Finding Grace When Triggered

I came across this earlier post … and boy did it take me back. May we all find grace by connecting to the most vulnerable part of ourselves … our heart.

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The Argument

“How dare you!!” 

Come into the present moment and notice

the pounding head, the clenched jaw and hands in fists

the thoughts that spark like fiery daggers

“Don’t control me! I don’t want this! I don’t need you!”

Feel the tears and absolute frustration

the vulnerability at being in this place of hurt and loss.

Loss of control. Loss of connection. Loss of understanding.

Become that wee girl too young for words

crying girl

She knows this place. This sheer frustration. Hurting and not knowing why.

Let this rage turn into one of your biggest breaths ever

Open your mouth and gasp like a fish

take in the air that nourishes and calms

Let it out with a cry from your very soul.

Let the tears roll. Feel their heat running down your cheeks.

Breathe

Feel the energy dropping through you like a stone

allow it to release and pass through the mesh that’s your body

Feel the unburdening and letting go

notice the softening  in your body, your thoughts and your being

Say hello to this vulnerable part of you

Feel the relief and the love

You are still here.

And now you are ready to talk about what just happened.

Namaste.

Follow the Conflict

conflict

“We feel conflict. 

The conflict we feel is not a problem.

It is a messenger.

We do not need help; we need only understand that there is no choice in life but to follow the conflict where it takes us.

If we are prepared to go there, we may discover the actuality of self and the nature of our sorrow.”

~ Steven Harrison

This is a message I wish I had heard many years ago. Although, to be frank, I probably would not have been ready to hear it.

All emotions are messengers and reflect a deeper state of our being. As long as we avoid looking at the uncomfortable ones we limit our growth and ability to connect fully to our higher Self and life.

Our ego mind will tell us we shouldn’t be feeling these feelings and judge us for not being better than this.

Yet it isn’t a problem. There is no better or worse.

Let go of judging how you think you should be.

Allow your mind to be open to it. And then your heart.

Be kind and compassionate towards yourself, until you are ready to follow where the feeling takes you.

Beyond conflict is love.

Namaste

Call of Loneliness

woman in black cloak with fishing pole standing in beach

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

These words made me pause and touched me deeply.

“Inside our loneliness is a longing to be released from the pain of separation and the confusion it entails. We’ve all been taught that there is something wrong or even dangerous about being lonely. But such an assumption is based on a misunderstanding of what loneliness is and how it relates to our life here.

Loneliness is a kind of wisdom, a recognition of something, an urge toward genuine transformation.

There is nothing to fear about loneliness. There’s no reason to run from it or to tighten down when it comes. If we allow ourselves the chance to attend to the loneliness, to be with it at a feeling level — physically — then the harsh overtones dissolve. What we called loneliness turns out to be something else entirely.

Each of us is longing for something. This longing runs deep. Sometimes it manifests as loneliness, sometimes as grief, anger, or something else. Whatever way it comes, we can be with it respectfully, openly, allowing it to exist. This so changes our relationship to it that we never need fear it or run from it again.

There are times when the body is calling for attentive care. There are times when the signal is there, but our response is self-hatred or dislike, and the body’s call gets ignored.
Loneliness is such a call. We need to turn to ourselves as a mother to a child and wait, without judgment.” *

Longing for something is not wrong.

Listen for its call.

We must tend to it with kindness and allow it show us the way.

Namaste

 

 

*The Prayer Of The Body

An Interview With Stephen R. Schwartz
by SY SAFRANSKY, editor and publisher of The Sun.

Ahimsa and Kindness

person holding clear and red floral ball

Photo by Javon Swaby on Pexels.com

Ahimsa or non violence is the foundation of all yoga philosophy. Most of us might think we are not violent people. We don’t go around bullying or hurting others or animals. We are loving and giving, and would never want to do any harm.

However, there are many ways that we unconsciously do “violence” on ourselves.

How often do you stay at your desk to get through your work without a break or refreshment? Are you pushing yourself to exhaustion?
Is your self talk kind and supportive, or do you judge yourself harshly and put yourself down?

To paraphrase Gandhi’s words “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Being forgiving and compassionate to yourself is the essential step to practicing ahimsa in the world.

This is fundamental for all of us on the path of yoga.
We must start with ourselves and allow the past damage of inner violence to heal.

Everything starts with our awareness of it.
Here are ways to bring about more awareness and change.

Decide to commit for one day to notice your internal conversations. Take time to journal and capture your thoughts.
At the end of the day. What did you notice? Is it time to change your conversation?
How can you start every thought with kindness?

An other practice is Loving Kindness Meditation. If your usual meditation is guided or based on mindfulness or mantra, commit to a loving kindness practice instead.Choose words that resonate with you.

May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you free of trouble and the causes of trouble
May you live your life with ease

metta-prayer

There Are No Perfect Human Beings and We Can all be Assholes

“There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great.

There do in fact exist creators, seers, sages, saints, shakers, and movers…even if they are uncommon and do not come by the dozen.

And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed.

To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it.”

Abraham Maslow from Motivation and Personality

This reminds me of fellow blogger Ann Koplow’s Asshole song from her debut Fringe show in Edinburgh.

We can all be assholes!

So what?…

So expect others to have their good days and bad days.

So give yourself a break when you are not feeling on top of the world all the time, or if you know you have been an asshole.

So let go of the illusion – the beliefs about how you “should” be, and how others “should” be.

Accept that life is a series of highs and lows.

And most importantly – be kind towards the parts of you that are in the dark.

