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The Double Meaning behind the blog title 'Dream Follower:'
First, for 14 years I was a ballroom & social dance instructor, and have studied both leading and following. I feel that learning to follow is full of nuance and is often misunderstood. I made it one of my personal goals to become a really excellent follow on the dance floor, and will probably talk a lot about the art of following - both in and out of the context of dance.

Second, I am a huge fan of author Michael Ende, probably best known for The Neverending Story. The book is incredible, and the first film captured some of the essence. (Please don't watch the other two films...I urge you to read the book though!) Anyway, at least twice in my life I have been caught in a storm of my own indecision, and my inner Moon Princess yelled to my inner Bastian...'Why don't you do what you dream?' I tear up even now as I write this little blurb. The tension between being practical, keeping my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds (at the risk of compromising my inner vibrancy, true self, and who knows what else)...and reaching for my true dreams (at the risk of losing everything) is still a very real struggle. In fact, one of those struggles lead to my 14 years of teaching dance, so we can see which voice won the battle that fateful day when I was staring at the want-ad...

And so I strive to be two kinds of Dream Followers in my life. One has to do with connecting with others, and the other has to do with connecting with my inner Moon Princess and the world of possibility that opens when I do...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Emotional Non-Judgment

I am a fan of positivity, and finding the silver lining, and the teachable moment.

I am a fan of affirmations.

Am I alone, however, in finding the constant pressure to be positive, harness the law of attraction, and in general try to manipulate my emotional state oppressive?

Since when is being positive a cure-all?  Last I checked, when something shitty happens the response I have in that moment doesn't define me as a person (positive or negative)

I find a creeping counter-culture within my closest circle of true friends.  In hiding, we still preface negative statements of honest emotional state with "I'm going to hell for saying this..." or "I know I should not feel this way..." or "It sucks that I feel this way..."

And I want to share this counter-culture...and demolish the inner and outer judgment walls being paraded around as superior.

It is not a superior state of mind or heart to inflict or enforce a positive spin on every shitty thing.

Nor is it superior or inferior to wallow in a negativity spiral.

Neither is better or worse.

A lot of meditation and a lot of heightened self-awareness have brought me to a realization worth sharing.

Some positive thinking exercises are worthwhile, don't get me wrong.  But it is equally delicious to indulge in a fantasy of negativity, to follow the train of thought to all the worst possible conclusions.  Why else is the world so in love with the entertainment in books, film, tv, binge watching or imagining a fantastic series of explosive and terrible life choices unfold?

My teacher and guide on a spiritual path, Michael Barnett, has helped me recognise the possibility in the universe of transcending the judgment, and the duality of right and wrong, better and worse, and so on. Many gifts came through to me during meditations and time spent both in Germany and in seminars here in Santa Fe sharing space and resonating with his incredible cosmic connective energy.  (Perhaps I will write more about those as it feels right, for now a lot of it is still so raw and personal, and writing about it doesn't feel right for me just yet.)

I am a fan of Jeff Foster, who is also a speaker, spiritual teacher, someone I have not met, yet has taught me through his facebook posts, and youtube videos.  I found him through friends also connected with Michael, and Jeff invites us to embrace the full spectrum of emotion in our lives.

If we manage to keep some perspective in the midst of the emotional roller-coaster, positive or negative, then we can begin to evolve.

So yes, we can begin by being aware of the tendencies, habits, knee-jerk responses.  We can observe whether we trend toward doomsday scenarios, and whether those serve us well.  We can learn to dance in and out of moods, rather than be enslaved by them unconsciously.

And I will make a renewed effort to cease my judgment of my own emotions...and those close to me.

This whole topic might also be part of why I loved the movie Inside Out so much, because all of our emotions serve functions worth validating, and if we can embrace each other through the process, and accept the full complex cornucopia of our human existence, maybe we can grow beyond our known limits.

Are you with me?  Do you have a similar ambivalence toward all the Think Positive preaching surrounding us?


  1. Hmmm....yes, all that positive thinking becomes a real millstone when it's imposed, not an organic response.

    In this era of "turn that frown upside down" and other cultural encouragements to repress how we really feel, when posted photos of people's best moments can feel like accusations that our own lives aren't full of best moments, no wonder antidepressants are among the most-prescribed medications in the US!
    And affirmations so often bring into sharp focus exactly why we *aren't* "getting better in every way."
    The extrapolation leads to "if your life isn't working, it's because you aren't __(fill in the blank)__ enough."

    Long-time friend and teacher often said that we need to stop "shoulding" on ourselves.

    Is it possible to step back from *all* our emotions, the ones we like and the ones we don't, and see them as events, without preference? Can we appreciate them as part of the dance we live, which whirls around the periphery of, but doesn't change the core of our pure Being?

    1. I would like to approach my state of being and connectedness through the core of pure being, and celebrate the wholeness of being, and being connected.

      It's a tricky thing, this no-preference idea. Because of course my mind tries to now elevate acceptance over repression, which is yet another preference.

      More contemplation needed...

  2. I figure the trick is figuring out what works for you and working with that.
    If I had to be positive all the time I think it would end very very badly.
    On the other hand, when important things happen, I stay calm.
    (For me, that's a big deal.)

    1. Yes, agreed, find out what works for me, leaving room for something new to work.

      Finding elasticity within to respond organically...and remain calm without being detached or disconnected. For me it's easy to be calm when I disconnect, but that is not my goal at all...