Thoughts on conscious Love and Compassion because when we attend to our greater good we are attending to THE greater good.

“The essence of true friendship is to make allowance for another’s lapses.”  Frankfort Moore

Painfully often it is the people who love us the most that seem to get the most frustrated with our healing progress (or lack thereof).

Remember, that frustration is usually coming from a frustration on their part because they’ve run out of ways to help, or advice to give – they’ve exhausted all of their tools and it’s upsetting to them that their help hasn’t fixed anything at all.

People who love you have an agenda…they want you to be well and happy. 

Understand this is NOT a reflection of your value or worth in their eyes; their frustration is more a reflection of their own inability to help.  Your path is your path and as much as friends/family want to they can neither build it for you or make sure you walk it in a way that is satisfying to them.

Understanding this simple concept  (this is not your failure) puts you back in a place of power – not over them, over yourself – so that you can continue to treat them with compassion and work toward your own healing.  We can only build from our empowering places and our empowering places are in love.

Miracles from Crisis

“Once in awhile there comes a crisis which renders miracles feasible.”  Julia Sand

This time of year, around the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the collective consciousness begins to get a little jumpy.  Odd things seem to happen with people’s schedules, everyday errands make people a little grumpy…nothing goes quite as expected because our stress pulls us out of alignment with our goals and ideals.

Now is a wonderful time to recall the bonding that happened between community members during that time.  The grace everyone had for each other during their shock and even throughout their grieving period was a beautiful, open hearted selflessness during a time when the political scene was wrenching us apart from one another.  I remember, quite clearly, how my sense of safety was rattled to the core – but I also remember how quickly I was reminded of what is truly important in my life.  I’ve carried that renewed sense of priority with me through the years (most of them difficult) that have followed.

We may not fully understand the miracles that have become feasible as a result of that crisis but I feel that it marked the beginning of a big shift for the world community, a shift so monumental it cracked the foundation of old, the foundation of “I’ve got mine, you get yours” and started planting the seeds of love and compassion in the global mind.  Seeds are small, they take time to germinate, take root and grow.  But they’re also tough and because their progress is slow and steady they can become vibrant, resilient and prolific in even the harshest of environments.

This week puts more than a decade of initial growth of that seed of love, compassion, forgiveness and care behind us.  As I look forward I imagine the seed has turned into a sprout and that sprout will turn into a bright, living, breathing source of sustenance as we embrace the miracle made possible by its planting.  We need do nothing more than breathe the new life of Pure Love into our lungs and let it become a part of us so that we may be kind and gentle to ourselves, each other and the world.

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Interesting side note:  Julia Sand, the author of the quote at the top of this post was a disabled woman who began writing to Vice President Arthur after President Garfield had been shot by Charles Guiteau.  She had noticed Arthur floundering under negative influence prior to the shooting and encouraged him to make more selfless choices in light of the nation’s tragedy.  He had never met her before yet took solace in her written wisdom.  He saved every letter.  He met her for the first time, months after becoming president when he surprised her with a visit in a home she shared with her brother.

It is natural this time of year for one’s attention to turn to transition and cleanliness.  Springtime brings about that feeling of renewal and freshness; so much so that it is almost as though we cannot help ourselves.  We begin by picking up a room or a drawer that we’ve allowed to get cluttered with our tools of hibernation and soon find ourselves planning for improvement projects, gardens (even if we know we’re no good at it) and redecorating.

This is one of the reasons that Spring is my most favored seasons.  Though it is wonderful to affect this kind of change on our physical surroundings it can also do us much good to consider the opportunity to perform a similar Spring cleaning on our Mind/Soul/Self.

Instead of simply sorting the junk drawer ponder the mindset (or lack of) that went into the stockpiling in the first place.   Take a close look at what is in that junk drawer/room.  Dead batteries and broken pens?  Chargers and electronic pieces that you’re not sure what they go to?  Keys without locks?  Outdated stamps?  Whatever it is – take a look at and see if there are any parallels between that item and something in your life or your mindset.  Similar to a broken pen or a dead battery, perhaps you keep other broken or dead “things” in your life – friendships, relationships, grudges?  Did you keep them by default never realizing the clutter they created or did you knowingly stock them away because you couldn’t be sure if you’d ever need to focus on them again?  Consider the possibility that something could be gained (Hint:  There is MUCH to be gained) from simply saying, “this doesn’t serve me anymore” and letting it go?  Lockless keys may correlate to all the answers you have to problems that aren’t yours.  There’s a chance that you’re holding onto worry, regrets and decisions that are out of your control or from the distant past.  Recognize, mindfully, what issues are really your own to face and be willing to face them.  Don’t worry, you’ll have more energy to do that now that you’re letting everyone else’s go!!

