Category Archives: self-love

My Body, My love

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Loneliness is an illusion—we are never truly alone.

I say this as someone who used to feel lonely most of the time.

Even with my spouse, even with my best friends, in my heart I felt separate, as if behind an invisible wall. At first, I chalked this up to poor socialization. Beset by frequent moves, childhood trauma and family unhappiness, I had grown up isolated. I hadn’t learned how to relate to others, so I could not connect with them.

Years later, I learned about attachment theory and realized the problem ran deeper. My mother suffered from low moods (she died in a psychiatric hospital when I was six years old). I have good reason to believe she was feeling poorly after my birth, a condition now called postpartum depression. She probably found it hard to resonate with me, her infant son, so my feeling of being walled off seemed traceable to gazing at my mother’s face, who was pained and distant rather than joyful and attuned.

Understanding that my feelings of isolation grew out of my earliest experiences, did not lessen them.

There seemed little to do but muddle through life as best I could, alone behind my wall.

Luckily, I was wrong.

There has turned out to be a way I can feel profoundly connected with another being, not just on occasion, but all the time.

Who is that being?

My own body.

How I came to appreciate my body as an intimate partner is a long story

Key factors include my training as a surgeon and familiarity with the body’s biology. Then came a series of medical crises, that both ended my clinical career and forced me to pay attention to my health. When a yoga institute enlisted me to teach anatomy and physiology to its trainees, I found that these sciences could be used to deepen my self-understanding. In meditations and yoga poses, I explored how human awareness relates to the organism who supports it.

This led to the key insight: the body isn’t a mechanical conveyance, as I’d assumed on the basis of medical training, it isn’t a blood-filled robot.

The body is a lively, responsive animal.

Like a beloved dog or cat, the body is capable of wordless love. In other words, my body and mind are in a relationship. My mind, who felt so lonely, is not alone—at every moment it is embraced by the warm animal who surrounds it. By upholding my consciousness in myriad ways (breathing air, circulating blood, digesting food), this sensitive, vulnerable body is holding me with love.

Consider: If another person did as much for us as our own bodies, we’d have no doubt about that person’s affection.

One of the main points of yoga is to help us recognize the unity of body and mind.

How can the body love the mind if the two are one?

There are many answers to these questions—here, I’ll offer an analogy:

Two people in a marriage are separate, yet in their loving partnership, they are one.

Perhaps the goal of yoga practice isn’t to erase all distinctions between the mind and physical body, but to build a sweeter relationship between them.

To get a sense of how this relationship can be developed, here’s a simple but useful meditation.

It is best done after relaxation practices or a period of mindful breathing.

Bring to mind an adored partner, child or pet. Visualize the beloved in your arms. Feel the warmth that blossoms in the center of your chest. Now imagine holding your body with that same tender regard, feeling the same sweet glow of affection. As your mind honors the organism who gives it life, recall how the body supports the mind with its own encompassing embrace.

Your body works on your behalf every minute of every day.

Feel how your consciousness arises within this living, vibrant animal we call a human body. Appreciate how your body surrounds you with boundless concern for your wellbeing. Even in times of illness, it does its best to keep your life on track. You are your body’s beloved.

Practices, like this one, gradually melted my sense of isolation.

As my mind grew to understand its intimate partnership with my body, it no longer felt walled off. Instead, I felt nurtured and realized I was never alone.

At every moment, human awareness is wrapped in a sort of biological hug.

How wondrous! How healing!

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A SPIRITUAL REFLECTION ON BOUNDARIES

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“I just think that boundaries are the most amazing, wonderful and difficult things to implement. They are beautiful tools that we need to use in our life to create intimacy, not to block it. A boundary doesn’t keep people out of our lives. A boundary just keeps people from violating important spaces in our lives; and when we have boundaries, the intimacy is increased, not decreased.” — Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School

There are many people in the spiritual world who romanticize the idea of dissolving or shedding personal boundaries . . . of being One with all beings, or most titillating, with an intimate partner. This is a wonderful ideal, but unfortunately, since many of us have an unclear understanding of boundaries in the first place, we end up mistaking unhealthy connectedness with others (fusion) for true communion with them.

Oneness and individuality

Confusion about the spiritual notion of Oneness most often manifests in our relationships with other humans. Most of you reading this are people who highly value peace and calm in your lives, and uphold the virtue of compassion. Some of you might believe that if we are all One, we should understand the pain of others and not judge them, even when they cross our boundaries. You may believe that being kind to others means flowing like water around them. You may believe that we ALONE must take responsibility for all of the difficulty in our lives and deal with it by ourselves, because it’s ultimately saying something about us, not others.

NO. NO. NO. (And yes, sometimes.)

This is the paradox of spirituality. While the above statements indeed have deep truth to them, they often times cannot, and should not, be applied without discrimination to our lives as humans on Earth.This is where the Buddhist notion of TWO TRUTHS or Two Realities (ultimate reality and relative reality) can be useful. Both realities co-exist, and it is part of the human journey to learn how to skillfully dance between them. Yes, from the perspective of Source we are One (or as Buddhists might put it, we all share the ultimate nature of Emptiness), but we are also unique individuals who have our own needs, preferences, and desires. We have our own complex emotional world, which it is our personal responsibility to take care of, so that we can be happy and healthy.

“Boundaries allow differences to play their essential role by preserving our autonomy and making healthy interrelatedness possible — a fact clearly illustrated in mature relationships, in which there is deep communion without any dilution of one’s sense of self. In such relationships, we don’t discard our boundaries to make meaningful connections; we expand our boundaries to include the other without short-changing ourselves.” — Robert Augustus Masters, author of Spiritual Bypassing

What are boundaries for?

When other people come into our personal space and violate it, physically or emotionally, it is appropriate to set a boundary in order to take care of ourselves. (Remember, people don’t know where our boundaries are unless we clearly make them known.)

Boundaries are not about controlling others, or blaming them for how we feel. They are about taking full responsibility of our own safety, well-being, and happiness.

A boundary is a request you make along with a clear consequence regarding what you will do if the request is not respected.

For example, “If you don’t stop with the name-calling, I will leave the room.” Or “If you keep coming home drunk, I will move out and not consider returning until you are in a rehab program.” Or, “If you keep bringing up my ex, I will stop engaging in our conversation.”

Some of us tend to go a little wild when we first start to take boundaries seriously. But remember, a boundary should only be made when there has been a violation of your physical or emotional space (like your boss raising his voice at you or someone smoking in your home). It’s not a tool to be used when you simply don’t like someone’s words or behavior but they are not actually doing anything to or toward you. It’s not a tool for controlling other people. For example, it’s not a boundary if you try to use it to get your husband to take out the garbage or get your girlfriend to call you more often. That’s called manipulation!

Following through on boundaries

One of the most important but difficult things about setting boundaries is actually following through on the consequences you have stated. Sometimes we try to use aboundary as a threat, with no intention of actually following through. We’re afraid of others getting angry or feeling hurt, or we just find it very difficult to assert ourselves. So instead, we set a boundary with the sole desire of forcing the other person to change. Again, this is manipulation. If you want your boundary to be taken seriously (and if you want to take yourself seriously a.k.a. trust yourself), you have to do what you say you will do.

