How often to take what others say personally?
In his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz says, Don’t Take Anything Personally. Several years ago, I adopted this as a mantra. It was a powerful experience. As I lived with this statement as a possibility, I became aware of several patterns:
- I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself. I expected criticism, so I would hear criticism where there wasn’t any. It was simply my projection because I expected it.
- I realized that the people who criticized me, that they were people who criticized everything. I just happened to be in their line of fire. But they also criticized themselves.
- I criticized myself . . . a lot. With this increase awareness of my own self criticism, I was able to begin to change the pattern. To begin to talk kindly to myself.
- I was very critical, not only of my self, but of others. With this awareness, I could begin to think and speak more kindly to others.
Results of Practice
With this practice over the years, I began to change. I became more compassionate, understanding, kind and forgiving of myself and others.
Share your experience.
Give it a try and let me know what your experience is.
May you know yourself as the stillness within
and embrace your humanity with love.
With fibromyalgia, it can often feel like we are alone.
We may feel abandoned. We feel frightened and hopeless.
That is never true. God is as close as your next breath, your next prayer.
When you feel lost and alone, pray and ask for guidance.
That has helped me through the most trying of times.
Becoming aware of my body and emotions through yoga
My first experience with exploring the connection between the mind, body and emotions was during my years of residency at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. I was already living in a lot of pain and was looking for solutions. This was years before I had even heard the term fibromyalgia.
Re-framing my relationship with pain
I remember one day when someone suggested that I re-frame my relationship with pain. They suggested that I call it sensation. I had to think long and hard about that one and experiment with it in my yoga practice. After a while, I concluded that pain was a very intense sensation and one that didn’t resolve easily. But it made me more aware.
Experiencing pain in a new light
While doing a regular yoga practice, I began to uncover my emotional pain. I began to understand the events in my past that had caused me pain, caused me to shut down my heart, and gave birth to negative beliefs about myself, others and life. I wasn’t so much taught mentally about the body/mind/emotion/spirit connection as I was experiencing it through my practice of yoga.
As I continued my yoga practice, five things began to unfold
1. I was developing the ability to feel my physical and emotional pain while being able to witness it from a place of equanimity.
2. By doing this, I was progressively healing the physical and emotional pain. Healing was happening simply by being the detached witness.
3. I was becoming aware of the belief systems I had in place that were no longer serving me. These were belief systems that had been absorbed from or created during my upbringing that caused me to be stuck in my negative experience.
4. I was able to adopt new beliefs that resonated with my deeper values and goals in life.
5. My life and my health began to shift in a positive direction.
I was taught to do yoga as a practice to increase awareness
Part of the reason for this experience was how I was taught to do yoga. When I was taught yoga, the focus was on creating awareness. With this as an intention, not only did I received all the physical benefits, I also was training myself to be a conscious detached witness of my experience as it unfolded moment to moment.
This set me on the path to true health
This set me on the path to true health. Just taking away or suppressing physical or emotional symptoms isn’t true healing. Learning to cope with a disability is needed, but true health goes further than that. When I talk about health, I am talking about embracing our thoughts, emotions, and body, with awareness, kindness, gentleness and love. That brings our body, mind, emotions and spirit into alignment which creates harmony within. If we have harmony within ourselves, we will experience harmony in our outer world.
Developing witness conscious in every day life
You don’t have to do yoga postures to develop this practice. It is something you can learn to practice in every moment of your life. In my free mini-course 6 Steps to Resolve Hidden Stressors to Enhance your health, I walk you through the process. It does take practice, but the rewards are worth the investment. To sign up, click here or on the photo below.
Many times since then, the reminder of the power of equanimity has been shared with me. It has become an important force in my life. When I am struggling and resisting life, it is a reminder to me that I am not seeing the bigger picture and that things are unfolding according to a Divine plan that I cannot see.
Take some time this week, to notice when you are flowing with life and when you are resisting or judging what is unfolding in your life.
Next week, will be The Power of Equanimity, Part 2 where I will talk more about Equanimity and provide some tools to help us nurture an attitude of Equanimity in our lives.
Until then, please share your comments and questions below.