Tag Archives: self-compassion

Acceptance in Every Peace of My Heart

Ahh. Acceptance. Of self. Beauty and the Beast. Yin and Yang. Light and Dark.

Sister Joan Chittister writes:

Self-knowledge gives us perspective, and self-esteem gives us confidence, but it’s self-acceptance that gives us peace of heart.

One of the most challenging things I have ever done is to accept myself as a mother who once was so lost she believed the only path to peace of heart was to desert her daughters.

It’s a long story.

The short version is, I got lost in an abusive relationship and lost myself. In that dark place, I held no mercy for me. I was beyond saving.

I believed the only way to save my daughters was to leave them. Because without me in their lives, I believed they would be free to live their lives without the pain and shame of me and all I’d done to hurt them.

Learning to love and accept myself as that mother was not easy. Especially when the question I asked myself everyday was, “What kind of mother would do that?”

And while the answer was wrapped up in the pain and trauma of being abused, I had to practice self-compassion and mercy every single day — for a long time, whether on some days I wanted to or not —  to get to a place where I could look at that woman who was, and is, me and say, “I forgive you. I love you.” I had to be willing to give up beating her up with my anger, pain, sorrow, shame and accept her brokenness with all my heart.

And then, I had to commit to walking in mercy every day to live with peace of heart and mind so that I could find the grace to create love and joy, peace and harmony in my world.

I had to stop using what happened as an excuse to not turn up in my life today. I had to quit telling myself I was a victim or even a survivor. I was a victor and I had to don my victor’s robe of glory over adversity, beauty over pain, love over fear, mercy over judgement.

I could not stand in the light if I was constantly turning off the lights of my own magnificence. Standing in my magnificence (and not judging it as tarnished, bruised, unworthy of being seen) was essential if I was to be a light and a safe haven for myself and others.

I had to, and still have to, practice radical mercy on my heart. Because magnificence does not come with a clean slate. It arrives wrapped up in everything I am, including all the wounds and scars, darkness and fears of me, myself and I.

And accepting who I am, all of me, is the path to peace of heart.

I can know myself and live confidently as myself, but to live in the wholeness of peace of heart, I must accept not just my wisdom but also my wounds, not just my light but also my dark, and not just my beauty but also my beast.

I invite you, just for today, to practice radical mercy on yourself. Stand in  front of the mirror, look deeply into your eyes and say out loud, “I forgive you. I love you. I accept all of you in my heart.”

And so it is.

Namaste.

Be at peace with yourself | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 34

acts-of-grace-week-34-copy

How often do you do something that ends up a mess only to create a bigger mess by calling yourself out?

C’mon. Be honest.

How often do you drop something, hear it break and then think, or say out loud, “You are so clumsy!” “Can’t you do anything right?” or words to that effect?

Stop it.

Dropping it was not your intention. It was an accident.

Treat yourself with respect. Kindness. Consideration.

To borrow from the teachings of Benjamin Zander, conductor, life-muser and philosopher, when you do something that’s a little incomprehensible to you about why or how you could have done it or it could have happened, throw both hands up in the air above you head and exclaim (with a big smile on your face) “Aren’t I fascinating!”

And then, carry on.

Clean up the mess. Make apologies and amends as appropriate. Definitely learn from a mistake if there’s a lesson to be learned, (for me it’s often to pay attention. Too often, I’m thinking of something else as I’m doing something else totally unrelated) and then, continue on. No matter the situation, don’t get stuck in self-condemnation.

Keep growing through the circumstances, don’t let the circumstances define you.

Namaste.

And bonus today!  This is one of my favourite TEDTalks.  Benjamin Zander: The Transformative Power of Classical Music. (or as I like to call it — The Transformative Power of not taking yourself too seriously.)

https://embed.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion

There’s only one way up from the bottom!

how do I copyPerhaps it’s happened. I have reached the nadir of my blogging journey. The ideas have faded. The thoughts vanished. The words evaporated. Maybe I am in a writer’s block? That place where words clump together and an inspiring thought cannot be found?