“When we begin to set boundaries with people we love, a really hard thing happens: they hurt. They may feel a hole where you used to plug up their aloneness, their disorganization, or their financial irresponsibility. Whatever it is, they will feel a loss. If you love them, this will be difficult for you to watch. But, when you are dealing with someone who is hurting, remember that your boundaries are both necessary for you and helpful for them. If you have been enabling them to be irresponsible, your limit setting may nudge them toward responsibility.” — Henry Cloud, author of Boundaries

Boundaries ultimately come from a place of compassion and respect for yourself. You may be frustrated and angry with others, but the reason why you’re experiencing this is often because you don’t have proper boundaries and you haven’t been SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH. Once you take full responsibility for your happiness, you can set boundaries with others from a place of calm, empowerment, and love – not anger or resentment toward them.

It can be helpful to explain to the person you’re setting the boundary with that this isn’t about them or about them doing something wrong, it’s about you, your truth, and your needs. If they choose to be offended by your truth, that’s their choice. When setting boundaries, you have to be willing to accept the response of the other party. You’re not demanding that they change; they are free individuals. It’s just that if they don’t change, you’ll follow through on the consequence you described.

Mastery takes practice

Boundary work takes a ton of practice, so no worries if you don’t get it right on the first few (hundred) tries.

I think part of the reason boundaries are such a difficult thing to apply to our life is because it highlights the spiritual paradox I mentioned earlier: We’re all born of same Source (and thus have this beautiful “urge to merge”), and yet we’re also unique, distinct streams of consciousness having our own experience of life on earth.

It’s a challenge to fulfill both our spiritual desire to connect with each other AND our human drive to express and experience the fruits of our unique needs and preferences.

Learning to do this is a sign of true mastery.

Keep on keepin’ on, friends!

http://www.stephanieylin.com/spiritual-reflection-on-boundaries/

THIS GIRL IS CRAZY AMAZING! Look into the X ray of an emptath’s mind, body and soul!

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I feel your pain: an empath’s guide to staying balanced

Do you often wonder which emotions are yours, and which belong to someone else? When people you care about are hurting, do you feel their pain so deeply that it’s hard to separate—even after they’re out of crisis mode? In relationships, do you donate so much of your own natural resources that you suffer from a chronic energy shortage? And with those you’re close to, is it hard to figure out what your own needs are—or even what you want for dinner? If the answer is yes, it’s highly likely that you’re an empath.

What does it mean to be an empath, and why is it fraught with these basic life challenges? Derived from the Greek “em” (in) and “pathos” (feeling), the term empathic means you’re able to “feel into” others’ feelings. But for empaths, this sensitivity is magnified to the nth degree. An empath is more tuned in, more empathic, and more sensitive to others than the average empathic person.

Being this tuned in, empathic, and sensitive is an asset, but it comes at great cost. Empaths are unusually vulnerable to emotional contagion, to “catching” others’ emotions in much the same way that you’d catch a cold or flu. But it doesn’t stop there: empaths get physically ill and suffer from anxiety, depression, chronic stress, professional burnout, and pain syndromes more often than their less empathic counterparts. And empaths often need lots of down time after social engagements, “recovery periods” at the end of a workday, or extended intervals of being alone. They can feel fundamentally different from others: As a conference-goer recently put it, “It’s like I’m an alien from another planet—no one understands me, and sometimes I don’t even get myself.” The empaths I work with often confess a deep-seated fear that this “alien thing” means something is wrong with them, that they’re somehow damaged.

As a clinical psychologist and yoga therapist, I’ve supervised psychotherapists, yoga teachers, and yoga practitioners for more than two decades—and a great many of them are empaths. I’ve helped them identify who they are and develop the skills to lead more balanced and healthy lives. And as a “recovering empath” myself, I’ve had to walk a parallel path. From this personal and professional immersion, I’ve found that it helps just to name the issue, to hammer a framework of understanding around it. And then, armed with tools from yoga, mindfulness, and psychology, we can work on balance. We can create a blueprint for physical well-being, emotional health, and more rewarding relationships.

Are you an empath? Here are five signs that you might be—and that your wonderful qualities, when left unchecked, can compromise your health.

THE EMPATH CHECKLIST:

1. You struggle with boundaries. It’s tough to know where you leave off and others begin, which experiences are yours and which come from others, when to open your channels for connection or to close them.

2. You’re often not in your body. For empaths, all that “feeling into” the experiences of others means that you dissociate: you leave your body or “shuttle” out of direct experience as a matter of course.

3. You’re vulnerable to emotional contagion. You absorb the emotions of others, from your boss and colleagues at work to your family and friends, and even the check-out guy at Whole Foods.

4. You’re prone to nervous system overdrive. It doesn’t take much—sometimes just a draining conversation or a party that’s loud and over-populated—to propel your nervous system into alarm mode.

5. You have trouble with intimacy. Your relationships are filled with intense bonding and equally intense separations. You can merge with others at the drop of a hat, but get so entangled that an “emotional exorcism” of someone you care about is often the only way to get your space.

Even when we’re aware of them, these patterns are hard to change. They’re wired into us deeply, at levels the conscious mind can’t reach. For that reason, to be a healthy empath requires daily practice. Here are the key issues and therapeutic practices that form the heart of the journey. The challenge is that much of the healing needs to happenthrough the body. And for empaths, the body can be a wasteland of sorts, a long-abandoned battleground.

Lest you think this is a “chick thing,” there are male empaths, too. It’s just that the process of natural selection draws empathic males underground more quickly than it does their female counterparts because sensitivity, empathy, and attunement to others are considered “feminine” traits. Male empaths can be ostracized for these qualities, and learn to bury them from sight. As a male empath in one of our therapeutics clinics recently said, “I take on other people’s experiences all the time. I have a huge amount of anxiety and depression, and it’s hard to know what’s mine and what’s someone else’s. But when I talk about it to my friends, they tell me to quit being ‘such a girl.’” Male empaths need the same kind of body-based support that female ones require.

RX FOR EMPATHS:

Empaths have an extraordinary capacity for union. They’re great in a crisis; people in need call forth their deepest abilities. They make gifted, intuitive healers. They see others deeply, well beyond the surface. And they have a magnetic quality that draws people to them. Yet flanking these positive aspects are several shadow sides. Here’s what you’ll want to focus on to help you live in a state of physical and emotional equilibrium.

1. Develop Boundaries. As an empath, you give too much space to others’ emotional lives. You solve their problems with ease and help them restore equilibrium, often at the expense of your own energy stores. But even when no one needs you, the habit of “trolling for crisis” means you’re always on alert, and makes it tough to return to the shores of your own awareness.

Empath Rx: Creating boundaries isn’t a matter of mental discipline, of “just say no.” When you’re an empath, limits need to be integrated into your physicality. The core body is your seat of power: What helps is a yoga practice that brings your focus into your deep, intrinsic core where you can develop “prana in the belly.” This four-pronged core body program includes awareness, strength, flexibility, and the capacity to release. Working with the core in this holistic way helps you ground back into your body and replenish your energy stores. Mindfulness tools can also help you monitor where—or on whom—you’re focused and notice when you’ve migrated into someone else’s direct experience.