Our default habits come from somewhere and they stick with us longer than we realize and in ways that may not even seem significant – like a junk drawer.  NOW is the time to give those patterns their due consideration.  Maybe they’ll be hard to let go and chances are good it will take you more than one time to relinquish them.  Remember,  practice makes perfect.  You may not even notice it the next time you throw a dead battery back in the drawer but perhaps you’ll notice it when you try to replace other dead batteries and you’ll have that same chance to revisit the recesses of your mind and ask yourself the question, “do I need this?”  If you don’t – let it go – without regret.

What are some examples you’ve come across, either this Spring or in previous Springs/Cleansing sessions?

Listening to the Subtleties

The first post of this month addressed listening to the good stuff that comes to us from others and the second dealt with the voice of our Ego disguised as humility and how to defend ourselves against it.  Today’s blog post is about an altogether different kind of listening and it is the kind that doesn’t come from either an outer voice (from someone else) nor an inner one (from ourselves).  What I want to address today is the kind of listening that happens from a quiet awareness of our situation, our world and our Selves.

Each moment of each day it is easy to feel bombarded by noise that seems important:  the beep of a text message, the tone of a ringing phone, the bing-bong of a calendar reminder.  We hear ideas, we pay attention to agendas, we ask and answer questions and as a result we have begun to block out the opportunities we could have to really listen to what the world, the Universe and the collective consciousness is trying to tell us.  These constant intrusions often leave people feeling lost and in a constant state of confusion about anything deeper than the ‘to-do’ list.  There doesn’t seem to be enough time for considerations like meaning, purpose or joy.  Many people feel like they’re steering their lives in circles never coming to any conclusions or arriving at a destination because their mistakes (read: lessons) are SO familiar: “Haven’t I done this (or been here) a million times before?!”

What has happened is this:  many people have gotten so caught up in the DOING of their lives that they’ve forgotten how to actually make anything of it…the CREATING has become a lost art.  And how can anyone CREATE anything when there is no opportunity to be inspired?

Many people have stopped noticing the small signs in their life that tell them when they’re on the right (or wrong) track.  They think of that friend but don’t pick up the phone to make the call.  They notice a trend in their dreams but don’t take the time to reflect on its meaning.  They see a new possibility for themselves but deem it too risky – even though the thought of it makes our hearts soar (maybe for the first time in a long time).

It’s time to wake up to those small listening opportunities.  Life is telling us something.  Even if you believe that the only meaning that exists in these “signs” is the one that we assign it – the wisdom remains the same.  By giving ourselves the pause we need to reflect on our lives, thoughts, and path we open up the way to new possibilities for ourselves.  Simple moments of reflection carve out the opportunity to recognize what it is that drains us and, more importantly, what it is that refuels us.  Only then can we empower ourselves to break out of our default patterns and actually make healthy change in our lives.

I encourage you to take some of those moments and really use them.  The next time you’re dining out and your date visits the restroom resist the urge to check or post on your favorite social media site and, instead, let your thoughts go inside of your Self – let them swim around.   If you think of someone you’d like to contact about an idea – write it down.  If you find that you can’t stop thinking about the person that left the table – tell them.  And if you feel like you’re coming up empty consider why it is that you’ve lost touch with your Self and reintroduce the two of you.  You might be surprised at what opens up to you as a result of this kind of listening.

Choosy Listening

The previous post on listening inspired me to make February all about the nuances of listening.

Addressing how we listen to the positive statements about ourselves inevitably heightens our awareness to how much negative we take in each day.  If you’ve really been listening to the nice things people are saying (as suggested by the previous post) you’ve probably also fought the inner dialogue that tells you to negate it.  It feels more humble to diminish it in some way.  You say, “it’s nothing,” or “it’s not important.”  You may not realize it but there is a cost incurred each time you do that.  That kind of humility becomes a drain on your spirit;  the silent drip of each negative thought is the Chinese water torture of the emotional realm – it slowly, but surely eats its way through your positive view of yourself.  How can your deepest Self trust you when your logical self doesn’t seem to think much of it?

What you have to understand about that piece of you that interrupts a compliment is this:  it is simply your ego nudging at your consciousness – it is telling you that you should think about what other people think.  It is not your true voice, it is not your Truth.

Once you realize this nagging little voice that acts as a shut off valve to your rightful positive input it will become natural to fight with it.  Of course, it is just as unhealthy to negate and argue with the ego as it is to believe its assessment of you as truth.  As though this inner tug-of-war isn’t enough it won’t take long before you begin to second guess which part of you is right – the part that feels loved and nurtured by the compliment or the part of you that feels the need to diminish it.  The incessant push and pull can lead you to the point where you’re simply telling yourself just to shut up already.

And, as we all know, “shut up” is simply not nice.

Here’s a tool to use; simply acknowledge that humility response as your ego.  That’s all it really wants anyway…just a little acknowledgment will go a long way toward quieting it down:  “Hmm, that was my ego talking.”  Leave it alone now.  Turn back to the compliment and bask in it for awhile.  If that voice comes in with, “yeah, but….” let it finish and then say, “hello, ego” and return to the compliment.

