Let Go of Something

woman walking on fence

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

Let go of something,
somewhere. Use yoga
to become aware, to
touch what lies beneath
the surface of the skin.
Is there tension longing
for release; a knot of
fear so deep and familiar
that you believe its
part of who you are?

Ease into dark corners,
locked rooms, unexplored
hallways. Gain entry
not by force or will
but only by softness.
Enter on the wings of
breath, and turn the
key of self-acceptance
to let go of something
somewhere.

~ Danna Faulds

 

Enter on the winds of breath and turn the key of self acceptance … oh yes.

Namaste

Accepting Who You Are

opening heart

I love this exercise from Steve Flowers and Bob Stahl in “Living with Your Heart Wide Open”. This is a book I’d also recommend for those of you who would like to cultivate more mindfulness and compassion in your lives, while freeing yourselves from unworthiness, inadequacy and shame.

“Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. You may not be perfect, but you are all you’ve got to work with. The process of becoming who you will be begins first with the total acceptance of who you are.”

~ Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

Self Compassion Exercise:

If you met with a friend and she confided in you that she felt completely worthless and ashamed, how would you try to comfort her? What would you tell her to so the her troubled heart? In what other ways would you express your loving kindness and compassion?

Take a few minutes to reflect on this and journal about what you would say.

Now consider some ways you too have felt sad and unhappy, and offer words of compassion that are similar to what you would share with a friend.

Notice what happens in your body and mind as your offer this kindness to yourself. Pay attention to what comes up for you physically, mentally, emotionally. Turn towards your own aching heart and perhaps place your hand on your chest, and then acknowledge to yourself “I care for this suffering.” Feel deeply into this and inquire into the attitude you would have towards your friend or loved one….

Breathe into the tight places in your body, inviting a little more tension to release with each exhalation. Be tender and caring, even toward whatever comments arise from your internal critic…. From time to time, repeat to yourself “I care for this suffering.”

Let your heart widen like a ripe pomegranate widens – so filled with caring and compassion it actually bursts out of its shell.

 

Understanding Real Love

This is a re-blog of an earlier post… with a message worth repeating. 💛

real love - darkness and forgiveness

“Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are.

Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness we don’t really know what love is.”

Marianne Williamson

For anyone who has been a in a long term loving relationship , you can probably relate to this quote. When we  allow ourselves to be seen in such a vulnerable way it opens up real understanding and connection.

Now consider if you were to say these words to yourself:

Until we see our own darkness, we don’t really know who we are.

Until we have forgiven our own darkness we don’t really know what love is.

The world becomes a kinder and less fearful place when we forgive and love ourselves.

Namaste

Reflection – The Two People Living in You

transcend the ego

Photo Credit: Ariko Inaoka

“Two people have been living in you all of your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, and calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice of wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to.”

~ Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

I often hear others on spiritual journeys say that they are working to overcome, conquer, or destroy their egos.

But can this truly work? A part of me says not. This is because crushing, overcoming, and conquering are themselves acts of violence and therefore acts of ego.

The judging of ego as “bad” is an act of ego.

You cannot overcome ego with ego. Ego is who you’ve always thought you are, so trying to overcome who you think you are, is an assault upon yourself.

The path beyond ego is to recognize your ego self and embrace it for what it is.

Ego is necessary and important because it defines our sense of self, clarifies our boundaries and develops our personality while protecting us from disappointment, rejection, and harm.

The ego always needs validation and identification with a persona to remain nourished and to grow.

By resisting it and fighting it, you are helping it to grow. The more you resist it, the more it will show itself in a new more acceptable persona.

So, when it reveals itself with criticisms and judgments, or by showing off and caring about what others think, pause and step back. Notice and then accept it for what it is.

Don’t fuel it with more drama. If you damn it, it will resist and become stronger.

Instead, love it as you would a small child who doesn’t know any other way to be.

This is the way that ego will fade into insignificance… and your heart will fill with love and compassion for yourself and other human beings struggling right beside you.

Namaste

* Pondering – Sliding Back

I read a post some time ago about “sliding back” over the holidays.  It made me wonder …

sliding back

What if there was no such thing as sliding back in life?

When we make a mistake, we are making a mistake. When we eat that chocolate bar, we are eating that chocolate bar. When we don’t get around to exercising, then we don’t exercise. When we forget to meditate then we don’t meditate….. you get where I’m heading with this.

“Sliding back” is a judgment that we put on ourselves. It is a belief that usually makes us feel bad …. Its like a weight we impose on ourselves.

It isn’t the truth.

Our thoughts are not the truth! Things are the way they are. Our thoughts create judgments in our mind whether something is good or bad.

Instead of being hard on yourself, try to accept the ways things are.

Even better, lighten up and ditch that heavy load you’ve burdened yourself with!

Instead of judging, be kind and accept your own human frailty and failings.

