Relentless: The Blog
I'm about to challenge something major here folks. Here it goes: Meditation, positive affirmations, vision boards, focusing only on the present and gratitude journals are not going to bring you the inner peace and contentment you desperately seek. "What?!" you exclaim, "This is blasphemous to all new age gurus and healers." Please, let me explain.
I don't mean to imply that these techniques hold no value or healing potential. Indeed, I too have used and continue to use most of them. What I believe is missing is the knowledge that these are meant to offer a variety of instruments with which we can incorporate healing into our world. There is no one right way to inwardly grow and heal but instead we have a plethora of tools at hand that we might utilize. Thus, we need a toolbox.
A toolbox suggests that different jobs require unique tools for each task at hand, many projects requiring multiple tools and each tool limited in its capacity to be of use. Our personal growth is no different than the home project that sits under construction in your garage or basement, multiple approaches are necessary to bring structure and progress. While filling that toolbox one should always leave space for, here comes another moment of blasphemy, your past.
I know, I know, this too flies in the face of all we are being fed. "The past holds no power," we are instructed. Well, I've yet to meet anyone of us mere mortals that has been able to flip that switch and never look back. Who I have met are a lot of people who remain unhappy and restless despite the fact that they are dutifully performing some of the tasks mentioned above. Denying our past and forgetting its existence, which is how it is understood by the masses, is a denial of part of who we are and how we came to be. The past holds innumerable insights and gifts for us if we choose to consciously engage with it. Once we understand the impact of our past we are free to make new and healthier choices, and the other various forms of self care and awareness begin to pack a greater punch as barriers are lifted. How so?
Let's compare moments in our past to a broken leg, which of course is a physical wound. Some of the pain and unhealthy beliefs from our past certainly do not define all that we are, just like one leg is not the entirety of our body, they are simply an emotional wound. We could never imagine not seeking help and healing for a broken leg, yet many allow emotional wounds to remain unattended. A broken leg, if ignored, will prove to be a permanent source of discomfort and a steady reminder of the hurt as we proceed to limp our way through the world. Obviously, emotional injuries are no different and deserve time and attention if we are to remain unhindered, or "limp-free" if you will.
As we sit in the ER with a broken leg, the nurses and doctors go to their toolbox in an effort to bring about healing. Syringes, medicines, x-rays, cleansing agents, casts, wheelchairs, crutches, etc. all play a role in mending our leg. They don't simply rely on one thing to get the job done but many different devices.
Never do they ignore the wound that lies in front of them, suggesting instead that we go home and meditate to deal with the discomfort. We are not prescribed the task of making a vision board with photos of ourselves or others engaged in the act of running or strolling on a walk to facilitate healing. They do not send us gimping out of the hospital with instructions to write in our gratitude journal about all the joyful things that happened in the day. Statements such as, "Focus on the positive, at least your other leg isn't broken," is not how our need is approached. And it is fully accepted that the process of healing might involve physical therapy in the future as you make efforts to relearn what was once natural to you.
The past, my friends, is simply the broken leg that may need tending and a hands on approach. If left out of your toolbox of personal growth you will find yourself stymied and frustrated, your project of self awareness forever limited by the trauma and its remaining scars. It is exactly through the sifting of our past that we once again learn anew what was once so instinctive in us, our truth and authenticity.
So yes, heed the wise words of the likes of Deepak, Oprah, and Eckhart Tolle but don't forget to listen to the sage lessons offered to you in understanding your past and its impact in your life today. Seek counsel from the wisdom within you that need only be given attention and a voice. It is with a well rounded toolbox that the luster of the masterpiece that is you can once again shine in the halls of your life.
Be well and happy.
May 11, 2015
This term is bantered about in what seems to be every healing modality. In this very blog I touch on its extreme importance to our growth and self awareness. But as I look out into the world I see so many of us struggling with the concept over and over again. I began to wonder why self compassion remains a foreign idea to most and a poorly utilized teaching of those whose path the phrase has crossed.
Certainly the easiest answer is that we have never been taught of its significance and more often then not, have not been outwardly shown unwavering compassion from those who were most meaningful in our childhood; and on and on the pattern goes the further we look back in our history. That lead me to the next question, "Why not?"
I came to the realization that self compassion has been confused with self pity. The two truly are worlds apart. Self compassion is not comparable to a permanent seat on the ole pity pot. How so?
Well, we've all taken some time in our lives to hang out on the pity pot and so we all know the beliefs and thoughts that can be found there: "Poor me." "Why does this kinda stuff always happen to me?" "Why can't I catch a break?" "Here we go again...." "Things never work out for me." "It's not fair." As we sit perched on that hard, unyielding seat our world appears to be cast in hues of the most dull and dingy gray, while our mind sees others' lives projected in technicolor. It's a lonely place to be because very few of us have the desire or tolerance to remain too long beside another that has taken up long term residence there, the air seemingly too thick and the energy oppressive. The pity pot is like a bus stop to nowhere.
Self compassion on the other hand, asks questions as well but in contrast to self pity, it is truly looking and waiting for an answer: "What do I need?" "How can I support myself or be supported by another?" The phrases offered are meant to be comforting and validating, "Yes, this is hard right now but I will take one step at time." When we allow ourselves to fall into the space of self compassion it is like lying supported on a bed of the softest comforters. When we look from this place we may not see all the answers but we might catch a glimpse of hope and possibilities. Interestingly, when we open our heart to ourselves we find less isolation and greater connection to the world at large, the air about us no longer a sinking abyss of darkness and suffocation but is instead saturated with acceptance. The bus stop of self compassion is a nonstop ticket into the wonders and depths of our lives and our soul.
So you see, self pity invites despair, hopelessness and helplessness as we become the consummate victim to the world at large. In contrast, self compassion is empowering, pulsing with love and new found discoveries and understandings as we remain in charge of our inner world. One pulls us down while the other lifts us up. When viewed with this level of clarity we can begin to know and understand the value of self compassion and proceed with an air of caution lest we turn the pity potty in our personal throne. There is no shame or impotent self indulgence to be found in self compassion. Instead, if you open its doors you will find deeper self acceptance and a healing path laid before you. The invitation to explore awaits you.
Be well and happy.
May 4, 2015
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