There’s only one thing to do. ‘Cause, if I’m in the pit, there’s only one way out and that’s UP!

These thoughts lazily drifted through my mind this morning as my fingers touched the keyboard and my eyes looked at the tiny cursor blinking on my screen.

Fill me in, it seemed to be calling. And my mind responded, “With what?”

It doesn’t happen often — that I sit down at my computer in the morning and find myself bereft of a theme, of an idea, or a thought to wrap words around and let the muse have her way with their formation.

Usually, the theme rises out of something that transpired over the previous day, or a fragment of a dream catches my awakening attention, or a lyric of a song sticks with me begging me to noodle away at wondering what it means, or, while reading something sticks and my yellow highlight pen gets even busier as I circle and frame and really, really draw my attention to a particular idea.

And then, as I write that, I remember so many ideas that captured my attention over the weekend.

I’m not sure if it was a song lyric, a piece of a news article or just my mind’s habitual wondering but at one point, I started writing in my journal about the times I’ve left places, people, situations, and how, in the moment of leaving I was really more afraid than feeling brave. I couldn’t see into the future. I knew the present wasn’t working and I knew change was necessary. But… to get to change I had to go through the pain of leaving ‘the now’. And I was scared. Yet, if I could know then what I know now, I might not have given so much energy to clinging to the now of what was, because no matter how hard it was to leave, my life today is a reflection of going through that change. And I love my life today…

“I remember when I left…”

I was also inspired by Ian Munroe over at Leading Essentially who wrote about teams and leadership. Ian just graduated from the Hudson Institute where he took his Coaching Certification and wrote an inspiring recap of what made the course and experience so brilliant.

“What makes a leader?”

Of course, Leigh at Not Just Sassy on the Inside always inspires my thinking and gets the muse fired up, especially with her two-part series on Managing Manna. I love reading Leigh’s posts because she always inspires thinking that begins with “I wonder?”…

“I wonder if I am balanced in my energy? What if I focus my attention on ‘the ask’ of the outpouring of my energy? What if, I get really, really conscious of the ebb and flow of my creative expressions to the point where what I am opening up to in the universe is a reflection of my capacity to receive?”

Val Boyko at Find Your Middle Ground inspired my thinking over the weekend too. She wrote about finding inner piece by moving away from struggle and resistance through what Tara Brach in her article at one of my favourite websites, Spirituality and Practice calls, The Sacred Pause. Val’s words gave rise to the question…

“In this moment right now, what am I feeling?”

There were others. A song on the radio. In particular, Bastille’s Pompeii with the refrain,

“But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?”

“How often do I just close my eyes and pretend everything stays the same?”

A road-sign warning of construction ahead that had traffic slowed to a crawl, yet, at the point where all the orange pylon’s directed two traffic lanes into one, there is not a construction vehicle, a worker, nothing to suggest that construction is taking place. Really?

“Why does a five minute slow down in traffic feel like FOREVER? Seriously? Have you ever been caught at a red light forrrr eveeer?”  I didn’t think so.

So many ideas floating around in my mind. So many opportunities to explore and adventure into.

Why did I begin fearing what might not appear when I know if I simply trust in the process and let go of fear, all will be well?

Why is it that even when I know that grace is always present, I still cling to the belief she’s abandoned me?

Which reminds me of my daughter, Alexis, who has started writing again at her blog How I Survived Myself (YEAH!) In her new post titled, Be Love, she writes about reassuring a man on the elevator that he wasn’t stupid, as he claimed, just because he took the down elevator when he needed to go up. “How often do we say things about ourselves that rob us of our happiness, destroy our intimacy and connection with others, and steal the possibility of self-acceptance?”, Alexis writes. Which begs the question…

“How do I love me?”

And now that I’ve put all this wonderment together, I have lots of ideas to carry me up out of the pit of believing there’s nothing left to explore.

Isn’t life amazing?

I love it!

 

And… for your entertainment!