Welcoming with Awareness and Grace Our Ever-Evolving Humanness

Imagine meeting your ever-evolving self with unconditional acceptance and allowing your accepted self to radiate out to others, just imagine. From the time of conception until we take our final breath, we are evolving in all our wondrous humanness. Loving-kindness toward self allows us to unconditionally accept our own humanness, however that looks. So often we are able to extend compassion to others, yet we harshly judge and shame ourselves. We demand change, and the merciless war against self ensues, and suffering becomes our constant companion.  

Welcoming. Suffering comes when we attempt to change others or ourselves because of misplaced expectations and old voices and patterns. Changing one’s life for the better can begin with welcoming. Welcoming means that we are no longer denying what is present within us. The more we attempt to repress what we consider unwanted or unacceptable behaviors or beliefs, the more we demonstrate those behaviors and beliefs in the world. Instead, we embrace awareness of our humanness and welcome everything. Richard Miller, PhD, founder of Integrative Restoration (iRest), explained: “Awareness is like fire. Fire purifies, and awareness purifies” (2010, p. 33). Welcoming with awareness frees us from self-hatred and self-loathing, and brings forth transformation with compassion and grace.

Grace. “The child suffering is Grace. The child in joy is Grace. Peace is Grace. Even war is another face of Grace” (Miller, 2010, p. 69). Grace abounds in our laughter and our sadness, in our successes and our failures. Grace is ever-present and in everything. Grace is forgiving. Anne Lammott stated: “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” When we make peace with grace, we open the door to freedom—unconditional acceptance of self, and there we will find true change. When I say make peace with grace, I mean when we are able to open our hearts to the truth that we are worthy of non-suffering. 

Reference

Miller, R. (2010). Yoga Nidra: A meditative practice for deep relaxation and healing. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.

Love by Any Other Name…Please!

Especially during this time of year, we are seeing, hearing and reading a lot of self-care infomercials about lowering holiday stress, albeit from shopping to cooking to entertaining family. We are also reminded that this is a season for giving, sharing and extending love. All of which are helpful, mindful and well met. Since so many have already spent so much time offering such wisdoms, I have decided to write something that will hopefully help you laugh a little (or a lot), relate to or not or maybe send you into a full-blown smirk.

A few mornings ago, I was jotting in my journal about my lovefor writing, stating: “I love it.”I immediately caught myself and began to wonder whether there is another word one can use to describe an overwhelming feeling of like beyond like besides love. A feeling that makes you tingle, when everything becomes doable, approachable, bearable, tangible, and on and on and on. What is that word that can substitute for the most over-used term of endearment (besides the term awesome, which will be my next blog)?

I never really took notice of how many “things” I loveuntil my wife brought it to my attention in a generalized sense. She said, “Why do people use the word loveto describe their attachment to so many activities, material things and inanimate objects?” It was then that I began to doubt the vastness of my vocabulary. Surely, I could find a word that expresses that feel-good-all-over, that rush of sensations one experiences when they feel love.

Well, I had had enough, I finally relented and sought guidance from an old friend—Roget’s Thesaurus…I just love that. Here are some ideas Roget offered: “to love is to enjoy, take pleasure in, be pleased with, receive or derive pleasure from, take delight, get a kick, or boot or bang or charge or lift or rush…like, love, adore, rejoice in, indulge in, luxuriate in, revel in, riot in, bask in, wallow in…” and so you catch my drift.

So, I am going to try some of these words and phrases. That’s right, I am going to stop using love as a verb cold turkey. I am looking at our Australian Labradoodle thinking I just love Doodles(there’s that “L” word again). Instead, I could say: I just get a kick from Doodles. Hmmm, I’m not loving that.

Always Room for One More Guest

The other day a colleague mentioned to me that she has seen individual clients from ages three to one hundred and three, and the problems are the same, just the perspectives shift. Another commonality that may be shared across the lifespan is our resistance to our humanness. We often find it unacceptable to allow all that is within us—our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions—to be present. And instead of welcoming all with openness and curiosity, we attempt to chase the unwanted, the embarrassing, the shameful, and the shadows away, but they will not leave until they are received.

Rumi‘ s Guest House is one of my all-time favorite poems that beautifully gets to the soul of our humanness. 

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

Rumi