Recently, I discussed Opening Your Heart and Letting Go influenced by The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. I found that this is one of Alison McGrath’s favorite books.
Alison has been a source of inspiration to me over the last 5 years as an art lover, reader, and fellow yogi, she has continuously grown in her journey towards peace and enlightenment.
She states, “This book has been very powerful for me, especially the first chapter when it talks about the thorn and spending your whole life trying to protect yourself from the pain of ripping out this thorn.” You build edifices to protect it and avoid dealing with feelings and the painful effects of confronting them.
1) Are you able to see the difference between your awareness and the voice in your mind?
“For me, it’s been a long journey towards that…it becomes easier and easier the more I practice, to just stop and realize that these thoughts are not me, I start to lose the emotional charge. I notice this a lot in parenting and managing people. Sometimes a situation will test my integrity, but the key is to noticing the emotional reaction without judgment, and deciding that I don’t have to let my emotions take over. I did it first as a little exercise…I told myself, if I want to go back to this emotional place I can, but let me just try and see what it feels like to take time to stay calm.”
2) What do you do if you notice your emotions rising?
“I give myself the buffer of time- instead of reacting in the moment, I used to think that I had to fix everything in the moment, then about 3-4 years ago I started stepping back as an experiment and letting things resolve themselves. I started letting things go.”
3) Do you ever want to break free of the concept of who you are and how you think others should view you?
“I’m increasingly less interested in how people view me. I used to crave identity. I didn’t want to be so grey. I wanted to stand out. But now I feel extremely liberated!”
4) What does it mean to be tethered to something?
“I think it means you’re not totally free to be authentic, you’re still reacting to things rather than having an authentic response.”
5) What are you tethered to?
“There’s still probably a lot that I’m still tethered to, but there’s less than there was! I’m making progress and letting go.”
6) How does fear play a role in your life and how can you change that?
“Probably the thing that I have the most fear around is being a mom, and having a child in which her experience in not under my control and yet I love her more than I love myself. Motherhood is such a terrible design, the whole point is to raise the child, then let her go.
I’m trying to find the place where I know that all is well and she’s here to have her own journey. I totally know that intellectually, but where that meets up with reality...sometimes being a mother, all I want to do is save her from pain, so it’s incredibly hard."
7) Does the concept of death play a role in your life?
“Yes, I was in a car accident when I was very young, age 8, and I thought I was going to die, so for years after that I lived very recklessly, thinking that I was going to die soon anyway, and knowing that death could be so close. But yeah, we are only here as long as we are here. This could be the last time that we are sitting here together. I’m not afraid of death, but I think of it often to pull myself into the present.
This concept also relates to Ekart Toll’s The Power of Now. It has the same message but uses different words. Everything that I was studying at the time that I first read this book all came together: Wayne Dyer, Caroline Myss, and Eckhart Tolle. He’s like the Dali Lama, coming through extreme personal pain to enlightenment and he articulates beautifully when he shares it. I highly recommend his books and videos on YouTube."
8) What can you do each day to find inner peace and freedom?
“I increasingly need quiet and to carve out that time for myself in little sacred spaces where I feel free- places that are just my own- my little shell for self preservation because I’m so out there in the world. I also like to do things to take care of my body. Further, I like to make everything a celebration, even when I’m doing taxes, I like to get cozy with John by the fire.”
9) How does the divine dwell in you?
“I think it’s all sacred. The challenge is recognizing how sacred it is. The divine in me informs my gut of the right thing, not what everyone or society tells me is the right thing, but what I feel from my core. It’s about integrity. When I transgress that line of what I should have done, I deeply suffer within myself. ”
This interview has been an additional inspiration for me to continuously strive to be more happy and peaceful and I hope it has for you too!
Thank you Alison!
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Hannah seeks to find relationships between nature, cultures, yoga, and art through her writing.
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