My posts have been spotty of late, and my critical mind wants to lament and wail about my lack of discipline. Then the practical adult in me recounts what I’ve been doing with my days and nights and counters the critic with Now just where do you think we’d find the time to write when we’re not even getting enough time to sleep? The critic then makes it a bad thing to change my routine, to have a different schedule. It’s addicted to feelings of shame, anxiety, and unworthiness. It’s saying I need to go back to the way things were. But things aren’t the way they were. Not even a little. Things have changed. I am glad about that. I am a part of all things, even though my ego would tell me I am separate. I have changed too. I am glad about that. I don’t need to feel guilty for changing, for adopting a different routine, for using my time in different ways. Therefore, I am glad to write when I can, and not a minute before. (Takes a deep breath and lies down on the floor, looks out the window at a puffy, white cloud floating in the blue sky, relaxes and sighs.)
A part of my healing journey has been to loosen up a little on some of my routines. I have been accused of being rigid, too attached to my routines, and each time I felt the urge to defend my practices if not out loud, then inwardly, to myself. As I began to peer inside a little more, I could see how my routines were sometimes fillers, excuses not to be completely present, because I could check out as I attended to them… and so this need to defend my practices came from anxiety that they might not be serving me, and the pain of feeling like my time spent doing them was a complete waste. Then again… Is there such a thing? Could it be that my practices served me then, but I eventually outgrew them, and now they no longer serve me the way they did before? Could I drop the shame around change? Don’t we learn by making mistakes? Can’t I ease up about being perfect, being right, and instead, can I welcome this moment with my heart that yearns to love more open?
I’m getting excited about possibility… I don’t want things to go back to “normal,” that is, what we considered normal before. Existing inside of that mindset, I ask myself What would I want my new normal to look like? First of all, I’m well-rested Second, I’m well-nourished Third, I feel connected to people who love me. Fourth, I’m earning good income doing what I love! I’m willing to leave behind the exhaustion, the starvation, the isolation, the struggle to make ends meet. And so, existing in this place of possibility, how do I establish my new normal? One step at a time. Just one step at a time.
It’s up to me. I choose how I go through this. I choose my response. The old habit may be to panic, catastrophize and focus on what could go wrong, but this habit isn’t helpful. It isn’t life-affirming, or empowering. It doesn’t enable me to offer my gifts to the world. Why not breathe? Why not practice gratitude for what could be an incredible opportunity for awakening, for transformation? Why not envision a realm of infinite possibility? Let’s collectively create a brand new habit called: awakening to our blessings, envisioning possiblity, offering our gifts in service to the greatest good!
Worrying doesn’t help, so don’t do it. A break from the routine is a chance to appreciate the minute daily occurrences that we take for granted. That which appeared insignificant in an unconscious repetition suddenly becomes profoundly meaningful. The mundane becomes sacred in the light of such deep appreciation. We find we yearn for what we had, so many little acts of connection and familiar places we can no longer access because of unforeseen changes and uncertain futures. When we aren’t involved in an unconscious routine the space of uncertainty lets loose a discomfort for the one who needs the calm familiar, the safe, the known. My friends, be not afraid. This is an awakening. How you experience this is entirely up to you. Take a deep breath with me, now, and breathe again. Now is the time to cultivate appreciation. The molecules of gratitude for everything you love coursing through your being bring tidings of light and health to every cell of your body. Drink in what you love, now through smiling deep breaths of YES YES YES to life, YES! Do not let fear pickle your cells in darkness and despair. Let me feel your shining smile through the ethers our friendship now inhabits. Stand in your one little spot of earth and declare that you are an anchor for peace, for gratitude, for love. My friends, be not afraid. This is a sacred time. Let the visions that were trampled under the daily stampede of traffic now float up in a whisper an inch behind your eyelids. Listen to this whisper. It promises the joy you have yearned for in the deepest center of your soul. Now is the time to create, to express; in the space of the unknown you have so much room to choose how this goes. Sweethearts, this…is…a…VACATION! Celebrate! Love! Sing! Dance! Enjoy the beloveds you have the privilege to share space with! Show us your art! Sing us your songs! Let us hear your laugh! Let us see your funny faces! Share with us a video of something beautifully boring! Let us send little resonances along the web that connects us to tickle and delight and uplift what the outer world cannot touch.
Some part of me keeps waiting for the magic wand to be waved or some swtich to be flipped or some magical incantation uttered… and then suddenly My whole life is fixed… But I’ve been around long enough to know that life doesn’t work like this. Which is a good thing, come to think of it, because how many times have I been grateful for unanswered prayers?
What if I could experience myself as good enough? What if I could see my life as good enough? What if I saw myself as a good enough mom? What if I really believed I was a good enough teacher, daughter, neighbor, artist, sister, musician, cousin, friend? If I stopped telling the story that there is something wrong with me and started telling a new one called I AM ENOUGH What would happen then? I wonder…
I see you. I hear you. You’re going to be ok. I’m proud of you. I love you.
For the longest time I was waiting for someone to speak words of kindness to me, someone besides the therapists I was paying, or the people in my twelve step meetings, or the coach I had hired, or the guided meditations I was listening to… Sometimes I’d speak with a friend on the phone, sometimes a family member, but there were many, many times when I wished for words of kindness but I found myself utterly alone. It finally dawned on me one day that I am the one I’ve been waiting for, and I could speak kindness to myself. I also discovered that self-love isn’t experienced at the level of the intellect; it must be felt. So I began imagining what it would feel like if I could really love, respect, and support myself. I began speaking words of kindness to myself, just to try it out, to hear myself being kind to myself. Slowly, s l o w l y over time I began to feel a change within me. Slowly I began giving myself the same kindness, care and concern I would offer to a good friend. Slowly I felt compassion for myself. Slowly self-love become real.
********************************** If you suffer from feelings of inadequacy, anxiety for the future, or the pain of unmet needs, I highly recommend checking out the work of self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff. Her site includes information about self-compassion and exercises to get you started with a self-compassion practice. There is also a self-compassion test so you can see where you fall on the self-compassion scale!
A girlfriend said, Hey, if we start tomorrow Day 48 will be the start of the Chinese New Year. How amazing is that? I said Let’s do it. So starting tomorrow We will be sharing what we’re grateful for. If you want a boost in your health and happiness levels, you can join us! Warning: Practicing gratitude may lead to better relationships Increased vitality and Deeper Satisfaction with life. You have been warned!
Follow @lorien and @shivati.soulspark on Instagram and tag us in your gratitude posts! We would love it if you would join us to share what you are grateful for. ❤️✨🙏🏻🌈