Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Month: June 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

The Heart of June: Prepare for Turbulence

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At the end of each month, I publish my favorite articles from around the web, books, and resources plus a mini-monthly review.  This is one small way I express my support for other bloggers who offer compelling, inspiring, and/or smart content.

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Emotions Can Help Us Wake Up

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“Before we can extend our compassion to others, we first have to extend it to ourselves.  How do we do this?  We have to look at our own mind and appreciate how our own neurotic expressions – our confused thoughts and disturbing emotions – are actually helping us wake up.  Our aggression can help us develop clarity and patience.  Our passion can help us let go of attachments and be more generous.  Basically, once we see that this mind of confusion is also our mind of awakening, we can appreciate it and have confidence in our ability to work with it.  It’s a good mind after all, the mind that will carry us to enlightenment.  When we understand this, we can let go of our previous attitude of revulsion toward our emotions.”

– Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in Rebel Buddha, A Guide to a Revolution of Mind

(from Dharma Quote of the Week, Shambhala Publications)

What Are You Willing to Do to Live a Long and Healthy Life?

Fat, Sick, & Nearly DeadMany of us live for immediate gratification, and find it hard to resist temptation.  Often, we fail to think ahead and consider the long-term impact of our choices, but just grab the candy bar or espresso for a much needed mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

But it’s not just about food.  It could be sitting at the computer too long, not getting enough sun, or letting stress get out of hand.

Can you relate?

Having a healthy and long life depends, to a large degree, on recognizing how an unhealthy choice in the moment will impact you not only in the next few hours, but in the future as well, and creating a new habit.

Of course, there are no guarantees, but generally speaking to live longer, it’s necessary to:

  • Decide you have a choice and will execute it
  • Take responsibility for you health
  • Recognize your actions have an impact

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How to Deconstruct Pesky Thought Patterns and Wacky Emotional Habits

Our Lady of Fatima

As a child, I was fascinated by the appearances of Our Lady of Fatima to three children in Portugal. But, at night, I felt afraid.  “What if Mary appeared to me?  What if God appeared to me?”  The thought terrified me. Indeed, I would quake in my bed.

What made me afraid of Mary and God?  The “thought” made me afraid.

I concede there’s more to an emotional response than one thought alone.  For example, I’m a highly sensitive person who grew up in a less than peaceful environment. As a result, I developed a particular pattern of thinking and emotional response rooted in insecurity and fear.  The same is true for you although your patterns may be different from mine, and may even be  healthy ones.

It all comes back to mind and how we perceive even as young children.

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An Effortless Life: 11 Tips to Breeze through It

A Note from Sandra:  I’m delighted to share a guest post with you today from the dynamic and unstoppable Tess Marshall, creator of The Bold Life blog.

Tess Marshall

Tess Marshall

Some people seem to flow through life. They radiate a positive magnetic and loving energy.

It’s not that they don’t have problems or pain. Everyone has difficulties. Tragedy happens. However, certain people seem to effortlessly rise above it, learn from it and move on, quicker than others.

Jack Canfield says, “Life is difficult but it doesn’t have to be a struggle.”

Learning how to live without struggle is a practice. I believe we can all do it, effortlessly.

The following exercises can help you move from a life of struggle to a life of ease.

1. Be love, loving.

Our essence is love. When you really own that, it’s easier to practice being loving. Use the affirmation, “I am love, being loving.” Life is beautiful when you commit to love. Go out of your way to “be love, loving.” when you wait in line or traffic, when someone pushes your buttons or when things don’t go your way, be love, loving.

2. Don’t just sit there, serve.

When you hear that someone is hurting, is in trouble or need, look for ways to help. Don’t put it off. Don’t post it on Facebook, tweet it or talk about it. Pitch in and help. Make a face-to-face visit or a sincere phone call. Offer to run an errand or bring over dinner.

3. Take a break from electronics.

Get out of your home or office and away from your computer, iPad, iPod, television gaming etc. Spend time outside in nature every day; 10-15 minutes is enough. Feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. Stop and smell a flower or two. Being outdoors will change your energy, help you relax and calm you down.

4. Detox your life.

Let go of a toxic relationship, job, memory or story. Release toxic emotions. Replace a bad habit or quit an addiction. Stop with the excuses! We often project the toxins we have control over and do nothing about, onto big toxic corporations that we have very little or no control over. We think they should stop poisoning others, yet we continue to poison ourselves.

5. Get a fresh start.

Put variety in your life. Get out of the everyday routines and the ruts you live in. Learn something new. Visit somewhere you haven’t been before. Do something you’re afraid to try. Make your life the adventure it’s meant to be. Break your routine.

6. Set limits.

Create boundaries. Stop filling your life with other people’s business, gossip and drama. Say no, when you want to say no. It will free up the time and space to do what makes your heart sing. This is your life. You decide how you spend your time.

7. Spread more joy.

Lao Tzu advises one to be empty and full. Empty yourself of anger, resentment and fear. Fill your heart with calm, sunshine and joy. Make this your daily intention. Practice it one day at a time.

8. Do what makes you happy.

Two of my daughters are in sales, one manages a doctor’s office and another is a flight attendant. One of my son-in-laws works in a factory, another in a corporate environment and the third is an architect.

If you have a job, be grateful that you do. There are millions of people without work in this world. If you’re not happy with your current employment, find something that fulfills you. Until then, work with a servant’s heart and be grateful.

10. Learn to forgive.

Forgive yourself and others. Everyone hurts and gets hurt. Drop your story. Stop making excuses. Let go of your heavy heart. Resentment and bitterness will make you miserable. Let go of the past.

11. Embrace your fear.

Would it be alright if in one year your life is exactly the same as it is today?

