Always Well Within

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

Tag: Love (Page 1 of 7)

What Does It Mean to Be a Spiritual Warrior?

What does it mean to be a spiritual warrior?

My last article on how to accept yourself, no matter what struck a chord for many people, even those who’ve been working on themselves for years.

Why is that?  I believe we live in a wounding culture, in which a child’s basic needs for love, connection, and affirmation often go unmet leading.  This can lead to a lack of self-acceptance that remains even as an adult.

As a young girl, I remember picking the petals off a flower one-by-one while saying to myself, “They love me. They love me not.”  I fantasized about being kidnapped or falling ill, hoping a catastropic event would make my parents take notice of me.  Most of the time, I felt isolated, in my own little world.

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Come Home to Love

ComeHometoLove1000

Inspired by the movie Frankie and Alice.

Sometimes, compassion catches you unexpectedly like a love serum secretly injected in your veins coming alive of its own accord.

You cannot resist its force, its pull, its power.  Your heart overtakes your brain, it commands your body.  Your being suddenly grows much larger, more spacious, and softer than your usual tiny ego-identified self.

The breadth of humanity stretches across your visual screen. You see what’s possible if only love would prevail, dominating each and every mind.

The sensation had been building, and a simple scene made it peak.

In a fix, she looked up at him and said, “You came for me.”  Surprise played in her eyes.

“Of course, “ he replied.

Is there any greater beauty in this world than showing up for someone else?

You might teach them how to love and appreciate themselves for the first time.  You might relieve their poverty, their disease, or their impossible struggle, whatever it might be.   You might melt their worry with a smile and a deep breath of release.

I wish this love serum would become my own life blood, never dissipating but only growing stronger and stronger.  I would become a heartbeat, my one and only job.  Each beat would send a pulse of love to uplift those in dire straights, the lonely, the angry, the aggrieved.  Throb upon throb would spread tenderness throughout this needy, love-starved world.

Then, when I die, I would seemingly fly away on the whispers of this love, yet always be near, invisibly cradling you in warmth, safety, and care.

In this effervescent grace, I will come for you.  I will come for you and hold out my hand.  I will invite you to come home to love.  I will never stop coming for you until you too find love.

With love, Sandra

Difficult People: Love Them, Don’t Reject Them

Toxic People: Love Them, Don't Reject Them

If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished? – Rumi

I often see memes on Facebook and blog posts that advise you to stay away from negative people, remove difficult people from your life, and surround yourself with happy people.  I can understand this perspective because it’s encouraging and uplifting to be around positive people.

But isn’t it limiting to try to create your “happy bubble” and forget the rest of the world?

And, it’s not always possible to eliminate every single “negative” person from your life.  Even if it were, it wouldn’t bring you genuine, lasting happiness.  True happiness comes from developing the capacity to go beyond pettiness, preferences, and personal desires.

  • How will you grow your love and compassion if there’s no one that rubs you the wrong way?
  • How will you learn to set healthy boundaries if there’s no one pushing your limits?
  • How will you develop patience if there’s no one trying to get your goat?

This does not mean you should be a doormat or accept abuse.  Sometimes, the appropriate action is to step away. But let’s not wall ourselves off from everyone in the world who happens to be struggling in their own way.

Stretching Your Love

At an earlier time, I used to feel constantly annoyed by a restless woman in my Tai Chi class.  She could barely stay still for a moment.  While the other students rested relatively motionless during standing meditation, she swayed back and forth.  During the 108-movement long form, she would flail her arms about like an expressive modern dancer.  When we stopped to hold the form for a few moments, she would repeat it several times, dramatically flapping her wings once again

She reminded me of the archetypal “class clown,” desperately seeking attention.  She didn’t hesitate to make jokes during the long-form, which we had previously been practicing in personal silence while flowing to serene music.  She even spoke back to the teacher, seemingly without a second thought.

