Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Archive for the tag “allowing”

Practicing Self Compassion…

There is a reason they call it a “practice”!!!

I may have mentioned before that I am participating in Leo Babauta’s Sea Change Program, where ever month there is a small behavior change that you commit to incorporating into your life. For the month of May, this tiny habit that we are attempting to incorporate is self compassion. Seems like an easy enough endeavor… but I’m here to tell ya… it’s trickier than you might at first imagine!

What I’ve noticed is that, despite my initial compassionate, loving words to myself, I immediately follow said compassion with a smidge of negative chatter that is like adding a “yeah, but” to my attempts at self-healing. I yelled (spoke sternly is probably more accurate, but it might as well have been yelling with the tone and the eye rolling that accompanied) at my son the entire drive to school this morning. I was very irritated because he made me re-tie his shoes 3 times due to the laces not being the correct amount of “tight.” I was explaining (do you like how I’ve relabeled the yelling to explaining now?!) how he needs to take responsibility for being on time to school and that, at the ripe old age of 9, he really shouldn’t need me to be tying his shoes… let alone insisting that I retie his shoes numerous times in one morning.

When I finally dropped him at school, he slammed the door and never looked back. I can only imagine what was going through his head. I’m pretty sure it was not along the lines of, “thank goodness I have such a great Mom who helps me understand the error of my ways.” In the great irony of a good day, I realize that the very thing I told my son he needed to do, which was to take responsibility for himself (from my viewpoint, this meant getting out the door on time), he was actually doing (from his viewpoint, making sure that his shoes were tied in a way that worked for him). Funny… that whole irony thing.

Anyway… back to self compassion. After a bit of verbal self-abuse, I did manage to remember the habit for the month. I congratulated myself for having the presence of mind to remember that beating myself up over the events of the morning was not actually going to rewrite the events of the morning for the better. Instead, I took a moment to acknowledge how difficult it is to be a Mom who is trying to balance consciousness and reality! I am, in fact, very thankful for this month’s sea change habit of self compassion. I think it is an easily overlooked habit that can have the potential to hugely impact our lives for the better. After spending numerous moments today offering myself compassion, I have to say that it feels pretty good to be loved… even if, and maybe especially if, it is by my very own self.

Wishing you gobs of love and self compassion!    ~Rashel


What’s Your Story?

We all have stories. Stories are what we believe to be true and what we tell others about our lives. Rumi says… “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” I find it interesting that he does not say, “unfold your own story,” or even, “unfold your own truth,” but “unfold your own myth.”

I was listening to an NPR podcast the other day and they were interviewing Tony Robbins. He mentioned something about stories that really struck me. He revealed that he was beaten as a child. Apparently he shared that truth with some kids when he was doing a talk in order that they might relate to him… to understand that even if you have a troubled youth, you can still turn your life around. The point he was making on the podcast was that he had consciously chosen not to perpetuate that story… that he worked hard to create a new story that he had shared with the world. Until that time, and only for the very specific purpose of relating to those kids, he had chosen not to share that story of himself and his life and to share and communicate a new story… one of empowerment and strength rather than victim hood and struggle.

Sometimes I think we get very caught up in what’s “true.” Reality, if you will. But what that realization illuminated for me is that we can choose to focus on other parts of our lives that are just as true and real without perpetuating the parts of our story that do not foster our own growth and development as a human being. Now, I am not advocating for a life of lies. I am not implying that everyone should wake up tomorrow pretending that their past is non-existent and acting as if the sky is green. I’m simply saying that we all have choices. Choice about what to share… what to focus on.. what to pay attention to on a daily basis. In any given day, there are as many, if not more, positive occurrences as negative… so why in the world do we feel so inclined, when asked how we’re doing, to list the 2-5 things that have gone wrong in the day? I know it’s not just me who does this because I walk around hearing of everyone’s issues on a regular basis. I’m not complaining, mind you… I’m just recognizing that we are very much hard-wired to focus on our negative story instead of perpetuating the positive aspects of our day and lives. I’d say we can’t help it… but that might be seen as taking on a bit of victim mentality, no?

What is your story? How do you feel when you tell your story? Does your story focus on the amazing, wonderful events that have shaped your life… or does you get caught up in the negative, difficult details? Do share your story!