If life is a series of highs and lows, then we move through challenges and setbacks. There’s no such thing as sliding backwards.

* Self Acceptance

being present

In the midst of difficulty
my curiosity is piqued
and I aim the lance of
self inquiry into the
center of my deepest fears.

I give myself permission
to feel exactly what I feel,
to be just as I am, and in
that self acceptance I find
energy, awareness, and a
thousand gifts I never
guessed were with me
all along.

~ Danna Faulds

Being present and self acceptance go hand in hand. When we are not fully aware of our negative thoughts and feelings, then we tend to believe that there is something wrong .. and something wrong with us. Taking time to be fully present with what we are thinking and feeling in that moment, is the gateway to self acceptance and all the gifts beyond.

This poem captures the essence of a mindful awareness practice that is at the heart of Kripalu Yoga. It is referred to as BRWFA: Breathe – Relax – Watch – Feel – Allow

Learn more by watching the video or clicking on the page The Practice of Being Present

* Its Never too Late for Self Acceptance

Young Val and twin bro
I came across this old photograph (of me and my twin brother) and not longer after, found an exercise on self acceptance.

Turns out they both went well together. To find out why, please read the exercise below…. and take some time in doing it for yourself.

Step One
Imagine someone you love and admire sitting opposite you. He or she is smiling at you. How do you feel about them? If this person was to make a mistake, could you and would you forgive them?

Step Two
Using your imagination, put yourself in the chair opposite you. Imagine you are sitting there smiling back at yourself. How do you feel about her or him? Do you feel the same way about her or him as you did towards the first person, the one you love and admire, or is the feeling different? If this person made a mistake could you, or would you forgive her? Are you more forgiving of the other person?

This exercise often highlights a discrepancy between how we love and accept others, compared to ourselves.

Step Three
Find a photograph of yourself as a child, and place it where you see it everyday. Let this remind you to be loving and accepting of yourself.
This child is precious, as are you.

Namaste

p.s. When I did this exercise myself, even after all the inner work I have done, there was a difference in how I perceived myself making a mistake compared to my response towards someone I love. With the person I loved, there was an surge of love and empathy and urge to understand. With myself, there was an initial  slight withdrawal and contraction in the body and some judgment before I was able to feel empathy and compassion.

Notice what you notice without any more self judgment.

Its so helpful to keep coming back to where we are on our journey…. and to remind us of our infinite capacity to grow our love. ❤️

Namaste

* Reflections – People are our Mirrors

No pun intended here 😉 just some morning musings…

There is an old saying, “It takes one to know one.”

We see in others what we like and don’t like in ourselves.

 

 

people are our mirrors

If people are our mirrors, then everyone is a reflection of myself.

Its important for me to accept others for who they are.

Otherwise I am rejecting aspects of myself.

When I admire an aspect of someone I am recognizing that this is a part of myself.

When I am judging of others I am not accepting that I am judging of myself.

When I get annoyed because they are needy, I am rejecting my own needs and nurturing myself.

When I get frustrated when people go too slowly, then I am not accepting when I need to go slowly.

And of course, the best of all …. When I get upset when I feel others are controlling, I am rejecting the controlling part of me.

Ouch!

Our own inner critic is the voice of this self rejection.

Listen to it and love it for pointing out what to embrace rather than reject.

Remember there is no good or bad… And beneath it all is our deep longing for love and acceptance.

Namaste

 

 

* Inspiration – Puppy Love

I love the snippets of wisdom from Eckhart Tolle that come into my inbox every week.

Patrick McDonnell Cartoon

Patrick McDonnell cartoon from Guardians of Being

 

