Inspiration – Freedom

jumpshot photography of woman in white and yellow dress near body of water

Photo by Quang Anh Ha Nguyen on Pexels.com

“Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”

~ Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

As long as we listen to – and believe – our thoughts, we will be stuck in the same old patterns.

This is big.

Freedom is there for all of us.

When we see that our thinking is not the truth… When we understand that our ego mind creates critical thoughts to keep us from harm and to keep us small…. We awaken to our real life journey.

Listen to your heart and break free.

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

The Space Between Stories

Tara Brach shares an important perspective for our times, with a concern about how we respond to uncertainty. Its worth a read!
If you like this (and live around Philly), then please consider joining me on March 11th at Hummingbird Yoga and Massage for a special gathering: Finding your Middle Ground in Challenging Times – 9 Practical Ways to Handle Stress and Find Contentment.

You can find out more about the workshop on FaceBook or website http://www.relishyoga.com

 

Evolutionary_Mystic Post

These days we are seeing all around us a lot of turbulence, inner and outer…The tendency when we get stirred up – and this is for all humans – is to go into a kind of habitual “jungle mentality,” also known as our stress reflex. We get anxious or upset and we try to sense where we can throw blame for what’s wrong. There is a polarizing.

Mostly what we are doing when we are in stress-reactivity is trying to find certainty. We are trying to find some ground again; and everything we try to do then is, on some level, trying to frame things so we have a stable ground – something that allows us to say, “Oh, here is what’s going on!” We try to define it, as a means of regaining a sense of certainty and security – an illusion of control. Charles Eisenstein calls this place…

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* Having Compassion for Ourselves

self compassion

“Self-compassion is a way of relating to the ever-changing landscape of who we are with kindness and acceptance—especially when we fail or feel inadequate … Self-compassion requires acknowledging that we share the human condition of imperfection.”   ~ Kristen Neff

How many of us learned about this when we were young? … How many of us are teaching our children about this? …

In today’s culture, especially in America, there is so much emphasis on self confidence, competing to win and striving for what you want in life. Yet, so much of it is out of our control.

We all know that mistakes happen and we don’t all win the prize at the end of the day.

How do you cope with these natural downturns and disappointments that are a part of all life? And how can we prepare ourselves for the inevitable lows of life?

Sara Neff and Tara Brach have so much wisdom and guidance on how we can come to a place of self love and acceptance as adults.

“In order to flower, self-compassion depends on honest, direct contact with our own vulnerability. Compassion fully blossoms when we actively offer care to ourselves. To help people address feelings of insecurity and unworthiness, I often introduce mindfulness and compassion through a meditation I call the RAIN of Self-Compassion. The acronym RAIN, first coined about 20 years ago by Michele McDonald, is an easy-to-remember tool for practicing mindfulness. It has four steps:

Recognize what is going on;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with kindness;
Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying with the experience.

You can take your time and explore RAIN as a stand-alone meditation or move through the steps in a more abbreviated way whenever challenging feelings arise.”

~ Tara Brach

self compassion

I have spent many years helping others find self acceptance and connection to their inner being. However, one the greatest tools I use, is not in our thinking mind at all.

The simplest way to allow compassion to flow and for the heart to open, is to sit quietly and place one or both hands above your heart center.

Take a moment and try it now.

This gesture activates a soothing response that we mammals have. It replicates the feeling of comfort, safety and nourishment at our mother’s breast.

As babies we felt it. As children we received comfort from a motherly hug. Yet, we don’t need someone else to bring about the same physical and emotional response.

You can give yourself this gift at any time.

You can also place a hand on your belly and let the breathe settle into the center of your being. When we breathe using the diaphragm, we activate the relaxation response in the para sympathetic nervous system. Anxiety abates as the brain releasing comforting hormones.

Connect to your breath and allow the nurturing energy to flow.

 Namaste

* The Sacred Pause

This one is especially for FT and DK!

Evolutionary_Mystic Post

Published on Oct 8, 2015

The Sacred Pause (09/30/2015)
When we are lost in the trance of doing, our lives are on automatic, and contracted by sense that something’s wrong or missing. This talk explores the challenges of learning to pause, and the blessings that arise when step out of our incessant mental and physical activity and reconnect with the being-qualities of presence, wisdom and love.

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* The best gift

Just right for today .. and every day 🙂

Mindfulbalance

File:Tamme eend wammes.jpg

Stepping out of the busyness,

stopping our endless pursuit of getting somewhere else,

is perhaps the most beautiful offering we can make to our spirit.

Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in your own Awakened Heart

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* The Space Between Resistance and Inner Peace

How can we move from resistance and struggle to acceptance and inner peace? I believe there is a space between the two. Like the pendulum of life, we find ourselves moving from one to the other…. yet there is a moment when we can slow down and pause.

pendulum of life

 

Tara Brach calls this The Sacred Pause. For me, it is a place of grounding as well. I call it our Middle Ground.

It is the same space that we all aspire to experience. It is the doorway to clarity, inspiration, understanding and peace of mind.

blue door to our true natureHere is some of Tara Brach’s practical wisdom from her Spirituality and Practice website:

“The Sacred Pause. helps us to reconnect with the present moment. Especially when we are caught up in striving and obsessing and leaning into the future, pausing enables us to reenter the mystery and vitality only found here and now.

Choose a time when you are involved in a goal-oriented activity — reading, working on the computer, cleaning, eating — and explore pausing for a moment or two. Begin by discontinuing what you are doing, sitting comfortably and allowing your eyes to close. Take a few deep breaths and with each exhale let go of any worries or thoughts about what you are going to do next; let go of any tightness in the body.

Now, notice what you are experiencing as you inhabit the pause. What sensations are you aware of in your body? Do you feel anxious or restless as you try to step out of your mental stories? Do you feel pulled to resume your activity? Can you simply allow, for this moment, whatever is happening inside you?

You can weave the sacred pause into your daily life by pausing for a few moments each hour or as you begin and end activities. You can pause while sitting, standing or lying down. Even in motion — going for a walk or driving — you can pause internally, eyes open and senses awake. Whenever you find you are stuck or disconnected, you can begin your life fresh in that moment by pausing, relaxing and paying attention to your immediate experience.”

We can create the space between resistance and inner peace by letting go of what is taking up our thoughts and bringing our attention to what is happening within us in this very moment.

It begins with noticing where our mind is, and then pausing with eyes open and senses wide!

Just like the samurai warrior.

The Last samurai

This is a practice… and can become one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves to live fully  in the highs and lows of life.

May you find your middle ground every day 🙂