Have you ever planted a seed? Carefully crafted a hole in the ground, planted it, and watered it every day? Have you ever felt that excitement, the anticipation of the moment the first leaves unfold on a warm, sunny day?
And then, after days and days, nothing happens? Sure, all the weed pierces through, happy with all the care and protection you offered. But none of the leaves of your beloved walnut pit.
You continue with watering, watching, weeding. But after weeks, you give up. Your planting program failed, the walnut is infertile, you move on to a new plan.
Too soon. While you were watching, weeding, watering, the walnut pit sprouted in the deep, dark safety of the earth. Your carefully crafted gardening plan slowly softened the hard shell. The roots started to dig deeper, the leaves started to reach for the light. And just before it popped up, you stopped with your care and protection, and the precious plant-to-be died, before it could manifest and grow into the magnificent walnut tree it was meant to be.
A friend complained that this mindfulness thing, this sitting meditation didn’t help at all. She suffered just as much from restlessness, depression, anxiety, and frustration. Hell, yeah, she even yelled more than before. She was done sitting on a cushion and observing her breath. It didn’t help at all.
Thich Nhat Hanh invites us to keep practicing mindfulness, joy, and compassion, even if we don’t see results right away. Some seeds in our store consciousness take a long time to sprout and grow into their potential. Some seeds are protected by such a hard shelf, that it takes patience and commitment, before the rain and the warmth of the earth finally help it sprout and grow up. Some seeds have been watered for so long, that their roots are strong, and they are firmly grounded in your habit energy.
The path of mindfulness, joy, and compassion is not about results, expecting peace, and opposing anger, depression, jealousy, and anxiety. The path is about loving to be a gardener and taking care of all the plants that manifest in our mind consciousness. Gently, patiently, and with delight. Looking at all the plants with a sense of wonder. “Oh, this is what anger looks like… I understand… Gosh, now I get what my neighbor is feeling…” “Ah, this is what craving feels like… My goodness, that’s what my friend must experience when she can’t stop drinking…”
In these moments of openness, acceptance, and curiosity, we can enjoy tending to our gardening with non-attachment and non-aversion, and trust that the innate qualities of love, life, and light will manifest in their own time.
You want help to enjoy being mindful and open to life? Read testimonials of people who hired me as their coach. I would love to help you too! Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a free, discovery session.
“Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life…”
This is the first Mindfulness Training: Reverence For Life, revised by Thich Nhat Hanh.
I am memorizing all Five Mindfulness Trainings, one by one, thus trying to deepen my understanding of them, and reinforcing my commitment to and love for them.
Yes. I practice the First Mindfulness Training. I shifted to a vegan diet, I started buying vegan shoes (Thanks Teva, for such cute sandals), I sit as silent witness every time a human being is executed by Texas officials.
And yet, I kill a mosquito whenever I see them in the house.
Outside they’re safe. I consider that their home as much as mine.
Inside they’re not.
My husband and I suffer so much from the allergic reactions to the bites and our itching, that I find it completely justified to kill them. Worse, I take pride in the swiftness of my strike and my 80% success rate.
And yet, my consciousness gnaws at me. If I am so aware of our interconnectedness, if I am sincere in my practice of looking deeply into how the mosquito and I interare (which is actually quite easy, when they bite you and carry your blood in their body), how can I kill them?
I make every effort to rescue the silver fish in my bath tub, before I take a shower, to vacuum clean around the spider, to give the ants a chance to flee from the dust pile, before I throw it in the trash bin. Why don’t I extend the same courtesy and support to the mosquito?
The truth is that I feel hurt by the mosquito, and not by the other animals. The truth is that I know how to live peacefully with the mouse and the scorpions, and not with the mosquito. The truth is that I am limited by my inability to stand my feelings, especially the itch. The truth is that I think I already do more than enough to honor the first Mindfulness Training, and that I can happily kill one or two mosquito’s.
Whether or not I do more than enough, the truth is that I’ll keep reciting the first Mindfulness Training till even the tiniest mosquito is safe in my house.
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Sometimes our blame, criticism, and anger is actually an habitual, automatic response to our fear.
We perceive we’re in danger and we get so scared we immediately react with counterattack. We don’t allow ourselves to stop, breathe, feel, and connect to our needs. We don’t even think about it, our reptilian brain takes over. Fight and flight at the same time.
Image courtesy to David Nayer
It goes something like this: “Michelle is teaching an intro Nonviolent Communication at church.” “What a bitch!! She didn’t even connect with me first!! Who is she to barge in and think she is the big star?! Over my dead body: it’s not gonna happen without my support!! I’ll offer another workshop that same day, and make sure that no one shows up at her event. She is a selfish, inconsiderate taker.”
