In our busy lives, planning, preparing, doing and bustling, the simple pleasure of just receiving all that we have to be grateful for gets forgotten.
I took several days last week to visit my children and nestle in with my growing first grandchild expected in March.
Sharing in the joy of this beautiful miracle with my son and his partner as they begin their road to parenthood could not have been more precious.
As I took in the ultrasound pictures of this little being that will be coming into my life in another 19 weeks or so, I was astounded at the sheer magnitude of the love I already felt for this new life. Wow, I thought, my baby is having a baby!
As I moved through the rest of my week away, sharing time with my sister as she goes through a big transition in her life, attending a wonderful homecare conference that gave me a chance to just chat with many other passionate people about what I love to do, enjoying a dinner with my other son and his girl after being treated to an afternoon getting pedicures and drinking coffee, I had to do some very deep breathing one night to just take in how lucky I am.
In the turmoil that can often be present in our lives there is always the one constant of love that is right there in front of you if you let yourself take it in.
There are only these sweet moments fleeting by and it is a choice to stop and embrace them fully. Have you done it lately? I think we all forget sometimes that life is a gift that can be taken away in a flash, when we least expect it.
Many nights I listen to podcasts by Tara Brach (tarabrach.com), a psychologist, author and speaker who offers great insight into the need to develop our consciousness collectively, raising our awareness of our patterns of behavior and instinctual inclination to worry, fret, disapprove, judge and separate ourselves, especially when we are under stress.
This is when we also put up resistance to join with others and to let ourselves truly receive and feel gratitude for what we have. Have a listen to some of her tapes if you wish to reconnect with your own heart and what is truly important.
Another helpful way to come back to reconnect with yourself when life is getting out of balance, is to do what is called a Loving-Kindness Meditation.
This practice is the softening of the mind and heart to open to a deeper level of the feeling of kindness and of love.
Loving kindness is not a sentimental feeling of goodwill, not an obligation, but comes from a place of selflessness.
It can be a breaking down of barriers that we may feel inwardly towards ourselves, and then those that we may feel towards another.
In a relaxed posture, breathing in and out from the heart centre, begin by allowing this kind feeling to generate towards yourself.
Feel any areas of mental blockage or numbness, self-judgment and take your breath right into them.
Then drop beneath this place to where you want strength and health and safety for yourself. Continue with full breaths in and out and then begin to say or think the following phrases:
May I be free from inner and outer harm and danger.
May I be safe and protected.
May I be free of mental suffering or distress.
May I be happy.
May I be free of physical pain and suffering.
May I be healthy and strong.
May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully and with ease.
Continue to breath fully in and out. Then move to a person that invites the feeling of unconditional loving kindness.
They may be an elder in your life, a parent or grandparent that requires little effort to feel respect and adoration for. Repeat the same above phrases for this person: “May he/she be safe and protected…….” Now move to a neutral person for whom you feel neither strong like nor dislike.
As you repeat the phrases, allow yourself to feel loving care for their welfare. Lastly, move to someone you have difficulty doing this for.
If needed, you can start the phrases by saying, “To the best of my ability, I wish that you be safe and protected…..”
Let the phrases spread throughout your whole body, mind, and heart.You can complete this meditation by visualizing a felt sense for all beings by saying the traditional phrase of: May all living beings be safe, happy, healthy and live joyously.
Extend loving energy from your heart outward as you repeat the phrase several times.
One of the key components of developing conscious awareness is to realize that the judgments we have of others are usually what we are judging the most about ourselves. Poppycock, you say?
Yes, we project our own feelings of low self-worth often on the people closest to us. It is called projection.