Love and light!  ~Rashel

Acceptance in Action

I often think about acceptance. I really believe this is a misunderstood concept. I know I’ve blogged about acceptance before… the importance of it… the value in it… how hard it can be to master! It came up for me again the other day. I was half-way through a yoga class and began to notice my own self judgment. In a room full of yogi’s in training and full length mirrors… ones mind does tend to wander toward comparison. How in the world is that girl getting her arm to go straight up right now? Am I the only one in the room using blocks today? Why is this still so challenging after years of yoga classes?

What came up for me is how natural it is to think that judgment and criticism will lead to change. Why else would we do it? If I honestly believed that all of the negative self chatter would keep me stuck… would I really continue it time after time? I think there is a part of us that believes if we truly accept… if we let go of self judgment and criticism… that we will sink into a state of laziness, carelessness or general malaise. And on this point, I think we’re wrong.

I took some time to practice acceptance right there in that yoga studio What would it feel like to honor my achy knee… my tight shoulders… my protruding belly? Could I allow myself to be fully present in that moment? Appreciating the act of showing up on the mat… despite being exhausted and sporting a to-do list a mile long. Could I invoke a paradigm shift in that moment… moving from a place of self denigration to self acceptance? And more importantly, if I did… what would it mean for my commitment to yoga… to exercising… to my general health?

You see, I think the issue with acceptance is that we think it’s not possible to both accept and act. I would like to argue that it is. I realized as I stood in that yoga class, hand on block, reaching ever so fervently toward the sky, that accepting my limitations in that moment did not make me want to quit. Actually, if anything, I felt free. Free to just be… to exist in that moment without shame or judgment.

It felt good. And while I’d like to say it transferred immediately and directly to all areas of my life… alas… it has proven to be akin to many other transformational experiences I’ve had… profound and difficult to consistently implement! But it has made me think twice about how we encourage change… in both ourselves and others. If acceptance and change can successfully go hand-in-hand… perhaps we can do away with judgment and criticism altogether, no? It might not come easy, but I believe it’s worth the effort to give it a try. For ourselves… and those we interact with every day!

Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel


Baby Steps, Indeed

I think I was just tested on spiritual maturity… and I may have failed.

I interviewed for a job promotion recently. I didn’t get it. I was Super disappointed (you’ll notice that’s not just regular super… that’s Super with a capital S!). I tried to talk myself into a spiritual place… you know – saying things to myself like, “things happen for a reason,” “it wasn’t meant to be,” “now you’re available for the right thing that’s going to come along soon,” etc., etc., etc. The problem was, my ego wasn’t going for it… it had a field day. “You’re not good enough,” “You’re not appreciated,” “You screwed up the interview,” “You’re not as great as you think you are,” “You didn’t really have a chance in the first place.” I could go on… but you get the drift. My negative thoughts were definitely outweighing the positive.

I happen to be reading Wayne Dyer’s book ‘The Shift’ at this very same time (synchronicity, perhaps?). The book talks about our journey from ambition to meaning. It explains how we move from initially recognizing ourselves as separate and needing to compete for everything… to a place where we are connected to everything and can trust in the Universe to take care of us.

“Our highest self doesn’t feel threatened by others because it doesn’t embrace the concept of separateness. Not feeling separate, our desire for a purposeful life nurtures a sense of unity with all other beings. This feeling of connectedness flows in the direction of compassion; ultimately, we reach out to the world with gentleness, humility, and kindness because we’ve returned to our original nature.”
~The Shift by Dr. Wayne W Dyer.

Ok, so let’s say I get to the place of believing that we’re all connected… and one person’s joy and accomplishment does not come at the expense of my own… isn’t it pushin’ it just a bit to believe that we will all be taken care of? There is definitely a part of me that is doubtful. I look around and see plenty of examples of what I consider to be “NOT” taken care of. Then again, this implies that I know, better than God or the Universe, what it means to be taken care of. I’m pretty sure we can all think of times in our lives when we thought something was horrible… but then it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. Not necessarily easy, or pain-free… but good in the sense that it helped us grow… or be where we needed to be when something else came along.

Now, even when I get to the point of talking myself into the possibility that we are taken care of in this world… I still struggle with what it means to “allow” for this possibility. I’m quite certain it does not mean we go sit on the couch and wait for things to happen. I guess the best answer I’ve come up with is that “allowing” is when we let go of all the struggling and stressing and tune in to our own wisdom.  The irony is that you need to slow down and stop being so busy in order to hear… but we’re constantly pushing ourselves to hurry up… do more… compete… get ahead. How did we get it all so backward? It reminds me of when I’m working on a crossword puzzle and I can’t think of an answer… if I walk away and distract myself for a bit, the answer comes without effort. I think somehow it could be that easy… if we could figure out how to detach from the process and the outcome… hahahahah… easy, peasy!!!

