As you know, I started off this year with the inspiration to Love Full Out. In doing so, I’m keeping my focus on three main practices in my daily life:
Last week, I got my first big opportunity to practice being present (spirit tends to work quickly, you know). You may have noticed I didn’t post an article last week. All week long, I had a sinus headache, an earache, and felt all-around lousy. I thought it was allergies or the changing weather, but apparently, it was a cold.
As per my usual, I don’t have time to be sick. It’s the first of the year, after all, and there is planning to be done. After a break from work and school, we were all trying to get into a normal routine. I needed – wanted – to write, to work, to get back into my groove.
So I tried to rally. I didn’t miss any work, but by the time I got home each day, I was exhausted. Early bedtimes, Echinacea tea, and even hot toddies didn’t give me the energy I sought. I finally acquiesced. The cold simply had to run its course.
Such is the way of being present. My reality was having a cold. Period. No matter how much I wanted to pretend or ignore or fight, my body needed rest. It needed nurturing. And it needed me to be present to its needs.
How often when we consider being present, do we forget out about our most important instrument, our bodies?
How often do we run ourselves ragged, while our bodies faithfully preserve to keep us moving?
How often do we ignore the aches and pains and cries from our bodies to slow down and pay attention?
BEING PRESENT – LOVING FULL OUT – INCLUDES KNOWING AND RESPECTING THE VOICE OF OUR UNIQUE BODIES
Yes, our bodies talk to us. They tell us what they need and want to stay healthy and functioning, but we’re usually too busy to really listen. Or we don’t believe they actually have this capacity.
So how do we stay present?
We get in touch with our unique bodies. We sit in quiet contemplation daily and slowly scan our bodies from head to toe. We notice how each part feels in that moment. We ask our bodies what they need from us. Then we stay quiet and listen for what comes up. Really, truly listen.
We tell our bodies how much we love them and we thank them for being the vehicles that ensure we move forward.
We apologize for any harsh words we’ve said. For the moments of disdain and disgust. For the times we wished for a different shape or size or color.
We touch our bodies gently and tenderly, like we would any other love in our lives. For this love keeps us alive.
We trust that when our bodies tell us they’re sick or sad or tired, they are. And we take care of them. In return, they will trust us back.
For many of us, it will be the first time we’ve given our bodies this kind of attention and compassion. It may feel awkward and uncomfortable and we may not even fully believe what we’re saying and doing just yet. Presence is a practice.
Make a daily commitment. Pick just one of these and repeat it until you really feel it in your heart and soul as truth. Then add to it. Make it your own.
Above all, commit to being present with your body. It’s the first step to being present in all other areas of your life, and to Loving Full Out.
Love & light,
It’s been a rollercoaster of a week, right? For so many, it feels like the world is on the brink of monumental change. And perhaps it is. Is that such a bad thing? I suppose it depends on who you ask.
What we do know is that, if nothing else, is that it feels chaotic and uncertain.
So what to do now? How to move forward? This question has different answers, depending on your worldview, beliefs, and values. Spiritual teaching tells us that fighting against something only gives us more of it. Yet we all need to find ways to feel safe and honored in our world, our communities, our homes, and our own bodies. And to help others feel safe and honored as well. In contemplating over the last week on how best to do this, I keep coming back to LOVE.
It’s a platitude, yes. But I feel it’s become that because we’ve never given it the teeth it deserves. We reduce love to nothing more than an emotion, when in reality, it’s an ACTION. An intentional, daily choice to get up, take care of ourselves, other people, and our world, and then do it again tomorrow.
Sadly, most of us don’t make love a daily action. And understandably so. We’re busy. We see hate and indifference and injustice all around us. It’s overwhelming. And now here we sit, surrounded by chaos.
How then, can we transform this chaos into actionable love?
Do your homework – It is imperative in this day and age to be discerning. We have an overload of information available to us at any given moment, and not all of is accurate or truthful. What’s worse, much of what we read or watch only serves to support what we already believe.
If a story evokes a strong emotional response, that’s a trigger warning. Instead of sharing, do your research. Question everything. Check sources. Check your source’s sources. Don’t share unverified memes and articles (here’s a link to fake, misleading, and satirical news sources). Read up on history. Read across your political and religious lines. Information that is unkind or unbelievable is also often untrue, so follow that rule your mom taught you: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Better yet, go sit alone in prayer or meditation for a while and contemplate: Is this kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?
Why is this important? Discernment is a valuable life skill. It keeps us safe and healthy. It helps us grow our natural gift of intuition. And more importantly, love equals truth. Love doesn’t need to lie to make its point or sway others to its side.
Lend people an ear (and an eye) – We want to be seen and heard. We need to be seen and heard. It’s basic human connection. We want to know that our opinions, values, beliefs, traditions, and voices are important and they matter. Because they are and they do. And we don’t tend to listen to others until we feel heard ourselves.
Women and men sit in circles all over the world honoring each other’s truth, listening to each other’s voices, and witnessing each other’s range of emotions. Without judgment. Without debate. It can be done. People the world over also hold intense discussions around topics on which they have different views and beliefs. They do it without name calling. Or condemnation. Or threat. Or silence. It can be done.
Why is this important? As we open ourselves to other viewpoints and opinions, it paves the way for common ground. Moreover, this kind of engagement – listening, witnessing, allowing for and encouraging differences and debate – relies on vulnerability, and love thrives in vulnerability.
Give love a voice – We’ve been taught that love is patient and kind, never envious or boastful or proud. Not easily angered not keeping a record of wrongs. This is nice, but frankly it also can keep us comfortable and tethered to passivity.
Sometimes, love needs to be loud. Love needs to growl and howl and make its presence known. Love needs to take center stage, even if it is booed. Love needs to be outraged. Love needs to have a voice. An angry voice. A powerful voice. A voice that speaks despite quivering with fear. A voice that makes us sit up and take notice. A voice that demands a better future.
Why is this important? Passive love feels nice for a while, but it doesn’t move us forward. Instead, we risk complacency and comfort, which makes us easy targets. Love does not have to be quiet and submissive to get its point across.
Going forward, I encourage you to transform the chaos and give love a voice in your own way. Sing, shout, dance, heal, protest, cry, celebrate, laugh, write, speak, study, collaborate, be the change you want to see.
And whatever you do, do it with the voice of love.
Love & light,
P.S. If you're feeling chaotic and need some love, reach out to me. Through the end of November, I'm offering free distance healing. Just contact me and you'll be feeling the love in no time!
For more inspiration, visit my original blog.