2. Bring Awareness into Your Body. Imagine that you’ve left to visit a friend in another city and forgotten to lock your house. And that’s not all: You’ve left all the doors and windows wide open, so anyone can get in. This is what it’s like to be an empath. You can abandon your own home, your direct experience, in favor of someone else’s. The more you do this, the more difficult it is to return. What makes matters worse is that not inhabiting your body (and the moment) keeps the benefits of yoga and other mindfulness-based practices just beyond your reach.

Empath Rx: Offset this tendency toward dissociation with slow, mindful vinyasa yoga sequences that link movement with breath. Empaths can spend a whole yoga class or practice on auto-pilot: adding anchors for awareness will help bring you back to your body and to the present. Contemplative practices such as meditation and restorative yoga give you the time, space, and silence you need to get re-embodied again.

3. Balance Your Nervous System.

An empath’s environment is like “emotional satellite radio” with surround sound and hundreds of channels. Your nervous system surfs the dial constantly, flipping from station to station to listen to others’ emotional broadcasts: your boss’s complaints about work, your partner’s anxiety over a potential job loss, your best friend’s sadness about a breakup. These information-processing demands can catapult your nervous system into overdrive, which reinforces anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. On top of that, the incessant electronic requests of e-mail and social media can overload and exhaust you.

Empath RX:

Learn to notice the signs of nervous system overdrive, such as that inner sense of something always “humming” beneath the surface, an elevated heart rate, and increased emotional reactivity. Practice simple breathwork techniques like nasal breath (and if accessible, nasal breath with a longer exhale) to slow your heart and bring your nervous system back to baseline. Regular breaks from social media also help, as do practices that balance your nervous system and quiet your mind, like Restorative Yoga.

4. Learn to Regulate Intimacy.

For empaths, intimacy comes down to matters of space and reciprocity. You can feel like Dr. Doolittle’s Push-Me-Pull-You: Sometimes you crave intense emotional, physical, and spiritual bonding. At other times, you need so much space that having your own personal galaxy might feel too crowded. When you want to merge, you can threaten people who have a higher need for breathing room; when you need wide-open space, you can appear remote and withholding. And when it comes to reciprocity, you’re rarely comfortable on the receiving end. Your giving nature attracts narcissistic people who crave the mirroring and validation you offer. In the meantime, you’re able to create a fantasy in which the relationship lives up to its potential—and you inhabit that fantasy as though it were real. You learn to subsist on a diet of mere “emotional breadcrumbs,” and can suffer from malnourishment.

Empath Rx:

To build your ability to receive care from others, try bodywork or yoga therapy with someone you trust. You can also balance a personal yoga practice with group classes to strengthen your sense of community. If your job requires any degree of public exposure, or you work as a healer, you may need stretches of alone time to reestablish your equilibrium. Here again, mindfulness-based practices can help you notice feelings of being devoured and interrupt the cycle of merger and isolation before you reach the breaking point.

5. Develop emotional immunity.

Empaths pick up on other’s emotions and even their direct inner experience so rapidly that it’s hard to indentify what’s happened. As a result, a large part of your anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and immune issues can belong not to you, but to someone else. And just like your nervous system and physical body, your emotional body and immune system struggle with boundaries. They have difficulty discerning what’s you and what’s not. This leaves you vulnerable to emotional issues like anxiety, depression, and chronic stress, as well as auto-immune illnesses such as allergies, lupus, or fibromyalgia.

Empath Rx:

Practice interpersonal hygiene: using mindfulness, notice how you feel after spending time with others. You’ll soon learn which people are hazardous to your health, and you can limit your interactions with them. Also try lymph-stimulating asana sequences and Restorative Yoga to stimulate your capacity for constructive internal reflection.

THE EMPATH’S FILTER:

One of the more insidious consequences of Empath Syndrome is having a very thin, membranous emotional skin which reacts intensely to real or perceived invasion. This skin is allergic to a variety of foods, social settings, and other people—and on the inside, it mimics the auto-immune pattern of self-hatred. This exposes our nerve endings to all the shame, rage, and deep, existential grief inside us and in everyone around us. An offhand comment from a loved one, a request for help from someone when our resources are at a low ebb, or a harmless comment from that “weird guy” at the gym can get under our skin in microseconds. This sets off an alarm, and we immediately filter that person as either “dangerous” or “safe.” Long ago, that type of filtering was necessary for our survival but as we mature, it becomes less adaptive, even destructive. Because we doubt the strength of this filter (after all, it’s tough for us to set boundaries), we construct a narrative around the experience. Once we’ve developed a juicy story about the person who got under our skin, we repeat it. We pull for confirmation from others, as though having an army behind this filter will help it feel more like a fortress.

Having the armed forces behind us can feel comforting initially, but our actions only strengthen the sensitivity of the danger/safe filter. And since our narrative is rarely limited to one encounter, we practice it over time. Soon, it gains a brittle hardness. This outer shell protects us from injury (good), but also from intimacy with others and our deepest selves (not so good).

Often, the deepest (and hardest!) work happens long after the interaction is over, when our nervous system is back to balance and the temporary comfort our narrative gave us has dissipated. Our task is to go back to the filter, to our initial decision in the moment, and reevaluate. We can (this is so hard!) reconsider and re-examine the encounter from all angles, balancing the harsh light of hindsight with a healthy dose of self-compassion. We can even ask others for input—preferably those who don’t indulge our stories, and who want to see us grow.

Over time, we can acknowledge where our filters make errors or blind us. We can change their sensitivity settings to be more open. We can acknowledge where they make errors or may blind us. Then we’ve got something to grown on. The challenging part: Empaths have a really tough time changing this filter because it feels so necessary for safety. What’s more, adjusting the settings actually stretches our “emotional skin.” This expansion is uncomfortable: It can feel in some ways like a “little death” and it can jolt the nervous system into caffeinated overdrive. This is when the quieter aspects of yoga and mindfulness like Restorative Yoga can help promote constructive internal reflection, and help us assimilate the changes we’ve made to our filter. I’ve been in this place many times and experienced the struggle myself. And while our asana practice helps us be more embodied, this epic battle with our filter is carried out on the very plains of engagement where mindfulness and yoga try so hard to lead us.

IT’S LIKE A TATTOO:

Empaths often ask me, with great sincerity, “How do I get rid of this?” Their poignant request reflects the cost they pay, in time and effort, to achieve a measure of balance. But being an empath is like having a tattoo: the imprint is there for life, no matter what you may do to change it. These practices aren’t a time-limited, do-it-for-three-months-and-all-will-be-well kind of program. Rather, they’re a lifelong journey of self-discovery. But it needn’t be a life sentence. Having a daily empath-balancing practice improves our relationship with ourselves. It juices our creative process. It improves emotional regulation. It deepens our work life, and enhances our physical health.

Empaths need community, a tribe of our own to belong to, and a shared language through which we can first unload the burden of being built as we are. Yet once we’ve ingested this sense of belonging, our task is to resist the temptation to rest there forever, and cultivate instead both personal and shared practices that bolster our body, calm our mind, and help us ground into and explore ourselves. We do this first in shallow waters and then in time, the deep.

It may seem that transformation is about transcendence: that we somehow leave behind our flaws to achieve a measure of spiritual perfection. Yet true spiritual evolution and emotional health entail a reckoning with and even valuing of the unique set of challenges we’ve been given. Sometimes the holes in our evolution—the very things that we lack—plait a deep thread of awareness into the fabric of our self-study. We’ll spend the rest of our lives unraveling that thread, and weaving and reweaving it. And there’s a measure of honor that comes from having to work so hard at the skills that others seem to master so naturally.