One day, I arrived early and set out a pair of giveaway shoes.  Apparently, she didn’t realize they were my shoes.  She wanted to know why I didn’t take them.  I explained that I have a high arch so they don’t work for me.  In response, she suggested I get an insert.  I looked at her and said clearly, but without a charge, “I don’t need help with this.”  She backed off in a friendly way.

Her comment may seem innocent or well-intended.  But knowing her intrusive ways, it made sense to set a boundary to this conversation – for her benefit as well as mine.  Who knows, I may have ended up with the very same uncomfortable shoes.

Yes, I felt annoyed.  But, I decided in my heart that I wouldn’t hold her ways against her, be rude, or ignore her.  At the next class, I made a point to say a friendly hello and ask how she was doing.  I also offered my support whenever I noticed she felt stretched by the physical challenge of the long form.

I’m not a saint by any means.  I’m just learning to practice loving-kindness in my own small way.  It’s through practice like this that you can begin to extend your circle of love beyond your favorites.  Which, paradoxically, brings you more ease and contentment.

6 Ideas for Relating with Difficult People

Rejection isn’t the only way to respond to someone you perceive as difficult.  It depends on your own degree of strength and emotional immunity.

1.  If you’re fragile, it might indeed be best to remove yourself from a difficult relationship.  But you can do so with a kind heart, wishing others the very best rather than aggressively slashing them from your life with glee.

2.  In loving-kindness practice we begin with sending love to ourselves.  You can’t truly love others without loving yourself, whether they’re your preferred people, relative strangers, or people you dislike.  Once you feel loving-kindness towards yourself, it naturally begins to flow towards others.

3.  Sometimes conflict occurs as a sign to move on.  Only you know in your heart if that’s the case.  But again, you can keep kindness in your heart as you close one door and open another.

4.  You’re responsible for your own psychic hygiene.  Practice grounding and then clearing and filling your aura with love and goodness every day.  You’ll feel less effected by other peoples’ shenanigans.

5.  Instead of running with the crowd, when you feel strong enough, have the courage to be kind to unpopular, odd, or challenging people.  You might make their day, learn something unexpected about them, and may even enrich yourself.

6.  Be grateful to everyone.  You will learn some of your most powerful lessons in relationship to others, especially the difficult ones.

None of the above means you should put yourself in harm’s way or suffer unnecessarily in a relationship.

We all want to be happy and no one wants to suffer.  It’s on this deeper level of understanding that you can find common ground with others.  Always remember that difficult behavior can be a confused way to seek love, happiness, and validation.

So don’t just reject difficult people without taking a moment to consider that they might be wounded too.  Start by working on strengthening your own self-love.  Then slowly you can become an unlimited source of love for others – friends, strangers, and even enemies.

You may need to leave an unhealthy relationship, but the quality of feeling you hold in your heart will make a difference in your own well being.  The healing may take time, but if you hold anger in your heart indefinitely, it will only erode your own happiness.

What are your thoughts on responding to difficult people?  How do you stretch your love to include people that feel testy?  I would love to hear.  Just scroll down to add your thoughts.

Thank you for reading!  If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends. With love, Sandra

 

Open Your Heart to YOU

Open Your Heart to You - Free Loving Kindness Course
There’s an epidemic of low-self esteem, self-doubt, and lack of self-confidence spreading like wildfire, especially among girls and women but men are often effected as well.

So I’ve decided to offer a FREE 5-Day Loving-Kindness course from May 16 – 20 to help turn the tide, in my small way.

Often, these emotional states seem hyper-real, continuous, and impenetrable.  But they’re not.

In fact, research shows that the practice of loving-kindness can increase your positive emotions and sense of connection with others, lessen self-criticism, and switch on empathy and compassion.  On a physical level, loving-kindness has been shown to decrease migraines, chronic pain, and PTSD for a significant number of people.  The relaxing effect of the practice can serve as an antidote to everyday stress as well.

How Open Your Heart to YOU Can Help You

Loving-Kindness is a simple practice. Even short sessions of 10 minutes have been proven to be beneficial.