If you answered “no,” do something about it. Ease and flow is unattainable in the presence of anxiety, worry and fear. If you need help get it. Don’t miss out. You deserve to have a wild, precious and amazing life; the kind that effortlessly flows. Don’t settle for anything less.

If you would like extra guidance and support to create your bold and effortless check out Tess’s, ecourse, “30 Days of Bold“. We’d love you to join us!

Does a sense of struggle sneak into your life?  What do you think about living without struggle?  Tess and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Tess Marshall, founder of The Bold Life is a fear-shattering, risk taker, author, and courage coach with a master’s degree in counseling psychology.

To find out more about her ecourse, click here, “30 Days of Bold”. Please note this is an affiliate link, but the main reason I’m sharing it is because Tess knows her stuff and offers a fabulous course.

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I’m so glad you’re here!  Please take a moment to share this post so others can be encouraged and inspired.  And, if you liked this article, please consider subscribing for free updates by email. Thanks! With love, Sandra

Add An Infusion of Love, Cultivating Genuine Compassion, Part 2

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This is one truth I have come to know with certainty: When you love completely from the depth of your heart, your wish for another person’s happiness becomes greater than your own perceived needs, wants, and desires. Now, imagine extending that pure love to all beings, and you will have a taste of immeasurable love.

Powered by a vast perspective, profound love lies beyond attachment. Yet, to arrive there you may travel through oceans of fear and grasping. All of our mental and emotional constructions around love and our associated tight-knit boundaries keep us locked in a small version of ordinary love inevitably intertwined with suffering. This suffering may not be immediately apparent, especially if you are in the throes of passion, but, if it’s not already peeking through, it will surely arrive one day.

This is the second article in a once a month series on the Four Boundless Attitudes, which together form genuine compassion: Love, Compassion, Joy and Impartiality. You can read the first article here: Cultivating Genuine Compassion: Begin with Impartiality.

Rooted in impartiality, immeasurable love transcends the concept of “friend” and “enemy,” an impermanent and falsely derived construct that often fuels our interactions in life. Through understanding and practicing impartiality, we discover all beings are equally deserving of our love, compassion, and joy, making these qualities boundless indeed.

What Is Love?

In my spiritual tradition, the definition of love is the wish for others to have happiness, and the causes of happiness. Thus real love is not a transitory romantic impulse or dependent upon familial connections. Rather, it is a tender-heartedness that permeates your whole way of being and naturally extends to all.  Just like the sun shines everywhere, no one is excluded from your warmth.

Immeasurable love takes into account this important equalizing principle: all beings want happiness and not a single one wishes to suffer. In fact, for the most part, all our actions are motivated by this burning desire to be happy. However, without having thought deeply about what truly brings happiness, most of us engage in thoughts, words, and actions that bring suffering instead.

Addictions of all types are one activity that fall within this category. But, you can witness the same principle occurring in countless small ways throughout your days.  Just think of all the unhelpful thought patterns that dictate your life, and make you flinch when the response you receive is different than you expect.

How to Grow Immeasurable Love

To practice immeasurable love, meditate time and again on the wish for all beings to have every possible happiness and cause of happiness following this sequence.

  • Begin by sending love to yourself.
  • Bring to mind someone who has benefited you tremendously and wish for their happiness.
  • Visualize a close friend or relative and wish for their happiness.
  • Consider someone you feel neutral towards – like a delivery person or a stranger on a train – and wish for their happiness.
  • As your capacity to express love expands, imagine someone who annoys you or a person you consider an outright enemy. Practice extending love to them as well.
  • At the, make the wish that all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.

In each case, make your wish for the person’s happiness as strong as your desire for your own happiness.

At first, it may not be easy to extend love to an enemy, but if you practice sending love in this progressive manner you will gradually be able to extend your circle of endearment until finally it becomes limitless and includes all beings.

This is a formal practice of meditation that is done in sessions.  If you are not sure how to meditate, you can learn the basics with this short, 10-step video instruction:  dare to meditate.  Start with 5 to 15 minutes a day.  You can begin by focusing on the breath for a short while, and then move on to sending loving kindness.  As you bring a person to mind, and send out the feeling of love, you can silently repeat the phrases:

  • May you be well.
  • May you be happy.
  • May you be safe.

Once you are accustomed to the practice, add more time if you wish.

Then, in daily life, try as much as possible to express love through all your thoughts, words, and actions. This can be as simple as being fully present, and looking at another with a gentle and kind gaze.

You Deserve Love Too

Please do not exclude yourself from your own circle of love!  Before you can truly love others, you must be able to love and appreciate yourself. However, the thought of sending love to one’s self is huge stumbling block for many of us.  You can explore obstacles to self-love, and learn how to send loving kindness to yourself in these articles:

The key to immeasurable love is to constantly wish for others’ happiness from the depths of your heart, refrain from harm, and engage in beneficial actions. Because loving kindness is the antidote to anger and to fear, as your tender heart blossoms, you’ll discover more happiness, joy, and freedom in your life too.

In this monthly series, I write about one of Four Boundless Attitudes on the first Sunday of every month.  Then, if you wish, you’ll have a whole month to practice it before we move to the next one.  Next up at the beginning of July is boundless compassion.  If you haven’t read the first article in the series, just click here:

Did you practice impartiality last month?  If so, tell us about it.  Or, share your thoughts about boundless love.

P. S. Great News:  My friend Courtney Carver and the community at Be More With Less successfully raised $4,400 for Charity Water.  To celebrate, on Monday (June 10th) only, Courtney is giving copies of her books on simplicity away for free along with more giveaways from other bloggers.  Join us for the hoopla!

I’m so glad you’re here!  Please take a moment to share this post so others can be encouraged and inspired.  And, if you liked this article, please consider subscribing for free updates by email. Thanks! With love, Sandra

 

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