Lasting Relationships – Part Two: Is It Over or Time to Grow?

by Gregory Toole

In last week’s blog, I wrote, “The requirement of growth comes from the very nature of relationship. Relationship shines the light on all the dark places of fear, insecurity, unworthiness, and those places we’d just rather not go at all…Then, relationship, by its very nature takes us right to the doorstep of those places.”

As I finished writing that blog, I imagined someone asking the question, “How do I know if I need to grow, or if the relationship is really over?” The question became the inspiration for this week’s blog.

The answer to this question is not an easy one, and surely does not break into any rote formula. However, it is a great question that we can take into our heart and into our contemplation.

When is a relationship over? Well, the simple answer is that it’s over when we say it’s over, and not a minute sooner. We ultimately determine for ourselves if the relationship continues to serve us. Ultimately, it is about serving our soul’s path.

One way to see if the relationship serves our soul’s path is to let go of our human will and surrender to our soul’s highest calling. We could use this affirmation: “I am willing to stay, if that is for the highest, and I am willing to go, if that is for the highest.” To surrender it to our soul’s highest calling is to let go of all the worldly reasons for staying or going such as:

  • I’m really comfortable in this relationship.
  • It would be too hard to find someone else.
  • We’ve been together so long.
  • I don’t know how it will affect my financial situation.

The list could go on and on, and the main point is to clear the way for us to hear what the intuition of our heart wants to whisper to us.

Here are examples of how a relationship that serves our soul’s highest calling might feel:

  • I feel the relationship is contributing to my growth.
  • I feel valued by my partner.
  • I feel really seen by my partner in a way that expands me.
  • I feel the relationship calls me to be my best.
  • My main reasons for being in the relationship feel clean, healthy, and affirming of what’s important to me.

When the relationship is not serving our soul’s highest calling, the growth we are called to involves letting go – releasing the current form of the relationship. When the relationship is serving our soul’s highest calling, the challenges that come forth are the opportunities for growth.

May all of your relationships call you into the highest expression of your soul.

Namasté,
Gregory

Lasting Relationships – Part One: The Willingness to Grow

by Gregory Toole

Lasting relationships, particularly those of the romantic type, seem quite elusive for many. Even short-term relationships may be elusive for many. Relationships, if they are to be truly meaningful, require a degree of vulnerability, risk, and growth.

Being hurt in a former relationship can greatly diminish our possibilities for future relationships, depending on what we internalize from the previous experience. For example, in my early thirties I began to wonder why it had been about ten years since I had been in a meaningful relationship. As I peeled back the proverbial layers of the onion, looking deeply into what was the underlying cause, I remembered an experience I had ten years before, while I was in college. I had fallen in love and found myself heartbroken when the relationship ended. The pain seemed too great to bear at the time, and I vowed never to be hurt like that again. What I really had set in motion, unbeknownst to me, was to never get into a meaningful relationship again.

Once I saw this clearly in my early thirties, I realized I was stronger than I had been in my twenties, and the decision I made in my twenties to protect myself no longer served me. As I began to allow myself to be open and vulnerable again, willing to fall in love, accepting there was a risk I could get hurt emotionally, I opened the possibility for meaningful relationship, which occurred for me.

Then I learned there is something more than just being vulnerable and willing to take a risk. Once the fear of being hurt was gone, there was awareness that in order to move forward, to have the relationship last, one must be willing to grow. While one could probably maintain a fairly shallow relationship without being required to grow very much, anything meaningful would require growth every step of the way.

The requirement of growth comes from the very nature of relationship. Relationship shines the light on all the dark places of fear, insecurity, unworthiness, and those places we’d just rather not go at all. The latter are those places within us that we’ve built a wall around, or more like a fortress, for the very purpose of making sure no one or nothing would take us there. Then, relationship, by its very nature takes us right to the doorstep of that place and says, “This is the doorway to that meaningful relationship you want.” At this moment we might be tempted to begin bargaining, saying, “No, I’m willing to go anywhere but there. I’ll do anything else, but not that.”

All of this bargaining is to no avail because love is designed to transform us; to bring those dark places into the light and free us from the fortress we have built that ultimately has limited us. Love is here to tell us we are bigger than our fears, insecurities, and beliefs of unworthiness. Love is here to invite us into that greater experience of life that is beyond even our own imagination.

If we are willing to breathe into our deepest shadows, face them with the love of a partner, and bravely walk through them, we invite the deep healing and freedom that love offers us. Then, not only does our relationship last, it also frees us to experience the fullest possibility for our lives.

See next week’s blog for Part Two:

            Lasting Relationships – Part Two: Is It Over or Time to Grow?

Namasté,
Gregory

The World is Ready for All of You

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by Gregory Toole

I gave a talk this past Sunday in Oakland, California that was about the power and freedom of fully being who we are. Often we are so busy trying to conform, fit in, or not stand out too much that we forget the gift of our uniqueness.

We know intuitively that we are each a completely unique manifestation of Spirit, and yet sometimes we still find ourselves comparing what we do or who we are to what we see in others.

When I traveled to Ukraine in 2009 to be a keynote speaker at a spiritual conference, despite the fact that I had literally given several hundred similar talks in the past, I found myself wondering if I needed to somehow be different, or more, in Ukraine. I began to ask myself whether my style of delivering a talk would go over well in another culture. I finally remembered that all I have is me, who I am. So I decided to just go for it and be myself.

I had fretted so much over whether I would be acceptable that I forgot there would be an interpreter, since most people at the conference only spoke Russian. I got two sentences into my talk and I was stopped by the interpreter so that she could speak my words into Russian. It was a funny moment and I let go of all my angst. Then I told a joke and there was complete silence…until 30 seconds later when everyone broke into laughter. Ah yes, even the joke had to be interpreted into Russian first.

