If a friend comes to me broken in defeat, I empathize without much effort, because I, too, am often downtrodden. I listen intently, and try my best to stay out of judgement. I ask what I can do to help. l relay a story of similar feeling. I’m not perfect when relating to others, but I am striving for compassion and empathy, and trying to leave my baggage out of interactions.
When I am broken down in defeat, do you think I respond as described above with such ease? Of course not! I say mean things to myself and let my head sink in shame. To employ empathy and compassion during these moments takes great effort.
My go-to self-compassion exercise is to place my hand on my heart, and remind myself I’m doing the best I can. This simple act can save me from despair. The journey of life can be wrought with difficulty. I am grateful to have the practice of self-compassion along for the ride.
Scurrying up the mountainside, I am insignificant. Sitting atop a boulder, I am at home. I turn my face into sunlight to feel special. I sense the wind encompassing, and the snowfall divine. In nature, I find the most important feeling of all- belonging. I’m not trying to prove anything. I’m not hustling for my worth. I don’t feel tested. There’s no one to judge me. My mind becomes quiet.
When I seek out time in nature, I’m returning home to myself. I access love and acceptance among trees. A cold rock beneath my palm resonates with life. In the forest, I can Just Be. Therein lies the healing.
I want to do more of what makes me feel better. I’m glad to have identified my love of hiking, and grateful for the active meditation it supports.
Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and the shadows will fall behind you.
The days begin well, with the sun pouring through windows, warming the wake-up. Then the light slants away, earlier each day, tucking behind the mountains before the afternoon hours are spent. Loneliness creeps in with drafts. I wish warming my heart was as easy as coiling a scarf around my neck.
As Winter approaches, sadness can be palpable. Nature is sending her creatures to rest, and the absence of blooms may remind us of death. During these days it is important to be mindful that moments in darkness help define the moments of light.
Life is always going to be divided into Summer and Winter, day and night. If the darkness feels daunting, the trick is to always look for the light. This is the practice of gratitude.
What if we could keep in mind always that we are effortlessly stardust and exquisitely human? How would we change our behavior toward ourselves, toward others, and ultimately, to the cosmos? What if our skin glittered, and our eyes glowed with supernova irises? What if our heart-shields corroded, as sandstone gives way to wind, revealing self-awareness waves? What if our atom walls crumbled, allowing us to feel the pain of everyone we meet? What would life be like if we simply knew ourselves in our highest capacity? How careful we might be.
It’s the little things. The warm cup of coffee on a cold morning. Going out for a latte with a friend. Trying something new in my mug. The ritual of coffee is soothing. It reminds me of sitting with my Grandma, and my Mom. I am grateful for the ritual of coffee.
I am grateful to have known Alethea. I am grateful for her love and kindness, her joy and friendship, her brightness and beauty. I am grateful for all I learned from her zest for life, and her courage at the end. I am grateful she left so many of us with a renewed intention to live life fully, with gusto, with bravery and laughter. I am sad that she is gone. I am grateful she is free.