And the reward for all this hard work of integration? There will come an extended moment in time when something or someone will activate your nervous system, stimulate your filter and the narrative that comes with it, and tie you in emotional knots. But this time, you’ll recognize it as it happens. You’ll be able to enter a dialogue. You’ll say to yourself something like, “Oh- here it is again—it’s happening! This person has bumped right up against my need to feel special,” or whatever it is they’ve activated. You’ll notice the signs of activation: elevated heart rate, difficulty breathing, intense emotional reactivity, and an immediate gravitational pull toward a difficult story. “They must not care about me at all,” you’ll start to think. Then suddenly, you’ll remember to feel where that activation is concentrated in your body: often, for empaths, it’s the upper core or solar plexus area. You’ll bring your hands to that area and breathe deeply into it for several minutes. And if it’s still highly engaged, you’ll opt to practice a little longer until you hit your “reset button.”

And all at once, you’ll feel the deep worth of daily empath practices. You’ll find a simultaneous sense of yielding and resilience. You’ll feel a beautiful solidity, as though you’ve colored in your outlines. You’ll discover a newfound sense of your own intrinsic value in the world. And this will be matched by the joy that comes bubbling up from the wellspring of your body.

Being an empath asks us to become fluent in the field of paradox, to metabolize opposing concepts and challenges. How can we engage in rich relationship with others and the world around us, for instance, while finding the silence and space to discover the self and world inside us? How do we find balance between matter and spirit, inner awareness and outer focus, or self and other? And how might we engage in the dynamic interchange between the concept of evolution—which hints at a future self—and the self we are right here, right now?

It may be later in life by the time we truly blossom, but the time, patience, and inner work are well worth the effort. When we learn to regulate our nervous system, create healthy boundaries in our body, and adjust the filter through which we evaluate direct experience, we become truly resilient. And instead of making ourselves small to fit the world around us, to find a tribe where we belong, we learn to blossom on our own. This blossoming draws others to us. And an empath in full flower is an extraordinary thing to witness: vulnerable yet resilient, intuitive yet grounded, and deeply creative, expressive, and magnetic—but with a fully functioning sense of where and how these qualities balance.

Dear Empaths, thank you for your deeply impassioned response to this article! Out of respect for the porousness of your fellow empaths, please balance your sharing of your story with discernment about how the quantity and nature of what you’re sharing. We reserve the right to edit posts, or to not post responses that might cause others to be overwhelmed when reading. However, we do read each and every post. We thank you for taking the time to comment. Please know that you have a Tribe of people to whom you belong. Not only that, there are ways (and this article mentions several) to balance your empath qualities and live a life of balance, boundaries, and meaning.

For specific tools, please reread the “Rx” sections above for ideas. You can also explore our book Yoga for Emotional Balance. And please stay tuned to the Online Courses link on this site; we’ll have a “Yoga for Empaths” course coming out later this year that’s a labor of love to all of you, our Empath Tribe. Peace and blessings,

http://boforbes.com/yoga-practice-lab/blog/feel-pain-empaths-guide-staying-balanced/

FOR THE WOMEN WHO WOULD NEVER CALL THEMSELVES -Wild Woman -Warrior or “Goddess

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Wildness lurks in all of us, though we don’t all choose to flaunt it so obviously.

We do not need to appear passionate, intense or ferocious to be interesting—like an iceberg sitting in calm waters, our passions, intensity and ferocity can be hidden out of view, shared only with our inner circle. Even the deer that moves gracefully through the woods is as captivating, it its own way, as the fierce lioness.

They are equally wild, but express themselves differently.

I watch my cat, who is technically a “tame” creature, not entitled to the classification of “wild” because she lives interdependently among humans. Oh, but I know that, for all her tameness, the wildness is there in equal measure—it’s just that she rarely feels the need to unleash it (thank God!).

And despite my own calm demeanor, which causes some people to underestimate my strength, I too may unleash my ferocity—suddenly and without warning—should I perceive that someone has crossed an unacceptable boundary, or simply triggered a fear.

And I know that I am not alone. Some of us may move more quietly through the world, but we need to know (and trust) that we are capable of being fierce and wild, should the need arise.

We are not all drawn to the esoteric or the mystic.

But within us all lies a God(dess) force—for we are all connected to divine source, containing both masculine and feminine energy. It is not a special power granted to a special bunch of people.

It is a universal power, or energy, available to us all.

Some of us are more consciously attuned to that inner force than others. And some of us simply do not want to tune into it. Perhaps we were persecuted for the overt expression of our godliness in a previous life. Or maybe we are young souls who are not yet ready to delve into our power. But it is there—whether we recognize it, or identify with the label. It is there for us, if we do want it.

We are all Goddess.

And we are warriors too, for we have survived this long and this far.

We are still here—that is no mean feat. We have done battle with our demons—both inner and outer—and lived to tell the tale (or keep it quiet).

Some of us wear our warrior badges with pride and others keep them hidden in a drawer. But we don’t have to wear them loudly to carry their essence about us. We are strong. Stronger than we sometimes acknowledge or believe. But we are. If we weren’t, we would not still be here.

So, no matter how you choose to express yourself in this world, know that you are strong and powerful. And, when needs be, you can be a fearsome force to be reckoned with.

Each of us is extraordinary in our own way. We are neither the labels we identify with, nor those we reject. But we do carry within us the qualities that all labels—“good” and “bad,” the ones we like and those we dislike—seek to encapsulate.

But beyond the labels and their associated qualities, we are essence of the Divine, expressing ourselves in differing ways.

“Wild Woman,” “Warrior” and “Goddess” are primeval, achetyepal energies that we all have the capacity to tap into when we feel the need. So, although we may not choose to express them as aspects of our personality, at our core, we are all Wild Women, Warriors and Goddesses.

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/10/for-the-women-who-would-never-call-themselves-wild-woman-warrior-or-goddess/

5 WAYS TO HAVE A RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING LIFE- Richelle Morgan

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I used to dream, wish and hope for an amazing life—not just an okay life, but a ridiculously amazing life.

When I was younger, that dream had me rolling in style, of course, with fabulous clothes, a big house and a fast car.

As I grew older and wiser, the material wants and needs of my dreams changed—I simply wanted to be inspired and excited to get out of bed.

But that wasn’t happening…I was living within a shell of myself.

Sleep, wake, crawl out of bed, work, eat, sleep and repeat. And repeat. And repeat again. Snooze alert.

I found myself caught in a vortex of boredom with my dreams of a different life on hold. I was stuck. Not unhappy, just stuck, like a pot of overcooked pasta, heavy, uninspired and pasty.

That heaviness was not only settling on my ass, it was finding its way into my heart. And, all I wanted to do was sleep. And eat. And then sleep some more.

The problem was that this wasn’t the first time I experienced this; it was not a new story I was creating where I could put the blame on all the supporting characters. This was my own fault; I had built a decently successful business, had wonderful clients, friends, family and all that fun stuff. I was living in suburbia heaven with a nice car, good home and it was killing me.

Slowly and surely, I was dying inside.

I had worked myself into exhaustion and the stress I put on myself to succeed gifted me with a lovely autoimmune disorder—which was ironic, considering my business was teaching others how to create healthy lifestyles.

