The True Task Before Us When it Comes to Love

I came across this quote from Rumi that gave me some food for thought:

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”  – Rumi

When you come to think about it, our built in attachment system sets us up to be able to love and to be loved back. It is what we have been taught about love or our negative experiences with desire, tenderness and devotion that tend to build walls around our hearts. If we are fortunate enough to have been raised in an environment that enabled us to be secure in our attachment, we are one step closer to not allowing our barriers to prevent us from the affection of others.

And if our childhood brought us pain, or those we sought out in love were not kind to us, we can still be in charge of our own destiny when it comes to love. By leaning into Rumi’s advice, we can explore our own barriers and make the choice to give our hearts first to ourselves, clearing a path for those that will follow. 🙂

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A Thoughtful Intention for When We Disagree

When we differ in our opinion to another, or feel strongly that we must disagree, it can often come across as a lecture or as an attack. In Marianne Williamson‘s book “A Year of Miracles,” this excerpt from Day 36, struck a chord with me:

“Help me to disagree without blame, to share without criticism, and to debate without demonizing anyone.”

If we can keep this thoughtful intention when it comes to our heavier conversations, what a difference it could make. When we allow ourselves to be open to someone else’s opinion while keeping these principles in mind, it can lead to a constructive or restorative conversation instead of an interchange where we were driven to be right.

Keeping this lovely intention in mind will help us in our objective to be mindfully present.

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What it Means to Numb; Best Said by Brene Brown

When we numb emotions, it is our way of avoiding painful feelings or traumatic experiences. Whether we push everything down, “just try and not think about it,” or turn to alcohol, over-eating, over-spending and the like, we are leaning into numbing behaviours. Brene Brown says it best:

“We cannot selectively numb emotion. If we numb the dark, we numb the light. If we take the edge off pain and discomfort, we are, by default, taking the edge off joy, love, belonging, and the other emotions that give meaning to our lives.”  – Brene Brown in “Dare to Lead”

It is in our nature to avoid what is painful; we don’t willingly put ourselves in harm’s way. It is also, however, in our nature to grow and in order to achieve that, we must also understand the pain. Sometimes this will require both courage and curiousity so as to lean into the pain; to explore how it has manifested in you and to reclaim it in the name of growth and movement. 🙂

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The Joy of Spring

I love this quote by Margaret Atwood:

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”  – Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

This time of year always reminds me of my childhood and the time spent outside in our rubber boots. Playing in the ditches, my sister and I would make little birch bark boats and we would follow them in the stream, we would walk to the pond at the back of the fields as it was always the biggest when waters made the earth swell; we came home muddy and wet. At school, we were excited to get out the marbles and sidewalk chalk to play hopscotch. And every spring, I would go to my friend Tara’s dairy farm to watch the cows being released from the barn for the first time after a cooped up winter; to say they were excited was an understatement. 🙂

With our continued lockdown state in Ontario, getting outside is that much more important. Work in our yards, preparing flower and vegetable gardens. Walking along the edges of streams and rivers; smelling the fresh air of spring. Finding our sacred spots where we can revere in the beauty of spring; a time of renewal and promise.

It is time to say goodbye to winter, thanking it for its coziness and time of rest and welcome spring, a time when the air is freshest and the wind smells like dirt.

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What Stands in the Way

I love this quote by Marcus Aurelius:

“What stands in the way becomes the way.” 

It reminds me of the famous words quoted in Dumbo, in which it was noted that “the very thing that kept you down is going to carry you up.” Let’s face it, we often get in our own way of growth. If we have low self-esteem for example, we will allow it to direct a big portion of our lives; leading us to missed opportunities and feeling victimized. If we numb ourselves with alcohol, over-eating or online shopping, we rob ourselves of the experience of nourishing our comfort system in a healthy way; leading us to feeling poorly about ourselves. If we are driven to participate in drama, we feed the chaos instead of the calm, leading us to move away from who we truly are or can be.

The first step is to become cognizant of what stands in the way; most of the time we know what most afflicts us, other times some exploration is necessary to get us to the place where awareness can lead to change. Either way, the ultimate goal is to clear the path so as to continue on our journey 🙂

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The Meaning of Success

Following yesterday’s post in which we were reminded that the ordinary often brings us joy, today we can reflect on the meaning of success. In our current world of uncertainty, sometimes it is difficult to feel achieved. Depending on our circumstances, we can continue to feel overwhelmed; lockdowns and managing households can feel very weighted.  When we are just barely keeping ahead of our tasks, or the struggle to get out of bed in the morning is our hill to climb, success can seem elusive and hard to measure. It is in those times that I like to reflect on a quote that tends to put things into perspective for me:

“Put your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts.

This is the secret of success.”   – Swami Sivananda

Success comes from movement, from conscious choice. It is the stepping stones of your day that will lead you to feel accomplished when you are heading to bed; the way you made someone feel, the dinner you made, getting through some of your to-do list, spending 20 minutes in a relaxing bath. Line up your tasks with your goals; focus simply on movement forward and you have achieved success. 🙂

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Resilience Through Covid-19

I came across this passage that reminded me that we can continue to remain committed to our goal of staying the course. To remain committed to keeping our connections meaningful, to finding joy in the simplicity of routine, to search out and appreciate our blessings.

This might be the year where 

instead of grand resolutions, we learn to

love our stories.

The moments together.

The showing up when tired.

The gift of the present.

The bravery in the ordinary.

The soul building of kindness.

The spark of hope.

Sometimes the simplest goals can 

lead to the most magnificent results. 

-Rachel Marie Martin

We can remain committed to the feeling that we are in this together.

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Learning to Love Again

Getting back to yourself after a break up can be a difficult addition to the already painful swirl of emotions surrounding you. The Poem “Love After Love” by Derek Walcott focuses on loving the inner self after a relationship ends; moving towards the knowledge that within you is the power to heal.

Love After Love

The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other’s welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.

-Derek Walcott

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The Wisdom of Robin Williams

No one could make us laugh like Robin Williams did. His comedic genius masked inner conflict; although he was quite honest about his mental health struggles, it was easy to forget about that after seeing him on stage or in a move like “Mrs. Doubtfire”. Today I feature three of my favourite quotes from a man who could always make me get to the belly laughs:

  • “You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”
  • “I always thought that the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself.”
  • “But if there’s love dear, those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart forever. All my love to you poppet, you’re going to be alright.” – Mrs. Doubtfire

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A Thought About Empathy

Here is a lovely passage about empathy by Thich Nhat Hanh:

Empathy

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce.

You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun.

You never blame the lettuce.

Yet, if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. 

But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce.

Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument.

That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding.

If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love and that situation will change.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

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