Accepting Others

It is within our ability to accept all aspects of ourselves, the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly, that allows us to more fully accept and appreciate others. Compassion begins within. 

(C) 2017 Tiffany Cara

Loving Yourself in Spite of Yourself

At first glance it may sound odd to love yourself in spite of yourself. Yet so often in life we withhold love from ourselves when we need it the most. It’s as if we can only love ourselves and give ourselves compassion when things are going well. When we are upset with ourselves, however, for being (of all things) upset, we withdraw from ourselves the very things that we need most in those moments: love and compassion. 

So where are you holding back and not giving to yourself the very thing that you need; love unconditionally? How can you show yourself just an ounce more love right now? Open your heart to yourself. Go ahead, you have nothing but your suffering to lose! 

Namaste 

From Judgment to Compassion 

Over the past few months some things have come up in my life that show me how judgmental I am against myself. Friends and enemies can commit far worse “crimes” and I can pardon them. Yet the slightest mistake on my part and I’m flaying myself with mental barbs and hooks…for much longer than would ever be necessary for anyone else. This has been a painful lesson for me to see and it’s time to change another element of how I treat myself. Compassion is the answer to judgment, and will be my theme for 2017. 

Within judgment I feel there are elements of sadness and anger. Anger sears through my inner being when I throw hot coals at myself for my behaviors or thoughts. Then the sadness is seen in my belief that I am not a better person. There is also the grief that comes from the way I direct so much anger at myself. 

This self-treatment just holds me back from greater achievements. Beating myself down, there is no way to rise back up. There is also no escaping self-deprecating thoughts, so I have sought out reprieve in external addictive behaviors like texting, eating and watching TV. So while I’ve had more free-time the past few months I’ve been writing less. Writing is my release and I’ve been more challenged to write because of the creativity block that judgment created. I can stand it no longer. 

Finally, I am gifting to myself the salvation of compassion. Hell’s fires are now just smoldering lava trails in the calm, soothing waters of understanding. The murkiness & the confusion that past judgments wrought have begun to clear in the clean air of compassion. 

If anyone else in the world had done what I have done, they’d have been nurtured and set free of judgment by me. It’s now time to give these very gifts to myself, for the less I hold judgment against myself, frees others to love themselves a little bit more. A planet of people who have open hearts to themselves helps the world to be a greater place. So please join me in finding a new way to gift ourselves more grace.

Namaste 

Healing the Political Rift: Permission to Feel 

To heal all of the hurts you feel today and any day, take a moment to give yourself permission to feel. When we block or stop an emotional wave of anger, sadness, fear, shame or pride, we must exert an equal and opposite amount of energy to keep the suppressed emotions at bay. 

Just as water will find the path of least resistance, our suppressed emotions do also. These emotions then come to the surface through projections onto others. We then look to others as the problem without solving the true root of the problem: the suppression of our feelings and the civil war within that ensues.

Currently, the Political Caricatures (and the reactions of fellow citizens) trigger our base emotions when we suppress how we feel. Each group or caricature represents for us the part of ourselves that we wish to deny. 

This is a tough pill to swallow. To look within to see where we have judgment against ourselves can be painful, it’s far easier to project our hidden feelings and point the blame to another for the things we wish to not see. Each aspect we love or hate in another is within each of us. As each one of us is a microcosm, fully representing the macrocosm.


When we can gain from this perspective an inward glance at our own shadows, we can then choose or give ourselves permission to feel the things we’ve suppressed. Once we heal that wound, by merely allowing it to exist, then the distant actions of others no longer feels like salt.

So what about “them” has triggered you? Where are you harboring and hiding those same feelings? Allow yourself to feel it! This doesn’t mean we have to act on it. Now give yourself the love you deserve for looking within.

Thank you to all the Veterans who have helped to make this country great! Without your sacrifices, we may not still be the land of the free (to feel and heal)! ❤️

Namaste 

the heart is not what i thought

There is so much truth here from Alohaleya once again this week. May this help you on your journey! 

❤️

After publishing my post on the heart I didn’t know what to blog about next. Everything I attempted to write seemed conceptual and slightly pretentious – ironically, coming from my head and not my heart! My mind has been my albatross, but for the most part it’s felt more comfortable than my heart or body. […]

http://alohaleya.com/2016/03/26/the-heart-is-not-what-i-thought/

Falling in love

DSC_9947

Like a newborn baby, I swaddle in love all of the parts of me that feel:

vulnerable

abandoned

unwanted

undesirable

I wrap my heart around those pieces that feel:

