Hello friends! I know Independence Day has come and gone. Even so, I wanted to acknowledge the energy of it with you today. As you may know, I am a veteran, having served in the Army and Navy engineers with overseas deployments. I've really struggled this year with the idea of celebrating our country. I love our freedoms, however I feel they are being taken away at an alarming rate. Particularly those that deal with the sovereignty of our bodies and freedom of expression. I disagree with so much of what is happening. Sometimes I experience fear, true fear, of where we are going, particularly in that we have become so incredibly divided, that we feel so consistently threatened by one another. Maybe you've felt that way too.
I'm bringing this up not because I want to get mired in some political debate, or stuck in the fear, but because I want to share what helps me when I feel the things that are outside of my control. First, I breathe to find a bit of inner spaciousness. Second, I identify what is within my control, which is truly only "how" I respond to things. Third, I lean into compassion. I'm the first to demand something more of myself that I need to "DO", and it feels counter intuitive to be compassionate with myself as well as people I vehemently disagree with in those moments. Yet, that is where the healing resides.
I invite you engage in the following practice.
Compassion Practice: When we feel compassion for others, even others that bother us, rub us the wrong way, or even scare us, we find that we become less hardened into our stances, more open to feeling the connection that we all share as human beings. There are many ways to develop compassion for others, but interestingly, we first begin with compassion for ourselves. You can do this simply by placing a hand over your heart and saying to yourself, "I love you no matter what", or the more traditional "May I be free from suffering, and the root of suffering." Or, "May I experience happiness, and the root of happiness." Or, you can simply name how you are feeling with tenderness.
Click to read more about a simple and effective technique for developing compassion for ourselves, and others.