Embracing Shadow Self by Rita Loyd

Embracing Shadow Self by Rita Loyd

Hugs to all parts of you.

The asshole in me greets the asshole in you.

Common Humanity

common humanity

“Do you suffer sometimes, want to be happy, but don’t always know how to make that happen?

Congratulations! You’ve just discovered you have something in common with every other person across the world and across history.” *

And with this realization we know we are not alone. We are all human beings, experiencing what we experience.

It’s when we believe that we shouldn’t be feeling like this, or that there is something wrong with us, that we create more suffering for ourselves.

When we are feeling down or down right miserable we tend to think that we are the only one feeling this way. We become very self absorbed. We project our misery on to the world around us and think that everyone else seems to be so happy, and have their act together. We ask ourselves “Why are we the only one feeling alone and miserable”.

Don’t believe this inner critic. Your thoughts are not the truth.

It’s human nature to go through highs and lows in our lives.

Knowing that you are not alone, and that everything changes, can help you move through this… and find compassion for yourself and others along the way.

Give yourself a hug or go hug someone right now.

Feel the love.

💛🙏💛

 

*Abblett, Mitch. The Self-Compassion Deck: 50 Mindfulness-Based Practices (Kindle Locations 1151-1175). PESI Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Bring it Home

hands on heart

Put your hands on your heart and say to yourself,

“May you be happy.

May you be healthy.

May you be safe.

May you be loved.”

…. Repeat four times.*

 

So often we give to others and tend to them, and also dismiss kindness towards ourselves.

Its time to build your capacity to bring kindness home.

In times of turmoil and chaos, this is the least that we can do to stay grounded and remind ourselves  that we are all vulnerable feeling human beings who all want to be happy, to be healthy, to feel safe and to be loved.

Its time to share some love with yourself.

Namaste

 

*Abblett, Mitch. The Self-Compassion Deck: 50 Mindfulness-Based Practices (Kindle Locations 1097-1111). PESI Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Be Gentle with Yourself

For today and every day.

“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

Legs up the wall

It only takes ten minutes to feel nurtured and connected to your self. Try lying with legs up the wall, placing one hand on your belly, and the other on your heart center.

Stay here for a while. Let the breath be slow and nourishing. Allow the body, breath and gravity to bring the mind towards peace and acceptance.

Namaste

Listen to the Message of Emotions

Wisdom from Tara Brach for these difficult times. May we listen to our hearts and to our children. 🙏

“I’ve had many waves of anger, fear, and aversion in reaction to the harm being perpetrated in our society. In my own practice, it helps to keep starting right where I am, not judging my own reactions, thinking “I shouldn’t feel this.” Rather than trying to let go of these feelings, I often reflect that “this belongs,” it’s the inner weather of the moment. Then I can feel the fear or aversion with acceptance and kindness.

This also allows me to listen to the message of the emotions. Reactions of horror and outrage can be healthy and intelligent. They alert us to the very real suffering around us and they help move us toward action. When we accept and mindfully open to these emotions, they unfold to reveal the deep caring that is underneath. But this doesn’t happen if our minds fixate on stories of bad other. If we are lost in our stories, we are lost in our own egoic reactivity. To listen to the emotions and respond from our most awake heart, we need to make the U-Turn, coming out of stories and back to our vulnerability and our tender heart….

It’s essential to respond actively whenever possible and to stay in good touch with others who care. Our shared caring is what keeps hope alive in difficult times—it’s the strongest medicine. Here’s a quote from contemporary Bodhisattva, Fred Rogers:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.

We are not alone. People all over the globe share the same longing for a more loving, just, and peaceful world. People everywhere are opening to the sense of our true belonging with each other and all of life.

May the suffering of our times awaken our deepest understanding and compassion;
and may we respond in a way that serves healing and freedom…​”

~ Tara Brach

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.

 

For Teachers, Mentors, Parents and Guides

friends

Last week before class one of my students said how much she  enjoyed my  blog – not just for the guidance, but to show her that I wasn’t perfect. We laughed 😊

Then she asked “So I have my Val, who is your Val to support you?”

Thank you R for caring. It made me realize how important it is for all of us to have compassionate support. It could be a sibling, a teacher, a best friend or a spouse, or perhaps a special pet. Someone who doesn’t judge us, but holds space for us in that moment.

Take a moment and consider: Who do you have to support you in finding your Middle Ground?

Namaste

* Want to Let Go More?

Some very successful and accomplished people will sometimes ask me – How can I let go more? What do I need to do to be more relaxed? How can I be less impatient? What can I do to be more flexible?…My answer for each question is usually the same, whether it’s at work, in life or on our yoga mat….

It isn’t about what you can DO differently, its about changing how you are seeing things – Shifting your perspective into one of noticing and being with whatever is happening right there and then.

letting_go_by_alexgphoto-d6r9zdu

Try this:

“Notice where the resistance is.

Allow it in…. name it.

Give it space…. embrace it.

Make friends with it.

Breathe in deeply and let the exhale soften the tension and move the energy through you.”

Discomfort is usually a message that something needs attention.

It isn’t a message to stop it, escape from it , get annoyed with it or avoid it. (Although that’s how we may react to it out of conditioning and habit!)

By being kind to our discomfort, it can show us what is needed.

Sometimes it simply wants some loving kindness for what is happening in that moment.self hug bear

So, the key to letting go, relaxing more, being more patient and more flexible is to notice where you are resisting and allowing it in. Then be kind to yourself!

It may sound counter intuitive, but try it and see what amazing wisdom lies within you …

Namaste