Bring your life into balance

Empathy works. It always does.


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Don’t give up

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?

Image courtesy to Wikimedia.orgAnd 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.

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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.


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Killing a mosquito

“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.

Image courtesy to c2.StaticFlickr.comAnd 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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You want help to connect to the interbeing of all life? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary discovery session.


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Fear in, jackals out

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.”

Bang.

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.

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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.


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Our breath, our soul

Breathe

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.


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Self-Compassion, day 2: Your Future Self

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Repeat this process at least once a day, preferably more often.
  4. 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.
  5. Give thanks for the abundance, prosperity, wholeness, love and connections that are already yours.
  6. Let go. Trust your subconscious mind to tap into the source of Life, Light and Infinite Love that brings her into existence.


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Self-Compassion, day 1: I’m doing the best I can

Wangari Maathai shares a beautiful story about a hummingbird and the forest. The forest is on fire and all the animals flee away, terrified of the fire and immobilized by fear of what will happen to their sacred home.

The hummingbird flies off too. To the lake. He picks up one drop and flies back to the forest and drops it on the fire. Then he flies back to the lake as fast as he can and picks up another drop. And another. And another.

All the animals watch him and ask: “Why are you doing this? It’s not gonna help? Your beak is too small, the fire too big, and your wings too slow.” The hummingbird pauses a second, then replies “I’m doing the best I can.”

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed with our situation, the situation of our world. We see all the suffering, within ourselves, in other people, nearby, far away. The task is too heavy, the stakes too high. Something needs to be done, and it needs to be done now, but whatever we have to offer is nothing compared to the grief and suffering. There is too much to do, and we stand to lose it all. The situation seems overwhelming, and we get paralyzed.

Those are the moments that we can stop. We stop to appreciate everything we are doing. Every thought we create, every word we speak, every step we take. We appreciate how we contribute to more abundance in the world, more prosperity, more security, more love, connection, peace, joy, and harmony. We acknowledge how our efforts bring more loving-kindness, compassion, support and understanding into the world. We appreciate how we work to sustain ourselves, our loved ones, and those we don’t know yet. We might not create the results we want. But, we’re doing the best we can.

And that’s enough.


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Appreciation in 4 steps

There is a tender beauty in expressing appreciation. There is something precious in sharing how someone’s actions enriched your life. A little line of connection between two people on this earth, who care enough about each other to find joy in supporting each other.

Even if you only say “thank you”, you water the seeds of joy, love and trust within yourself. Appreciation reinforces awareness of everything you have and everything you receive that is positive, pure and good.

No matter how grim your circumstances seem, how dark your future, how gloomy your past, appreciation highlights the moments of joy, love and harmony that you do have.

My friend suggested four steps of appreciation. Three to express to your friend, partner, parent, sibling, neighbor. One to express to yourself.

1. Observations

You start with a specific observation of what the other person did. Simply, as if you are a fly on the wall who recorded the event with a camera. The less interpretations, evaluations, judgments, the easier it is for the other person to know what you are talking about.

2. Feelings

Then you share how you felt when you observed what happened. Maybe you felt happy, touched, relieved, proud, tender, joyful? You can use your physical experience to locate and connect to your feelings.

3. Needs

Then you share how the action of the other person nurtured a need in you. Needs are universal throughout space and time. All feelings point to universal, human needs we all share. Maybe your friend supported your need for support, acceptance, understanding, compassion? Sometimes sharing your needs feels a little vulnerable, because we own up to what is important to us. We are a little bit more seen than before, a little bit more naked.

4. Your contribution to the event

You end with acknowledging the qualities you brought to the table to invite this experience in your life. You appreciate your consciousness and choices that made this possible. Maybe you were courageous enough to ask for support. Maybe you are grateful enough to notice the unfolding leaves on the tree. Maybe you are helpful enough to support your friend in need. There is always something in you that made this experience possible.

You’ll notice a big shift in your experience of life, if you practice these four appreciation steps twice a day for one month. Start today. Life is too short to postpone what’s important.


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Surrender to love

Surrender to love

Surrender to love

Dear Child,

I am very proud of you. I see how you’re finding ways to deal with your fear and thoughts of scarcity. I am very happy you found Silent Unity. I understand that you like their affirmative prayer. I can imagine how relieved you feel every time you hear them say that abundance and prosperity are yours. I know that God opens ways for you to earn the money you need to keep the house.