Well, if the last couple weeks have taught me anything, it’s that I certainly need to do some work around trusting and allowing. I guess you could say that not getting promoted was the best thing that could have happened… not easy… not pain-free… but definitely filled with opportunity for growth and development.  So really instead of being Super disappointed, I should be Super appreciative… Well, I might not be there quite yet, but I’ll work on it!

Trust… Allow… Be thankful… Trust… Allow… Be thankful.   ~Rashel

Deprivation 101

I’ve just started reading a book about self-care. The first chapter talks about deprivation. It’s interesting because on one hand, I recognize the abundance in my life and could easily convince myself that I am deprived of nothing… or at least, nothing that is truly necessary for living a complete and happy life. On the other hand, when I was tasked with the exercise of completing the sentence, “I feel deprived of…” the list was longer than you could possibly imagine for someone who just said they have everything they need for a happy life! Wait… is that what I said?

Deprivation is interesting. On some level, it seems to be just a matter of not having what you want. I feel deprived of sleep. I feel deprived of alone time. I feel deprived of time with my girlfriends. I feel deprived of periods of rejuvenation. I feel deprived of regular exercise. I feel deprived of time for daily yoga and meditation. As you can see, I am sooooo deprived! I guess it’s true what they say about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs… once one level is satisfied, you just move on to the next!

As I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about deprivation, the areas where I feel deprived and what I could possibly do about it, one thing has become perfectly clear to me. At some core level, I am fully responsible and completely accountable for every bit of deprivation that I feel. If I am deprived of time, it is about how I use my time. If I feel deprived of sleep, it is that I am not choosing to go to bed at a certain time each night. If I am deprived of regular exercise, I am not choosing to make that activity a priority in my life. Yes… as much as I would like to blame the world for my complete and utter abundance of deprivation… the fact remains that at the end of the day, I believe it is I who am completely and totally responsible for each and every bit of deprivation that I experience.

The other thing that has come to my attention as I’ve been observing this deprivation stuff, is this: I’ve come to realize that the biggest deprivation that I inflict upon myself is that of not being enough. I do not acknowledge and appreciate that I am enough… in any given moment, what I have brought to the table, whether the table is set or not, whether the tablecloth is dirty or clean, is enough! The seeking is not necessary. The proving of oneself is not necessary. The people pleasing and constant drive to be more… not necessary.

I guess on some unconscious level, I’ve always believed that if I accepted myself as “enough,” I would stop trying to be more. I would stop striving to be a better person… to leave a legacy… to make a difference. Here’s what I’m coming to believe now… depriving yourself of being enough takes energy away from being all that you can be. Accept yourself exactly as you are… and make room for abundance to flow! No more energy alloted to needing to be more… do more… have more. All the energy now gets focused on being your best self – whatever that looks like.

Where do you deprive yourself of being enough? How can you find ways to accept what is and turn your energy toward living fully in your current state? Love and laughter to you on this amazing journey!!  ~Rashel

Jamba, Sleepovers and Universal Truth

Let me just start by saying that I love my daughter to pieces. She is a caring, sweet, giving, good-hearted girl. She also wants things… lots of things… some., if not most, of the time. The other thing I find to be the case is that it’s never really quite enough. We just finished going to the movies the other day and no sooner had we walked out of the theater and she was asking to go to Jamba Juice. A seemingly simple request for a playdate turns into… can you take us to the park?… can we go to yogurt shack?… can my friend stay through dinner?… can we have a sleepover?!!!

On the one hand, I like the fact that my daughter is able to identify and ask for what she wants. Lord knows, I could take a few pointers in that arena. If you don’t make it clear, how can anyone truly know what you want? Is she supposed to assume that she’s received her quota of good fortune for the day and set her own limits on what she asks for? Is it truly greedy to ask for what you want… especially if you just finished enjoying something else you asked for and received?

On the other hand, it makes me feel unappreciated to be constantly asked for more… and also to have to say no so many times in a day!