Anger in full explosion.
There is something yummy about anger. You’re bumped up, you’re in control, you’re riding the wave of adrenaline. A little bit like flow, but without the peace part. Ready to crush, to slash out, and destroy. No one is gonna fool you, you stand your ground.
Feeling into your fear is much harder. To allow it to rush through you, to feel what it’s like to be that scared, to be thinking you’re helpless and cannot protect yourself from harm.
Yet, that’s where your empowerment lies.
In your vulnerability.
In this precious place of longing for safety, acceptance, inclusion, and belonging. All these needs that help us to survive and thrive.
If we dare to stop, if we have the guts to step into our fear, breathe, and be penetrated by it, we can open the door to self-care and self-compassion. “My beloved self, I see you’re scared she will get more attention than you. I get how afraid you are that she will attract more NVC-enthusiasts than you. I know how you’ve come to believe that being popular and interesting will bring you love and belonging and a sense of worthiness and mattering. I understand your pain. I’m here for you. I love you the way you are and I care for you.”
When we acknowledge our pain, we can offer ourselves support and understanding.
That’s how jackal ears out can help you to heal old, old pain.
You want help to translate your jackals out into self-care and self-compassion? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary, discovery session.
In the last Kabbalah class our rabbi, Monty Eliasov, talked about the five levels of soul in Biblical Hebrew. The third level is the breath-soul. The soul of our breath, the breath of our soul.
Isn’t that interesting? I practice with my Buddhist community for years now, sitting in meditation and bringing my attention back to my breath, over and over again. In Hebrew terms I am connecting to my soul, again and again.
Whom would have thought that something so basic and simple as our breath is so profound and unique at the same time?
Connecting to our breath, and being inspired
My meditation has become more sacred now that I realize I am actually connecting to my soul. It is more than bringing my focus to the here and now. It is about listening to what my spirit is telling me in the quiet of the moment. It helps me to be inspired.
Did you know that spirit and soul are etymologically related? Spirit stems from the Latin “spiritus”, which actually means breath, soul. Just like the Hebrew Neshamah. The Romans must have learned with the Jews.
I always thought of inspiration as being full with the Spirit, being full with something outside myself. Now I understand inspiration is being full of me, of my breath, of my soul, of my spirit. My assignment in life is to connect to my breath, nourish my soul, and trust my own inspiration.
Even as I sit here, I have no clue what to write next. I just sit, and feel my belly rise. And fall. And rise again. I put down my pen. I look out the window. I see the trees. I feel the sun, and bring my attention back to my breath. And whatever thoughts come up (and there are many, many!!) I label them as ‘thinking’ and bring my attention back to my breath. To my soul, my spirit. Till I feel inspired and know what to write again.
Bring your attention back to your breath, to your soul
Traffic, of course, provides a perfect opportunity to connect to your breath. Someone cuts me off. I startle. I get angry. I blame. I yell. ‘You idiot!’ I want to slash back. I catch myself. I drop the accusations and retaliations, and feel my breath. I feel it stuck in my chest. I feel it relax with my attention. My breath goes slower, deeper, and I notice how scared I was. The anger is just a cover up for my fear. I get that. Instead of blame, I need to comfort myself. ‘Gosh, sweetie, that was scary. You almost got hurt in a car accident. Thank goodness, you are safe.’ And instead of tailgating, I slow down, and pay attention to traffic.
It was just a little moment of disconnection with my soul. Let’s bring her back in.
Every day I go out for a walk. During my walk I imagine my future self, a year from now. I see how happy she is, how loving her marriage, how abundant and prosperous her financial situation. I see her walk around in a clean, organized home, where friends drop in and are welcomed with a big smile. She has clients who are satisfied, and changing their lives. She contributes to others from the fullness of her heart.
I call it the Future Self Process. It invokes the power of the subconscious mind to attract what you desire, and wholesome and beneficial to everyone.
You can do this for yourself too:
- Imagine what you want more of in your life that is positive and within your circle of influence. Imagine your future self having all the love, connection, acceptance, support, abundance and prosperity she longs for.
- Really feel into what it is like to be your future self. Feel it physically, emotionally, and mentally. Have the thoughts, physical sensations, feelings and experiences your future self has. Look at her environment, her home, her relationships, the steps she takes into her life. You see her reality as your reality.
- Repeat this process at least once a day, preferably more often.
- Do what you can do in this moment to take a first step towards your future self. You are committed to her becoming a reality, and not all the other versions of your future self. Chose love, peace and harmony for your future self.
- Give thanks for the abundance, prosperity, wholeness, love and connections that are already yours.
- Let go. Trust your subconscious mind to tap into the source of Life, Light and Infinite Love that brings her into existence.