It takes some conscious practice but you’ll find that, over time, you’re adapting to a more positive position in life.  You’ll slowly learn your value in the lives around you and ultimately in your own.  You’ll learn your strengths because you’re recognizing them through both the eyes of others and your own.  You’ll build on those strengths organically and soon you’ll have a better sense of your place and purpose in this life and in this world.

Listening can be transformative when you do it consciously.  Just remember, it does take practice.  If you don’t get it right straight out of the gate trust that it WILL come.  By the time it is a part of you it will be so easy that you won’t even realize what a big accomplishment you’ve made – but someone will tell you and you’ll truly hear it when they do.

Are you really listening?

On this day, February 1st, in 1926 just a few short years before the Great Depression my grandmother was born.  While she is no longer with us I continue to remember all that she brought to me and my life experience through her tenacity and strength.

Ours was not the usual part-time visits and full-time spoiling grandparent/child relationship.  To say that I was raised by a single parent would be technically true though it would fly in the face of all my grandmother gave me in her unabated and steadfast love, security and discipline.  Though she didn’t reside with us she was, as often as she could be, my before/after school guardian, my mom-is-working-late babysitter and my weekend respite caregiver which made my Grandma Jammye my second parent in many regards.

Looking back I know I spent time in good quantity and more importantly great quality and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I said how much I appreciated her often and in great detail.

I also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she never really heard my accolades.  When I talk to my kids about their Great Grandmother and how much she adored them and all that she was to me and for me I have to also add that she never really knew what a gift she was to me and to the world around her.  Every compliment was denied, every example was admonished as an exaggeration, and her every attempt at finding peace in herself for all of her mistakes through life was clouded and mired by her deflated and defeated self image.  She died truly believing she was a failure.

Needless to say, this was a painful reality to all of us who treasured her.

Here I am, 8 years later, reflecting on what that means to me.  What I come up with is this:  though I’m all too good at hearing the bad stuff and working on it diligently I will not let the people nearest me feel that I do not hear them when they speak of the good.  I will hear their words of kindness, love and compassion.  I will understand that my contributions to this world are, in large part, positive ones.  I will believe what they say about me if, for no other reason, because they took the time, energy and courage to say it to me.

With this in mind, World, I am listening, not to my inner dialogue that declares me unfit, unprepared, or not enough, but to the messages and confirmations that come from the people in whose lives I participate.  Because when it comes right down to it those words are reflections of my natural gifts…the gifts I have that I SHOULD be nurturing in order to develop and share them.

We come in contact with countless people every single day.  What messages are we hearing from them when we’re listening?  Strangers may smile and offer a quick, “thank you” for a small kindness.  Listen to it.  Know that you contributed something positive to that person’s life today.  Loved ones may tell you that you’re easy to talk to or that they look forward to your visits.  Know that you’ve given them just what they needed to feel treasured.

Live your life with a robust understanding of the gift you are to this world and you will energize yourself to be more of the wonderful person you naturally are and to achieve more of the wonderful goals you’re reaching for in the process of living.

I would love to hear from you once you’ve begun listening.  Will you share with me in the comments what you’ve heard?  Keep a mental databank of these comments.  Or, better yet, actually write them down in a small notebook and refer to them when you’re down.  Recording, recalling and sharing the ways in which you’re cherished is not an act of hubris – it is a necessary act of self recognition.

Trying something new…

I recently gave a TEDx talk called “Learn your Life”  where I encouraged listeners to approach their lives from a learner’s perspective to alleviate some of the stress that comes with all the feelings we have when we’re constantly doing what we need to do to just get through our day and when we get frustrated with ourselves because we don’t seem to know everything we thought we should have figured out by now.  The beautiful thing about a learner’s perspective is that it gives you permission to slip up and to learn from your mistakes rather than berate yourself for making them;  because, so often, we learn more about who we want to be (what we want to do) by first learning who we don’t want to be (what we don’t want to do).  That permission allows for compassion toward Self and that compassion grows and bleeds into other parts of your life.

On the heels of this talk I had several conversations with friends where I said, over and over again, “I feel like I have a message for the world.  A message of Love and Compassion as a new world order.  I’m just now sure how to get it out there.”  Well, in the spirit of practicing what I preach I decided to start this blog.  I don’t know if it will be any good, I don’t know what it will turn into, I don’t know if it will even get the message out that I am so excited for the world to hear but  I know it will give me a renewed learner’s perspective in my own life and I always grow by leaps and bounds when I do that.  In turn, I’m always able to help other’s grow as well.

Self, Love and Compassion are capitalized on purpose – they’re important enough to me that I want them to stand out as the major concepts of this blog.

If you don’t yet know me here’s a page about me that you can look at and think about.  I welcome your thoughts and input on anything I do here.  In fact, I want this to be a cooperative, inclusive, and participatory experience.  That is how we learn from one another and open our mind and hearts to each other – this is how we improve ourselves (our Selves).  I ask that when you disagree you be respectful; disrespectful comments will be removed.