Archive for February, 2012

Opening to Receive Comfort

February 28, 2012

[From DailyOM ]

Grief is part of the human experience, and sharing our vulnerability helps create truly close bonds.

When we experience something that causes us to feel shock and sadness, we may feel the urge to withdraw from life. It may seem like remaining withdrawn will keep us protected from the world, but during these times it is important to reach out to those trusted and precious people who care about us the most. Even with our best information and reasoning, we never know when someone else’s experience or perspective can give us additional information that we need. The universe speaks to us through many channels, and when we open ourselves up to receive its messages, we also receive nurturing care from a loving partner in life’s journey.

Grief is part of the human experience, and sharing our vulnerability is what creates truly close bonds in our relationships. Opening ourselves up in this way gets to the core of our being, past all of our defenses and prejudices. When life seems to crack the outer shell of our world, we are both raw and fresh at the same time. It is then that we discover who is truly willing to walk with us through life. We also see that some of those sent to us may not be the ones we expected to see. Regardless, we learn to trust in the universe, in others, in our own strength and resilience, and in the wisdom of life itself.

Sharing grief allows us to ease our burden by letting someone else help carry it. This helps us process our own inner thoughts and feelings through the filter of a trusted and beloved someone. We may feel guilty or selfish, as if we are unloading on someone who has their own challenges. Although, if we think about it, we know we would do the same for them, and their protests would seem pointless. Remember that not sharing feelings with others denies them the opportunity to feel. We may be the messenger sent by the universe for their benefit, and it is on this mission that we have been sent. By sharing our hopes and fears, joys and pains with another person, we accept the universe’s gifts of wisdom and loving care.

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The Weight of the Past

February 27, 2012

[ From DailyOM ]

Holding onto regret is like dragging the weight of the past with us everywhere we go.

It drains our energy, leaving less available for life in the present because we are constantly feeding an old issue. This attachment can cause illness the same way watering a dead plant creates decay. We know that something new and beautiful can grow in its place if we only prepare the soil and plant the right seeds. We also know that we create our lives from our thoughts, so dwelling on the past may actually recreate a situation in our lives where we are forced to make the choice again and again. We can choose to move on right now by applying what we have learned to the present and perhaps even sharing with others, transforming the energy into something that is constructive and creative for ourselves and others.

Forgiveness is the soothing balm that can heal regret. In meditation, we can imagine discussing the issue with the self of our past and offering our forgiveness for the choice. In return, we can ask for our selves’ forgiveness for keeping them locked in that space of judgment for so long. We may also want to ask forgiveness from anyone else who may have been affected and perhaps offer our forgiveness. By replaying the event in our minds, we can choose a new ending using all that we now know. Imagine that you have actually gone back into the past and made this change, and then say goodbye to it. Release your former self with a hug and bring the forgiveness and love back with you to the present. Since we are usually our harshest critics, it is amazing how powerfully healing it can be to offer ourselves love.

Keeping our minds and our energy fully in the present allows us to fuel our physical and emotional healing and well-being today. This action frees our energy to create the dreams we dream for the future. By taking responsibility and action in the present, we can release our hold on the past.

Below the Surface

February 21, 2012

[ From DailyOM ]

When we look back on our lives we see that we have survived many trials and often to our own amazement.

We have all faced moments in our lives when the pressure mounts beyond what we feel we can handle, and we find ourselves thinking that we do not have the strength to carry on. Sometimes we have just gotten through a major obstacle or illness only to find another one waiting for us the moment we finally catch our breath. Sometimes we endure one loss after another, wondering when we will get a break from life’s travails. It does not seem fair or right that life should demand more of us when we feel we have given all we can, but sometimes this is the way life works.

When we look back on our lives, we see that we have survived many trials and surmounted many obstacles, often to our own amazement. In each of those instances, we had to break through our ideas about how much we can handle and go deeper into our hidden reserves. The thought that we do not have the strength to handle what is before us can be likened to the hard surface of a frozen lake. It appears to be an impenetrable fact, but when we break through it, we find that a deep well of energy and inspiration was trapped beneath that icy barrier the whole time. Sometimes we break through by cutting a hole into our resistance with our willpower, and sometimes we melt the ice with compassion for our predicament and ourselves. Either way, each time we break through, we reach a new understanding of the strength we store within ourselves.

