We’re never really alone. We can show up for ourselves. The practice of compassion begins within, and nonviolence has no better training ground than our own minds. Today I choose to add tenderness and validation to my inner dialogue. It’s enough.
For just a moment, drop judgement. Allow “I should be” and “I shouldn’t be” to fall from your shoulders. Don’t worry. Gravity will hold you. You will not float away!
What’s left, beneath the ruminating, is you- in realtime. Maybe you’re hurting. Dropping judgement won’t take away pain, but it will remove a piece of the struggle. It will move you from the invalidating space of “I shouldn’t be in pain. I should be able to move around freely,” to a validating space of “I am in pain. I hurt.”
The pain is still there. It is real. Unhooking it from judgement just gives you a little space to heal. With that tiny opening, you may even throw in some self-compassion- “I am in pain. I hurt. This is really hard.”
Dropping judgement is WORK. I can only access the sort of thinking I explain above for ten seconds at a time. That’s how deep the perception of lack runs. That’s how strong the draw of perfectionism is. My hustle calls me. I feel anxiety slip back in. “Fix, fix, fix. Fix up your life.”
Mindfulness isn’t a level of existence. It is not a state to arrive at and settle in. Mindfulness is a practice. In the mere seconds we can bear being present, there our healing lies. Let’s tap in as often as we can.
Do you feel it? The pressure to perform, conform, and consume? We’re driven by a perception of lack and a longing for more. Our friends vacation while we figure out how to replace cracked windshields. We see ads for gadgets on sub-par T.V.s. Families ride by on bikes as we ice our knees. We long for what we don’t have and can’t do. Our vision narrows and we focus on what others are doing. We compare, judge, and seethe. We feel sad. We feel shame.
The simple act of stopping to mindfully take in what’s left when all glory and materials are stripped away is a glaring act of rebellion. The practice of gratitude means waking up and understanding that some were not so fortunate. It means hugging those you love, knowing many arms are empty. The practice of gratitude helps us resist the lack trap our society draws us into, and allows us to find abundance in our imperfect, fully human lives.
Experiencing ordinary moments, seeking clarity, embracing vulnerability, and knowing we are, and have, enough- this is the good fight. Keep on.
We’ve all had times like this- inevitable awfulness. It just can’t be avoided. We are humans, in soft shells, existing in a constantly changing and uncontrollable world.
There are things which must simply be endured. Unfixable oncoming storms lap first at our toes, then rise to waists, necks, nostrils. Breathing becomes a job. We gotta keep going.
During hard times, I gather coping tools. Here are a few that help me-
The practice of self-compassion. This exercise can get me through low-level panic. I place a hand over my heart, say to myself, “this is really hard,” and breathe. This is often followed by a release of tears, and a feeling of integration.
Nonviolent Communication teaches that feelings serve the purpose of helping us meet our needs. Rather than judging feelings as good or bad, NVC shows how some feelings are likely to occur when our needs are met, and other feelings are likely to occur when our needs are not met. I use GROK cards when I’m flooded with emotion. The cards help me whittle down my feelings, and find the needs beneath them. I then focus on meeting my needs, and request help from others.
There are many apps made to help with anxiety, mindfulness, and meditation. The one pictured here is SAM (Self-help for Anxiety Management) and is available for free on iTunes. I’ve used this app to set up a tool-kit of calming guided exercises. I love how technology has leveled-up my self-care!
Finally, finding things that helps us meet our own needs is a must-do. Brené Brown calls this a Comfort Wisdom List. Being aware of my needs and options for meeting them is empowering. I am not helpless. I can love myself. I know what nourishes me, and I do more of those things during hard times.
We are human. Life is uncertain. Some seasons will be difficult. The bottom line- we are resilient. We endure. By gathering our little menu of coping tools, we invest in ourselves and those around us. We set ourselves up for personal growth and healing. We can do this. I believe in us.
A fully human life. Tears and laughter. Joy and pain. Winces and embraces. Going out and settling in. Moments shared with myself, my pets, my family, my friends. So many Great Loves in my world. So many uplifting transactions. Treasure beyond measure.
Thanks to everyone who shines a little love on my life! Wooo!
Every morning at 10:10, my phone reminds me to set an intention. It’s one small thing I do to get myself on track for the day.
At first my intentions were things like; do six loads of laundry, sweep the porches, clean the bathrooms. But by listing mundane chores, I found myself more anxious and less inspired.
Now when my intention reminder pops up, I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and name a more personal goal. These are my most frequently used intention statements-
Today I will connect with myself.
Today I will connect with my family.
Today I will connect with my friends.
Today I will connect with nature.
Today I will connect with my home.
I choose one statement each morning, while aware I’m connecting with myself, my family, friends, nature, and my home every single day. What I accomplish, though, by naming just one intention, is to bring focus to that single aspect of my life for a bit.
Today I chose the statement, “I will connect with myself.” I am writing, reflecting, slowly sipping coffee, and feeling at home, grounded, in my body. Throughout the day I’ll check in. I’ll slow down, give myself hugs, breathe deeply, and smile when I pass mirrors.
By bringing my sight inward, I locate my highest values, and direct my energy to them. I keep moving forward in the same daily life, but with steadier steps. Daily intention statements anchor me to the present, make me aware of my needs, and help me focus on what matters most.
Technology can be quite useful for mindfulness practice. Do you set personal reminders on your phone, or use apps that help you grow and heal? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences!
We live in a culture of fear. Perceived scarcity runs our world. It takes effort to shake the glaze off our eyes and see our abundance. That’s what the practice of gratitude is for.
I am grateful beyond measure to be walking through life with these three guys. My guys. Each one brightens my world. I’m a better person for knowing them. <3
I’ve been wondering how to stand in my worth, even when in the vicinity of people who don’t want to be around me. It’s tricky.
I tend to find my worth in others, and how they respond to me, or in accomplishments, and how much I can get done in a day.
I want to hone in on my intrinsic worth. I want to sense who I am, and feel the peace of being whole and enough.
I want to let go of this desire to fit in with others, and learn how to belong to myself. It starts here, by just saying it- I am enough. I am enough. Now I’ll take a deep breath and give myself a little hug.
Related Reading- The Importance of Self-Worth