I was unmotivated, uninspired and unfulfilled; a walking, talking empty shell. Like a pretty puppet, I moved, acted, responded, but if you had taken the time to knock on my shell, you would have heard a resounding echoing emptiness inside.

So what did I do?

I woke up, took a hard look at my life and told myself to snap out of it. I made the decision to step back into my life, to take the bull by the horns and take charge of myself. No more excuses. No more blame.

It was time to start living from the heart…and it was then that my life started to become a bit more amazing.

It was then that I started to become a bit more amazing.

And, yes, it was that simple. The decision, that is.

I realized that the only way out of my spiraling vortex of un-fulfillment was through me. In order to create the life I dreamed of, I had to be the one to change. I couldn’t blame anyone for my choices, my dissatisfaction or my growing ass. I had to turn the mirror around and face myself.

And at first I peeked, not wanting to face myself. But, as time went on and I did the work needed, that mirror started to shine and reflect a happier me. And now, I can proudly say that I have fully and completely stepped into my life. And I try to do at least one thing to make my life ridiculously amazing each and every day.

Five ways to step into your life and make it ridiculously amazing:

1. Move.

As in, move, breathe and sweat.

You can’t be ridiculously amazing burrowing a hole into your couch or glued to your computer screen. (I know this because I tried. Massive fail! And what makes matters worse, that decently successful business I ran was a fitness business. How sad is that? I was inspiring others to move but couldn’t get myself on board!)

You have to get up and get your ass moving! Get the blood flowing, muscles fired up and the energy levels inspired. And the million excuses you have will come up, shelf them. If you can walk to the fridge, you can move.

I’m not asking you to hop off the couch and run a marathon, go for a walk, dance, do yoga, something. Just move. While you’re at it, move on to number two.

2. Check in and take notice.

One thing that is consistent is that life is continuously changing—and it will pass you by in the blink of an eye if you don’t take notice of it.

Start by checking in and paying attention to the little things that happen on a daily basis. I take the same route everyday to teach and each time I notice something different; it didn’t used to be that way. I used to drive mindlessly to client’s homes or to appointments and find myself 10 km down the highway with no recollection of what just passed me by. I had created a cozy vacuum of numbness that had me periodically checking out of life.

Now, I pay attention. I check in and stay present. Even when I’m doing something I do everyday, it’s become a mini adventure. I’ve noticed that anything can and will happen, but it’s up to me to take notice. So open your eyes, ears and mind. Rediscover your senses.

When you pause and actually notice the little things, what you see might surprise you.

3. Love.

Sweet, juicy, love.

Get the love juice flowing for your friends, family, partner and pets. Basically, anyone or thing that shares your space. Try to sweeten the pot with some unconditional love. Pets, easy. People; maybe not so much so try to practice first and foremost on yourself. Drown yourself in a giant pot of love juice. Be kind and nourishing to yourself in deliciously healthy ways because when we start to treat ourselves as though we are worthy, we set amazing things in motion.

After all, we can’t tap into love if we don’t love ourselves first.

4. Play.

Remember that four letter word?

If you don’t, seek out a niece, nephew, your child or a friend’s child. Watch, listen and learn. Life has enough serious moments without us purposely adding to the mix.

It’s okay to let loose and let your inner child come out and play once in a while. Be silly, dance, sing and laugh a lot. Don’t let anyone dampen your silliness. I did that and it wasn’t fun.

Now I play, a lot, everyday, with my crazy dogs, in the beautiful sea, on my yoga mat and with my boyfriend. They nourish my quirky side and allow me to be me. Which makes me smile a lot.

As a bonus, they’re helping me develop gorgeous laugh lines… much prettier than the frown lines I was working on before.

5. Leap outside your comfort zone.

Don’t think. Get like Nike and just do it! Leap, jump or dive into something that takes you outside your comfort zone, something that scares you a little or a lot.

I did this when I first arrived in Tulum. Shy, deathly afraid of house parties, I became a bit of a hermit back home. Once my shell started to crack open, I forced myself to do things that took me way outside my comfort zone.

The end result was I became more social, less afraid to attend parties or events solo. And it was so extraordinarily freeing, terrifying at times, but once the sweat stopped pouring, I noticed that I was not alone. And no matter what the outcome, I embraced every experience as an opportunity to spread my wings and grow.

Amazing things happen when we open the door to life and let our senses explore. When you step outside your comfort zone and try new things, visit new places, create new adventures, you give back to yourself ten fold. Embrace what comes up when you take a chance on life.

The good with the bad because it will help you grow as a friend, lover, mother or father.

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Take charge of your life.

If you’re unsatisfied, do something—your life won’t change unless you create the change.

So get things moving, go dance in the rain, kiss your partner deeply, try a new taste, take the road less travelled, open your eyes and drink in the sights.

There’s beauty to be found in simplicity.

Make the choice to step up to the bat and hit a ridiculously amazing home run in this fabulously messy thing we call life.

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/05/5-ways-to-have-a-ridiculously-amazing-life-richelle-morgan/

HEALTHY SEXUALITY WITH AYURVEDA

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HOW can a couple enhance their sexual relationship by following Vasthu Sastra?

This is a question frequently asked by many readers who want to know how can they use the ancient knowledge to improve their bond.

Vasthu Sastra (science of dwelling), Kamasutra (art of sensuous love) and Ayurveda (science of life) are inter-connected and any couple observing all the three sciences can achieve total wellness. It is vital for readers to understand how these sciences work to ensure a happy union. In Vasthu, a couple who has sex in the south-west location of their house will enjoy the satisfactory pleasures and the chances of them being blessed with a healthy child is greater. Kamasutra, which incorporates yoga positions, is as old as the 5,000-year-old science of Vasthu. It highlights the marriage of the spiritual and the sensual, which stems from the Indian belief that the body is as sacred as the spirit. In Sanskrit, Kamasutra means sensuous love or an emotional feeling of attachment. When a couple is exploring Kamasutra poses, it should be performed after sunset in the correct location of a house to enjoy the desired result. 


To achieve the ultimate satisfaction, a couple is encouraged to follow the tips provided by Ayurveda.

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In Ayurveda, individuals who wish to enjoy the pleasures of the world should sleep on their left side, because this promotes the functioning of the right nostril, obstructing free flow through the left. The right nostril heats and activates the body, and increases an individual’s interest in food, sleep and sex.

This assists the individual to better externalize their personality to enable them to enjoy sensuousness. Sleeping on back allows both nostrils to function together, which discourages body, mind, and spirit integration and indirectly promotes disease by encouraging energy to leave the body. Sleeping on the stomach promotes diseases directly by obstructing deep and healthy breathing. It is best to sleep with the crown of your head facing east and your feet to the west. This promotes meditative sleep.

Sleeping with your head to the north draws energy out of the body,disturbing mind, body and spirit integration. If your head is to the south, energy is drawn into your body, improving your health. In short, sleeping on the left side is most relaxing, on the right most digestive, on your back, disturbing to the Vata (air) and sleeping and on your stomach is, disturbing to all of the above.

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Healthy sex

In Ayurveda, individuals who do not regulate their sexual impulses are more prone to loss of strength, a weak immune function and various diseases owing to the depletion of vitality.

According to ayurvedic expert Dr CD Siby from the Ayur Centre in Petaling Jaya, those who regulate their sexual energy will have increased memory, power, intelligence, health and longevity.

