Gina Murdock: Learning to love what is
The hardest lesson I never wanted to learn is to love what is. It’s the title of teacher and author Byron Katie’s bestselling book and the basis for her life’s work, called, aptly, “The Work.”
Doing “The Work” helps to unbind and unwind patterns of victimization and blame. It offers anyone in any circumstance a sense of freedom and liberation in four simple questions that create an opportunity to see things differently.
Indeed, if a miracle is simply a change of perception as “A Course in Miracles” states over and over, then seeing things differently is a miracle and we are all capable of experiencing that if we are willing. We have to be willing to surrender what we think we know to allow a shift in perception. It’s much easier said than done.
I’ve had some profound shifts in perception in my life that led me from a state of victimization to one of empowerment and joy, regardless of outside circumstances. To know that nothing has to change on the outside, which I cannot control, to experience a shift on the inside, which I can control somewhat, created in me a profound sense of freedom. This knowing is the elixir for helplessness and hopelessness. It is the basis for all that is real, meaningful and true to me. To know I can resource myself to feel whole and complete — even if things don’t go my way — is the ultimate freedom.
I’m not sure I would have experienced this gift of awareness if I didn’t struggle against it for many, many years. For a good part of my 30s I was victimized by the fact that hard as I tried, I couldn’t have children. This felt like a cruel, unfair and at times agonizing fate. I had the deep desire, an amazing husband, home and community and I was ready, willing, open, healthy and fit. Why wasn’t I able to do what was such a natural thing for a woman to do?
Blame, shame, judgment, despair, distraction, envy, confusion, guilt. I had it all and bounced from obsession to feigned indifference until I landed in an authentic place of grief in the longing. Being with grief led me eventually to accept “what is.” I simply became OK with it even though it wasn’t my preference. I knew I could no longer fight reality because I wanted to live a full life and to do that I needed to be present. Being attached to an outcome that I couldn’t control kept me from that. I let go. Not when I wanted to, but after years and years of holding on I got too tired of fighting and slowly loosened my grip, falling away from my dream, I thought, but in reality actually getting closer.
A miracle is a change of perception. For me, accepting that I might mother in a different way than I wanted or dreamed of in this lifetime, but that I was OK anyway, freed me from the bondage of needing things to be a certain way to feel happy and fulfilled. I finally could allow myself to see things differently and then miraculously I could no longer feel the feelings that once consumed me of victimization, upset and unfairness. The longing was still present, but it became an invitation to enter the sanctuary of my heart and tend to the fire of self-love in there. Often, I would find the embers barely burning and that’s where the pain came from, I realized. The pain of neglecting my own inner fire was the ache I felt in my heart that was disguised as a need for some “thing” from the outside to complete me. As I tended that sacred inner fire with my presence and care, the abundant love in my heart swelled. Love heals.
My intent to mother never wavered, but eventually I surrendered my will in how, when and if it would happen. I realized it simply wasn’t up to me.
Letting go of something that felt necessary, natural and native to my well-being as a woman in this life is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Learning to ‘Love What Is’ is the most valuable lesson I never wanted to learn, and, I believe, the basis for miracles.
Gina Murdock is the founder Lead with Love, an Aspen-based nonprofit dedicated to shifting culture from fear to love. Gina writes a monthly column for The Aspen Times sharing insights on her own lifelong journey from darkness to light. For more information, go to http://www.ileadwithlove.org.
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