The past twelve months of non-stop volunteer hosting for the Bureau of Land Management and the Oregon State Park system has been a good reminder of how easy it is to get caught up in the busyness of day to day life…..how easy it is to lose our “self”-awareness, our centeredness, our sense of balance.
Sitting on the shore of the Oregon coast one morning on our annual trip south from Portland to Yuma, Arizona I realized that I was feeling powerless, overwhelmed, and more than a little stressed. Watching storm driven waves breaking on the shore had lulled me into a reflective trance. Put simply, I woke that morning to the realization that I had lost touch with the importance of taking time to smell the flowers …..to play my mandolin, to do my writing, to stay focused on the things that bring meaning into my life.
I know that letting life get too busy is a sure way to lose “self”-consciousness. I routinely write in the Stonyhill Newsletter about the danger of falling asleep and letting the unconscious primitive ego of our inner-child take control of our lives. What shocked me the most that day on the beach was not that I had “fallen asleep” but rather how unaware I had become; how easily I had stopped paying attention to what is truly important to me. How easily my self-awareness had slipped outside of my consciousness. I had lost my sense of balance and was totally unaware that it had happened.
Pulling out of a county campground in Santa Rosa, California a few days later on our way down the coast, I cut the turn too sharp and caused the back tire of the motorhome to suddenly drop off the curb onto the street. The rig rocked violently back and forth totally disorganizing the contents of every cupboard. When I shared this story with good friends over breakfast a few days later, they casually suggested that the experience of driving the rig over the curb might be a very good metaphor for what had happened to me over the last year; that I had accidentally hit a speed bump in life that had totally disorganized my psychological cupboards. We all got a good chuckle out of it.
It was a funny way of describing my experience of the last year, but it was right on target emotionally. I knew that it was definitely time to rearrange and reorganize my psychological cupboards; to once again re-center myself and re-affirm some of the basic insights I write about …..insights I strive to incorporate in my own day to day life. For example………
- despite what many will tell us, life is not hard. It does not have to be a painful struggle. It does not have to be an unhappy, flat, or lifeless experience.
- life is hard only on our rigid beliefs, our rigid black-and-white opinions, our expectations, our prejudices, and our assumptions; especially those that in any way attempt to distort reality.
- happiness is not something to be achieved…..we already possess true happiness! We are already whole and balanced. All we have to do is reclaim our authentic true selves and remove the false beliefs that fragment us and keep us from experiencing the happiness we have always possessed.
- happiness comes when we recognize that we only have the power to change ourselves; not others…….that we can only change what we don’t like about our own lives.
- but what was most important for me to re-affirm that morning sitting on the beach was knowing that I was not a helpless or powerless victim of life. Because the creation of all form is first preceded by consciousness, we are all in total control of the lives we have chosen to live. We become what we think about and the Law of Attraction reminds us that what we think about is what we will attract into our lives whether we want it or not. In other words, what we choose to consciously or unconsciously think about has great power to create the life we live.
As I try to teach in my writing, the simple insights, spiritual practices, and skills contained in Primitive Ego Psychology all have the power to help us become self-aware. They have the power to enable us to transform our lives and create whatever our hearts truly desire. One day at a time we have created the life we are living and one day at a time we have the power to change it. I realized that day on the beach that it was time for me to once again awaken and to take back conscious control of my life.
It was a sobering reality and more than a little humbling to realize how easily life could cause me to lose consciousness and “self”-awareness, but it certainly feels good to be awake again. The colors and smells of the world are definitely brighter and sharper when we are conscious and present to the moment. Losing “self”-consciousness happens to all of us from time to time, but Primitive Ego Psychology reminds us that re-awakening to self-awareness is always a choice.