Friday, April 10, 2015

Being Human
My thoughts on Radical Compassion - Accepting Your Humanness

You are in charge-The only healer in the world is found inside of you. Call it God, your Higher Power, The Universe, Inner Wisdom, I don't care but I know for nearly forty five years I have been on a quest for growth. The journey to grow, heal, and love is something that we will be on till the day we cross over. From my experience this is what I feel fairly confident in saying:

1.You are on a journey called life and in every positive and negative situation you encounter there is a lesson that can help you grow. If you choose to see the lesson you will find a gift in even the worst circumstances, it may not be instant however upon inspection you will find something positive if you choose to. For instance lets take the unimaginable - Every day someone dies, you lose your beloved or even your child. The gift is the time you had with that person, the relationships you now take the time to cherish with those still present in your life physically that you may have taken for granted. Letting go and surrendering to the present moment of goodness with loved ones because you know all to well that it will not last forever.Sure the pain is horrible, nearly imaginable but even in the midst of our greatest pain there is something good that can come out of it.

2. There is no Big Break or One person who can change you. In my profession as a yoga teacher, school instructor people often have some pretty lofty ideas about the public persona they see. I've had a few people say things to me such as "You have all this knowledge and I expected to learn more from you." Well here's the deal, I am human. I've spent 30 years literally on this journey out of my 44 years on earth. I've studied and meditated and taught for thousands of hours. I and no one else can impart those years on you if you are not willing to go through them yourself.  I cannot do that for you and neither can anyone else. You may gain a nugget from me but your change comes from within.

3. Life is simply a series of moments put together so let go of expecting every day to be dessert.
Most days life is meat, potato's and broccoli. Dessert comes once in a while with something like the birth of a baby, a wedding, a birthday, or falling in love but most days are fairly normal meat and potato days. If you choose to stop and enjoy each day and live in the present moment you can find meaning and satisfaction in each day. We would be very obese if life were like dessert every day, we would be out of balance. Accepting this will help you appreciate each day for what it is. The gift of quietly having coffee in the morning, of taking your kids to school, kissing your loved one, of owning a home or whatever you have. Also, understand that you have a natural rhythm, times when you are tired, worn out, and not at your best. Understanding yourself and being aware of when you are at your best will help you be more productive and more forgiving of yourself. Your best will change from day to day. If your sick your best will be different from when you feel well and energetic.
Gratitude for the daily nuts and bolts will radically change you.

4. Self Esteem comes with Radical Self Compassion- I have taught thousands of people. I've led many yoga classes, trained many teachers, taught private clients, facilitated meditations and yoga therapy. I have come to believe that low self esteem is directly related to unrealistic expectations people place on themselves and others. Have you seen the quote that says "If you think it's easy to change someone else think of how hard it is to change yourself". Once we let go of controlling others our world opens up. The only thing we can control is ourselves. If you can take someones awful behavior and think "Why is this person doing this?", chances are your will notice it's probably fear. Most people behave out of simple act of trying to avoid pain. This will help you be more compassionate. When you look at yourself and ask "What am I getting out of this thing I do that is either positive or negative?", then you will start to see that we get a payoff from everything we do. For instance I was in a negative abusive relationship for over twenty years. The payoff was that I didn't have to change, I didn't have to live alone, I had financial security. That was huge. I was so scared of change that I struggled for twenty years to make it work. I can choose to see those twenty years as a waste or as part of my path and my lesson and recognize that there were some positive times and and things that came from them. When we recongnize  another person is in pain and acting out of fear we can forgive. I let go of that relationship because I finally accepted that I could only change myself and my reactions, what I was doing wasn't working. I was trying to control the other person through my expectations. They weren't changing and so I was miserable because I kept expecting things to change. Then I realized the only way to make change is to change my situation. I had to have a lot of compassion for myself and accepted that I was human and fallible. Everyone is human, fallible, makes mistake and is on a journey.

