I would like to talk about our emotions today, accepting all of ourselves unconditionally, and fully loving ourselves. We are not perfect in this human experience and we are infinite divine beings in our spiritual selves, made of pure love, joy, and abundance. For me, embracing all of me has not always been easy- good times, yes, hard times, not so much. And really life is all of it!!!! No mud, no lotus…. I have a story I want to share with you around this subject.
“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”
Henry David Thoreau
I was experiencing an incredibly beautiful day. Lithia Park is magical. The leaves floating in the air as the gentle breeze moves through the park. I could feel the warmth of the sun peaking through the trees, warming my heart. I have had a couple of hard weeks, but during my walk it really felt like it lifted me. My fiancé and I connected in a big way. Both of us have been going through a lot, and it’s been challenging. Over the summer we lost a dear, beautiful friend way too soon.
What I know today is that the challenging days do fold into the beautiful days. At times I hold onto that with every fiber of my being. When it’s hard and when it’s good, I work to fully embrace it and see how it all works together. This brings a new meaning of patience for me, and a deep faith that it all feeds into my highest good. How would we know pure joy if we haven’t experienced sorrow, or happiness without sadness? This is not to sugar coat anything. My heart still hurts and wants her back, and I can start to feel the message she left me: To live fully and embrace it all with no holding back. I can feel both!!!
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
Martin Luther King
Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.
As I moved through that day I breathed in all the amazing fall colors, the beauty of Ashland, and the pure love of being fully in the moment. I could feel my heart overflowing and the pure joy of being alive right then. As I reflected, I breathed it in and tears welled up in my eyes.
A few days before I was challenged, and I mean challenged. I was challenged with being me- my thoughts and feelings of not enough-ness, this world being harsh at times, losing a friend, and not understanding why I was having these feelings. It’s been a long time for me to feel as overwhelmed and as sad as I felt. During this I thought I was ridiculous to feel this way. I have a lot to be grateful in my life, I mean really it’s pretty spectacular, and yet I still have these feelings. I knew enough that the feeling would lift and I needed to take extra care of myself. It was hard and I had a few really good cries, which helps me release. I see that manure has fertilized my garden, because the flowers, colors and life was magical that day. For me I know I want it all.
You go as high as you go deep. We know joy at the depths that we know sorrow. To quote Rumi, and it’s the truth, that is this human experience.
“Gratitude teaches us to appreciate the rainbow and the storm.”
Our culture conditions us to run after happiness, and if we are successful we are happy, and if we are sad something is wrong. We did something, we are not grateful enough or we might need a pill. People have a hard time hearing when they ask, “How are you today?” and we say, “Really challenged.” The blanket answer is “Good” or “Fine.” Really, How is your day? How are you?How do we get more real with our feelings, with each other, and allow all of our feelings to have a voice in our life? When we stuff our feelings become disconnected, we’re not present. The Disney movie “Inside Out” did an amazing job of looking at all of our feelings and recognizing that it takes all of them to make us whole, to live awake, and to embrace all of us. In the movie, Riley’s emotions were displayed individually stationed at a control panel- what a wonderful visual. Joy kept trying to push Sadness down and not let her contribute to what was happening with Riley, an 11 year old girl going through challenges of moving to a new area. Then, Joy and Sadness inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind, and the only emotions left in headquarters were Anger, Fear, Disgust. Wow! What a message! When we deny our feelings, we shut down a bit and feel less joy, less sadness. What feelings are we left with?
There is a reason for all our feelings and the more we honor them, the more we can move through life in all that is there for us. We need to allow ourselves to feel it all, and not become too attached to our feelings but let them move through us. We must trust ourselves enough to feel it all.
To trust the Universe, to know the Universe, Spirit, and God, allows us to fold back into who we are, and we are pretty amazing! To know this helps in all we do! Appearances change and the backing of all things is Good, is the Divine and is serving us. If we discounted all of our challenging times, we would discount who we are today, and as we embrace all of our experiences we embrace ourselves.
“Let us fill our hearts with our own compassion – towards ourselves and towards all living beings.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
“Accept your humanness as well as your divinity totally and without reserved.”