Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Archive for the tag “Emotion”

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

Advertisements

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

 

The Power of Stories…

I had two very different experiences this week that had a common theme… stories. I’ve been reading Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind. It’s really interesting, in that it details the shift of focus from the left brain to the right brain… logical, systematic thinking to big-picture, design. Pink insists that as we move forward, the people who are valued and appreciated will not be those who systematically figure out the details, but those who are able to interpret those details into a compelling story.

So, I guess that’s where this story begins. Stories, and the ability to tell them well, have been on my mind. I’ve always been impressed, and a little bit fascinated, with my Dad’s ability to tell a really good story. At first, I took for granted that a good story would be heard and appreciated. Then I tried re-telling one of my Dad’s stories. Not only did I kill the punchline, but halfway through I looked around and saw people’s eyes glazing over. Oops… definitely had an impact and drove home the reality that story telling is not automatic… it takes skill and practice.

Anyway, back to the story at hand (I guess, truth be told, I still tend to get a bit off track now and then!). I went to a conference for work earlier this week. The conference was on shared decision-making, but for all intents and purposes, it could have been any topic. There were multiple speakers, enough credentials to fill multiple pages, data up the wazoo and plenty of research both completed and in progress to be shared. At the end of the day, when I thought about the take aways, what I realized stood out to me more than anything were the stories. A couple of the presenters told stories as a way to share their message. Also, there were patients in attendance, who had a chance to tell their stories. The studies, the data, the facts and the figures had their place… but the compelling portion of the day… the messages that stuck with me, were told through stories. I walked away from that conference vowing to use a lot less powerpoint and a lot more story in any presentation I give!

Fast-forward to the weekend. I was attending a celebration of a dear family friend lost at too early an age to cancer. Instead of the usual ceremony, the “service” was really a group of family and friends getting together to remember and give thanks for the life of this man. There came a time in the evening when one close friend stood up and invited stories. Through the telling of stories… a tradition that has been passed down from ancient generations… the life and love of this great man was celebrated and brought forth for all to experience. There is something about the telling of stories that engenders emotion… more so than words or data can do alone. Often we can experience a similar feeling from pictures… but mostly because they invoke in us a story, or a remembering of events or feelings of a particular time.

So, on a very superficial level, I closed the week with two intentions… to tell more stories when I’m presenting and to make well-known to all that I want people to tell stories when I’ve passed. On a more profound level… I walked away with somewhat of a commitment to myself… I want to create stories… I want to share experiences with friends and family that create lasting memories of joy and laughter… because at the end of the day… or life… that is what matters most. Connection. Joy. Love. Family. Friends. Passion. Leaving a legacy of stories.

In humble and heartfelt appreciation of the many stories that have been shared with me… and the many stories and memories I get to help create… may the journey be filled with laughter, joy and gratitude. Love and laughter to you all.  ~Rashel

Tapped In or Tapped Out?

I took a class on Meridian tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), last week. It was very cool. If you’ve not heard of it, you tap specific points on your face and upper body as you repeat certain phrases having to do with any issue you’re having in your life. The idea is that as you tap on the meridian points and bring up emotions, the tapping will release the stored emotions from you body. Supposedly it will work on physical pain as well as emotional pain. Cool, right?! (one link… http://eft.mercola.com/ or simply google EFT)

Well, I’ve been tapping ever since. I’ve been tapping when I wake up… I’ve been tapping before I go to bed… I tap when I’m driving and when my kids are driving me crazy. I think it’s helping but, here’s the problem… I’m not seeing dramatic results. I didn’t lose 15 pounds instantly. I didn’t wake up this morning and find an extra 10K in my checking account. I didn’t get a call from Oprah asking if I could be in a new series on OWN television. So I’ve already started questioning what I’m doing wrong. Maybe it’s just not going to work for me. Perhaps this is not an effective method at all? I must admit, the skeptic in me is alive and well!

Hold on a minute here! Why so quick to judge? Why do I immediately think that I must be doing something wrong? Why do I expect things to change instantly when they certainly haven’t been instantaneous in becoming a problem in the first place? What kind of vibration am I holding when I expect instant results and then get disappointed when they don’t happen? Somehow I hold a belief that if a new belief is true, it must be instantaneous, complete and transformative. It’s not the first time I’ve been disappointed in something that may very well have been beneficial. As I was thinking about this topic earlier today and realized that I have, in fact, seen some results. I tapped on my congestion when I was fighting a cold earlier this week, and although the cold did not disappear, I woke up completely clear of congestion (which when I think about it now, is exactly what I was tapping about!).

I guess at this point all I can say is that the verdict is still out. This is where I usually lose traction… if I dont’ get instantaneous results, then I don’t continue. It would be very easy for me at this point to conclude that tapping doesn’t work, and stop doing it. It would also be easy to conclude that I don’t know for sure that tapping does work, and stop doing it. Instead I am hoping to continue tapping and pay attention. Are there small ways, here and there, that tapping is making a difference? Even if it isn’t the miraculous cure that I was hoping for… and truth be told, that is often marketed and bragged about in the media on tapping…  are there small improvements that I can notice that over time, just maybe, can make all the difference? More to come!

Happy tapping!  Love and laughter  ~Rashel

What Do You Want, Exactly?