According to the ancient science, unsatisfied sexual urge is the cause of many diseases. Sexual frustration creates anger and this imbalances the female sex organ, blood flow and affects her menstruation. Menstrual disturbances heighten a women’s emotional aggravation.

It is difficult for such a woman to become pregnant, and should she become pregnant, her misery will be transferred to the child in her womb by the toxins circulating in her impure blood.

Any baby growing in such an environment will grow up unsatisfied and angry because emotions are the foundation of a child’s constitution. The foundation of sexual stress is often loss of Ojas, which is caused by over sexual indulgence. (Ojas is the purest expression of metabolism and the end product of correct digestion and assimilation of food).

Many modern couples fail to take time to enjoy sex and seek only self-gratification instead of mutual satisfaction. Masturbation is the culmination of this tendency, the apex of self-indulgence and an unwarranted waste of energy.

Repetitious unsatisfying sex is certain to cause disease. Individuals lose the willingness to surrender themselves to each other in sexual union when they feel vulnerable because of weak identities. Lack of Ojas, especially due to frequent obsessive sex, weakens the aura, and whenever anyone gets too close, subliminal alarm bells begin to go off.

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Sexual satisfaction

Sexual satisfaction occurs between two partners, not between two genital organs. It does not happen immediately but grows and develops over time. The first step in improving an individual’s sexual experience is to resist temptation to hop from bed to bed to seek improved pleasure. An individual must stick to one partner.

Vata (air) people are tempted by variety more than the other types. They should satisfy this craving for variation with new techniques and positions, not with new partners.

Pitta (fire) people also have roving eyes, but their principle urge is for intensity of experience and not variation. They have to be careful not to completely dominate a weaker partner, to permit their craving for intensity to mesmerize them into perversion.

Kapha (water) people are less likely to roam, and since sex is a good vigorous exercise for them, they can be encouraged to do it more often.

http://www.hiddenmysteries.org/spirit/ecstacy/happyinbed.shtml

Find Happiness By Giving Up These 15 Things

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Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:

1. Give up your need to always be right

There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question:

“Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?”
Wayne Dyer 

What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big

2. Give up your need for control

Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.”
Lao Tzu

3. Give up on blame

Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk

Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.”
Eckhart Tolle

5. Give up your limiting beliefs

about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!

“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind.”
Elly Roselle

6. Give up complaining

Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

7. Give up the luxury of criticism

Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.

8. Give up your need to impress others

Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.

9. Give up your resistance to change

Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”
Joseph Campbell

10. Give up labels

Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open.

“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.”
Wayne Dyer

11. Give up on your fears

Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

12. Give up your excuses

Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.

13. Give up the past

I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.

14. Give up attachment

This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another, attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.

15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations

Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves. You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

Thich Nhat Hanh on Loosening the Knots of Anger

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Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us how to relax the bonds of anger, attachment and delusion through mindfulness and kindness toward ourselves.

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To be happy, to me, is to suffer less. If we were not capable of transforming the pain within ourselves, happiness would not be possible.

Many people look for happiness outside themselves, but true happiness must come from inside of us. Our culture tells us that happiness comes from having a lot of money, a lot of power and a high position in society. But if you observe carefully, you will see that many rich and famous people are not happy. Many of them commit suicide.

The Buddha and the monks and nuns of his time did not own anything except their three robes and one bowl. But they were very happy, because they had something extremely precious: freedom.

According to the Buddha’s teachings, the most basic condition for happiness is freedom. Here we do not mean political freedom, but freedom from the mental formations of anger, despair, jealousy and delusion. These mental formations are described by the Buddha as poisons. As long as these poisons are still in our heart, happiness can not be possible.

In order to be free from anger, we have to practice, whether we are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish. We cannot ask the Buddha, Jesus, God or Mohammed to take anger out of our hearts for us. There are concrete instructions on how to transform the craving, anger and confusion within us. If we follow these instructions and learn to take good care of our suffering, we can help others do the same.

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The Knots of Anger

In our consciousness there are blocks of pain, anger and frustration called internal formations. They are also called knots because they tie us up and obstruct our freedom.

When someone insults us or does something unkind to us, an internal formation is created in our consciousness. If you don’t know how to undo the internal knot and transform it, the knot will stay there for a long time. And the next time someone says something or does something to you of the same nature, that internal formation will grow stronger. As knots or blocks of pain in us, our internal formations have the power to push us, to dictate our behavior.

After a while, it becomes very difficult for us to transform, to undo the knots, and we cannot ease the constriction of this crystallized formation. The Sanskrit word for internal formation is samyojana. It means “to crystallize.” Every one of us has internal formations that we need to take care of. With the practice of meditation we can undo these knots and experience transformation and healing.

Not all internal formations are unpleasant. There are also pleasant internal formations, but they can still make us suffer. When you taste, hear or see something pleasant, then that pleasure can become a strong internal knot. When the object of your pleasure disappears, you miss it and you begin searching for it. You spend a lot of time and energy trying to experience it again. If you smoke marijuana or drink alcohol and begin to like it, then it becomes an internal formation in your body and in your mind. You cannot get it off your mind. You will always look for more. The strength of the internal knot is pushing you and controlling you. So internal formations deprive us of our freedom.

Falling in love is a big internal formation. Once you are in love, you only think of the other person. You are not free anymore. You cannot do anything; you cannot study, you cannot work, you cannot enjoy the sunshine or the beauty of nature around you. You can only think of the object of your love. That is why we speak about it as a kind of accident: “falling in love.” You fall down. You are not stable anymore because you have gotten into an accident. So love can also be an internal knot.

Pleasant or unpleasant, both kinds of knots take away our liberty. That is why we should guard our body and our mind very carefully, to prevent these knots from taking root in us. Drugs, alcohol and tobacco can create internal formations in our body. And anger, craving, jealousy, despair can create internal formations in our mind.

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Training in Aggression

Anger is an internal formation, and since it makes us suffer, we try our best to get rid of it. Psychologists like the expression, “getting it out of your system.” And they speak about venting anger, like ventilating a room filled with smoke. Some psychologists say that when the energy of anger arises in you, you should ventilate it by hitting a pillow, kicking something, or by going into the forest to yell and shout.

As a kid you were not supposed to say certain swear words. Your parents may not have allowed you to say these words because they are harmful, they damage relationships. So you went into the woods or to an isolated place and shouted these words very clearly, very strongly, in order to relieve the feeling of oppression. This is also venting.

People who use venting techniques like hitting a pillow or shouting are actually rehearsing anger. When someone is angry and vents their anger by hitting a pillow, they are learning a dangerous habit. They are training in aggression. Instead, our approach is to generate the energy of mindfulness and embrace anger every time it manifests.

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Treating Anger with Tenderness

Mindfulness does not fight anger or despair. Mindfulness is there in order to recognize. To be mindful of something is to recognize that something is there in the present moment. Mindfulness is the capacity of being aware of what is going on in the present moment. “Breathing in, I know that anger has manifested in me; breathing out, I smile towards my anger.” This is not an act of suppression or of fighting. It is an act of recognizing. Once we recognize our anger, we embrace it with a lot of awareness, a lot of tenderness.