I’ve created Open Your Heart to You, 5-Days of Loving Kindness to help you:

  • Get in touch with the love that resides within you.
  • Dissolve guilt, low-self esteem, and self-contempt.
  • Quiet your inner-critic.
  • Feel more confident.
  • Shine love on your shadow sides.
  • Love yourself in a healthy way without becoming self-obsessed.
  • Soften your heart so love for others naturally flows forth.

The lessons in this course center around three potent Loving-Kindness phrases that have been used effectively since ancient times.  When practiced regularly, they work far better than a bubble bath as they engage your unconscious mind and so gradually release your invisible blocks to self-kindness as well as the ones you know far too well.

After all, self-love is not just giving yourself a few treats, now and then.  It’s fully hearing, knowing, and accepting yourself and that’s a process.

If the thought of self-love feels creepy, uncomfortable, or self-indulgent to you, you’re not alone.  I’ve been there too.  I would encourage you to give the course a try. You might be surprised by what you discover.

Self-love is not selfish unless you’re self-obsessed.  It’s natural and healthy.

This practice is rooted in the authentic Buddhist teachings, which I’ve studied and practiced for over 20 years.  I’ve led online courses on mindfulness meditation and loving kindness for many years now as well.  The practice is universal however and relevant for everyone, so you don’t have to subscribe to Buddhism to benefit.

What You’ll Receive

During the course you’ll receive 5 lessons, e-mailed to you daily, which cover the following themes:

  • How to practice loving-kindness for yourself, step-by-step.
  • How to lean into and transform whatever emotions arise in the process.
  • Sending love to your shadow sides.
  • Practical expressions of self-love in everyday life.
  • Extending your circle of love, an introduction to loving-kindness for others.

You’ll need about 30-minutes a day to read each lesson, contemplate the prompts, and practice the loving-kindness phrases.

Support for Your Practice and Process

During a course like this, it’s always helpful to come together as a group.  So we’ll have a Loving-Kindness Circle on Facebook, where you can share your experience, ask questions, receive support, and connect with like-minded people on the same path towards healing and wholeness.  Participation is optional, of course.

Let’s put an end to low-self esteem, self-loathing, and self-hatred, shall we?

Because you deserve your own love.  There’s no one in this world who is more or less deserving of love than you.  When you learn to love yourself you’ll feel happier, healthier, and more complete. The invisible line between you and others will dissolve, and you’ll feel inspired to extend your love and kindness in all directions.

Are you ready?

Registration is now closed.

The course is free.  And you’ll also receive Wild Arisings {my monthly note} and be able to download  21 Simple Stress Tips {my free 50-page e-book}.  You can unsubscribe anytime, of course.

I’m so looking forward to immersing myself in Loving-Kindness practice once again.  I can hardly wait.  Please join me.  And please help me spread the word by taking a moment to share this special opportunity. Who doesn’t need a little more self-kindness?

Important Note:  I’m not a doctor or mental health professional.  This course is not intended as a replacement for psychotherapy.

Practical Wisdom on Life, Love, and Loss

Practical Wisdom on Life, L

I’m expressing my love today by honoring the words of several extraordinary women.  Though some of these writings will take you to the brink of death and beyond, I promise they always culminate in loving awareness.

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How to Set Your Love Free 365 Days a Year

Tiny Buddha's 365 Tiny Love Challenges

As you might remember, my guiding word for the year is “love.”  I sure wish I had access to Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges from day one of this year!

Lori Deschene’s brand new book provides the perfect antidote to the digital age, when so many people leave their time on social media feeling empty, inadequate, disconnected, and depressed.

What’s the answer?  Love!  Love for yourself.  Love for others.

That might sound frivolous, but love is not an unnecessary luxury. Giving and receiving love is essential to your well-being.  In fact, research shows a sense of connection can benefit your health, happiness, and ability to respond to stress effectively.

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