences are less important. You can explore your differences with a sense of openness and curiosity rather than of fear and judgement. And this is how you form a new kind of bond. A new kind of support group. A relationship with love itself, which in turn helps you recognize love within yourself and within others.


At this point, you may begin to recognize yourself again. You may start to see a familiar shape start to form underneath the layer of pain that was disguised as a monster. And when you see that this beast was never outside of you, but also is not your whole identity, you can reunite these parts of yourself again in harmony.


A shadow is nothing without the light. And the light cannot exist without creating a shadow. When the sun is straight above us at high noon, or deep into the hottest hours of the day, it can feel intense. We may crave the shadows at this time because it feels cooler, less intense. And as the sun goes down and coolness sets in, you may again begin to crave the warmth of the sun. But without each existing, you do not know the full capacity of the other. You can appreciate the role of each as they balance each other and provide stability within the change. A complete cycle. Wholeness. Belonging. Peace.



Over the past several years, the collective energy has leaned far in the direction of believing that touch all too often brings with it pain. Fear. Dominance. We are sick of it. Opposite energies are creating a space now where we physically can't touch each other without the probability of harming each other. Of becoming ill.


On the far sides of each of these energies were first the abuse of touch, and soon we will crave touch once again. A different kind of touch. We are healing the wounds and learning a new way of being. A new way of interacting with and loving each other.


When you learn that the monster you fear is actually capable of living inside of you, you have to look it in the eye and show it love. Accept it for what it is. Pain. Show it that you are not the enemy by accepting that it is not your enemy. You see the truth hiding beneath the layers of pain and suffering. You welcome it (the monster) back within you and forgive yourself for casting this piece of you out in the first place.


And this is the point where you can return. In the movie, Moana completes her mission and returns to her people, teaching them to be who they truly are within themselves through the lessons of her experience. As coaches and teachers along on the spiritual journeys of others, we can use the tools that we have earned and learned on our own journeys to help support each other. We can use our own wisdom to teach, in our own language, to others who speak a similar one. And we continue to learn from them as well. To learn new languages.



Like Maui, when we take on the responsibility of fixing things or creating the world that we think others want or need, we lose sight of our real purpose. We begin to see ourselves as the solution rather than as guides and mentors. A guide brings you along on the journey. The journey is for you, but they enjoy the location.


They know it well and want to share it. But we all experience it differently. We may be there for the photo ops while others are there for the silence. Some might be along for the ride because they heard it was great and are following the guidance of others. So what. That is how they chose to experience it. But they are still there, aren't they?


Maybe they experience it through the lens of a cell phone camera. They are taking in the same view as the one you are carefully oil painting en plein air. And someone else is enjoying it most while sitting around a campfire under the stars with a hot dog on a stick, but breathing in the fresh air and letting the light of the stars heal them. Maybe they don't want a guide. And maybe they like hotdogs. Maybe this is the thing they choose to overlook until they don't any longer when they've healed enough under the starlight and no longer need that hook in order to define themselves.


So who are you?

What language do you speak?

How do you explore this language and share it with others?

And what is your calling?



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