Always Well Within

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

Tag: Loving Kindness (Page 1 of 2)

How to Stay Strong When Life Is Hard: 48 Pema Chödrön Quotes

Whenever I face challenges, obstacles, or difficulties in life, I return to one book, time and again:  When Things Fall Apart, Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön.

Chödrön knows how to distill the wisdom of the Buddhist teachings for the Western mind and heart, making them universally applicable to everyone, whatever their background, faith, or absence of faith.  She has a knack for drilling right to the core, putting her finger on exactly what we need to know to transcend unhappy and unhealthy patterns, once and for all.

2018 seems to be a repeat of what turned out to be a tumultuous 2017 for so many of us. I’m on my own emotional roller coast at the moment, which is why I turned once again to Chödrön’s book.  To help us stay strong in hard times, I’ve gathered together a collection of potentially life-changing quotes from When Things Fall Apart.

These quotes aren’t just quick memes, at least not most of them. They ask you to look deeply both within and also without, at the true nature of reality not the dream you’ve conjured up.

Find the ones that resonate for you. Then take one—the one that speaks to you in that moment or for that particular day—and sit with it for a while.  Soak it in. Let its truth permeate your being.  This will help you to begin to live from greater clarity and a kinder heart, if only for a few moments at time at first.

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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.

How to Embrace Your Shadow & Release Your Personal Power

Last night, after a particularly vivid dream and fantastic flow of insight, my shadow tendencies poured fourth.  Fears, unhelpful thought patterns, and stifled emotions – the whole lot – revealed themselves in phenomenal clarity.

The dark side!  Does it scare you?  Entice you?  Do you know what it is?

The term “shadow” was first used by the psychologist Carl G. Jung to describe the denied or repressed aspects of the self.

Children and adolescents begin to hide away parts of themselves when they’re told – often wrongly – that these aspects are “bad” or “unacceptable.”  Then, they carry their secret stuff bag into adulthood, never consciously looking into it.  Nevertheless, these hidden aspects still shape their lives.

Can you remember moments as an adult when the prospect of revealing your real self caused you to quake?  When sudden feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment popped out of nowhere?  When you fumed about someone’s words or actions for days?

That’s how your inner shadow screams to be set free.

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100 Free Meditation Resources: Audios, Videos, & Articles

Want to learn to meditate or re-inspire your meditation. This collection includes more than 100 audios, videos, & articles on mindfulness, loving-kindness, and transforming emotions. Click through to see which ones might inspire you!

Updated on September 6, 2016

The more and more you listen, the more and more you hear; the more and more you hear, the deeper and deeper your understanding becomes.”  – Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

You may have moments of peace and clarity, but do they last?

Chances are the upheavals of life are constantly sucking you into chaos, confusion, and uncertainty.  The small speed bumps you encounter on any given day may also slow you down and tip your mood for the worse.

Most of us would benefit from regular doses of inspiration.  Indeed, we need infusions of practical wisdom to maintain a sane perspective, keep an open heart, and see the utter ridiculousness of many of our trials and tribulations.

The Three Wisdom Tools

Meditation is one way to bring your mind home — to relax the stress, release the grasping and find greater ease.

But actually there are Three Wisdom Tools to help you discover and stay aligned to your true self:

  • The wisdom of listen and hearing
  • The wisdom of contemplation and reflection
  • The wisdom of meditation and application

Following are some of the most inspiring video, audio, and written teachings on meditation, compassion, and wisdom you’ll find in cyberspace.  And, they’re free.  They represent the first wisdom tool:  listening and hearing plus reading.

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How to Create a Self-Protective Bubble

Protective Sphere

 

Do you know when you feel vulnerable?  When you feel you need a sense of protection?

If you’re not sure, take a moment to think about it.  What are the signs?  What are some of the circumstances that typically feel uncomfortable to you?

When you do feel vulnerable or in need of protection, what steps do you take?  Do they work for you?  It’s not unusual to develop unhealthy patterns of protection from shrinking to aggression.  Are you able to react in a healthy way?

Boundaries

There are many different ways to empower and protect yourself.   They typically involve creating boundaries.  For example, when we’re in a difficult situation, we can take a step backward, which clarifies our personal space and defines a boundary.  Or we can politely decide to take a break to give ourselves some needed breathing room, some time to recenter ourselves.

It can be difficult to create a boundary if you’ve never had one, if your boundary has been violated through trauma, you’re a highly sensitive person, or you feel you don’t deserve one due to deceptive brain messages learned in early childhood.

Learning how to love yourself can be a first step to reclaiming a sense of personal space and defining your boundary.  A strongly integrated sense of self is essential to health – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.  This is a healthy sense of self, which differs from clinging to self or egocentricity.

