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Posts Tagged ‘Compassion’

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I was so impressed by a Jeff Foster video today, that I sat down to transcribe parts of it for myself and for all of you. He is one of many gifted spiritual teachers who is helping others practice compassionate awareness with self. I am always up for sharing that wisdom with all of you, so that we can all benefit.

Guest: I’ve been on this journey for more than 20 years…and I still hurt.

 

Jeff Foster: So this word … still — this is a huge one. This is the voice of the mind. After all these years, after all the healing, after all the courses, after all the books, why am I STILL feeling this? That’s one of the big stories of the mind: after all I’ve done, after all my insight, and my clarity, and my healing … why am I STILL feeling this sadness? Why am I still feeling this burning?

 

This word ‘still’ is very interesting because it implies an expectation. ‘By now’, that’s another way of saying it, isn’t it? By now this should be gone, by now I shouldn’t be feeling this. By now is the big lie. By now, is the great dishonoring of your experience. By now, still, I should be over this by now.

 

It’s so violent to ourselves, so cruel, so unkind. So quickly we go into the old story – why are you still here? I thought you would be gone by now. I’m so disappointed. Can you feel the self-violence in that? They just come, all they are asking for is to be allowed here now.

 

We go so quickly into – why are you still here? Seems like such a small thing, but when it comes to the voice of the heart it’s such a huge thing. That’s not the voice of the heart. The heart doesn’t say – why are you still here? The heart says, “aw, you’re here.” There’s no ‘still’, there’s no ‘by now’. There’s only here, there’s only now.

 

This idea that I should be “free from”. That’s the mind’s version of freedom. These are all your children: rage, doubt, joy, sorrow. They are all your children, and they come to you not to punish, or show you how much you failed, but because you are their home.

 

Sadness does not want to be healed. It wants to be held … which is the healing ironically. The word heal and whole are from the same root. It wants to be part of the whole.

 

You are presence. You are home and all these children come to visit you. Sadness will come and visit you, and she’ll leave and come back. If your heart is open, that never has to stop. That’s how you break the cycle of violence.

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“It’s amazing Molly, the love inside, you take it with you.”

Those were some of the final heart-rendering words uttered by the lead male character, portrayed by Patrick Swayze, in the movie “Ghost”. Molly is played by Demi Moore.  He’s expressing this as he’s saying goodbye, and moving into the eternal world of non-physical.  It’s a deeply touching moment, and appropriately at the end of the movie.

Those words came to me as I pondered how I wanted the end of my movie to be.  What is it I want to take with me from living this life?  What is it that I want to pass on through my ancestral DNA? What deposit do I want to put in my karmic piggy bank?   What’s the enduring footprint I want to leave here?

My best friend in nursing school once said to me: “you’re not just hard on yourself, you are brutal with yourself.”  There’s been some improvements, yet it has been one of my core challenges.  Not much seemed to really stem the tide of self-victimization — not even the realization that this was what I was doing, repeating a pattern over and over again. 

I can’t tell you I’m cured and I will never beat up on self again.  But I can tell you what’s really weakening the link in that chain is knowing every time I continue to make myself wrong, this is what I put into my non-physical escrow account, or my karmic piggy bank.  This is the legacy I leave behind and it is the inheritance I give generations to come. It broke my heart to realize this and then it broke it again – wide open to love, compassion, mercy and kindness.

What is the legacy I want to leave behind, and the inheritance I bequeath to future generations?

I am wise and teachable, open to change and spiritual growth.  I seek always to embody kindness and compassion.  I am mindful that this is the essence of my spiritual sustenance.  I live the motto: make love, not war.

As this movie ends and the curtain begins to close, down the hall another movie begins, “The Gods and Goddesses of Loving Compassion”. It’s the story of how together, we restored the outer world to its natural state of peace and harmony, by first transforming our inner worlds.  And, together we changed the landscape of future generations to come forevermore.      

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The transition from winter to spring is always such a profound experience in nature.  The earth seems still, sometimes frozen, but so much happens underground that is unseen, invisible to us, but there none the less.  Were it not so, spring would not happen.

I feel a bit of my own inner spring, new growth taking place.  I’ve been in the winter of my life around a particular subject, my Mother, who transitioned many, many years ago.  I was sort of stuck in what felt like an eternal winter.  Never coming to a place of completion with her.  Always feeling like I need to forgive, but forgiveness would not come.  

There were a few false starts, thinking I’ve come to a better place with my Mom – my inner spring had sprung.  Metaphorically a lot like what some of you are experiencing across the country – it’s spring, no wait, it’s winter, but no, it’s spring … ah, yes, spring, finally … no, dang it, it’s winter again!!

And so here I am in spring, finding it wasn’t about forgiveness after all.  It was about opening my heart.  Oh, it didn’t come easy but when it came, it did come authentically.  

A little background: I was about to go to an energy workshop.  We were told to bring 2 or 3 objects that we felt held lots of energy.  I brought a picture of me and my Mother.  I am about 11 years old.  I would always have a visceral, recoiling response to the picture of my Mom.  Before I go to the workshop, I show it to three friends.  One dear friend who is highly, highly intuitive, immediately read fear in my Mom’s eyes and overall presence.  

I went to the workshop, and showed it to my mentor, also highly intuitive.  My mentor said her impression was also fear, just all pervasive fear that completely drove her every moment, every behavior, every decision, every action she took.  She continues: this isn’t someone who wanted to dominate or control you, this was all about keeping her own fear at bay.  Now my mentor doesn’t even know control and domination was the overall theme of my childhood.

I went home and processed that – more winter, a lot happening under the surface.  But then the seedling burst through the earth, and it wasn’t the seedling of forgiveness.  It was the seedling of true compassion.  If she’d been a quadriplegic in a wheel chair, would I have needed to forgive her?  Truly that’s who she was, completely paralyzed by fear.  Forgiveness then becomes a moot point.  It never had anything to do with me. Everything I took so personal was her living out of her fear.  There was never anything to take personally; I wasn’t to blame.

And so dear Mom, I can let you go now, and let go the charge I held all these years.  I can love the person you were in your heart of hearts.  I look at that picture of her now truly with eyes of compassion, no more visceral response.  What a gift this has been in my life.  Tears flowing as I write…

And…wait there’s more…I then turned and recognized how fear operated in my own life, different than her, but there just the same.  So my new journey is healing that.  Perhaps I am healing my own ancestral DNA, as my Mom’s family fled from Nazi Germany.  I don’t know what I’m doing, really, I just know this little seedling is no false start – she will continue to grow into the sweetness and beauty of her own Inner Spring.

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For two years in the 1990s, Julia Butterfly Hill lived in a 1500 year old redwood tree that was earmarked to be cut down by a logging company.  The tree came to be affectionately named Luna.  Julia’s dedication saved Luna and many other trees surrounding it.  What’s most remarkable is what she had to say about the impetus behind her actions.  Her words appended below.*

In a world recently stung by the rawness of events, may this soothe a little.  There is so much compassion and inner beauty to behold in the human spirit.  May I choose that as my focal point today and everyday.

“So often activism is based on what we are against, what we don’t like, what we don’t want. And yet we manifest what we focus on. And so we are manifesting yet ever more of what we don’t want, what we don’t like, what we want to change. So for me, activism is about a spiritual practice as a way of life. And I realized I didn’t climb the tree because I was angry at the corporations and the government; I climbed the tree because when I fell in love with the redwoods, I fell in love with the world. So it is my feeling of ‘connection’ that drives me, instead of my anger and feelings of being disconnected.”

 

*Props to Darlene F. for sharing this quote with me.

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