Sri Nisargadatta Majaraj said, “I leave my human life to unfold according to its destiny. I remain as I am.”

I believe that I don’t have anything to offer that isn’t offered way better, more eloquently, with more presence, etc. than anyone whom I’ve met, studied, or just heard about who point to the Truth of all that is. More importantly, I am definitely a work in progress. I am far from a perfected, enlightened being, but I do think I’ve made one critical and decisive shift—I’ve given up all hope of being other than what I am.

Maybe this is just a phase in the grand experiment that is my life, but I’m damned tired of trying to be a better daughter, wife, mother, friend, student, empowered woman, spiritual person, musician. Years ago I left my previous religious tradition with its rules and dogma, and I am only now seeing how I continue to attract circumstances for myself in which I feel disempowered. I’m still trying to fulfill others’ rules and expectations—teachers, friends, husband, society. While I indeed have had a lot to learn (and still do) about being a healthy, functioning member of society, community and family, I have mostly undervalued my ability to make choices for myself. I have given away my power and sense of responsibility to the opinions and ideals of others. I have compared myself brutally against the unique lives of others. This was a sadly misguided and toxic little habit. One that has caused a great deal of suffering and an incredible sense of separation from my essential Self. Then, in the Universe’s infinite wisdom, I have found others who compare and judge, control and enforce rules, either entrenching my negative patterns or providing challenging reflections of them. I am stepping off this hamster wheel and taking back sovereignty and responsibility for my life.

It is flatly NOT SPIRITUAL to compare. PERIOD. It is flatly not useful, either. Comparison is one key way that women give up our power to others. Also, taken the opinions or criticisms of others too seriously…no thank you. Life is complicated and I’m the only one who can choose  my path.

When I’m with an awake being, or in my own moments of clarity and lucidity, I sense that I am a perfect, precious ray of the One. No better or worse, no more special nor shameful, no more or less talented, no more or less worthy than any other being in the universe. When I am aware of my essential Self, I sense that I am completely loved and seen as the perfection that is my ground of being. Whether I am a victim or a perpetrator, a sinner or a saint, matters not to the One Life. I cannot be other than That. An awakened being, or I in my clarity and connectedness, may also see and discern layers or obstacles that obscure this light. Life in this reality is full of confrontation and apparent separation.

I am learning to be open and receptive while taking responsibility for my needs and safety. I am learning that I am worthy of respect and dignity, and I am treating myself accordingly. As I put my own needs and well-being first, I have no need to defensively push back against perceived slights or abuse.

How do you take care of your needs and maintain your well-being? How do you take care of your needs within relationships? How do you respond to the expectations of the people closest to you? How do you create a boundary or make a space without pushing others away?