Many who find themselves drawn to the Cosmic Cowgirl tribe of women would probably shake their heads knowingly if I was to say that becoming a Cosmic Cowgirl tends to shift things in one’s life. I have heard stories from various Cowgirls about the changes that occurred after becoming a member and taking courses, some of them huge, such as moving to a different state or country, leaving a dead end relationship, quitting jobs or retiring in order to pursue an artist life.
The common thread I have pulled from their many stories is the courage and the bravery each of these women finally found deep in their souls to find their voice, pursue their dreams, to claim who they are and what they really want in life. Sometimes the journey is not smooth or easy. Change may challenge not only those taking action, but also those close to them as well. Sometimes family and friends look on bewildered. Sometimes they are fearful of the change. Sometimes those who love us the best are not the most supportive traveling partners.
If all goes well everyone adjusts. If all goes well, when the chaos settles down, all those ties that bind will be strong and intact.
Here are some thoughtful words of wisdom about this very subject from author Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening.
If I contradict myself, I contradict myself. I contain multitudes. ~ Walt Whitman
“We create patterns that others depend on, and then the last thing we ever imagined happens; we grow and then to stay vital we must break the patterns we created.
There is no blame or fault in this. It is commonplace in nature. Watch the ocean and shore do their dance of buildup and crumble and you’ll see this happen daily.
We know we are close to this threshold when we hear someone say, ‘You’re not yourself,’ or ‘That was out of character for you.’ What is difficult at this juncture is to resist either complying with how others see us or withholding who we really are.
The challenge, which I don’t do well but stay committed to, is to say to those we love, ‘I am more than I have shown you and more than you are willing to see. Let’s work our love and know each other more fully.”
- This is an awareness meditation. As you move through your interactions today, notice whether you arecomplying with how others see you or withholding who you are.
- After each interaction, simply breathe slowly once or twice and return to the fullness of who you are.
The reality is that things don’t always turn out as we think or hope they will. Sometimes relationships do not survive change and growth. Life continues on though. Hopefully one finds peace in one’s heart for those things that may feel unresolved. Forgiveness for one’s self is paramount and ideally forgiveness for others follows. There is also a jewel of advice again from Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakeningregarding the role of compassion.
Feeling Beyond the Hurt
Withstanding the tension between opposites until we know it is ‘enough’ releases us from the swing between one extreme and the other. ~ Helen Luke
“Sometimes, when I think of my parents, who have hurt me, I am lulled by a wintering sky to feel for them, to try on their view, but in my empathy an old pattern kicks in and I start to lose the truth of my hurt, as if there’s only room of one set of feelings – theirs.
The struggle is a common one. So often we feel for others and lose ourselves, or cut others off to preserve ourselves. Like a radio that can only tune to one station at a time, it seems like only one side of things can be received, though all sides are broadcast.
But compassion is a deeper thing that waits beyond the tension of choosing sides. Compassion, in practice, does not require us to give up the truth of what we feel or the truth of our reality. Nor does it allow us to minimize the humanity of those who hurt us. Rather, we are asked to know ourselves enough that we can stay open to the truth of others, even when their truth or their inability to live up to their truth has hurt us.
This does now remove the emotional facts of our lives, nor does it ask us to remain in a hurtful situation. Rather, compassion asks that we open like mountains to the sky, like mountains that can withstand every kind of weather.”
- Sit quietly and bring to mind someone you are at odds with.
- Breathe deeply and allow the truth of your feelings, not just the truth of your position, to rise.
- Breathe evenly and allow the other person’s feelings, not just their position to rise.
- Let your breathing ease and tension in you that either undermines yourself or undermines this other.
What are your experiences with change and growth?
Has it had any impact on your relationships?
Have you ever complied or withheld your true self from others?
How have you held true to yourself?