We all tend to think that our thinking is the truth, and what we believe is right. As we grow up and experience the highs and lows of life, we can either hold on to those ways, or be open to understanding other ways.
Moving to a new country is eye opening and life changing. When I came over to live in the USA, I immediately noticed lots of unexpected differences in the way that people think, how they see the world, what they value, and how they behave … especially in public.
“Just because it’s different doesn’t mean its bad.”
This was the key message I shared with newcomers to the USA and people moving to Europe from here. I became a cross cultural trainer to increase awareness of differences and to share ways towards understanding, acceptance and integrating into in a new culture.
Living in an other country makes us aware of how we are different, as well as how we judge others for being not like us.
We all grow up in our own family, society, group and culture. We form our beliefs, make assumptions and take actions based on our conditioning and the teaching that is continually reinforced in our subconscious.
In a world where differences are spotlighted in the press and social media, it isn’t easy to find a state of balance.
May we all let go of assumptions and become open to differences. May we be curious about others and take time to understand their perspective.
May we not forget, that despite differences, we are all connected in humanity and love.
This is what truly brings us together.
Do you want to feel safe or do you want to grow?
This is the perfect time of year, here in the northern hemisphere at least, to ask this question.
Winter is over. Right now, the sap is already rising in nature and within us. There is a freshness in the air and a stronger pulsing through the body. The time has come to rise up and radiate.
One of the big lessons in life is learning how to manage our anxiety about the unknown. Change is inevitable, yet so many of us are conditioned to be careful and cautious, to be guarded and hesitant. Our inner judge reinforces this, with messages of “Better to be safe than sorry” or “Better the devil you know” “The unknown is too risky” “If in doubt, don’t”
Recognizing that our default is fear and clinging to safety, can be enough to help us let go of our conditioning.
Growth never happens in the comfortable.
So don’t expect it to be.
Sometimes traditional stories hit the right spot. This one often does for me.
Nadia spent the whole autumn sowing and preparing his garden. In the spring, the flowers opened, and Nadia noticed a few dandelions that he had not planted. Nadia pulled them up. But the seeds had already spread, and others grew. He tried to find a poison that would kill only dandelions. An expert told him that any poison would end up killing all the other flowers too.
In despair, Nadia sought help from a gardener.‘It’s just like life,’ said the gardener. ‘Along with the good things, there are always a few inconveniences.’‘What should I do, then?‘Nothing. They may not be the flowers you intended to have, but they are still part of the garden.’
May we embrace all aspects of our garden and the unexpected that life brings our way.
This is a re-blog and a reminder for myself the morning. Peace is within us all. Take time to meditate today.
This is one of my favorite quotes about inner peace from Dr Thynn Thynn . Every time I read it or share it, it makes me see how simple peace of mind can be if we only learn how to access it.
“Peace is a natural mind-state in every one of us. Peace has been there since the day we were born and is going to be there until the day we die. It is our greatest gift; so why do we think we have no peace of mind?
Experiencing peace is like looking at our hands. Usually we see only the fingers – not the spaces in between them.
In a similar manner, when we look at the mind, we are aware of the active states, such as our running thoughts and the one thousand and one feelings that are associated with them, but we tend to overlook the intervals of peace between them.”
When we come to realize that peace of mind is already within us, our journey changes from searching for it, to one of letting go and being present. By letting go of what our thoughts are caught up with, and coming into the present moment, we connect to our inner being.
This is the secret place where peace resides.
I love the idea of shedding and revealing rather than striving for.
If you have a minute or two, why not slow down and join me here in a moment of mindfulness.
Take a moment to notice your hands and the spaces in between your fingers.
Close your eyes and now picture the space between each finger.
Allow your hands to soften.
Notice the warmth in your palms.
Let your hands rest on your thighs with the palms up.
Allow your breath to soften and lengthen.
Relax your jaw and forehead.
Breathing gently ….
Notice the calm in between the thoughts that come up.
Remember that this is always within you. Its up to you how you choose to access it and bring it into your everyday life.
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
~ Mother Theresa
No matter how much many of us think we ‘shouldn’t’ judge, we are so conditioned to do so that without increasing our self-awareness, we will not only judge one another but we will continually judge ourselves and even our judgments.
When we judge others in a way of either good and bad, or right and wrong, we are essentially setting ourselves up as moral arbiters, claiming we know what the world is supposed to be like. How ridiculous and presumptive! But the impact is even more damaging.
Judging inflates our egos and makes us feel self righteous, and in doing so, it condemns others. This is the flame that fuels discrimination, conflict and violence in society today.
Mother Theresa’s simple words remind us how judging keeps us separate from others, and closes our hearts.
It’s time to let judgments go and make time for understanding and love.
“This is the path we take in cultivating joy: learning not to armor our basic goodness, learning to appreciate what we have.
Most of the time we don’t do this.
Rather than appreciate where we are, we continually struggle to nurture our dissatisfaction.
It’s like trying to get flowers to grow by pouring cement on the garden.”
~ Pema Chodron taken from “The Places That Scare You”
Do you find yourself thinking about the things that aren’t going the way you want and complaining about your circumstances, other people, yourself?
Next time you catch yourself resisting or resenting, imagine that you are pouring cement on your garden.
It’s an incredibly powerful practice to start clearing out the thoughts that poison our own happiness.
We can change this by re-focusing on planting seeds that come from the heart. The seeds of gratitude, appreciation and loving kindness.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
~ Viktor E. Frankl
The pause between our reaction to an external stimuli and how we choose to respond is essential in our evolution as human beings. Otherwise we react instinctively from our animal brain.
Space allows us to be open to choose our response
Gives the time for deep full breaths with long exhales.
There is more here than clearing the mind
Being present to our inner state
Reduces clutter and brings clarity.
Space allows for expansion
Learning to be observers without judgment.
In this space our life energy flows through our being
Mind, body and spirit connect
Drawn to the light of inner freedom