Even though my words needed to be translated into Russian, who I am needed no translation. Much to my delight, the crowd loved me. It was a reminder to me that who we are is the gift. When we don’t give all of who we are, we are literally cheating the universe, our fellow beings, and most importantly, ourselves.

Here are three affirmations I shared in my talk on Sunday:
The world is ready for all of me.
The world needs all of me.
The world’s going to get all of me.

And so it is.

Namaste,
Gregory

Comedy or Tragedy? (Or Sermon?)

by Gregory Toole

It seems that everything I experience in life either engenders within me the wisdom of some deep and profound spiritual truth, fit for a sermon, or something outrageously funny enough to develop a comedy routine.

Is this how everyone experiences life, or is it just me? During the years that I led a spiritual center in California, I always had plenty of material for my talks, such as when I ran out of gas in a small town and suddenly, out of nowhere, appeared a whole set of minions to push my car to safety. As I think about it, that one turned into both sermon and comedy material, and I mixed the two the Sunday that followed the event.

It seems that the more absurd and challenging the situation, the more material there is for a sermon and/or a comedy routine, such as the time many years ago when I was just getting my entrepreneurial wings. I was without a car, so I took a bus to the destination of a client, or so I thought. This was before the days of Google Maps and other such apps, and the bus ride left me with quite a long walk to the client’s location. It was also quite a hot day, so as I began to walk, I also began to perspire. By the time I arrived at my destination, I was quite late (and sweaty), which curtailed the amount of work I could do for the client based on his schedule. As I left the client at the end of our time together, walking back toward the bus, a bit humiliated, I began to calculate how much I had earned for all of my efforts. It amounted to $12.50.

Suddenly, a big smile came over my face and I had a good laugh. It was too absurd for me to be upset. It was certainly material worthy of a comedy routine or a sermon, but surely not material for a tragedy. It was too funny for that.

We really do get to choose whether the events in our lives represent a comedy or a tragedy, or perhaps a sermon. For me, they ultimately end up in a sermon, mixed with some comedy.

May lightness fill your heart and experience.

Namasté,

Gregory

Transforming the Planet Through Self-Acceptance

by Gregory Toole

Metaphysical spiritual principle tells us that we can ultimately have in life what we can accept. This is a simple proposition, but not always easy in practice. Ralph Waldo Emerson implored us to get our “bloated nothingness out of the path.” This is much of our sacred work.

Right now, we are certainly experiencing a paradigm shift in our world. The physical evidence is everywhere, from global warming to the dawning revelation that war is obsolete.  And yet, what are we individually to do with all of this? I suggest that the first thing is to accept our own power and presence, or more accurately, the power and presence of the divine within us.

In accepting our divinity, we are accepting that we have infinite capability to make a difference in our world. Perhaps the greatest capability we have is to contribute a wellspring of joy, peace, and love everywhere we go. I’m not speaking of just being a “nice person.” I am speaking of being so grounded in our divinity that we ooze joy, that we are the embodiment of pure peace, and that we are the picture of love itself. This is our divine capacity and a powerful opportunity to transform our planet. The more of our divinity we embody, the more we become powerful forces of non-resistance and we can say to the mountain, “move,” and it will move.

Since our potential in this area is infinite, we need not be critical of ourselves and where we are today – that doesn’t serve anyone. Instead, let us be grateful for what we are offering today and grateful for our infinite potential to make a difference in our world, and let us proceed from there to steep even deeper in our spiritual practice and offer up its fruits to our world.

You are a transformative presence on the planet. Thanks for who you are.

Namasté,
Gregory

A Spiritual View on Marriage Equality

by Gregory Toole

As we read about marriage equality and hear arguments before the United States Supreme Court, it is easy to say, “This is a political issue; I’ll stay out of it.” In reality, this is a human and civil rights issue.

If we can move into our hearts, we can evolve humanity past its criticisms and judgments and into its deep-felt divine wisdom that has infinite capacity to guide us into higher choices. We can move from incremental evolution into that place where all that we need to know can be known now. How much suffering could be alleviated if we could come to the place where we see the full divinity of others without having to first move it through our filter of fear and ignorance? Think about how much suffering could have been alleviated in the civil rights movements of the 60s and 70s if, instead of the filter of humanity’s lowest common denominator, we saw directly into the divinity and equality of African Americans and women?

We now have the capacity to go directly to higher wisdom. Higher wisdom, the wisdom from divine knowledge, is not arrived at through debates and slaying all of our inner demons first. It is arrived at by a willingness to let go of all that, to let go of our fears and prejudices, and to open to divine knowing.

Higher wisdom calls us to see ourselves fully in the mirror, recognizing our own inherent divinity, knowing that once we see our own divinity, it will be impossible to not see the divinity of others.

When we see our own and others’ divinity, we can only want the best for others and want them to have all we would want for ourselves. For it is only in our sense of separateness, and our false belief that difference equates to something to be feared or something less than divine, that we persecute and withhold equal treatment for others.

The call is to enter into our hearts this day and ask from our deepest sense of compassion and love, who would we cast out of heaven? Who would we deny happiness and fulfillment? Who would we deny equal treatment under any human-made laws? Love will surely point us to inclusion, equality, and freedom for all. We don’t need to debate this with anyone. It is already a truth planted deeply in the heart of all whose soul springs forth from eternity. We simply need to call each other into our hearts.

May all beings everywhere be happy. May all beings everywhere be well.

Namaste,

Rev. Gregory Toole

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