Don’t Take it Personally

Don’t Take it Personally

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.

If God Had a Refrigerator

If God Had a Refrigerator

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.  

Body, Emotion, Mind, Spirit Connection

Body, Emotion, Mind, Spirit Connection

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.

Power of Equanimity Pt 1

Power of Equanimity Pt 1

The Power of Equanimity Part 1 of 3:    

The Lotus Blossom has long been a symbol of Equanimity.  While rooted in the mud, the flower floats on top of the water above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.

When I began my spiritual journey many years ago, one of the first lessons I was taught was the Power of Equanimity.   A friend gave me a recording of a talk by Ram Das telling an old Chinese story of a farmer and his horse.  . . . . . the intention of the story was to demonstrate the gift of equanimity.  The story was so powerful, it has stuck with me all these years.  Here is the story:

The Farmer and the Horse

One day in late summer, an old farmer was working in his field with his old sick horse. The farmer felt compassion for the horse and desired to lift its burden. So he left his horse loose to go the mountains and live out the rest of its life.

Soon after, neighbors from the nearby village visited, offering their condolences and said, “What a shame.  Now your only horse is gone.  How unfortunate you are!. You must be very sad. How will you live, work the land, and prosper?” The farmer replied: “Who knows? We shall see”.

Two days later the old horse came back now rejuvenated after meandering in the mountainsides while eating the wild grasses. He came back with twelve new younger and healthy horses which followed the old horse into the corral. 

Word got out in the village of the old farmer’s good fortune and it wasn’t long before people stopped by to congratulate the farmer on his good luck.  “How fortunate you are!” they exclaimed. You must be very happy!”  Again, the farmer softly said, “Who knows? We shall see.”

At daybreak on the next morning, the farmer’s only son set off to attempt to train the new wild horses, but the farmer’s son was thrown to the ground and broke his leg.  One by one villagers arrived during the day to bemoan the farmer’s latest misfortune.  “Oh, what a tragedy!  Your son won’t be able to help you farm with a broken leg. You’ll have to do all the work yourself, How will you survive? You must be very sad”.  they said.  Calmly going about his usual business the farmer answered, “Who knows? We shall see”

Several days later a war broke out. The Emperor’s men arrived in the village demanding that young men come with them to be conscripted into the Emperor’s army.  As it happened the farmer’s son was deemed unfit because of his broken leg.  “What very good fortune you have!!” the villagers exclaimed as their own young sons were marched away. “You must be very happy.” “Who knows? We shall see!”, replied the old farmer as he headed off to work his field alone.

As time went on the broken leg healed but the son was left with a slight limp. Again the neighbors came to pay their condolences. “Oh what bad luck. Too bad for you”!  But the old farmer simply replied; “Who knows? We shall see.”

As it turned out the other young village boys had died in the war and the old farmer and his son were the only able bodied men capable of working the village lands. The old farmer became wealthy and was very generous to the villagers. They said: “Oh how fortunate we are, you must be very happy”, to which the old farmer replied, “Who knows? We shall see!” 

 

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.