Trust your intention and your gut instincts. Those are God’s way of talking to you, showing you your next step.

I feel relieved that you asked the archangels Michael, Gabriel, Rafael and Uriel to guard the four sides of your home and keep you safe. I see how strong and solid they stand. Unwavering in cold and storm. Shining and radiant, powerful. They will keep all harm away from your door.

Don’t forget to pray till God. He is the source of all life, all love, all light. She will provide for you in all the ways you need.

All you need to do is open your heart. Let love and faith and trust grow in you and make you strong. Support your husband the best way you can. Nurture him, cherish him, embrace him. Make sure he gets enough sleep and food to generate the income you need.

Surrender to love. Surrender to the power within you to create what you want. A sanctuary for all life. A warm welcome for all creatures on earth. Your friends, your family, the friends-you-haven’t-met. Your home is a safe haven for the mice who chose your home as theirs. The scorpions, lizards, ants, spiders. You ferociously protect them. Against the water of the shower, the cleaning cloth, the vacuum cleaner. You are the protector of the trees and plants around the house. This home, this land is not just yours. It is the land and home of all living beings.

This is a sacred home. You’ll keep it, my beloved child.


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My trees, my business

Trees

Trees (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I venture out in the woods. I walk slowly. Carefully. Joyfully. I feel my feet touch the earth, and let the energy arise through me. Every step a connection to the earth. I enjoy the sun. The bright colors of the leaves: red, green, orange, yellow. My friend told me how rich she feels this time of year. The golden leaves fall on her, fill the streets with it’s riches. It’s golden abundance is available to everyone. I feel cherished and welcomed in the woods. Nurtured.

I have no plan. Just to spend 30 minutes in nature. I see a little creek I have never seen before. The heavy rains created it on the rocky path. Small, tenderly dripping away. It is quiet. Just the sounds of my breath, my footsteps, the breeze.

I hear a tree. It calls out to me. A juniper. It’s branches spread out wide and evenly. Inviting.

I hear my heart. Climb!

I hear my mind. NO!

I climb. One branch. Looping to the other side for the next branch. Avoiding getting stuck in the twigs. A next step. Taking a break.

My heart starts racing. I’m scared. I’m here on my own. I have no belay. If I fall, it might take hours before I’m found. I can’t afford a broken leg. I hug the tree. Lean into it. I feel how solid I am, how strong. I trust my body, myself. I take a next step. I feel fear. I rest, connect to my belly, to my heart. I respect my fear. I treat it with great reverence. It takes minutes. Then I take a next step. I see out over the tree tops. I see the valley, and all the autumn trees celebrating fall in splendid colors.

I rest. I celebrate. My agility. My trust. My strength. My fear. My steps.

This is how I run my business. One step. Feeling my fear. Leaning into life. Finding my balance. My solidity. My trust. Then a next step. Let fear arise, loneliness. Worries. Give them space to talk. Listen. With empathy and compassion. No fixing, reassuring, arguing. Just listen. Listen to life and how it supports me. Then a next step. No fighting the branches for being to far apart. No impatience with my fear. No comparing myself with other, faster climbers. That’s not my path.

My path is to experience what it is like to be me. My path is to experience which conditions support me. Take a step. Connect to what’s alive in me. And then a next step.


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Do you?

Much on this blog is about me. About an ordinary woman with a big dream. A woman, who passionately wants to create a world where everybody belongs. Where everybody listens in a way that brings connection and harmony. A woman who dedicates her life to bringing joy, love and harmonyDo you?

Much of this blog is about me. About an ordinary woman who stumbles and falls on this path of compassion and mindfulness. And rises again. Like a phoenix from the flame. A woman who never gives up. Not on herself, not on you, not on us. Do you?

Much of this blog is about you. My friends on the path of compassion and mindfulness. Friends who want to leave this world a better place. Friends who are looking for support, encouragement, inspiration. Friends who are willing to give it their all. Friends who understand that changing the world starts with yourself. Friends who see and trust that we are basic goodness. Do you?

Most of this blog is about us. A community which holds on to each other, sees the positive intentions, and supports learning from mistakes. A community which hangs in there, is willing to sit still when the storm races over and dances when the sun comes out. A community which is willing to self-reflect, to make friends with our inner demons, and laugh about them, no big deal. A community which empathizes with our struggles, and rejoices at our successes. We’re enjoying the path of compassion and mindfulness, not striving for results. We love just making this one step towards more compassion, acceptance and inclusion in the world. Do you?