The Only Constant is Change

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Just when we think things are settling in and a period of change is over, here comes yet another unexpected shift. It may be in our personal life, on the world stage, or in our family or community. Sometimes, it’s in more than one place. Change is everywhere! Over the last few years, there has been major, earth-shifting change in all areas of my life. I’d like to say that I’m used to it, but it still surprises me. This steady stream of change has taught me to allow people, things, jobs, homes, ideas, beliefs, and more to come and go. When I begin to cling to something, I invite suffering (looks like the Buddha was right about that one).

Nothing on this earth is promised to me, or to you. We can have legal ownership over things, partnership agreements with people, and a sense of belonging to places, but none of that comes with a guarantee. What seemed to be ours one moment, like the sunhat I wore on a river trip this summer, can quickly disappear and, in this example, be swallowed up by moving water. 

Knowing this, we can practice presence, savoring, gratitude, and focused awareness. We can be here now, knowing that it’s truly the only moment and that change, like it or not, is always on the horizon.

Being With What Is

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The Buddhist concept of hopelessness means to look to the present as it is instead of looking to the past or future with fear or hope. It asks us to be with what is, as it is. To do this, we must cultivate feelings of neutrality and equanimity. Being with what is means that:

  • We allow our present moment experience without judgement.
  • We notice our thoughts, feelings, and sensations as an observer.
  • We release attachment to making things different.
  • We notice our emotional response with kindness and curiosity.
  • We allow ourselves to feel how we feel without self-criticism or attachment.
  • We recognize the transient nature of our experience.

Mindfulness and Emotions

Through mindfulness practice, we can learn to be with our emotions, to allow them space, and to also allow them to move through our awareness without becoming attached to them. In this video, I share how to mindfully work with repressed emotions and/or attachment to emotions. I also explain the concept of emotional back draft and how, once we learn to allow emotions to pass through our experience, we make more room for the good to grow.

How to Practice Self-Compassion

 

Self-compassion, like mindfulness, is a practice. For many of us it may not come easy and may even seem totally foreign. There’s strong evidence in the research to support self-compassion as a reliable way to build inner resources and strengthen our sense of self and belonging.

In this video, I discuss self-compassion and teach a simple 3-step practice for directing loving kindness towards oneself.

Tips for When Things Fall Apart

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With our current state of affairs in the nation and in the world, it’s important to practice self-care so we can continue to show up ready to serve the greater good.
1. Go within first. If you encounter a difficult story in the news or witness something unjust, take a moment to check in with yourself. Connect with the breath in your body.
2. Be compassionate. Offer yourself self-compassion. As we bear witness to violence and injustice, we experience suffering. Acknowledge this and allow the grief, rage, anger, or fear to process through.
3. Stay connected. Remember that we’re all in this together. There isn’t a us and a them. There’s only an us. Try to cultivate feelings of compassion for others, even if they are behaving in ways that are harmful.
4. Grow the good. The world is full of goodness. We each have so much to be grateful for. Focus on the good all around you and see if you can’t build upon it.