I was feeling kinda crappy. You know, haven’t gone to the gym, not eating well. I decided instead of telling myself something negative about not living up to my expectations–I’d love myself more. Doesn’t it make sense? Why kick myself when I’m down? I’m choosing to love me! I hope if any of you are going through a hard time that you are giving yourself the positive self talk that you deserve!
I have been out of whack the last few days, paying more attention to the things going on in my world, than my inner self. But I’m happy to say I’m coming back into balance. After burning myself out with work, I took some serious ME TIME. I even booked a little get away in New Orleans for November. I realize that when I take care of myself, the outer (stuff in my life) flows. I’m hoping that all of you are taking care, too. Blessings!
I recently moved from San Francisco to Athens, Georgia. I lived in San Francisco for about 16 years and couldn’t have any pets. Since I got to Athens, I’ve accumulated 3 cats. And they have helped me so much in my daily spiritual practice. Being constantly interrupted by a cat that that wants to walk on my laptop or crawl into a cupboard that I opened or sit in the sink when I’m brushing my teeth (I could go on) has made me stop many times throughout my day and practice patience and love. I mean, how can you not love them? And you can not rush through, you need to stop and pet and say sweet things to them; you must be patient.
Well-meaning people have used that line over the course of my life and looking back I usually blew it off. I was too wrapped up in my hurt. But I’ve come to realize how much practical–and spiritual–truth is in “don’t take it personally” because it’s true, it’s not personal. The stuff that people say and do is about their state of being. When I realize that simple truth–I don’t need to take it into my state of being.
We all know the effects of holding grudges and bad feelings toward ourselves and others–it weighs us down and holds an icky place in our heart. But how do we let that stuff go? I used to be a big grudge holder. I came to find out that this was the result of my own insecurities, feeling like what other people did to me was about me instead of simply being about their own human limitation.
To let all this go, I wrote down the name of every person who I felt had wronged me on a little slip of paper. Then I held it over my sink and thanked this person for what the experience had taught me, like how to be stronger or more compassionate. Or how to take the high road, or how to trust my intuition. I found one positive thing. Even if it was just giving me the chance to practice forgiveness. Then I lit that little paper on fire while blessing this person and myself. My anger literally went up in smoke! Instead of anger I felt love for them and myself. That bundle of burdens that I had been carrying for so long was released. And my life changed profoundly.
Compassion is a big thing in Buddhism and pretty much any other religious or spiritual practice I can think of. How do we put ourselves in the frame of mind to choose compassion over feeling irritated, angry and judgmental toward another person? And how do we choose compassion over disappointment in ourselves?
For me, if I am feeling irritated or angry at someone, it helps to first make friends with the feeling (not push it away), give it a little space, and be kind and gentle to myself. As I take care of myself and this feeling of irritation, I feel my heart open a little and I’m able to soften toward the other person. It’s an opportunity to thank them, really, for giving me the chance to love myself.
Being present is a staple of Buddhism. It’s a concept you come across in all the reading and a lot of lectures and workshops. You know it’s true because you’ve experienced the beauty of being in the present–that clarity and calm and the power. Yes the power! Maybe you were in meditation or watching a sunset. But how the heck do you bring that awareness into your daily life? For me it takes guts. It takes the humility and honesty to put away my anxieties about my life and and accept who I am and what’s happening. And then I can open up to what’s really going on–something a lot bigger than me. Please share how you stay present. I think you can help yourself and others.