When we find ourselves up against that frozen barrier of thinking we cannot handle our situation, we may find that the kindest choice is to love ourselves and our resistance too. We can simply accept that we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and stretched, and we can offer ourselves loving kindness and compassion. If we can extend to ourselves the unconditional warmth of a mother’s love, before we know it, the ice will begin to break.

Clinging to the Core

February 16, 2012

[ From DailyOM ]

When external factors shift we have an opportunity to rediscover our core which is the only truly safe place to call home.

There are times when our whole world seems to be falling apart around us, and we are not sure what to hold onto anymore. Sometimes our relationships crumble and sometimes it’s our physical environment. At other times, we can’t put our finger on it, but we feel as if all the walls have fallen down around us and we are standing with nothing to lean on, exposed and vulnerable. These are the times in our lives when we are given an opportunity to see where we have established our sense of identity, safety, and well-being. And while it is perfectly natural and part of our process to locate our sense of self in externals, any time those external factors shift, we have an opportunity to rediscover and move closer to our core, which is the only truly safe place to call home.

The core of our being is not affected by the shifting winds of circumstance or subject to the cycles of change that govern physical reality. It is as steady and consistent as the sun, which is why the great mystics and mystical poets often reference the sun in their odes to the self. Like the sun, there are times when our core seems to be inaccessible to us, but this is just a misperception. We know that when the sun goes behind a cloud or sets for the night, it has not disappeared but is simply temporarily out of sight. In the same way, we can trust that our inner core is always shining brightly, even when we cannot quite see it.

We can cling to this core when things around us are falling apart, knowing that an inexhaustible light shines from within ourselves. Times of external darkness can be a great gift in that they provide an opportunity to remember this inner light that shines regardless of the circumstances of our lives. When our external lives begin to come back together, we are able to lean a bit more lightly on the structures we used to call home, knowing more clearly than ever that our true home is that bright sun shining in our core.

Same Choices, Same Results

February 16, 2012

[ From DailyOM ]

A change in perspective, behavior, or response can do so much more to help us move past issues left unresolved.

Repeated bouts of adversity are an unavoidable aspect of human existence. We battle against our inner struggles or outer world forces, and in many cases, we emerge on the opposite side of struggle stronger and better equipped to cope with the challenges yet to come. However, we can occasionally encounter trials that seem utterly hopeless. We strike at them with all of our creativity and perseverance, hoping desperately to bring about change, only to meet with the same results as always. Our first instinct in such situations is often to push harder against the seemingly immovable obstruction before us, assuming that this time we will be met with a different outcome. But staying power and stamina net us little when the same choices consistently garner the same results. A change in perspective, behavior, or response can do so much more to help us move past points where no amount of effort seems sufficient to overcome the difficulties before us. 

Whether our intention is to change ourselves or some element of the world around us, we cannot simply wish for transformation or hope that our lives will be altered through circumstance. If our patterns of thought and behavior remain unchanged, our lives will continue to unfold much as they have previously. Patterns in which fruitless efforts prevail can be overcome with self examination and courage. It is our bravery that allows us to question the choices we have made thus far and to channel our effort into innovation. Asking questions and making small adjustments to your thought processes and behaviors will help you discover what works, so you can leave that which does not work behind you. To break free from those unconscious patterns that have long held sway over your actions and reactions, you will likely have to challenge your assumptions on a most basic level. You must accept once and for all that your beliefs with regard to cause and effect may no longer be in accordance with your needs.

Stagnation is often a sign that great changes are on the horizon. Courting the change you wish to see in yourself and in the world around you is a matter of acknowledging that only change begets change. The results you so ardently want to realize are well within the realm of possibility, and you need only step away from the well-worn circular path to explore the untried paths that lie beyond it.

As the Earth Allows the Rain

February 16, 2012

[ From DailyOM ]

Taking the time now to sit with your feelings and acknowledge them will save you much distress down the road.

It can take great courage to really sit with our feelings, allowing ourselves to surrender to their powerful energies. All too often we set our feelings aside, thinking we will deal with them later. If we don’t deal with them, we end up storing them in our minds and bodies and this is when anxiety and other health issues can arise. Denying what our bodies want to feel can lead to trouble now or down the line, which is why being in the thick of our feelings, no matter how scary it seems, is really the best thing we can do for ourselves.

