It is easy to let our past, predict our future. If you believe that you are not smart enough, will you go back to school? If you believe that you are not worthy of good things, will you allow them into your life? If you have had negative relationships, will you pursue positive ones now?
Letting who you believed yourself to be yesterday, last week, last year or 20 years ago keep you from being who you are today is a common trap. It is easy to keep those old stories playing in our minds, allowing them to inform the present with old news. We can be attached to the past, and what we believe it "says" about us. We can also choose to release the old, not believe it anymore and take action as proof.
Each new day is a new you. Every moment we have the opportunity to be our best selves, and if we miss our chance, we have another and another and another. Knowing that you are given moment by moment "do-overs", how will you change your life? This constant grace is extended to all, we can gift it to ourselves and to those around us.
This leads to the question; "Are you holding others in their past?" We allow the past of others to inform us of who they are today. When we do this we hold on to judgement and crush possibility. Allow yourself and others to be who they are today, acknowledging that we are all in constant evolution. Approach yourself and others with open curiosity, making space to discover the new story.
During my meditation today, I had a clear picture of the Earth and how it's gravity keeps us close and safe. My mind created an image of the Earth's core being a heart, and how it is this space that generates the heavy love that keeps us grounded. This image was profound, I know that it is not scientific in nature, but a clear example of how love holds us together.
The next phase of this meditation was an image of myself, with my own heart creating a gravity field, drawing others to me and holding them in safety and care. The stronger and deeper my love the stronger and deeper the pull. Loving this way gives others stability, grounding and the potential for growth. The Earth is not selfish, she does not make distinctions between living and non-living, good or bad. All are held in the same sweet grip of gravity, all being drawn towards the heart. This love is both passive and active. The passive aspect is your embodiment of love, how are you love in your life? Do you radiate acceptance, care, kindness and peace? The active aspect of love is, of course, action. How do you demonstrate love? Another thing to consider is the quality of your own core. The earth's core is still mostly speculation, however when we think of our core, our heart center, is it whole?
The quality of our love gravity field has to do with the quality of love we carry. This starts with you. Do you love yourself? When we begin the journey to our own core, it starts with forgiveness, acceptance and love. We cannot give away what we do not have. Can you give water from an empty well? When we desire to bring love into this world, it must come from a place where love overflows. Loving yourself is planting a seed that will bear fruit to be shared with others.
A good way of doing this is by identifying how you care for others now, and turing some of that attention on to yourself. Do you enjoy giving gifts, time and service to others? What would it look like for you to do that for yourself?
Improving the health and wholeness of your heart core will strengthen your gravity field and draw others into space that has the potential to change them.
As we live our lives we have the capacity to influence others in a big way. Your gravity of love could provide space for one person, on one day to feel that there is possibility and hope, just by experiencing love.
The love that we carry can be felt by those around us, just as anger, hate and judgement can also be felt. We can feel when someone is at odds with themselves, are unhappy and self-loathing. This is why in order to cultivate love in the world, we must always begin with ourselves.
In my work with others over the past few years there has been a constant theme that comes up. You will probably be surprised by what it is! Time and time again I am reminding clients to be gentle with themselves. So often our inner dialogue is a harsh, even violent one. The language we use externally is often violent also. How often do you use or hear the words, "hate" and "kill" in normal conversational contexts? I often hear, "My husband/wife would kill me if I said/did...." and "He/she would hate it if I...". These seem to be such common phrases that we don't think twice about what is really being said.
Our internal voices are much more vicious and critical. We call ourselves all kinds of names, all underlining the fact that we are not good enough, smart enough or worthy enough. Always that we are not enough. We carry guilt burdens that weigh down every aspect of our lives. Who said we must feel this way? Who piles on the shame and guilt? Whose voice is it that tells you these lies?
We must be gentle with ourselves, kind in the way we speak and in the way that we treat our bodies.
I encountered a woman at the gym the other day. We chatted about exercise, I was finishing up and she as just getting started. She was talking about how she never looked forward to it and was wishing she hadn't come that day. I said, " I almost didn't make it either! I had to go back home to get my shoes and then debated whether to come back." She said that she would not have come back and asked why I did. I explained that I did it for love. She asked, "For the love of who?" I said, " Of myself! I feel so much better when I work out, I do it for me." She went silent and turned away, I thought she was just going to ignore me after that. Instead she said, "I hate myself." I was so shocked to hear her admit so bluntly how she felt about herself. My immediate response was, "Well, that's not very nice! You should be nice to yourself!" She walked away.
Many punish their bodies through exercise, food restriction, overwork and with verbal insults. Our bodies are here to serve us, carry us through this life and assist us in enjoying the many pleasures that this physical life has to offer.
Be gentle. Be kind. Start with yourself, then you can offer these gifts to those around you.
As a mother of five, I have had the beautiful opportunity to daily be a student of Patience. In my own journey I have realized that when I lack patience with my external world it is a symptom of internal discord.
What am I trying to control? What expectations do I have that are not being met? There are so many reasons for us to believe that things around us should be different than they actually are. This always leads us to being impatient with the world "as we expect it to be" instead of embracing what is.
When we are triggered by circumstance, like when the driver in the car ahead of us is going too slow, we can approach it in a few different ways. Our gut response is usually to become instantly irritated and look around for ways to "escape" the situation. Another response is to accept what is happening and grumble about "idiots" , "other drivers" etc.
The way that I try to approach this very common scenario is by just observing what is happening and how it doesn't necessitate an emotional response. My life is not being changed by this circumstance, I am not allowing the external to affect my internal balance, because in the end I am in charge of my response.
By becoming an observer of ourselves we allow thoughts and emotions to flow freely though our minds. We can choose to get hung up on certain ideas and feelings, or we can let them go.
" The ancient principle of Patience can help us feel our emotions--but without having to pay a price that ends up hurting ourselves or others." - Donald Altman
One of the examples I use in my work is this:
If we can approach life with the fluidity of water, then the obstacles that we face are really just an illusion. The water does not care about the rocks in the river, or the debris that is constantly cluttering its path. It is water, its nature does not change no matter what it encounters. In this same way we can maintain our inner peace regardless of the obstacles we encounter on our own path.
Over the past few months I have been working with wisdom from the Buddhist tradition. I have been inspired and gently opened to new ways of thinking and being. I would love to share what I have been learning.
The first principle is the virtue of Generosity. Many traditions value giving, it is a foundational principle in living a blessed life.
The thing that was impressed upon me as I was studying is how important it is to first give to yourself, to be generous to your own soul before you attempt to extend that generosity to others. We cannot give from an empty well.
What does this kind of living look like?
Many in our culture see taking care of yourself first as selfishness, especially if you are a mom or caretaker of some kind. There is an expectation that you give and give to others and when everyone is satisfied it is then your "turn" to take care of yourself.
This most often leads to burn-out, bitterness and quite often playing the role of victim/martyr. None of which are healthy sustainable ways of being.
One way of being generous to your self is with gentle thinking. Give your self grace in your mind, listen to your thoughts.
Most of us have a voice inside that condemns and critiques nearly everything we do, as well as how we look or feel. If we were to talk to those we love with that same voice it would be horrifying! Why talk to your self that way?
You deserve the same love and respect that you try to extend to others.
And yet, how can we give to others what we do not give to ourselves? We must be kind and gentle in our own minds and hearts and then our generosity will flow from a place of being full.
You will be surprised at the ease you find in caring for those around you, when you take care of yourself first.
Joy AE Dennis-Struss, writer, life transformation facilitator, spiritual alchemist, hypnotherapist, Reiki practititioner and Intuitive.