The veil of perception

I’m in DC for work and I brought my whole arsenal of hippie witch stuff with me. Essential oils, diffuser, dry brush, oil pulling, cards, and crystals. (Forgot my tongue scraper dammit.) I also brought my own bulletproof coffee setup, including a hand blender. Since establishing this morning routine a few weeks ago, I’ve noticed that I’m more generous to and with others. Because I’ve nourished myself and filled my own cup first, I’m not looking for external validation (as much). I don’t (always) need someone else to fill my cup because I’ve already done it. Part of this morning routine also includes meditation. When I tried establishing a routine in the past, I would set a timer, check it off my list, be very Type A about it. The practice has never stuck. I think because it was something I was supposed to be doing, not something I wanted to do. Lately, the last step of my morning routine has been simply sitting. I give myself abyangha right before this (it’s a warm oil massage that helps to move the lymph and soften the skin). I sit naked on a towel with all the oily goodness soaking in, and just sit. I sit with no timer, no agenda, no expectations of how this is going to go. I always start with a few big breaths. Then I sit until I feel complete. Some days complete feels like getting clear on what’s “the next right thing,” as Glennon Doyle calls it. Some days complete feels like remembering my circumstances are not permanent. Today, in my hotel room, I sat on the blanket my mother gave me years ago, complete felt like a deeply visceral gratitude. I can rarely remember the thoughts that come up during meditation, but I almost always remember the first thought upon opening my eyes. When I opened my eyes this morning, I was looking out my hotel room window with the thin sheer curtain still pulled closed. It was this funny ah-ha moment for me. I wasn’t seeing the buildings out my window clearly because of this thin veil. It was a similar realization I had laying on the sugar table. That because of our life’s experiences, we are never seeing things as they truly are. We are seeing everything through the veil of our perception. This came to me on the plane to DC also. As we were making our descent through the clouds, there were a few times where I could see the ground but only through fog just-thick-enough that I wasn’t sure if I was seeing a landing strip or a highway. My perception of these things isn’t wrong. My perception is my reality. And my perception is created by the culture I am raised in, the people who raised me, the schools I’ve been to, the friends I’ve had and have, the jobs I’ve had. Every single experience I’ve ever had since before I was conceived (I’ll write about that at another time :)) has influenced my perception of the experiences I have now and will have in the future. (perception is becoming a really weird word to say/write at this point and I’m doubting if it’s even really a word…)

I have two sisters. Growing up, we would get in fights like all siblings do. One of us would run to our mom and tattle tale. And our mom was always good about listening to both sides (or three sides) of the story because each of our stories were true to us but it wasn’t the whole truth. Usually, we were all to blame for something. And listening to my sisters’ stories when we got in fights was a practice in empathy (of course, I didn’t realize it at the time. I was too busy thinking of all the ways I would get revenge). I use this definition for empathy: understanding independent of agreement. Did I want to agree with my sisters after they tattletaled on me? HELL NO. I would’ve rather died. But after sitting in time out for awhile, I could understand why they were upset. People don’t like to get hit on the head with a fist even if they deserved it because they’re wearing your shirt without permission. So, if I can remember these experiences with my sisters, that everyone has their own perception of things because of their own life experiences, surely I can extend more compassion and empathy to others, and more importantly, to myself. Because what I’m seeing and how I act isn’t wrong, especially if I’m unaware of it. It’s true and right to me because of all the influencing factors I’ve been exposed to. And, for me, this is why my morning ritual has become so important. A non-negotiable if you will. To be in relationship with myself, sit in silence and to lovingly unpack it all. To unpack the beliefs and perceptions and to become aware of which ones are inherited through family or culture or media or what have you. And then, to choose those beliefs that still serve me and bring me closer to my Highest Good. And to say thank you to those that no longer serve me because they got me to where I am today.