When it is cold in your room, you turn on the heater, and the heater begins to send out waves of hot air. The cold air doesn’t have to leave the room for the room to become warm. The cold air is embraced by the hot air and becomes warm—there’s no fighting at all between them.

We practice taking care of our anger in the same way. Mindfulness recognizes anger, is aware of its presence, accepts and allows it to be there. Mindfulness is like a big brother who does not suppress his younger brother’s suffering. He simply says, “Dear brother, I’m here for you.” You take your younger brother in your arms and you comfort him. This is exactly our practice.

Imagine a mother getting angry with her baby and hitting him when he cries. That mother does not know that she and her baby are one. We are mothers of our anger and we have to help our baby, our anger, not fight and destroy it. Our anger is us and our compassion is also us. To meditate does not mean to fight. In Buddhism, the practice of meditation should be the practice of embracing and transforming, not of fighting.

Using Anger, Using Suffering

To grow the tree of enlightenment, we must make good use of our afflictions, our suffering. It is like growing lotus flowers; we cannot grow a lotus on marble. We cannot grow a lotus without mud.

Practitioners of meditation do not discriminate against or reject their internal formations. We do not transform ourselves into a battle field, good fighting evil. We treat our afflictions, our anger, our jealousy with a lot of tenderness. When anger comes up in us, we should begin to practice mindful breathing right away: “Breathing in, I know that anger is in me. Breathing out, I am taking good care of my anger.” We behave exactly like a mother: “Breathing in, I know that my child is crying. Breathing out, I will take good care of my child.” This is the practice of compassion.

If you don’t know how to treat yourself with compassion, how can you treat another person with compassion? When anger arises, continue to practice mindful breathing and mindful walking to generate the energy of mindfulness. Continue to embrace tenderly the energy of anger within you. Anger may continue to be there for sometime, but you are safe, because the Buddha is in you, helping you to take good care of your anger. The energy of mindfulness is the energy of the Buddha. When you practice mindful breathing and embrace your anger, you are under the protection of the Buddha. There is no doubt about it: the Buddha is embracing you and your anger with a lot of compassion.

Giving and Receiving Mindfulness Energy

When you are angry, when you feel despair, you practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, to generate the energy of mindfulness. This energy allows you to recognize and embrace your painful feelings. And if your mindfulness is not strong enough, you ask a brother or a sister in the practice to sit close to you, to breathe with you, to walk with you in order to support you with his or her mindfulness energy.

Practicing mindfulness does not mean that you have to do everything on your own. You can practice with the support of your friends. They can generate enough mindfulness energy to help you take care of your strong emotions.

We can also support others with our mindfulness when they are in difficulty. When our child is drowning in a strong emotion, we can hold his or her hand and say, “My dear one, breathe. Breathe in and out with mommy, with daddy.” We can also invite our child to do walking meditation with us, gently taking her hand and helping her calm down, with each step. When you give your child some of your mindfulness energy, she will be able to calm down very quickly and embrace her emotions.

Recognizing, Embracing, Relieving the Suffering of Anger

The first function of mindfulness is to recognize, not to fight. “Breathing in, I know that anger has manifested in me. Hello, my little anger.” And breathing out, “I will take good care of you.”

Once we have recognized our anger, we embrace it. This is the second function of mindfulness and it is a very pleasant practice. Instead of fighting, we are taking good care of our emotion. If you know how to embrace your anger, something will change.

It is like cooking potatoes. You cover the pot and then the water will begin to boil. You must keep the stove on for at least twenty minutes for the potatoes to cook. Your anger is a kind of potato and you cannot eat a raw potato.

Mindfulness is like the fire cooking the potatoes of anger. The first few minutes of recognizing and embracing your anger with tenderness can bring results. You get some relief. Anger is still there, but you do not suffer so much anymore, because you know how to take care of your baby. So the third function of mindfulness is soothing, relieving. Anger is there, but it is being taken care of. The situation is no longer in chaos, with the crying baby left all alone. The mother is there to take care of the baby and the situation is under control.

Keeping Mindfulness Alive

And who is this mother? The mother is the living Buddha. The capacity of being mindful, the capacity of being understanding, loving and caring is the Buddha in us. Every time we are capable of generating mindfulness, it makes the Buddha in us a reality. With the Buddha in you, you have nothing to worry about anymore. Everything will be fine if you know how to keep the Buddha within you alive.

It is important to recognize that we always have the Buddha in us. Even if we are angry, unkind or in despair, the Buddha is always within us. This means we always have the potential to be mindful, to be understanding, to be loving.

We need to practice mindful breathing or walking in order to touch the Buddha within us. When you touch the seed of mindfulness that lies in your consciousness, the Buddha will manifest in your mind consciousness and embrace your anger. You don’t have to worry; just continue to practice breathing or walking to keep the Buddha alive. Then everything will be fine. The Buddha recognizes. The Buddha embraces. The Buddha relieves, and the Buddha looks deeply into the nature of anger. The Buddha understands. And this understanding will bring about transformation.

The energy of mindfulness contains the energy of concentration, as well as the energy of insight. Concentration helps you to focus on just one thing. With concentration, the energy of looking becomes more powerful.

Because of that it can make a breakthrough that is insight. Insight always has the power of liberating you. If mindfulness is there, and you know how to keep mindfulness alive, concentration will be there too. And if you know how to keep concentration alive, insight will also come. So mindfulness recognizes, embraces and relieves. Mindfulness helps us look deeply in order to gain insight. Insight is the liberating factor. It is what frees us and allows transformation to happen. This is the Buddhist practice of taking care of anger.

Every time you give your internal formations a bath of mindfulness, the blocks of pain in you become lighter and less dangerous. So give your anger, your despair, your sorrow a bath of mindfulness every day—that is your practice. If mindfulness is not there, it is very unpleasant to have these seeds come up. But if you know how to generate the energy of mindfulness, it is very healing to invite them up every day and embrace them. And after several days or weeks of bringing them up daily and helping them go back down again, you create good circulation in your psyche, and the symptoms of mental illness will begin to disappear.

Mindfulness does the work of massaging your internal formations, your blocks of suffering. You have to allow them to circulate, and this is possible only if you are not afraid of them. If you learn not to fear your knots of suffering, you can learn how to embrace them with the energy of mindfulness, and transform them.

Reprinted from “Anger,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, with permission of Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2001 by Thich Nhat Hanh.

http://www.lionsroar.com/loosening-the-knots-of-anger/

10 Things to keep in Mind When Loving a Highly Creative Person

It has been proven that highly creative people’s brains work quite differently than other brains. That special brain wiring that can create such wonderful art, music, and writing can often lead to strain in a relationship, because of those differences. If you’ve ever loved a highly creative person, you know that it can seem like they live in their own little word at times, and that thought isn’t far from the truth. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are in love with a highly creative person:

1. Their Minds Don’t Slow Down
The highly creative mind is one that is running at full speed all the time. Although it can be a source of crazy, spontaneous fun – it can also be a burden. Highly creative people rarely keep normal sleep cycles, and are often prone to bouncing from one task to another throughout the day. It can be exhausting to try to keep up.

2. They are Cyclical
The flow of creativity is a cycle, full of highs and lows. Some people may consider this “manic” behavior, but in reality, it is just how the creative process works. Keep this in mind as your partner goes through these natural ebbs and flows. The low periods aren’t permanent.

