The Six Remembrances
by Pamela Grace
We have all had the experience of intentionally choosing to enter the unknown. We sign up for a class or workshop not knowing if we will be comfortable with the instructor, material, or fellow participants. We travel to distant land with a culture far different than our own. We embark on a healing journey with no clear idea where it will lead us or how it will change our life.
These courageous excursions into the not knowing are often the most transformative. When we know something, inquiry stops and expansion is not possible. It has been said that the hardest part of learning something new is unlearning the old. But when we summon the courage to choose the not knowing as one of our paths to growth, we open ourselves to unimagined opportunities for transformation.
It is the nature of life that we are rarely given the luxury of knowing in advance the outcome or impact of our choices. When the outcome is different than we dreamed, we can find ourselves mired in self-blame or harsh criticism of others. When self-blame comes to call, I remember the words of one of my wise teachers, “You made the choice, but you did not choose the consequences. You didn’t know what they would be.” They remind me to be gentle with myself.
Once we have made the conscious choice to enter the uncertain, how do we use our new experiences to grow and expand us rather than to solidify the old patterns that we are trying to grow beyond? The guide for navigating the not knowing is remembrance. When we are able remember the deep heart knowing that guides the rest of our lives, we can choose our words and actions with consciousness while we also attend to the uncomfortable emotions that may arise in the realm of the unknown.
These are the six remembrances that we can count on as touchstones to help us all to stay grounded in our hearts, our souls, and our integrity as we journey into the uncertain. Hold these remembrances firmly without clutching them and commit to allowing them to shape and expand your experience of the not knowing.
The First Remembrance: Breathe.
Breathe, a reminder we’ve all heard countless times, a reminder so simple and so easy to forget. When challenged, first take a deep full breath filling your lungs all the way to the bottom, exhale and take another, and then another. Remind yourself of deep breathing until the deep full breaths come naturally and you begin to feel grounded and supported by the earth or floor beneath your feet. As you breathe, your muscles will soften and your ability to center and to think clearly will be restored.
The Second Remembrance: How I do anything
is how I do everything.
Often our ways of responding to the uncertain are patterns that have become like familiar, but outgrown companions. We aren’t always fully aware of the presence of these companions, we genuinely feel their absence when they leave, and we discover new ways of moving, growing, and being after they have gone. Look at the ways you have previously handled challenges and approached the unknown and you will find the ways you are likely to react to this experience. Do you hang back, try to control, become a pleaser, not quite finish, wait till the last moment, become too tired, become too busy, become distracted, over analyze? You’ve probably outgrown those companions, take a full, deep breath and commit to discovering the new ones.
The Third Remembrance: My word will shape my actions.
My word brings possibility into being. My word when kept, makes integrity tangible, creates a structure of safety, and generates extraordinary results. My word when broken diminishes my sense of self, begins to erode foundations, and opens space for cynicism. There will always be reasons to not keep our word and there will always be results when our word is kept. When you find yourself with reasons to break your word, allow yourself to gently bump up against your own inauthenticity, breathe deeply to still self judgment, and ground yourself in the remembrance, ‘I gave my word, my word will shape my actions,’ then keep your word.
The Fourth Remembrance:
There is rightness
in everything, in everyone - I look for it.
When we are uncomfortable, in unfamiliar surroundings, not knowing what to expect next, it is remarkably easy to begin to find fault with the situation, the circumstance, and the others present. And yet, when we soften, we are able to remember our shared sameness and the longing that brought us here. There is a distinction between ‘wrong’ and ‘something I don’t yet accept.’ When you find yourself on a fault-finding mission, breathe deeply, feel the softening, remember your longing, and know that their is something, even one small thing, right about what you are experiencing as wrong. Keep breathing until you uncover the rightness.
The Fifth Remembrance: I am a truth speaker.
We pay a price for ‘nice.’ When we speak less than our full truth, when we hold back our knowing, when we say other than what we mean, when we disavow our own feelings, we dishonor ourselves and erect a barrier between ourselves and others. When we choose ‘nice’ over truth we abandon the possibility of authentic intimacy -into-me-see, in favor of a false sense of temporary closeness and the avoidance of conflict. We can speak our truth in ways that are both respectful of others and deeply authentic. Tune in to the inner guidance that supports you in speaking truth, breathe deeply to clarify the truth you will speak and the way you will speak it, and then give it voice.
The Sixth Remembrance...
The sixth remembrance is unique to each of us; it is the one that Spirit calls forth from the depths of our Self. It comes to us through deep listening to the soft song of our soul in response to a gentle question such as, “What would you have me remember here?” Trust and allow whatever answer comes, even if you don’t understand it or don’t like it. Write it down and when puzzled, read it. Know that at the right time, understanding will come forth because it is in the wondrous not knowing that Knowing is born.
Copyright © 2000, Pamela Grace. All rights reserved.