“To love is to recognize yourself in an other”

~~~

If they are beautiful they are reflecting back your inner beauty

You are beautiful just the way you are

Embrace all aspects of yourself

Find True love

❤ ❤ ❤

 

For more Eckhart wisdom you can subscribe here.

For more Val’ wisdom stay tuned 😉

* I’m Not Needy – I Just Have Needs

Every human being has needs. It is part of the human condition. We were born with them and will go through most of our lives trying to get them met.

Over the years as a life coach, I have taken several courses in Non Violent Communication. In NVC, needs are acknowledged and embraced. There is a vulnerable beauty behind our needs. The essence of who we are as human beings.

When our needs are met we can fully access our humanity. Bringing compassion and kindness to ourselves and others.

There is a beauty of being human and honoring our core needs of  well being, expressing ourselves and connection with others.

Needs get a bad wrap…. and they shouldn’t.

We often aren’t aware of our own needs, and it can be a powerful self-discovery to identify the ones that are most important to each of us. The needs below are grouped into categories of three core needs. Take a moment and identify what needs resonate with you personally.

WELL BEING
Health and Sustenanceman deep relaxed breathing
Thriving
Vitality
Safety and Security
Stability
Rest
Peace
Acceptance
Gratitude
Balance
Celebration of life

SELF EXPRESSION
Autonomy/Freedomjoyful girlChoice
Authenticity
Inspiration
Passion
Meaning
Contribution
Learning
Growth
Skill/Mastery
Self actualization

CONNECTION
Love/caringLoving Connection
Compassion
Empathy/Understanding
Communication
Respect
Acceptance
Recognition
Community
Belonging
Relationship
Trust

Here is an exercise to explore your needs more. Take a moment and ask yourself:

What am I grateful for?

Then …

What needs are being met when I feel grateful?

Now think of a time when you were upset, possibly at work.

Then …

What needs were not being met?

In all likelihood it would be about recognition, respect and a sense of belonging.

Needs drive us and are essential for our well being. When our needs are being met it opens the door to be in connection with ourselves and with others.

We come to see there is no need to judge ourselves or others any more.

We are more able to center ourselves in our Middle Ground and handle the the highs and lows of life.

Its allows us to be our authentic loving selves, instead of being guarded and defensive.

We become free to evolve into all we can be.

 

* Inspiration – for Grandmothers

older woman looking in mirror

I just looked at myself in the mirror … and I thought “If I was a grandmother how good I would feel to my grandchild”.

My face has some characteristics of my Gran, and now as I head towards 60 my body has acquired some of the same softness in the body… and the eyes.

I recall how it felt to snuggle into her like a pillow … the warmth … the gentle rise and fall of her ample bosom….and the feeling of being absolutely safe and loved.

There was always a soothing smell that lingered here … perhaps from the lavender sachets in her underwear drawer or the Knights Castile soap or the Pan Drop mints she loved so much. You see, now she had dentures and didn’t have to worry about decay!

But she worried about her weight and was so hard on herself.

We all have the ability to give so much love to others … yet forget to give it to ourselves.

For the grandmothers out there who are post menopausal and are looking at the mirror,  struggling with your weight, getting frustrated and blaming yourself. Please, please let it all go. Its just a body image. It happens with age!

grandmother hug

You are so much more that the bunch of cells, minerals and bags of water you see in front of you, or the judgments and labels in your thinking!

Focus on being healthy and being there for those kids.

Give yourself a break and remember there are some little ones (and not so little ones) who love you just the way you are.

Your body, heart and soul will always be such a precious gift!

Hugs

Val x

p.s. Yes, this message isn’t just for grandmothers 😉

* Inspiration – Feeling Miserable

winding roads in ItalyOne day on vacation in Italy things didn’t go as planned.

It wasn’t the morning of the flat tire … or any of the other days of missed turnings. It wasn’t ordering the wrong item on the menu. It was the day I started to feel sick at all the bends in the road. Literally queazy and sick. Trying to navigate while on a roller coaster will do that!

I blamed the roads, the driver, and the need for map reading as the GPS was in some other part of the country with the same name! This blanket of negativity started to wrap itself around me. I felt miserable. I stepped into the self righteousness that comes with being put upon and I embraced it. In doing so I became a miserable person and a miserable passenger to be sure.

On reflection, I can see things so clearly. Here are my insights from this experience.

Life energy, essence or source is always within us and around us.

Yet sometimes we feel miserable and think that life sucks.

It is our thinking that makes it so.

When we feel  hurt, we go into our head and more thoughts take over.

Our hearts become guarded as we lose touch with our own essence and sense of Presence.

We cannot fully connect to ourselves .. or others.

There is interference in the force.

Our life energy is blocked.

We become defensive, judgmental, withdrawn and irritable.

There is no grace or gratitude in this place, because we know – by this pain and sacrifice –  that we are right!

Our heart closes more as our thinking ego casts blame and seeks retribution, and to find any way to end this endless  perceived agony of  discomfort!

We feel miserable and don’t stop to understand. We try to figure it out in our heads but get tangled up in a web of thoughts and further judgments.

And then in a quiet moment we are able to step back …. and  we know.

We know that this is of our own creation.

This is the time to come into the present moment. Step back.  And plug in to our deeper self and inner wisdom.

Let the life energy flow.

Feel what needs to be felt and hear what needs to be heard.

Be with it.

Letting go so we can open our hearts once more.

For me, I got out my yoga mat. Sat in meditation, focusing on my breathing and feeling my sitz bones grounding me. Spine tall. Heart open. Breathing slowly.

The thinking slows. The body relaxes. The witness takes over from “me”.

Then moving into child’s pose until my body feels the same grounding and sense of connection too.

Slowing moving with grace and gratitude in full realization of the highs and lows of this life.

Letting the life energy flow.

We lose touch with our Selves and don’t know it until we realize we feel miserable.  The real lesson for me is to be mindful enough to recognize this as it emerges.

Val x