3. They Need Time Alone
Creative minds need air to breathe. Whether it is their own little work space or an escape to somewhere quiet, they need a time and place to be alone with their thoughts. Some people are inclined to think that if nothing is being said that there is something wrong, but with creative people that is not the case. They are just working within their own head.

4. They are Intensely Focused
When a creative person is on task, they are fiercely intense. The change from being scatter-brained to hyper-focused can be difficult to deal with, so just understand that it is how their brains work. Don’t get frustrated.

5. Emotions Run Deeper
Creative people feel everything on a deeper level. What doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, can be crushing to them. It’s that same passion that goes into whatever they create that drives them to love you, so understand that with the good – comes the bad.

6. They Speak in Stories
Creative people often express themselves in experiences, instead of just saying what they want to say. It is a way of sharing themselves that personifies who they are. At times, it can be difficult to figure out what a creative person is saying, so don’t be afraid to read between the lines.

7. They Battle with Themselves
Being creative can be a serious internal struggle. Motivation, enthusiasm, direction, and drive can all be issues for creative people. Some days it is hard for them just to get out of bed, and other days you can’t get them to slow down. Be patient in the lulls, because there is usually a burst of activity right around the corner.

8. Intuition is Important
Creative people, because of their intense emotional tendencies, tend to rely on intuition over logic. They go with their gut. Some people consider this to be more on the “impulsive” end of the spectrum. The creative mind doesn’t rely on logic to make a decision, it relies on experience and passion.

9. They Struggle with Confidence
When people create, especially for a living, they are always struggling with acceptance. That is art. They have to wear their hearts on their sleeves, and so they always question whether or not what they are producing is good enough. Being supportive is the key to loving a creative person.

10. Growing Up is Hard to Do
Creative people are almost always children at heart. That care-free nature can seem immature and impetuous – but it is all part of the deal. Understand that the aspects of their creative brains that you love are the same ones that make them somewhat irresponsible when it comes to being an adult.

http://theearthchild.co.za/10-things-to-keep-in-mind-when-loving-a-highly-creative-person/

The Formula For A Spiritual Relationship

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Something exciting occurs when you decide to pursue a SPIRITUAL relationship. I can recall the exact moment Salle and I decided to work towards this deeper connection together. One year we found ourselves regularly arguing over small things.. It didn’t help that we’d been cooped up through a period of cold weather, and tensions were high as we were beginning to feel a little stir crazy.

The arguments usually looked like this one: I would want for us to go out and watch my favorite football team, and she want us to go to a nice dinner. While standing in front of our fireplace, with a roaring fire flickering shadows across our faces, our disagreement got past our self-control and rose to a point of angry shouting. When we “remembered ourselves”, it ended in a fit of laughter. We realized how silly we had been by letting ourselves become selfishly wrapped up in our wants, rather than remembering to think about one another first. We decided that this was the time for us to work together on developing our deeper Spiritual connection. These simple relationship disputes are normal. Developing your Spiritual bond together will freely build healthy communication and allow you to be conscious of your significant others’ needs.

Remember You Are A Soul Living A Human Life

Connections through conversations with another person is a basic human need, and the desire to create a romantic connection, may be the strongest one of all. With the rate of divorce reaching alarming heights, it may seem that loving relationships are destined to fail. However, it doesn’t have to be that way, especially if we apply some Spiritual principles to our romantic partnerships. It’s important to remember how you speak to your loved one. What are you trying to convey to them? How is your tone being taken? We all have moments where we “lose our heads.”  However, practicing thoughtful, non-defensive, vocal etiquette can provide you with results that not only benefit you both, but also help you grow your communication skills. In this way, each person feels more comfortable speaking from their hearts and exposing their soul to one another. Being aware of how you express yourself, especially under stress, is a fundamental aspect on the path of your Spiritual relationship together.

Your Soul Desires Another Soul To Share Your life With

God wants us to thrive in a life of abundant joy. Profound love and healthy partnerships unite in His destined plan for each of us. Our relationships shouldn’t befall to grief and pain. By evolving to your highest, Spiritually conscious form, you discover you’re greater ability to have happy, fulfilling relationships. You can practice the principles of THE 12 INSIGHTS in your relationships. Praying together, trusting your INTUITION, and following the SYNCHRONICITY in your life will ultimately allow you to find the healthiest form of your relationship. Developing your deep Spiritual awareness and sharing this with your significant other, will positively lead you both to the higher divine plan for your life and your relationship. When you have a Spiritual foundation (Faith in God), at the center of your relationship, you will uncover the richest form of energy and joy.

Celebrate Your Differences

Partners come from varying backgrounds and have a lifetime of vast experiences prior to meeting each other, so they may have differences in their individual outlook and needs. Holding a higher Spiritual consciousness provides each person the inner security to explore their differences openly. In fact, each should view the differences with their partner as growth opportunities. For instance, one person may love outings in nature, and over time, the other person may learn to love the outdoors as well. While you both do not have to love doing all of the same things together, it is still important to try and be there for the other one in the moments they truly enjoy experiencing. It creates a meaningful respect and shows that you care. When the other can see you trying to be there for them, even when it may be something you don’t like to do, your efforts will be appreciated.  Acts of selflessness do not go unseen.

A trust built on Spirituality allows a full discussion of other issues as well. All of us have particular behaviors and habits that make us unique, and I have seen many expressed in several, different ways. Sometimes, in stress, people lash out or use harsh words that hit below the belt. While others, myself included, shell up or retreat into their minds. Some people like to communicate heavily under stress, whereas, others ignore stress completely, behaving as if a dream world will solve the problems they face. With so many various forms of stress management, it is only natural you may find yourself paired with someone who handles tough times very differently than you.

An inner, Spiritual security helps both parties feel open enough to explore their behaviors, and be honest enough to ask for their partner’s help in overcoming these patterns, should they be unhealthy habits to have. Remember to be understanding and supportive when your significant other comes to you for personal growth. You can support them by discussing the habits that feel hurtful to you. Then share your inner thoughts (Intuitions) of how to approach the more stressful times as they feel healthy for your relationship.

Understand Each Others’ Love Language

Discussions of Spirituality make it easier to discover each others’ emotional needs, and to create an ongoing dialog about whether these needs are being filled. People feel loved in different ways: some individuals want compliments or verbal reassurance, others want little acts of kindness, while others need larger, planned events and gifts. Again, take time to examine one another’s childhood and past romantic relationships. From a Spiritual perspective, this allows both partners to gain insight and awareness on each other, as well as having their needs met in a positive way.

Willingness To Accept Responsibility

Even with a firm, Spiritual foundation in place, disagreements will still occur. Be willing to accept responsibility when you inadvertently overlook your partner’s needs or feelings. Having a Spiritually-based relationship means not always having to win. Forgiveness is crucial, but be patient if the other person doesn’t immediately reconnect. Establish the Spiritual value that, given enough time and effort made, everyone can self-correct.  Let the other person come to a place of resolution with an issue in their own time, even if it takes a while.

Don’t Wait Too Long To Make Up

Having a Spiritually-based relationship means the relationship bond exists at the soul level. Therefore, resolve to give each other another chance. Holding grudges or being resentful due to unfinished or unsettled arguments, can push your relationship in a very damaging direction. So make an agreement up front that you will never go to bed mad, or holding onto negative feelings. Remember, tomorrow is not promised.