Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Archive for the tag “letting go”

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

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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

Authenticity Test: My Choice between Liar or Loser

I had a very interesting experience today. I was attending a work meeting. The meeting started off innocently enough. There were 60 or so people – a fairly robust crowd. In lieu of having every person introduce themselves, which would have taken a considerable amount of time, the facilitator led a warm-up exercise to get the meeting started. The instruction was to stand up if you could answer yes to the statement… can speak more than one language… was not born in the United States… has English as a second language (most of the statements revolved around the upcoming presentation on Latino health). The last question was, “have attended the big-deal presentation that everyone is expected to have attended” (big-deal being code for the name of the actual presentation).

Now during the warm-up exercise, there is a mix of attendees standing and sitting throughout. UNTIL… that last question. As I looked around to see who else, besides me, had not attended the big-deal presentation, I noticed that most everyone was standing. Then, much to my dismay, the facilitator decided to further bring the point home. “I noticed that a couple people in the back there were not standing. Please stand if you have not attended the big-deal presentation.”

Then… it happened. Uh…. should I stand? What do I do? All of the various reasons why I had not yet attended said big-deal presentation came rushing to my brain. Do I admit my failure and stand up? (Surely others will see me as a complete loser!) Or pretend that I, too, had done what was obviously the expected action? (Liar, liar, pants on fire!)

The interesting thing is this… as all of the excuses and thoughts about whether or not to “fess up” were racing through my head… and there were lots of excuses… and a lot of thoughts (and doubts)… all the while… I noticed my body standing up. What? Wait? Huh?

As my eyes slowly took in the room… from the far left… to the far right… not a single other person was standing. My gaze quickly circled back to my boss, who was sitting on the left side of the room. And then my panicked gaze darted back and forth between my sitting boss and the sitting Director of my department. sitting boss… sitting Director… sitting boss… Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

So, at this point, I have a choice. But the choice is not whether or not to experience the moment… because of course I’m embarrassed. That’s a given. No one wants to be called out as the lone person who did not complete an assignment. I’m not going to pretend that it didn’t bother me. The choice is really in the aftermath. Do I spend the rest of the day beating myself up and worrying about what everyone thinks of me? Do I make up stories about how this incident will surely ruin my career and stain my reputation? Or… do I acknowledge the embarrassment and move on, as difficult as that may be. In an absolutely beautiful moment, I might even be able to appreciate my courage to be authentic… to stand up in the face of impending doom and own my situation.

Here’s what I came to realize… at the end of the day, none of us are perfect. And I’m realizing that being authentic is not about being perfect. It’s about being real. It’s about standing up… standing out… and being ok with who we are… imperfections and all. It’s letting go of the need for perfection and recognizing that there is enormous beauty in acceptance.

So from one imperfect person to another, I invite you to STAND UP… take a deep breath… and love yourself fully!  ~Rashel

 

Shining Brightly

My behavior change process has been rolling along. I’ve been sticking to some of the changes… checking my to-do list in the morning, squats when I first sit down, and tapping when I turn on the shower, while some of the others have fallen away. I started with three changes and then two weeks later I added three more. I’m thinking that was too soon to add more habits. Or… maybe it wasn’t that I added more habits too quickly… maybe there were other issues with the habits I chose. The ones that have stuck are actually a combination of one from my first round and two from my second round. So maybe I need to spend more time comparing the ones that stuck vs. the ones that didn’t.

That said… there’s one thing about this behavior change business that’s been nagging at me. I keep asking myself, “Why am I doing this again?” I guess the notion is that making all of these changes is going to make me a better person… or happier… healthier, perhaps? Maybe I just haven’t stuck with it long enough. I mean, granted, trying to adopt six habits over the last month is hardly a true journey into the world of behavior change! Maybe you’re only supposed to choose habits that you think will make you a better, happier person?

I work in healthcare. The premise of health education is that if you would only change your behavior, you’d be happy and healthy. I teach providers how to work with patients to change their behavior. I’m bought in… hook, line and sinker. But lately… dare I say… I’ve been questioning things. Do you change the behavior… and then get happy? Or do you get happy… and then the behaviors change?

It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, isn’t it? If I was thinner, I’d be happier. If I was happier, I’d have more energy and be more active. Being more active would lend itself to being thinner. But I’m not thinner. I’m not more active. So, I try to implement behavior changes to make myself more active. But they tend to backfire. I don’t have the energy. I’m feeling down today and I don’t make it out of bed until 10am. It begs the question… how do I get happy now? Cause if I could get happy now… I’d have more energy. And the cycle continues!

There have been multiple times in my life where I’ve lost weight. Honestly, they were not the times that I was trying to lose weight! When I try to lose weight, it doesn’t usually work out so good. I get frustrated. I feel deprived. It aint pretty! When I think back to the times I’ve lost weight, I often question how it happened. I wasn’t even trying! Aha… maybe there’s something to that? It was just a particularly good time in my life… I was happy… and the healthy habits and weight loss just happened.

Maybe healthcare should really be all about self-acceptance and appreciation. Getting really happy about who you are… exactly as you are now. Recognizing that you are a beautiful, shining light in the world regardless of how much you weigh… how many friends you have… or how well you fit in. There is definitely a core part of me that knows without a doubt… this focus would change the world!

Until then my friends, I wish you love and light and encourage you to shine as brightly as you can!  ~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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