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The world we live in is a product of our imagination, so we might as well reclaim our imagination.

On December 21st, the day the Mayans predicted the world would change, I got together with friends recounting our learnings from 2012.  I had embarked upon last year with Martha Beck’s advice of resting until one needs to play and playing until one needs to rest.  It took me a while to come to an understanding of that way of life.  At the beginning I thought the resting meant sleeping and the playing meant playing pingpong.  But eventually I came to the realization that what she meant by resting and playing needs to be felt in everything one does.  In other words, if whatever you do does not feel restful or playful and thus not lifting your spirit than it is probably not the right thing to do.   I had been working so hard all my adult life that it took me a long time to find my new equilibrium, my balance, and my peace.

It is in that peaceful silent space where I got my learnings from last year.  In that space I learned that only if one feels love to themselves can one feel and see the love in others.  I had always shied away from love for myself thinking of it as selfish.  It took me reading Warming the Stone Child by Clarissa Pinkola Estes to understand that loving and mothering thyself has nothing to do with selfishness and everything to do with maturity of spirit and an understanding that the love we are seeking is not outside of us but lies within us.  As a matter of fact, everything we are seeking lies inside of us.  If we love the Mother and respect her, than we need to love ourselves and give the proper respect to how we treat ourselves.  She can only exist inside each one of us.  And if we are waiting to see Her outside of us than it is going to be an endless process of waiting.  Imagine how different you will treat yourself if you actually will give the same treatment as you would to the Divine Mother; the Mother in each one of them; a mother that is not only kind, loving and generous but also strong, determined and clear.

To love oneself means to also accept all of the self: the shadow and the light and and good and the bad.  Up until recently, I had separated all of these meanings away from me thinking of their existence as only outside of me.  But in truth, in love one can see the shadow that exists within oneself, and rather than reject it or hide it, we need to see it, acknowledge it, and accept it as part of the self.  For me this was an ordeal and a painful process to accept the part of me that I was embarrassed of and that I hid in the caves of my caves.  But as long as I was hiding it, I could never address it, and eventually I came to the conclusion that only when I acknowledge it with love can I actual love myself fully and thus calm and balance that shadow within me.  Wilma Mankiller once said when asked about a necklace of two wolves she was wearing where was black and one was white, “they are both part of me.  Which one I choose to feed more is my choice”.  I had quoted her for so many years but only when I came to realize that darkness and light are both inside me andonly when I love that full part of me and do not deny either can I address my light and my darkness with consciousness and will.

I can never explain the relief that comes with this process.  I felt like I was particles of sand dispersed all over the place, and only when I loved the fullness in the light and in the shadow could the particles come back together and form the full me and only when I could do that could I make the conscious choice that Wilma Mankiller was talking about.  Otherwise my suppressed side always forced itself outside of me despite of me.

Then, and only then, could I deal with all the things I have been struggling with: my doubt, my pain, my hurt, all of it in a way where I acknowledge the feelings for what they are and make the choices to listen to them or to move away from them.  The choice was mine.    And then, and only then could I take full responsibility for the love I need to give myself not as being selfish at all but rather as  being mature and responsible towards oneself.  I realize that only then I could show true love to others.  Love that understands  my boundaries, my good and my bad, much better.  Love that understands that unless I give myself what I need, I could never receive it from others outside of me.

Nothing in this journey is magical outside the realm of our imaginations.  Each one of us, all of us, are part of this experience.  The divine lies in each one of us.  In our love, in our innocence, in our joy, and definitely in our freedom.  The secret to all of that is to get the “I” out of the dynamics.  The trap is when we think that only “I” am special.  Only “I” feel this or that feeling.  The truth as I see it, is only when we get the ego out of the way can we actually feel the divine.  For we are all part of the oneness of this world and only in oneness can we feel the divine.   And only in oneness do we all exist.

A farmer once told me “I don’t understand why everyone is so obsessed with self-sustainability.  Nothing on earth is self-sustainable.  Everything on earth is dependent on each other, so why we humans think we can be self-sustainable.  It just doesn’t make sense.”   What he was sharing is true to everything we do.  Our actions are interdependent and codependent on each other, our survivors, our food and our energy and definitely our feelings even though it is far less obvious.

So with that spirit, my friends and I started imagining the world…. a world where every time a man rapes a woman, he feels that violation onto himself….a world where every time a person carries arms to kill, he feels that death inside himself and drops the arms as quickly as he picks it up.  We imagines a world where every bite we take out of an apple or any food we think of how the earth was treated, about the farmers that picked it, the person who packed it and sold it and about the apple itself.  We imagine a world were we are all free to fulfill our full potentials. We imagined a world were we can lead out of love and not out of fear.   We kept on imagining and went wild with our imagination until we came to only our breath.  And that is when we realized we are but breath in this massive, beautiful amazing world.

The world we live in is a product of our imagination.  So we might as well, with the beginning of a new era and a new year, reclaim our imagination and make magic happen.  But remember, the journey always starts with the self.  It may be the hardest journey to make but the one that holds the secret to utter joy and love.  Happy new year everyone.

About Zainab Salbi

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