broken

afraid to be naked, exposed or seen

afraid to love…and to be loved…and to receive or give love.

~~~~~

With each moment that I allow more love for me, the more I am able to love you.

I give love to those parts of me that have held me back. They did so, out of the only love they ever knew, which was fear. Now they receive my attention and the tension resolves. They melt like butter in the hot sun of my own love.

Please join me today is giving yourself a little bit more love, compassion and grace. The small things do add up.

Receive your own gifts. For as we each learn to receive our own love for ourselves,  we free ourselves to both give more love to and receive more love from others.

Namaste

Photo by author, 2011

Walking in Another’s Shoes

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

-Henry David Thoreau

The morning schedule was busy with patients who needed physical therapy reassessments and evaluations. This meant writing two notes per patient, testing each patient and “extra” brain work to analyze the test scores. The headache from the early morning antics at home was growing and I was getting hungry; a dangerous combination. A quick chart review revealed that my next patient had been moody at his last therapy visit. “Fantastic!,” I thought to myself as I begrudgingly walked out to the waiting room to call the moody patient back into the busy clinic.

Usually I perform the physical testing prior to performing the patient questionnaire that asks standardized questions of patients to help create benchmarks regarding changes in their function, as well as to help predict outcomes. Since the patient was visually impaired, I had the additional pleasure of reading the questions to him. His answers were long-winded and often did not answer the question being asked. Hungry, in pain and tired now of redirecting him, I was doing my best to remain calm while inside I was screaming in my head. Yes, now I was moody.

One of the questions asked about driving, and being tired, hungry and in pain I read it without even thinking about it. The patient calmly replied, “Did you know about my wife? She use to drive me to my appointments. I lost her last month unexpectedly.” Talk about being instantly humbled. My countenance quickly turned around (and around some more).

From that point on I asked few questions. Instead, I just sat there with the patient and listened to him talk while remaining as present in each moment as I possibly could. No wonder this man was moody! He had unexpectedly lost his wife of 59 years. “I heard a thud and I didn’t realize that she had fallen from a heart attack.” So he was not only grieving for her loss, he was also blaming himself for it.

Yes, of course I cried. I cried tears of sadness for his loss, while grieving my own losses.  Some tears were shed in envy. Here I am in the process of separating from my husband of 15 years and this man has lost his spouse of 59 years (I wanted a lift partner, I thought to myself). Other tears were from guilt for having dreaded working with this man and for having judged him difficult before knowing his story. Add to that the shame of not feeling compassion for the patient until he had a heart-wrenching story to tell, thus deviating from my ideals.

At this point I moved into gratitude and wiped away my tears and did my best to verbally acknowledge his suffering. Then I asked his permission to share his feelings with his referring physician.

It can be such a challenge to know what someone else is going through. Sometimes we see someone who is having a bad day and we know not why. In this situation, I was given the gift of an inside glimpse into this man’s life that helped to put him being moody into perspective.

The patient seemed genuinely grateful for the time we spent together today. I know I was grateful and expressed my gratitude to him, as it was another lesson for me to remind me of compassion, unconditional love and that you never really know what someone else may be going through until you walk in his shoes.

Here is a link to a really great ad for The Cleveland Clinic that I feel exemplifies this concept. The video begins with the Thoreau quote from above:

Namaste

Shadows of Death

ID-1002510

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadows of death, I shall fear no evil.

– Psalm 23

In Buddhism, Shiva, the creator and the destroyer, represents the process of breaking down that needs to occur prior to being able to build back up. Nature is filled with examples of this idea of death and rebirth. A wave breaks on the shore before being pulled back out into the ocean, only to form again. The tree dies, decomposes and becomes the nutrients for the seedlings. This is a natural cycle, yet for some reason in our Western culture we shirk away from the idea of death.

The idea of death can become pervasive for me when moving through the painful aspects of the emotions of change. It is then that I often experience pain in a way that leads me to want to die. (Hang up the phone, there’s no need to call for help.) This is a passive wish for which I do not take harmful actions. Over the years and with learning compassion for myself, I have learned that this “death wish” is only temporary. This is the part of me that no longer works for me; the part of me that needs to be released or transformed. It is the part of me that needs love the most at that moment and it is that part of me that is dying to be loved. Literally.

By being compassionate with myself, by performing my self-care rituals such as meditating, going within, chanting mantras or just being still and honoring the part of myself that is “dying” to be reborn, I find that I can move more quickly through this cycle of death. For this is not a true death; instead it is the shadow, or the threat, of death. It is my belief that this is what is meant in Psalm 23. Death is but a shadow that lurks around us. It is our fear of the shadow that gives it the power to control us. By having faith, we are able to move through the valley (“I shall fear no evil, for thine rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23).

The challenge comes in releasing attachment to the part of me that is dying. The attachment to “who I thought I was” is where the suffering begins, and if I chose to allow it, to also end. Loving myself into my strength looks like, and sometimes feels like, death.

By honoring the natural cycle of death and rebirth, I can keep moving through the process. By honoring myself, through compassion, I am able to be reborn. I am able to leave behind that which no longer serves me.

Namaste.

Photo Courtesy of Nick Coombs on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