Creating a Protective Sphere

One simple way to feel strong and more protected on a regular basis  is to visualize a protect bubble around you.  This is a simple exercise you can do each day.

In her book, Heal Yourself with Qigong, Suzanne B. Friedman, LAC shares these steps for creating an energy-bubble for protection:

  1. “Stand… or sit upright in a chair with the backs of your hands resting on your thighs (palms up).
  2. Close your eyes and slow your breathing.  Feel your whole body relax.
  3. Visualize a bubble around your body in your mind’s eye.  Take as much time as you need to mentally create a thick bubble enveloping you. Visualize and “see” the shape, color, and size of the bubble.
  4. Once you clearly see yourself surrounded by a bubble, draw up a memory of a time or an experience when you felt particularly powerful, calm, or in charge.
  5. Let that feeling emanate out of your body to fill the entire bubble.  Take a minute or two to do this.  Perhaps the feeling has a color or quality you can see that fills the bubble.
  6. After you have filled your bubble, take another moment to see and feel it around you.
  7. Take a few deep breaths after concluding the meditation.”

Your mucous membranes including those in your gastrointestinal tract and other internal organs are also part of your boundary against foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, and other micro-organism.  If you wish, you can also imagine your mucous membranes as healthy, strong, and fully protective.

Your protective sphere many need an extra boost any time during the day when you are entering into  or suddenly find yourself in an especially difficult or challenging situation.  When that happens,  take a moment to bring awareness to your bubble and refill it with your own sense of safety, power, strength, and calm.

You might get tripped up on step 4 if you’ve never had an experience of feeling powerful or protected.  If that’s the case, you can draw upon an image of someone you admire who is grounded and strong.  Someone who seemingly doesn’t have trouble with boundaries.  Mysteriously, Xena, the Princess Warrior often pops up in my mind.

Like any new habit, creating and truly feeling the presence of a protective sphere takes time and diligence.  It’s not hard nor time-consuming.  It can be done in minutes.  It’s simply a matter of taking time to create the visualization regularly each day until – eventually – the visualization becomes a part of you.  The more often you practice creating your protective sphere, the more natural it will become and the stronger you will feel.

If you have trouble making this a regular habit – as I did for a very long time – the practice of loving kindness is a wonderful way to build your self-worth so that you feel deserving of self care and protection.

The Love Bubble

These days, I create my protective sphere as a natural extension of loving kindness practice, which is an antidote to fear and anger.

First, I envision  the essence of love, compassion, and wisdom.  It could be any spiritual figure, an image of light or someone who loved you unconditionally.  Then I imaging all of her (or his) unconditional love pouring into my heart. I absorb it fully knowing that I am as worthy of love as any other being on this earth.

Next, I repeat the loving kindness phrases –  first directing them towards myself –  “May I be happy, May I be well, May I be safe.”   All the while I focus on my heart center, imaging this unconditional love in the form of light growing stronger and stronger and radiating within my heart.   Then I allow the light and love to surround me like a protective sphere.  After awhile, I move on to repeating and direct the loving kindness phrases to others.

Whenever I feel unsure during the day, I return to my heart center and reconnect with this vibrant sense of love that resides within me.  I also take a few moments to repeat the loving kindness phrases, directing them towards myself, towards a difficult emotion that has sprung to life, or towards other people who also need a dose of kindness and love.

There are many different ways to create a sense of strength in your life.  This is just one, but I find it profoundly healing myself.

Do you have moments when you feel you need added protection in your life?  What do you do to feel a sense of strength, protection, and power?

Image:  Wikipedia

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

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How to Practice Loving Kindness

“Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”Rumi

Love is not a luxury, it is a vital nutrient of life.  Without love, life is like a hard, stale loaf of bread.   Tasteless and hard to swallow.

Love is medicine, a magical antidote to fear and anger, and the way to heal yourself and the world.  If you want to change the world for the better, the best place to start is by loving yourself.

“Whoever loves himself, will never harm another.”  – Buddha

All the love you need already exists within you.  As Rumi suggests, our task is to unblock the spring of love that already exists within.  The practice of loving kindness provides a gentle, proven, and systematic framework for doing just this.

In the first article of this two-part series, we explored how elusive self-love may sometimes seem.  So much so that we might not even be aware of its lack in our life.  Yet it makes itself known through an array of unhappy and unhealthy behaviors.

But we’re not stuck.  Through the practice of loving kindness, we can unlock the love inside and transform our uneasiness into kindness, contentment, and peace.

Today we’ll explore the ins and outs of loving kindness practice.

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