The last time I was with my spiritual mother, Gangaji, physically, in person, last October, she asked me to come up on stage and share one of my poems with the many people gathered. I happily and somewhat shyly shared the poem “Sorrow’s Home.”
Later in the meeting, circumstances unfolded such that she gave the stage to some beautiful musicians who were offering a song, and in exchange she took one of their seats, directly behind where I was sitting. After 17 years of a uniquely intimate relationship with her, I felt blessedly comfortable to lean back and blissfully lay my head in her lap. When I did, she stroked my hair tenderly a moment, then leaned down and whispered into my ear, three words only:“No Second Thoughts.”
Those three words, strung together by the power of her love, and my profound trust in her as my impeccable longtime teacher, have become one of the most sacred assignments I have ever received. Those three words have been been burning my heart from the inside-out, in the many months since she whispered them. And now, I get to extend them to you!
What an invitation: to indulge in no second thoughts! To live free of self-doubt, to courageously trust that which comes through me, and dare to not tamper with its inevitably imperfect expression? “No Second Thoughts” has been ringing like a mantra, sometimes hauntingly, poised like a dagger, challenging me to be even more generously fearless in my sharing of myself with life.
I will tell you: it has been a razor’s edge of vigilance for me to be true to this assignment.
For maybe the first 6 weeks or so, after I received this assignment/invitation, I was horrifyingly aware of the onslaught of all the “second thoughts,” of every voice within me that judged myself, that feared failure, that clung to perfectionism, that longed for acknowledgment and yet found that longing to be embarrassingly needy and insecure. The immediate impulse to delete a post I had just posted, the horribly naked feeling of one-sided exposure, of subtle investment in others perceptions, all the painful self-consciousness of Second Thoughts.
Full incarnation, and being devoted to living a life of service is an issue of willingness for total visibility and invisibility; stepping out and being exposed in the inherent imperfection of oneself, come what may.
As I prepared to offer the “Take Heart” concerts last Winter with MaMuse, I tentatively met that growing edge of walking into the spotlight with my deeply naked, heartful poems. When sensations of doubt and anxiety arose in waves, these blessed words “No Second Thoughts” became an anchor of surrender, an invitation to give up any hope for perfection; to simply show up and speak up as I am, without hesitation or self-questioning.
And then, as I prepared to go teach and lead a core women’s retreat in Kentucky last Spring, another first-time threshold, “No Second Thoughts” resounded through my being as I presenced the mind’s defense mechanisms of doubt, denial, and deletion when challenged by the new and unfamiliar: “Maybe I just won’t go? Maybe I’ll just cancel that part?” Or self-critique: “Oh god, I’m unprepared”, or afterwards: “Oh dear, how could I have said that?!” I would immediately hear her voice, my own heart’s voice, saying firmly, with fierce tenderness: “No, no. No Second Thoughts, Love. No Second Thoughts.”
Not long after this deepening revelation began to fully have its way with my heart, I had a beautiful humorous moment alone with myself, in which I asked myself: Without any “Second Thoughts”, what then, is the First Thought??
The very inquiry stops the mind! It is a koan. To turn the mind back on its self, stops the mind! Awareness that the first thought is not a thought at all! It is the gracious unfolding of this moment’s aliveness.
The first thought cannot even be thought. (Just try, Sweet Love, to think the first thought, and see for yourself!)
The first thought is an unspeakable invitation of innocent curiosity from Source, a free-falling backwards, towards the Eternal Beginning. The first thought is a simple bow of Yes. The first thought is Love, shining. The first thought is impeccably silent stillness at the heart of the pulse of all life.
I am still working with this teaching of “No Second Thoughts” presently, today, as I step up and out, into my unfolding life; as I surrender ever-more-fully to however this Life, Grace, God, Love most wants to make use of my heart, my channel, my voice; all I am truly here to say, to share, to transmit, to unapologetically embody. I will report it seems to be getting easier and easier, less sticky, less squirmy, to just show up and share and shine as I am. There are many less “second thoughts” arising.
I invite you to use this teaching, this assignment and invitation to investigate where in your life are any “second thoughts” holding you back from your fullest expression, your deepest allowing of your life to be shared?? Your most fearlessly generous expression of yourself? Are there any “second thoughts” keeping you from making the choices you know you must make? From living the life you know you are here to live?
The first thought is always pure surrender. Yes: I surrender, I surrender(!) as Love, for you.<3