I’ve talked before about the hindrance of getting caught up in knowing what you don’t want and not taking it to the next step of what you do want. I read something recently that caught my attention… it said that noticing the things in your life that you don’t like… is a gift. It actually allows you to get clear on what you do want. I think most of us don’t appreciate or accept that gift… because, if you’re like me, you don’t usually move past identifying what you don’t want and clearly articulate what you do want. The emphasis being on clear articulation!

So, lets take a look-see! Have you clearly defined your ideal job, daily routine, spouse, family, friends, fun, health, vacations… yeah… me neither! There are a couple of things to point out about identifying what you want. First of all, you need to write them down. That’s the A#1 thing that everyone says about creating goals… there is just a whole other level of commitment and buy-in that takes place once the pen hits the paper… or the fingers hit the keys – if you prefer. And although this sounds paradoxical, I believe this is true of writing your wants as well. You need to write your wants in the present tense – as if they’ve already occurred. If you think about it, if you say that you want  more money – then you are focusing on wanting, not having. I have an abundance of money is a much better statement than I want an abundance of money.

The other things to include, and these are not talked about as much, are what’s motivating you and how you’re going to feel when you get what you want. Our unconscious mind is very much connected to emotion. When we want something, it is usually, if not always, the fact that we want that thing in order to feel a certain way. Money will make us happy, secure, important — money in and of itself is not the goal – the goal is how the money makes you feel and what you are able to do with the money. Focus on how you want to feel and why you want the goal in the first place. For example, I feel happy and secure, enjoying an abundance of money that flows to me in expected and unexpected ways. My needs are met and I am able to buy things that make my life enjoyable and easy. I easily care for the financial needs of myself and my family.

There… that wasn’t so hard. Oh wait – it might actually take more than just writing it down once and then being done with it. On the other hand, some things might actually be that easy. I guess there’s one way to find out! For some things, it is probably safe to say that writing your want down, even when you include your motivations and feelings, will not result in immediate manifestation. We have way too many years of believing it needs to be more difficult than that! Here’s a tactic that I read about recently. After you’ve gone through the various areas of you life and written down all of your wants in positive tense, including your motivations for wanting what you want and how you will feel when you have these wants… then record this script in your own voice and listen to it daily. Or read it aloud to yourself every day.

I’m going to work on my own this week… in between 4th of July celebrations and what-not. Let me know if you do the same, and what you notice, if anything, about the impact on your wants. Love and laughter… and happy 4th of July to you!!!  ~Rashel

Define… HAPPY!

So much of what I’ve read lately talks about being happy. It even goes so far as to say that there are no right or wrong answers in life… as long as you are true to yourself and the decision makes you happy. Do you buy this? I’m struggling a little bit myself. I tend to be a people pleaser. I know there’s a lot of us out there… it’s probably what allows us to coexist on this planet! It makes me unhappy… or at least uncomfortable… to confront others. Especially when I believe that what I’m going to say will be met with anger or resistance. So much so, that I sometimes avoid conversations that I think will result in conflict. On the one hand, this makes me happy because I’m avoiding discomfort… but in the long run, if what I’m avoiding really needs to be addressed, it can cause me great unhappiness… and frustration… and resentment… oh my!

So… is discomfort the same as unhappiness? Well, if I reverse the question it becomes, is comfort the same as happiness?  Now that’s a question I’m more familiar with. I’m “comfortable” not going to the gym, not working out regularly and staying up late to watch television. I’m “comfortable” eating bacon, spreading on the butter and drinking wine. When things become habitual, they tend to feel very comfortable. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will make you happy. On the other hand, I’m uncomfortable getting up early… but completing a yoga video that made me stretch and sweat feels pretty great. I guess it has partly to do with instant gratification vs. delayed gratification.  Say, what? What makes me happy in this moment isn’t necessarily the same as what will make me happy a week from now… a month from now… or years from now whereas what makes me a little uncomfortable right now could lead to great happiness.

Lets get back to the conflict. Not something you will hear from me very often but, yes, I just said that! Avoiding conflict in this moment is instant gratification. I avoid feeling uncomfortable right now. Unfortunately the fact that it’s “right now” is often a huge factor. The alternative is to address the conflict right now to increase the likelihood that my position will be heard and respected. It’s also likely that after avoiding conflict I will feel relieved, but not happy. If I learn to speak my mind, despite the potential for conflict or reactance, I will potentially become happier with myself and the outcomes that result. The trick, I suppose, is getting more comfortable with the discomfort!

So let’s say I move into the discomfort and become more apt to speak my mind. Now here’s another little conundrum. I’m happy because I’ve stated my needs clearly and concisely despite potential conflict. In the process, I’ve totally irritated someone else, who is not happy at all with my clear and concise needs. How does my own drive for happiness, if it ultimately diminishes the happiness of another, impact my overall happiness? Or does it? I guess if I’m responsible for and take accountability of my own happiness, and others are responsible for and take accountability of their own happiness… we all get what we need, right? No? Maybe nobody gets what they need. I don’t know… I’m too busy trying to please other people and take responsibility for their happiness to find out!

This week… I will pay more attention to my own happiness. What makes me happy? When do I hold back from asking for what I want? Who’s happiness am I protecting and at what cost? Just how uncomfortable is it to go for the long-term happy instead of the now happy? Join me!

Love and laughter to you! Thanks for reading along.  ~Rashel

 

 

Post Navigation