Dismiss

I’m skating around writer’s block at the moment. A bounty of creative energy swirls around in my brain and body, but I haven’t formed it into any coherent work…yet. I preface with this so that you have context for the coming paragraphs and their potential meandering. I’ll start with a question.

How do I dismiss myself?

This question leads to follow-up questions about dismissing other people — as in, how am I dismissive of people in general — more specifically the ones with whom I disagree. But let me try to stay the course with the first question before I tend to another exploration.

First though, let me define the word dismiss. I will assume that you understand the basic definition of the word. What I’m referring to is a tendency to minimize the existence of a thing. That’s the broad sense of it. There’s a spectrum of dismissal too. Ranging from minimizing — “that’s not so bad” — to utter and complete denial of existence — “that’s not real.”

Now without going too far down the rabbit hole here — because I think there’s a lot to unpack. I will stick to my personal journey so far. If I’m being honest, what I dismiss about myself changes from day to day. For today, what I’m naming is that I dismiss my “goodness” quite often. And what do I mean by goodness? I mean, ability, as in — I’m good at writing. I’m good at growing plants. I tend to diminish or deflect from my natural abilities. Which is to say, I dismiss my power.

Once again, there’s navigating to do here. Power is a big a word, ripe and on the verge of overripe these days. Let me narrow it down a bit. Let’s talk intuitive power. (What? That doesn’t clear it up for you? Ha!) Ok — let’s just say intuition.

Intuition: The feeling that you know something True, but have no evidence for it’s Truth.

This is a powerful ability that I carry — that we all carry. We are all good at intuition because our ancestors were good at intuition. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be here. And yet, I dismiss my intuition more often than I trust it.

Here’s an example: I meet a friend at a restaurant for lunch. We sit and have a lovely conversation, yet, my intuition is sending out a signal that something is off. I know something is off, but I have no tangible evidence for knowing it. Rather than ask or admit that my intuition is telling me that something is off, I find reasons to stay quiet. What if I’m wrong? Maybe they don’t want to talk about. Maybe they don’t even realize that they are off and bringing it up will make them uncomfortable. Maybe they are mad at me. Maybe they don’t even want to be at this lunch with me. And, depending on where I am in my cycle, and the weather, and how much sleep I’ve gotten — I could let this tailspin go on and on until I crash in a fireball of self-doubt.

OR — what if I spoke? What if I trust the intuition and I name it out loud? What if as we are hugging goodbye I say “I am so glad to see you. Something feels a little off to me here, but I trust that if you need me you know I’m here. I love you.”

Maybe my friend says nothing. Maybe she breaks down crying. Maybe she gets a little defensive. But, at least I’ve honored my intuition.

I’ve honored rather than dismissed my intuition.

I will be honest here and say that there have been times when I feel like I followed my intuition and it literally saved my life. Didn’t go home with that one guy. Left that party early. Decided to go to work a different way. Didn’t take that one job. Quit that other job.

Also, there are times when dismissing my intuition feels like it cost me dearly. And I lost people.

Thus, I’m noticing how I dismiss myself. How and when and why. Noticing, not judging. If feelings of, for example, sadness come up, I see myself shoving them into a corner. I discern that my mind has begun listing the reasons not to feel sad. Not to be dramatic. Not to “wallow.” Then I think, Hmmmm–what happens if I allow the sadness? I don’t mean that I disengage and whine and complain — that’s not being with the sadness either — that’s dumping it onto other people to rid yourself of the feeling. I mean allow it into my heart. What does that look like? What does that feel like? And if I can stop myself from dismissing it long enough to be with it — then what? Tears? YES. More tears? Indeed. And then?… Enlightenment. In my experience, the more I allow rather than dismiss, the more enlightened I become. And the more enlightened I become, the more I am filled with love and light.

And when my love and light is abundant, I can share it freely with the world.

I have one quick story and then I will wrap this up for now. This past weekend I found myself angry about something. The ‘what’ doesn’t matter. My loving partner saw my anger and attempted to assuage it. Not in a dismissive way. Not in a way that felt like he was brushing me off. It was a compassionate gesture — AND it also felt to me like we were rushing past the anger. My response to him was something like “I don’t want to dismiss the anger, or figure it out right now. I want to be with it for a bit.” Then he, being the beautiful healthy masculine partner that he is, said “Ok” and he sat down adding something like “How do you want to be with it?” He gave me space so that I could experience my anger. And I did. I mouthed off about it. I may have been a little aggressive with the groceries I was putting away at the time. Then, in the end, when I allowed myself to be in the anger in this safe space held by my partner, I came to understand. My anger wasn’t even about the ‘what’ but directly from my own feelings of guilt. Here’s the heart of it: when I decided to leave the financial comfort and seeming safety of a corporate job, it made it harder for us — financially. That’s just straight facts. And for that, I feel guilt, shame, frustration. Those feelings come from cultural training that teaches us to value ourselves only if we do the following: participate in the institutions, produce a consumable, generate wealth in the form of money. There is no part of our culture, at this time, that sees value when we participate in community and family, when we produce space and time for connection with the Earth, when we generate wealth in the form of mental, emotional, spiritual currency. And so, there I was — having allowed my anger — and finding myself in a place of vulnerability and truth with my partner. Heart open. Softened and seeing.

When I allow rather than dismiss, I become enlightened. Enlightenment builds love and light. And when my love and light is abundant, I share it freely with the world.

More next time.

Love and Light to you, Friend. Thank you for reading.

Photo by Arnie Chou

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