5. It's okay to show your warts.When I was younger I loved going to my friends grandparents. They lived in a virtual shack. It was tidy but small and broken down. They had a garden and plants everywhere. They always had something on the stove and always had us sit at the little two person table and would feed us something from their garden. They always turned off the t.v. when we came in and visited with us. They smiled and they hugged us and they ask questions about us. I didn't care that the house was old, that they were old, or that they didn't have money. That's not why I was there. Quit worrying about possessions and what you have being good enough. It's better to be loving and care about other people. It's how you make people feel that matters. Be curious, ask people "How are you?" and then shut your mouth and listen. Be willing to be imperfect and be willing to admit your trying to figure this life out also. And remember to give hugs, smile, and share your gifts because you will feel so good and so will the other person.

6. You will fall over and over again, but eventually you will walk. All things are hard before they are easy. I get a little crazy over this one. This world of social media has turned a whole generation of people into thinking things should be easy and automatic. Life is work, it's hard. You have to put in the effort to get the results. I can't make you an awesome yoga teacher in 9 months, I can impart the wisdom I have been handed down and the theory but until you get out there and work you will be like a new foal learning to walk. This is a metaphor for life. Everything you start new you will stumble, you will make mistakes but eventually you will improve. This goes for not just work but setting boundaries, practicing self love, and all new behaviors in life. Be kind to yourself, laugh at yourself in a good way, be willing to stumble or else you will never walk. If you expect to walk right away and you just give up the first time you stumble, you will be crawling on your knees for a long time, and quite frankly that hurts.

7. Big Changes come through small actions: Simple improvements in your life can change your whole life for the better. Here is one example from my own past, the young mother is me.  A young mother feels she needs to keep a clean house and have her kids in many activities (which she can't really afford) in order to be a good mother. She is so ragged she snaps at her kids and her husband because she is worn out and broke. One day she picks up a parenting magazine and reads an article that says "Set a timer for 10 minutes and have everyone clean for 10 minutes and then spend some time with you kids." She goes on to put this into practice in everything in her life. Many years later said mom is doing this with everything, she sets a timer to write, workout, clean house, and more. She accepts that there is a "good enough". She tells her kids they can do one thing each year but they must complete it. She quits running herself ragged thus she is more positive and less crazy feeling. She accepts that her kids activities don't have to fit into a box of what society says is successful. Kids playing on the playground and going to the park and library is just as beneficial as being in basketball, track, chess club, and so on. She recognizes that an hour spent pushing her kid on the swing and sharing an ice cream will build her kid up and build good memories for about $2.50.

8. Be willing to make mistakes, get messy, and have a great attitude - Your life will change.
I was born with an innate gift, God put in me this seed called "What's the worst thing that can happen?". Since I was little I've been willing to risk being a fool. Basketball circa 1985 I ran the wrong way in 7th grade and make a basket for the other team. That would be only one of the many times I've risked looking foolish. I've learned to laugh at myself. I was so klutzy growing up that everyone blamed everything on me: If my friend broke something valuable she would tell her parents it was me because they would understand "Oh that Courtney, bless her heart, she can't help it". On the other hand I was also the first one to run to someones aide that needed help. I developed a reputation for caring for everyone, the outcast, the popular girls, I did not have a compass in me that pointed to only one type of person to befriend. Once at the county fair a man in a wheelchair fell out of his wheelchair on the floor, the people around him parted like the Red Sea. I was 14 and about 100 lbs. I ran over and put him back in the chair, never once thought about it. My friend said "Do you realize you were the only one who went to help him?" That was the day I realized I had the gift of compassion. It opened up my world. I felt good about myself and I knew I was a good person. It would take years to develop my self esteem and I am still working on it 30 years later but one thing I know is it is worth it to risk looking foolish, to help someone and to laugh at yourself. Not taking life to seriously sure makes it more bearable.

With Love and Light,