One of the reasons we tend to hide or push aside our feelings is that we live in a culture that has not traditionally supported emotional awareness. However, as the connection between mind and body–our emotions and our physical health– becomes clearer, awareness of the importance of feeling our feelings has grown. There are many books, classes, workshops and retreats that can help us on our way to emotional intelligence. We can also trust in our own ability to process what comes up when it comes up. If sadness arises, we can notice its presence and welcome it, noting where in our bodies we feel it, and allowing ourselves to express it through tears or a quiet turning inward.

When we simply allow ourselves to fully feel our feelings as they come, we tend to let them go easily. This is all we are required to do; our feelings simply want to be felt. We often complicate the situation by applying mental energy in the form of analysis, when all we really need is to allow, as the earth allows the rain to fall upon it. As the rain falls, the earth responds in a multitude of ways, sometimes emptying out to form a great canyon, sometimes soaking it up to nourish an infinitude of plants. In the same way, the deeper purpose of our feelings is to transform the terrain of our inner world, sometimes creating space for more feelings to flow, sometimes providing sustenance for growth. All we need to do is allow the process by relaxing, opening, and receiving the bounty of our emotions.

Letting Life Unfold

February 16, 2012

[ From DailyOM ]

Present time can be hard, but life unfolds as it will and the universe will wait as we make our way into the unknown.

Our lives are guided by natural rhythms that are particular to each of us and cannot be altered by force of will alone. Life itself is a journey made up of processes and events that manifest before us only to be swept away when time marches on. Whether we envision ourselves creating a career, building a family, or developing the self, we instinctively know when the time has come for us to realize our dreams because all that is involved comes together harmoniously. When the time is right, the passage of destiny cannot be blocked. Yet as desperate as we are to touch these beautiful futures we have imagined, we cannot grow if we are not fully present in the evolutionary experience. The present can be challenging, uncomfortable, and tedious, but life unfolds as it will, and the universe will wait patiently as we make our way into the unknown.

The fate that awaits us is not dependent on our pace, which was preordained before we ever appeared in human guise. Therefore there is no reason to rush through life to reach those pinnacles of development associated with the paths we have chosen. Enjoying and fully experiencing the journey of life is as important as achieving goals and reaching milestones. There are lessons we can learn during those moments that seem immaterial or insignificant that we cannot learn at any other time. Appreciating these takes patience, however, because human beings tend to focus on the fulfillment of expectations rather than the simple joys of being. 

Like many people, you have no doubt longed for a device that would give you the power to fast forward through certain periods of your existence. Yet haste is by its very nature vastly more stressful than serene fortitude. When you feel yourself growing impatient because the pace of your development is deceptively slow, remember that everything that will occur in your life will occur in its own time. Quelling your urge to rush will enable you to witness yourself learning, changing, and becoming stronger. There is so much to see and do in between the events and processes that we deem definitive. If you are patient enough to take pleasure in your existence’s unfolding, the journey from one pinnacle to the next will seem to take no time at all.

Steps to Freedom

February 16, 2012

[ From DailyOM ]

If we don’t change what isn’t working in our lives, we will continually have the same day over and over again.

We have all had the experience of realizing that something in our lives is not working. This knowledge can come as a sudden realization or a nagging feeling of doubt that grows stronger, waking us up to the fact that something needs to change. Some people have a tendency to act rashly and make sweeping changes before even understanding what the problem is. Other people fear change, so they live with the uncomfortable awareness that something needs to shift but won’t do anything about it. Between these two extreme responses lies a middle way that can help us powerfully and gracefully change what isn’t working in our lives.

The first step is remembering that your life is made up of parts that belong to an interconnected whole. Changing one thing can change everything. Because of this, small changes often have a big effect. Sometimes much bigger changes are necessary, but the only way to know for sure is to take the time to really understand the problem. Examine your life as an entirety—your work, your relationships, where you live—and determine what specifically is not functioning the way you would like. Once you have figured out the problem, write it down on a piece of paper. For example, “I am not happy with my relationship” or “I don’t like my apartment.” The next step is to figure out the adjustment you would like to make and how you can go about making this change. If you are unhappy with your relationship because you spend too much or not enough time with your partner, you may want to discuss this problem with them and come up with a compromise. On the other hand, if you realize your relationship is not working to such a degree that it needs to end, begin working through that process. Writing down the truth can be a powerful catalyst for change.

The key to making changes that work is to accept the necessity of change as part of life. As we change, we may find it necessary to fine-tune our relationships, work, and living situations. Our lives are living, breathing entities that reflect our dynamic selves.