Happy Man

Today I’m holding space for an evermore Peaceful Heart.

It is strange how I can be in the same body, same house, same life – and yet from day to day such different feelings and emotions can whirl through my field of awareness. Sometimes, seeds of discontent can rise up without any conscious trigger to point to. Sometimes, there is an obvious event that stirs up hidden shadows of discontent like a harsh comment or a big disappointment. I recently spent hours researching a program and spent time in spiritual contemplation making sure it felt like a good fit before coming to a full “yes”, and got very excited about the prospect of this new venture. Only to find out that 2 days before I made the call to move forward, the program had been changed into something very different from what I had been considering. It may seem small in the grand scheme of things but I was deeply disappointed. And, I wasn’t able to shake my disappointment for the rest of the day.

No matter how these feelings and responses arise, I think it is important to move past the “thing” that you are pointing to and look at the feeling or emotion that you are experiencing. These emotions don’t happen because of external events. External events bring up feelings and responses that are already living somewhere in our system. Any particular event can be responded to in an almost infinite amount of ways. For instance, I could have responded to the program changes with curiosity as to what the new program would contain. Or I could have taken it as a sign that this wasn’t the right program for me right now. Or I could have been angry and resentful at the school for changing a program that they sent me information for days earlier. The list of responses can go on and on. The response depends on each person’s particular history, socialization, culture and experiences in life.

Once we start to have an awareness that our response is not the only response we can start to take responsibility for how we interact with our life in a more empowered way. We can look at a response and understand it is an individual response as opposed to a Universal response, or the only possible response. So, if we don’t like how we are responding to events and experiences we can start to ask ourselves some new questions, like:

Are there other ways of looking at this?

What old wounds from my past are making me see this experience as negative or as a personal attack?

If (insert person you admire here – Buddha, Jesus, my dad, a favorite teacher like Marianne Williamson) were to be experiencing this, how would they respond? (note: This is not to imply that any other person’s choice would be or could be better than your own. It is only a tool to stimulate different ways of thinking.)

Now, believe me, I understand – most of the time the responses we have are so automatic and happen so fast we don’t even know what happened. But, there is a growth curve that is possible here. In the beginning of playing with this idea it’s important to start with a heaping dose of compassion. Just lovingly look at the response you had with as much compassion as you can pour onto yourself. And then, with LOVE, start to journal or contemplate where that response may have originated. And, with LOVE, journal or contemplate what other choices you may have had in that moment. And feel free to consider options you may think are silly or impractical. For instance, an optional response could be to drop to the floor and roll around and bark like a puppy. It might feel loving to also consider the choices you are glad you didn’t make – like eating a whole pizza to yourself. As you continue to play with this loving process of self-inquiry, you will slowly unravel automatic responses. And as this unraveling occurs, it will effect your choices closer and closer to the moment of impactful events.

And while looking at your responses and alternative choices, it’s also important to remember that there is nothing wrong. It’s just a choice. And a response that is right for someone else may not be the right response for you. You decide what makes you feel safe and empowered and loved. So, the baseline is that you are looking at your choices to see if the choice you made is one that supported you and that you would like to make again, or if there is something else that might feel better next time. My offer is to look at this as a practice in open-minded awareness as opposed to judgement. It’s not about what other people or society as a whole think you should choose, it’s about what is right for you in your journey.

This is not an overnight transformation. This is is gentle, loving practice that will soften the edges of experience and give you more power over your choices with time. And, slowly but surely, you will notice a new level of PEACE radiating from within. This is a PEACE that comes from holding yourself and your moment to moment choices with tender compassion while continuously holding a space for more LOVE to flow in you and through you. LOVE is Infinite. There is never a time or place where LOVE reaches it’s maximum potential. It just expands and expands continuously through your Being and out into your life, gently touching and transforming everything over and over again. Let your choices, your responses, your Life be infused with the LOVE that you already are.

You are LOVE.