The other day I began to ponder how all this “getting what you want” business is similar to what I’m trying to learn how to do with manifestation. The steps I’ve been reading about go like this… 1. Get clear on what you don’t want. 2. Identify what you do want. (btw – My daughter has those two in the bag!)  3. Imagine how you’d feel if you already had what you want.  4. Let go and allow it to come.

I wonder how much more willing I’d be… and how much happier I might be in giving… if my daughter never expressed the disappointment of the no… but focused instead on the joy of the yes – when they happen. I do notice that whenever I get the tantrum that follows the no, or not this time… it makes me want to give less, if not start taking away what has already been given! What if the universe is like this, too? What if the tantrums and the expressed disappointments equal less for you… and the joy and excitement of what you’ve got or have been given equal more for you? What a shift for most of us in how we view and talk about our lives. It is so very easy to get caught up, talk about and focus on what we didn’t get or don’t have. Could that focus, in fact, be keeping you from having more?

Here’s my challenge to you… every time you hear yourself thinking or commenting on something you didn’t get or don’t want more of… stop yourself! Immediately think of three things you’ve gotten from someone or given yourself recently that made you feel good. If you can’t think of anything… try harder! If you want to take it a step further, take a moment to email, call or write that person a note of gratitude!

Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel

Manifestation or Coincidence?

I’d like to call this my manifestation success story. You be the judge.

I was making dinner recently using my Pampered Chef stoneware baking pan. I pulled the pan out of the oven and the pan broke right in half. Luckily, by some small miracle, the pork loin flew onto the stove top and did not land on the floor (dinner saved!). Not so luckily, the pan piece that broke off flew right into my hand and took a chunk out of my middle finger. (Irony? Murphy’s law? Whatever!) By the next week, I was mostly recovered… but the nagging desire to use my PC baking stone had not gone away. I was talking with my family about Easter brunch, and was specifically requested to make bacon using the PC stoneware, which always makes perfect bacon! I checked with my Mom to see if she had a piece of stoneware that I could borrow. She said she might and would check for me.

Like other desires that I’ve had in the past, the desire to have a PC stoneware baking dish was clear. That’s about where the similarity to any other desire/manifestation attempts by me… ends! Unlike other situations (basket, anyone?), I did not obsess about getting the stoneware. I did not plan in my mind how I was going to get the stoneware. I did not tell other people that I would get the stoneware (be ready, cause the stoneware people could interrupt us at any time to hand me my new basket… I mean, pan!).

And… here’s the fun part. As my daughter and I were driving home on Saturday, we passed a sign for a garage sale a couple of streets down from our house. My daughter asked if we could go. I said, “no.” After we got home, she still wanted to go and I told her if we walked, I would take her (Just for the record, I’m not a big garage sale person and did not have plans to shop. In my mind, I was just using this as an excuse to get outside, spend time with my daughter and get some exercise!). So… we walk down to the garage sale. LO AND BEHOLD… there is the exact same PC stoneware baking pan that I had broken. Not only that, the price tag was priceless… $2!!! Not a typo… I said, “TWO DOLLARS”! This is a pan that I’m pretty sure I paid around $50 for back in the day. I was completely giddy with the whole event.

Now, some may argue that this event is just a coincidence. But, since I don’t believe in coincidence, I’m going to have to go with curtain number two… manifestation! Now, if I could just apply these principles to all my manifestation attempts… don’t think about it too much…  lose all attachment to getting what I want or deciding how it needs to come to me… letting go of all expectation around timeline…  well, I think I’d be in business! Alas, this is why manifestation is easy and hard at the same time. I couldn’t even begin to argue that the manifestation of the PC  stoneware was difficult. I barely thought about it! What’s difficult is manipulating our thinking brains into believing… letting go… and allowing. In this case, it happened without much “thinking” on my part. Therein may be the trick! There is no way in a million years that my thinking brain could have come up with a garage sale as the means to getting the stoneware pan. Also, the timeline was uncanny… Saturday – the day before Easter brunch at our house where I was responsible for the bacon. I know, right?!!!

So, what’s the take-away? Well, this experience has definitely made me think about how I go about trying to manifest what I want. Being clear on what I want is important. But… much more than that from my thinking brain seems to just get in the way. The challenge. if you choose to accept it, seems to be clearly defining what you want and then letting go of any need to have that exact thing or have anything like that thing on any kind of timeline. Easy, right? Yeah… I’m with ya!! Please do let me know how you make out!

Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel

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